The coffee shop

Rob and I biked down down to the coffee shop. Jay Lake was there for all of five minutes after we got there. Karen recounted a little of her Vegas adventures before I settled in to write. David Levine and Kate came in about half an hour before Rob and I headed for home. It was good to see both of them. I really like meeting other folks for writing; the accountability involved just in showing up with the intent to write feels good.

I got about 900 words done with lots and lots of brackets. What’s the name of the neighboring planet? I dunno, haven’t thought about it yet, so I called it [planet]. Now I’m going through and doing a find-replace to turn it into Dahaida.

A friend of mine, Mr. Fisher, turned me on to a program called the Everchanging Book of Names, which really rocks for alien cultures. You can set up your own parameters and rules for naming systems and then the machine will generate them for you. It’s really helped me with consistency of naming rules on this project.

Here is a snippet from this evening’s work. This is my first effort to write an alien story with no human as an entry lens for the reader.

Duurir clasped his hands together in childlike glee. He uncovered the bowl of kamjipp melon that had so teased her with its sweet scent. “I remember you said that you didn’t like to mix food, so I only brought fruit..”

Pimi accepted a piece of melon and wrinkled her nose at the memory. “True. We were all dreadfully ill after your mother’s party.”

The ground slammed up against her. Duurir shouted, dropping the bowl of melon. A low rumble echoed through the dormitory, which pitched and yawed like the deck of a Tep-Tep’s ship. Pimi clutched the edge of the nest, gathering breath to scream.

And then it was over.

Duurir, on his hands and knees, drew in a shuddering breath. The bowl of melon had shattered into crockery shards on the floor. Pimi put her feet over the edge of the nest, but Duurir looked up. “Wait! There will be–”

The room shook again. Furniture creaked. Toppled. Pimi held on. She kept the urge to scream trapped in her throat.

When the shaking stopped, tremors continued in her arms and knees. If she had held any food, she would have vomited it in her desperation to flee.

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2 Responses

  1. strugglingwriter

    Thanks for the snippet. That sounds really good so far. Thanks also for the link to the Everchanging Book of Names. Sounds very interesting.

    Also, I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who doesn’t get all the names for places/planets/whatever on the first draft. For some reason, I thought every other writer in the world easily comes up with that stuff and I’m stuck with stuff like TownA and GuyB or whatever.

  2. Mary Robinette Kowal

    Oh, heavens, no. Really, the best trick I’ve learned so far is the use of square brackets to remind myself to fix something.

    I also frequently wind up changing characters names the first time I read a section out loud. I had a character named Julius Seltzer, which was fine until I said it aloud.

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