Monday, May 20, 2013

MISSION: SUCCESS
Laurie's Journal

I have good news and bad news to share about my writer's journey from this past week. The good news is I finished my short story The Shell and the Star. The bad news is that when I re-opened the manuscript, the resolution I thought I'd already written--with its cool twist and brilliant wrap--uh...wasn't there!

Gasp! Wait. What?

Cue compulsory hard drive scour for a more recent version. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

I know I wrote the grand finale. I remember writing it. I know it's somewhere...but I can't seem to find the coordinates of the point it occupies on this plane of existence. Doubt ensues. Did I write it and not save the file? Did I pen it in a notebook that has since been misplaced? Did I only dream I finished the story?

My FNF (For Now Fix) was to rewrite a new ending. Unfortunately, I know it's not THE ending that originally came out of my head. It's a bit flat and uninspired and so not ready for prime time. Some writers probably would have set it aside to work on it another time, but I felt a need to wrap the story. I guess it's like training a dog or a horse and always wanting to end the lesson on a positive note instead concluding with a negative experience. My muse had to have that cookie. My head required a sense of accomplishment so I didn't succumb to frustration.

Now I can press reset and mull over other options for a more fitting finale. Maybe even try re-conjuring the original wrap from my subconscious since the details are eluding me. In the meantime, it is a setback. The Shell and the Star will remain in sort of a Limbo of the Lost until I can create a satisfying fix.

Thought for the day: It's too bad our brains don't come with an automatic backup system.

So I'm curious. Has this ever happened to you? I'm sure this is more of a pantser's malady than a plotter's. A plotter would have every detail down on paper, most likely color-coded and cross-referenced. Pantsers...not so much. This scenario is when the head-to-page style of creative writing can really backfire on ya. *wipes soot from face*

ABOUT THE SHELL AND THE STAR

Here's a little about the story in question.

A female resident of a high-tech spacestation and an ocean-dwelling male discover they have more in common than being the children of high-ranking officials. An arranged courtship by their parents leads to unexpected consequences that could save--or destroy--both races.

The title The Shell and The Star represent the standards of the two species. The Star is the emblem of the Talstar Space Station in geosynchronous orbit over planet Veros. The Shell is the icon of the aquatic Perling species who live more primitive lives beneath the surface of the shallow seas.

Excerpt:

“You have a suitor.”

Jinn peered up into her father’s eyes as he floated into place before her. Is he joking? Since she’d come of age, five long years had passed without a bid for her hand. She’d given up hope of ever having a mate.

“Who…who makes this request?”

“The Fourth Dominant of the Perling.”

Jinn gasped, reeling like the oxygen had just been sucked out the airlock. A Perling Dominant? An alien? “Father, no! I can’t—“

“You will answer his bid,” her father insisted, grabbing a handhold to anchor himself in Talstar’s zero gravity.

“But why? Why would a Perling Dominant want my hand?”

“Not the Dom himself, girl. He asks on behalf of his second son.”

Jinn dropped her gaze to her small fists clenched around the frame of her sleeprack, her shoulder drifting to bump the bulkhead. “Why would even a second son want me?”

Jinn sets out on a reluctant mission of discovery, where she learns not only about the Perling race and her intended mate, but secrets from the past that she never could have imagined and promises for a future that she never dared to dream.

The Shell and the Star is currently about 12,500 words and takes place in a distance future of the Draxian Universe on (or above and in the waters of) planet Veros. When it's completed, my plans are to scout a home for it in an upcoming SFR anthology or offer it as a free standalone story.

SCIENTIFIC BREAKTHROUGH INSPIRING FOR SFR

A new medical breakthrough might just be the stuff of SFR writers' dreams.

A team of scientists at Boston's Childrens Hospital have developed an exciting new treatment, an oxygen particle that can be put into the bloodstream to oxygenate the blood. Result? You don't have to breathe to live! At least for about 30 minutes.

How does it work?

By creating particles containing oxygen gas pockets inside lipids fats, the resulting globules can hold four times the oxygen of a red blood cell and are flexible enough not to get log-jammed in blood vessels, causing dangerous gas embolisms. The particles are simply injected directly into the bloodstream. The new therapy can be used to treat a number of maladies that deprive the body of oxygen--such as pneumonia, collapsed lung, or hemorrhaging of the respiratory system--long enough to treat the patient before the brain is damaged or destroyed due to lack of oxygen. This helps ensure survival for the precious minutes while surgeons are working to treat the damage.

Future potential?

This is where things really get exciting. As the therapy is developed to allow for longer periods of oxygenation, if you can imagine it, it can probably be applied. Think about Navy Seals who would no longer need underwater breathing gear for missions. How about undersea researchers, ocean rescue efforts, submarine accidents and other situations where the particles could be injected into the blood to allow first responders to deploy without gear--or someone trapped underwater to survive long enough to be recovered. (Remember the intentional drowning and resuscitation scene from The Abyss? Problem solved.)

Now apply a little imagination and think about the implications for outer space exploration and future colonies.

You can read more about the breakthrough here: TechWench

Or watch a short YouTube video:




A MESSAGE TO OUR FOLLOWERS

Sometime in the next week or two, this humble blog is going to achieve a major milestone--125,000 hits over it's lifetime. We appreciate all our followers, old and new, who have helped to steadily raise our stats with each new year, and even each successive month. With so much content available on the internet, and a plethora of blogs on every conceivable topic, we're glad you're willing to spend a little of your time with us here at Spacefreighters Lounge.

Bartender, fetch another round of Billins--on the house!

PING PONG

I really enjoyed the discussion inspired by Sharon's blog about authors behaving badly. Food for thought to all aspiring writers, for sure.

