November 19th, 2011

beach

NaNoWriMo update

Been quiet of late on here. Mainly due to NaNoWriMo.

Regular readers will recall that every year I get ridiculously excited about the prospect of NaNoWriMo around September/October time, then promptly drop out after the first week of November.

This year I appear to be Doing It.

Current wordcount: 29,000 words. Twenty. Nine. THOUSAND. Words.

I realise that for some of you this is merely small change. Some people I've known would knock that out in a couple of days.

For me, it's huge. And getting huger.

Except now I'm started to struggle. I've broken the back of it - I've got loads of characters running around doing Stuff. It's just not the stuff I'd intended in my (admittedly brief) outline. Characters turn up, usually in pairs, do stuff, have a chat, and wander off.

If I find one more of them peering at a bloody console to open a fracking airlock, I may cry.

I've also realised that my carefully planned main character, Zela 'Zee' Cauldwell, appeared in Chapter One, Day One, and promptly disappeared from sight for the next 27,000 words.

So my plan for an opening scene kind of fell flat. Now we have Commander Ortega (who I kind of like), Lt Cmdr Giles (who is fab) on one side, and Dravin Renau (love that name, thanks random name generator) and his ever-growing crew of miscreants (mercenary pirate terrorists, I haven't worked out which) on the other.

And I've got no idea what happens next.

The plot so far, if you're interested.

Commercial transport vessel the Chimera is en-route from Mars to Luna, carrying passengers and cargo. It's a long trip, so the passengers are all safely tucked up in cryo.

The Chimera's AI Alice hears a distress call and diverts to find out what's up. They find the Felicia, a billionaire ore magnate's private yacht, floating dead in space. The crew on duty (Ortega, Giles and Woods) go and investigate, only to discover Dravin Renau and his chums using the Felicia as a lure. They need a commercial transport to get them close to Luna Hub, where they plan to detonate a Gravity Bomb.

Renau and his crew get aboard the Chimera and get all the crew into the Mess. Various hijinks ensue along the way. People being blasted out of cargo bays, etc. No-one has died up to this point.

The mercenaries/pirates/terrorists are also planning to steal the Chimera's AI core as it's worth a fair bit on the black market. What they don't realise is that the AI (Alice, for those keeping up), is ex-military, a prototype model designed for military warships. She was given a personality to allow her to interact with the crew better, and for various reasons the designers based the personality on the daughter of one of the lead scientists, a teenage girl called Alice. They then trained Alice over the course of several years to be a hard-core military killing machine, but the project was mothballed and Alice the AI ended up in a warehouse with most of her military bits ripped out or with software blocks in place.

So. The mercs botch the extraction of Alice, triggering her old military protocols, and accidentally reverting her back to her teenage self. Leaving the Chimera under the control of a highly competent, highly pissed-off teenager.

The original plan was for the mercs also to rescue their captain, who was being transported in cryo to Luna by Zee Cauldwell, fearsome bounty hunter. She of the chapter one appearance and subsequent non-reappearance in the plot.

You then have various crews running around the Chimera - Alice trying to kill everyone off, but with none of her military weapons in place, she has to MacGuyver solutions - airlocks, electrified floors, that sort of thing.


You can see how it's all starting to get messy. I'm not sure how to handle what comes next, or where I actually want the story to go.

There are various options:
1. Ignore the Zee character - there are tons of other people around and I suspect she'll get in the way
2. Bring Zee into it - she can then get in the way quite nicely and we'd have three groups running around assuming the other was trying to kill them.
3. As Alice's old personality has woken up, it could have triggered some distress beacon on old navy frequencies, which cause the current Luna Navy to come haring out to see what's going on. Cue yet more people running around trying to sort things out.

I'm open to suggestions! Thoughts, comments, postcards and coffee welcomed. Gin, if you've got it.