I was looking at a short story I had begun two months ago, featuring a sort of Trek-like Western story. It was to be about this junior grade Security Lieutenant who was caught in bed with the daughter of his captain, and as retribution, had him assigned to a backwater planet with no law whatsoever. It was writing pretty well until I started school, and of course, my interest in the story sort of took a major shit. In re-reading it lately, I just decided it wasn’t worth it to me to keep on going. It’s almost as if my muse was about as distracted as I feel sometimes.
Every now and again, I’ll finish a short story, or not even get that far. Maybe a minor exploration that lasts all of 500 words or so. A friend of mine once told me that one of my strengths is character development. I can create characters of complete believability, but that in getting these awesome characters to the goal of the story was where I began to falter. And that is probably true. In my brain, I can see these characters doing what I want them to do, but trying to explain it all gets laborious after awhile. I wish I could just mental upload the story in my head, and it would be a well-crafted story.
What do I want to work on right now? I really would love to finish one of my Hope Station stories. More so than others, the life of a female officer maturing within the naval forces of main body. I have the character sketches done for the main character, her best friend, her captain and executive officer, her immediate superior, the “bitchy” officer… It’s a little frustrating to plot out the story’s outline on paper and then connect the dots with dialogue that’s not boring and humor that isn’t stupid sometimes. My sense of humor is rather odd, but I love to make people laugh. My humor is not always appreciated by all. Anyway, the story was entirely about how this young woman takes on responsibilities and proves herself to be a capable officer and a leader of others. Though I was inspired by Horatio Hornblower, and I had read David Weber’s incredibly verbose and pedantic tales of Honor Harrington, I really wanted to focus more on the character than all the technobabble. Now, after reading Lambdin’s Alan Lewrie, I think now more than ever I’d like to pick up my version of the tale and write my piece. If only to prove that a woman can command just as effectively as a man can, or perhaps better. It’s true that I love romantic tales, but too many times I’ve had to sacrifice a little bit of my feministic streak to enjoy the book while also accepting the fact that Lewrie pretty much screws anything in a skirt. I’m on the fourth book, and he’s fathered like three kids already and just left them behind.
I wanted to portray this character from beginning to end, although I’ve been thinking that perhaps I should start out by portraying her immediately before she attains her first command, instead. Just like the first Hornblower book, which was Beat to Quarters, and had him in command of the Lydia. I actually read the Hornblower books in chronological order. Beginning with Mister Midshipman Hornblower, where I think the title speaks for itself, really. The intention in the first story, which has since been named Untitled #14, was to introduce the character immediately after graduation and on her first posting to a destroyer. In my head, I had actually seen her as an Admiral during the Civil War that was to happen later on in the future history of this universe I was creating. In fact, this universe was so intricate that we had built an online game surrounding it. I met my ex-wife on a variation of it back in 1997. So Hope Station has a nice and long history with me, having been one of three people who sat down to create a more realistic version of Babylon 5. A lot more dirty and gritty than B5, with a far more simpler tale: Humanity, if it does not alter course, will doom itself. I’m not a pessimist, but I do believe in the adage that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. My variation is, those who don’t learn are doomed to much larger and more catastrophic consequences. The end of the story is about the handful of survivors of the last war who finally get it. And I hadn’t decided whether or not they were able to change the course of the future from outright extinction or a resurgence of human presence in the universe. All I had in my head was their departure from the cradle.
Eventually, I will return to that story. And I hope someday I’ll actually be able to finish it. Once I do finish that first story, maybe the second one won’t be so damn difficult to write.