Donna, I'm looking forward to this week's more in depth review of the new Star Trek Into Darkness movie. Your blog last week didn't give away any of the Trekker goodies that came out in the story, but definitely clued me in on what to watch for. I saw the 3D version.

Pippa, good luck with organizing/arranging the next SFR blog hop in June. It's a big job, but a worthy undertaking in how it benefits and raises awareness of the SFR subgenre as a whole.


11 comments:

  1. That's too bad about your ending, Laurie. I have lost stuff before and not been able to figure out why or where it's gone. It wasn't even in temporary files so I just had to accept I'd lost it into space.
    The little story sounds intriguing!!!!
    Ditto on the oxygenated blood. What a fantastic concept.

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  2. Well, Barbara, I'm glad I'm not alone. Setbacks can be so discouraging.

    Glad you like the premise of The Shell and The Star. :) These shorts are a new experience for me, and I'm finding the reduced writing time--compared to trying to develop a full length novel--a real plus!

    Yes, the oxygenated blood therapy is amazing. I'm trying to figure out if I can even use it in this story.

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  3. The Shell and the Star sounds really intriguing, Laurie. Bummer about the ending! Endings are so difficult on a GOOD day, and to have it go POOF! AAAGGHH!! I back up my mss. on a zip drive and carry the zip with me in my purse--I'm THAT paranoid. But I don't do it every day (BAD Donna!), so things could happen.

    As for the oxygenated blood, that is so cool! And probably just in time. Those who died in the 1918 flu pandemic literally drowned in their own blood, unable to breathe due to the breakdown of their lungs. This would have saved them--and will be on hand to save the victims of the next outbreak. (Oh, and that threat a certain villain makes against Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise? Ha!)

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  4. The Shell and the Star sounds really intriguing, Laurie. Bummer about the ending! Endings are so difficult on a GOOD day, and to have it go POOF! AAAGGHH!! I back up my mss. on a zip drive and carry the zip with me in my purse--I'm THAT paranoid. But I don't do it every day (BAD Donna!), so things could happen.

    As for the oxygenated blood, that is so cool! And probably just in time. Those who died in the 1918 flu pandemic literally drowned in their own blood, unable to breathe due to the breakdown of their lungs. This would have saved them--and will be on hand to save the victims of the next outbreak. (Oh, and that threat a certain villain makes against Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise? Ha!)

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  5. So sorry about the setback, Laurie. I probably would have done the same thing - written the ending again even if it wasn't quite "there." You have the bones down and have something to work from.

    One time I unintentionally left a file I was working in open all day. When I was shutting down my computer that night and was asked if I wanted to save changes to the file, I was tired and not thinking and said no!!! When I opened the file again I discovered I hadn't saved ANY of it while I was working earlier in the day. I was freaking out, but then decided to check my cloud backup, and sure enough, at some point I'd dragged my in-process editing session to the backup folder, and it had copied up to the last autosave. Saved from my own stupidity!

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  6. The blood thing is quite possibly the coolest thing I've heard in weeks! Oh the possibilities.

    I'm a pantser, and I've lost stuff like that. Usually I really did dream I wrote it, and never really did. Sometimes I have trouble telling the difference between dreams at night, deja vu, and reality. Keeps things interesting.

    I write with Libre Office, and there's a Google Docs plugin. Every day when I finish writing I hit the button to upload it to my Google Drive. I don't know how I ever managed without it.

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  7. So sorry to hear about your ending. Yes, this happened to me. I knew I'd written more of a book I started years ago. When I transferred files to a new computer, somehow I didn't grab all the files. I used to save files on floppies--you know, those little square thingees. LOL Fortunately, Hubs has a floppy reader. Whew. After searching & reading endless files, I found the right ones and was able to finish Switched, Too. I hope you find your ending. The book sounds great.

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  8. @Donna Yes, you're right. And endings are majorly important! Wrapping a story on a high note instead of an 'eh' note is one of the most important elements of the story.

    @Sharon I'll have to talk to you more about that cloud. I actually was working in Dropbox, which I think is a form of cloud storage. But that ending just wasn't there. I'm still baffled what happened. I think it was one of those Bobby Ewing dream things (if you're familiar with the references. *g*)

    @Rachel My head's been spinning with all the ways that blood oxygenation could be used in a story. First we hear warp drive is possible, and now this breakthrough. These are exciting times for writers.

    @Diane YAY for the file save! So glad you were able to bring that story back from the brink. Must have been a great feeling.

    Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences and comments.

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  9. So sorry about your ending being MIA, Laurie. Oh yeah, I've lost stuff. Either not saved it or accidentally deleted. Or my computer or memory stick has died. Now everything is saved to two sticks, and I email it to myself. The worst thing I had happen was my Word freezing. I have to shut it down after half an hour of no response, to lose an entire heart-rending day of edits and rewrites. Hah! Now Word is set to automatically save every five minutes. And it's saved my sanity on a couple of occasions.
    The short sounds fun! Best of luck whichever way you decide to go with it! The blood thing would have great medical applications. And useful for underwater or low oxygen atmospheres.

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  10. I had to look up the Bobby Ewing thing. :) As for the cloud backup, I was referring to Dropbox. There was nothing special about Dropbox storage itself that saved me. Just that I was lucky enough that when going out for a walk earlier in the day I had copied and pasted the file to Dropbox as a precaution. The file was open at the time, and I had not done a manual save, but it copied the last version that was autosaved, which autosaved my butt!

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  11. @Pippa I haven't checked out the autosave settings on my Mac yet (I'm still bumbling around trying to figure out how things work) but I need to make that a priority. It should be rule #1 for every writer: Thou shalt set they automatic backup to every 5 minutes.

    @Sharon OMG, you just coined a new phrase. Autosaved my butt! LOVE IT! And what a stroke of luck that it saved the most recent version!

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