Writing Journal

My No Man’s Sky character doesn’t really have a personality. He’s made choices, buffeted by the story line and the revelations that came from finishing quest lines, but he’s never been active about it. He’s never had a driving goal, or something to accomplish for himself. A completely passive character isn’t compelling, and isn’t fun to write.

The game has been fun to play, don’t get me wrong. There’s no way I’d have as many hours into it as I do if it wasn’t. I would never have stuck around through the bugs, the graphics clipping, and the new bugs introduced (and then subsequently resolved) with every major update. I’d have never weathered the game’s detractors and the controversy surrounding its launch that still hangs on, four years later. My favorite aspect of the game, base building, is still hobbled by the game’s inability to negotiate between terrain modification and terrain regeneration/respawn.

And yet, it’s fun for me, and I stick around.

The difficulty with my fan fiction idea is that I chose to make my PC the main character, when he’s just a thin veneer laid over whatever neat thing I want to accomplish next. That leaves two options that I can see:

  • Write stories about another Traveler out in the No Man’s Sky multiverse. That leaves me to continue playing as I have, and allows freedom to stretch that might not exist if I’m constrained to writing about what happens in-game.
  • Take the opportunity provided by switching to playing on PC to actually play a character. I’ve started over in the quest and story progression, which means I can play a character in the game, rather than letting the game drag me along.

I should give this some thought, and find out what my streaming community thinks.

[Fan Fiction] Predecessor, pt 1

Three switches was all it took to relinquish control of my faithful ship, the Crystal Song, to the station’s auto-docking system. Once again, I flipped them, the motions burned into my brain from what seemed like years of piloting. The ship and station seemed to spin as they negotiated a common horizon. I focused on slowing my breathing and keeping my muscles relaxed. If it happened again, it was likely to hurt just as bad as the last several times. Unfortunately, the Anomaly, as it was commonly known, was the only place in this universe or any other where I could exchange the salvaged tech I’d dug up for blueprints. And I REALLY wanted those blueprints.

The outside doors opened, and the Crystal Song was through. Incomprehensible machinery moved, switched, and rotated around the ship as I slowly drifted forward, toward the inner doors. Maybe this time would be different. I’d gotten in once since this had started happening, but I didn’t have anything to trade. Of course, now that my hold was full to the brim, as they say, I couldn’t get in. And each attempt was more painful than the last.

The inner doors cracked open, spilling out warm, intense white light. This was it. Moment of truth. The doors slid all the way open, and the Song’s instrument panel faded to the light filling my vision. So close! Just one more second, and I’d be through…

The warm white changed to a cold, harsh blue. Every nerve ending lit up in pain. It felt like being torn apart and being pulled away, like every atom in me screaming away from ever other, but I was still alive enough to feel it. Then all I could hear was my own screaming voice, and my body was rebuilding itself inside my base on Akrodne X. It took only a moment, and then the pain was gone as if it had never been.

I was breathing so hard that my faceplate was fogging up. How many times was that? Five? Six? I haven’t tried it again since. The Anomaly hovers there, hanging in space next to the system’s station, taunting me. But I’m not risking it again. Not for a long while.

There’s those words again.

THE END.

I got to write them again. I’ve finished the first draft of another novella, and I’m still surprised that this is a thing that I can do. That this is a thing I’ve chosen to do. That this is a thing that I’m still doing.

Something was definitely different this time. This story wasn’t a re-work of something I’d written before. Like The Remembrance, it was a story that I needed to tell, and had characters that I wanted to visit for a time, irrevocably changing everything that they knew. This time, which was different from every single other time, I saw places that would need to be improved as I wrote them. I looked forward to revising. I didn’t just know that revising was a thing that I was going to have to slog through, but I knew that it would give me an opportunity to make it better.

This is something that usually has to be drilled into me from the outside. And from the outside, it’s usually been Nikki.

But, this time… THIS time… it was just a thing. It was “I’m going to make a note about this here, and it should be fixed like this, and I’ll take care of it on the next pass.” So, the plan is to do a light revision when I move the story from paper notebook to digital, and then send it out to my steadfast alpha readers. If you’d like to be added to that alpha reader list, drop me a line!

Writing Journal

Originally written on 13 February 2018

Notes:

How do I want to handle the “last” conversation between Susan and Nat? Nat will have done her homework, and tried to prepare for her journey as best she could, without worrying the police officers too much.

Adam’s not with them, and is likely still sleeping back at the apartment.

Susan is exhausted, even after a day’s sleep. She’s traumatized, much like her sister, and is barely keeping her cheese on her cracker. She knows that “losing” her sister is inevitable, at this point, but it doesn’t make any of this easier.

They’ll start just hugging, I think. Crying quietly. They’ll talk, sort of, about the demon. They’ll talk about what’s in store for each of them. Nat will reveal that she’s known about Susan’s other family, and urge her to leave. When they’re done talking, and Susan is leaving, she’ll turn back to say something, and Nat will be gone, along with the stuff.

Susan will stay upright, with the help of the wall, and then will head off to Yeong-Cheol.

Edits

  • The coffee bar needs to change to the Wormhole in Wicker Park. That neighborhood fits who Susan wants to be like a glove.
  • Car fire should be on the border of residential and industrial zones in the South or West side.
  • Nat’s house should be in Edgewater.

Writing Journal

With the rewrite finished, I’m back to the spot where I can start writing new goodness again. I need to do some re-ordering.

First, the phone call with the officer about Natalie clothes shopping for someone else needs to be moved later, much closer to where Susan has her last face-to-face with her sister. If not then, it needs to be right after the vampire vs. demon battle. Maybe then, so the tension about her sister is kept fresh. It doesn’t belong in the middle of Susan’s conversation with the scavengers, though. Also, moving it means that I don’t have to rush it.

Then there’s the battle itself. How do I work the transition between the conversation into the battle? Maybe I could have them knock Susan and Adam out and lock them in a room, then have them wake up mid-battle? How do you knock out a vampire? Well, it’s a place to start.

Did I have a reason for Susan to go and speak with/confront her creator? Other than displaying that she’s come into her own? I can’t for the life of me figure out why I put that in this chapter. Let’s not even mention the complication of writing a character that’s loosely based on someone else’s LARP character, when I was never super friendly with that someone. Better to remove that cameo entirely.

That also means that I won’t be splitting up the character party. Good Thing.