Monday, June 18, 2018

Story Bloopers That Make You Go *Headdesk* -- Part II #amwriting #snippet

Last week, I posted a blooper (Part I) from the original manuscript that's the basis for my upcoming release, StarDog. This week I'm posting Blooper Part II.

If the StarDog title sounds familiar, it's probably because this book had a previous life as part of the acclaimed, but no longer available, Pets in Space 1 collection.

My goal is to soon release StarDog as a standalone book in The Inherited Stars Series. But first, I felt the story needed some special attention -- expanded scenes, re-worked passages, all-new material, and an added epilogue to better resolve the ending and tie it into Inherit the Stars, the novel that takes place six months after StarDog. In addition, it will have even stronger ties to the follow-up book, Courting Disaster, which will also be expanded from the original debut as a novella in the 2017 Pets in Space 2 collection (no longer available) to a novel.

But as I was reworking StarDog, I discovered a couple of....well...minor issues. (Gasp!)

I felt a little better when I realized no readers had apparently caught these missteps, either. In fact, readers might find these gaffes just a bit funny. So I decided to do an authors version of a Blooper Reel. Hopefully, you can laugh along with me.

As I mentioned last week, one of the reasons these bloopers are so ironic is that the story went through multiple passes by me, my betas and my editor--and yet, none of us caught these little treasures. I think that shows they weren't enormous blunders--but my goal is to make a great story even better, so they hadda be fixed.

And with that said, may I present...

Blooper #2

To set it up, here's the story blurb and scene description:


Navigator Taro Shall’s captain assigns him an unexpected mission–find a way to eradicate deadly vipers that have infested starship Calypso. He never expects to find the solution to his problem in the hands of Adini, a charming street vendor. But the bio-engineered StarDog he acquires turns out to be a galactic hot potato, and both Taro and Adini are soon fugitives on the run.

Adini Kemm can’t deny her fascination for the honor-bound navigator, though his past and her present seem to null any chance of a shared future. Until her father’s capture as a spy catapults both her and Taro into a desperate bid to save him…and straight into the clutches of a brewing insurrection.  

Scene Set-Up: Adini's father has been taken prisoner as a spy by the Ithian Alliance. Adini believes her one chance to save him may lie with a friend of her father's who she can find on planet Banna, and Taro convinces his captain to take her on as a paying passenger. But when Taro's captain learns the name of the man Adini is seeking, things get complicated.

“Who is this man?” the skipper began without preamble. “The one who can help your father?”

Adini straightened in her seat and cast a questioning look at Taro, who nodded for her to answer. “His name is Jaeo Gant.”

Captain Jordan stiffened, thrusting out her chin. “Did you say Jaeo…?”

“Gant,” Dini repeated, rushing to add, “He’s with the Network.”

“Yes.” She spat out the word with clear contempt. “He’s no one I care to cross paths with.”

“He’s a good man, Captain Jordan.”

“No.” The skipper’s jaw muscles flared and her eyes went cold and distant. “He gets people killed.”

“Captain, I have nowhere else to turn. No one else would go head-to-head with the Alliance. He may be my only chance to save my father.”

The captain scuffed the heel of her boot against the deck, as if mentally regrouping. “I said I’d take you to Banna, and I always stand by my obligations. But I’m doing it on one condition. I don’t need this man meddling in my life. So the deal is that you never disclose how you got to Banna. Not a word. Me—my ship—we don’t exist. Do I have your promise?”

“You have it, Captain Jordan.”

The skipper’s gaze cut to Taro, and her eyes flashed like pulsebeams. “Her word had better be good, for both your sakes.”

The bite of unease hit Taro in the sternum. Was this a mistake? His instincts had let him down before, and the last thing he wanted was to draw the wrath of Dava Jordan or jeopardize his gig on Calypso. Being navigator of this exceptional ship meant a lot to him.

Adini prayed Jaeo Gant would honor his obligations. Lords knew he owed Carbin Kemm more than a few favors. Just last month, her father had secured a Network shipment brought in by Captain Jagger, a hotshot Carduwan officer who’d run afoul of Ithian intelligence. When Jaeo Gant arrived to procure the booty and smuggle it off-planet, he’d been lavish with his praise to her father.

Her dad had always been steadfastly devoted to the cause. Now Adini would find out if the Network would be equally loyal in return.
Calypso’s air jets blasted, bringing the ship to hover just above the well-maintained landing pad. Three ground tugs scuttled over to ferry the ship to her assigned bay, which turned out to be at the extreme outer fringes of the spaceport. Clearly, the captain was attempting to slip her remarkable vessel into a quiet berth, unnoticed.

At least Banna was a safe haven from Ithian interference. No Ithian tactical squad would be storming the hangar to arrest Captain Jordan for the non-authorized launch back on Carduwa.

But that stunt might well catch up with her one day…

With the rear atmospheric drive still winding down, Captain Jordan and Taro appeared in the portal room. Adini’s heart fluttered at the sight of him, looking so handsome and capable in the fresh black uniform. His gaze touched hers briefly before dropping to his deck boots. She regretted the shadow of unease she saw in his deep russet eyes.

Katrina chattered a happy greeting, now returned to her familiar spot, balancing on Adini’s left shoulder.

“Package delivered,” the skipper said. “Time to settle up so we can be on our way.”

Captain Jordan seemed more than eager to depart, and nothing about Taro’s expression said he would do anything other than leave with Calypso. And why shouldn’t he? What they’d shared together had been crazy-impetuous, not binding.
“Twenty thousand replas, Captain.” Adini transferred the data from her wristchip to the captain’s receiver.

“Pleasure doing business, Miss Kemm,” the skipper replied. “Good luck to you.” Captain Jordan nodded toward the airlock.

“Captain,” Taro interjected. “I’m going with her. I want to be sure she finds this Gant fellow.”

Adini sucked in a silent breath. This she hadn’t expected.

The captain quirked an eyebrow and studied him a full tempa before she looked away and answered, “That’s your call to make, Nav.”

“I’ll be back as soon as I know she’s in good hands.”

Adini eased out her breath when Captain Jordan gave her wave of dismissal. She glanced at Taro, but he’d already turned back toward the airlock.
What Went Wrong?

Again, this blunder was subtle but it's clearly there on the page. Captain Jordan makes it painfully clear she wants nothing to do with the man Adini is seeking for help in rescuing her father--she doesn't want her name or her ship so much as mentioned.

"Me--my ship--we don't exist."

Captain Jordan is not happy Taro wants to escort Adini to find the man, but she allows him to go.

And that's where the problem lies.


Because: "Adini’s heart fluttered at the sight of him, looking so handsome and capable in the fresh black uniform."

Another forehead-smacker.

How invisible is Captain Jordan and her ship going to be if Taro escorts Adini to him wearing his Calypso navigator's uniform?


The scene required some editing to have Taro change back into his street clothes, so he wouldn't be identified as belonging to the crew of a captain who obviously knows Jaeo Gant and wants to ensure the man knows nothing about her involvement. Taro showing up in his uniform clearly didn't work.

And here I pause to laugh at myself for not catching that in the original story.

I hope to have more snippets or bloopers soon, but in the meantime, you can catch up on these two previously posted scenes from the coming book if you haven't yet read them:

All New Scene: Nebula Encounter  A newly written scene

Meet the Hero: Star Navigator Taro Shall  Introduction to the hero and his background

Have a great week!

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