Thursday, September 09, 2010

My Novel's Journey: Rediscovering Discovery: Assigning Jobs

This week has been a series of starts and stops in rewriting Discovery. I'm not just killing off entire chapters and watching new ones rise from the ashes, but I'm having to rethink events and even characters.

This week's challenge came with Chapter Three: I'd decided that Thoren trying to keep the mission secret even from the participants until they were all on the ship was just silly and pointless. So James gets to meet the rest of the research team on the moon. I hadn't really introduced them formally in the previous versions, and thus didn't really mention all their jobs or special skills. Now I needed to.

I'd thought before about what kind of people would be on the team, but lost the notes and had to think about it all over again. This time, I made a comment online and before anyone saw my answer, they chimed in their own ideas. I won't go over them all, except to say that, while some didn't work for the situation in my novel, they did make me think. As a result I changed several positions. Here, then, is the research crew:

Dr William Thoren--Mission Leader

Chris David--astronomer who discovered the ship

Casey Ostrand--vidoegrapher--injured shoulder using exoskeleton

Merl Pritchard—environmental engineer

Keli Riggens—zoologist

Jason Larache--systems engineer.

Ian Hu--drive systems specialist, warp drive theorist

Gordon Radell-cryptography

Zabrina Muha--microbiologist

Mikah Kowalski—linguist

Unfortunately, changing Merl's job also changed his ability to be the inadvertent bad guy. However, that worked in my favor. You know the saying that if you're going to use a gun in Chapter 15, put it in Chapter Two? The corollary is don't make a point of the gun in Chapter Two unless you're going to use it in Chapter 15. Well, in both versions of Discovery, I had a "gun," a character named Cay who panics and accidentally hurts Ann. He's never seen or heard from again. Now, he's going to be part of the recovery crew, trying to prove himself, and as such will get involved in a series of events that will lead to his trying to destroy the alien ship. And Merl will still have a hand in that, but as the inadvertent influence that pushed Cay off the edge.

To get to this point, Merl gets to do some ol'-fashioned-down-home-come-to-Jesus preachin'! I had some fun with this, because Sister Ann goes to sit in, and in typical Ann fashion, seems to get the point while appearing completely flighty. (Merl says in his sermon that God's love is sufficient.)

Ann: I enjoyed listening to you. It made me think Plato.
Merl: my sermon made you think of a pagan philosopher?
Ann: necessary and sufficient conditions. Is God's love sufficient or merely necessary?
Merl: Merely?
Ann: As opposed to necessary and sufficient. Certainly accepting His love is merely necessary. It's in Corinthians… ( Get the quote about faith and deeds)
Merl: But He who liveth and believeth in me shall have everlasting life
Ann: Yes, exactly! Necessary and sufficient! So would you like to join me in Adoration?
Merl blanches: I think not.
Ann: Oh. Well, it's neither necessary nor sufficient, but it is loving!

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