Outfitting (WIP)

(The Silence of Ancient Light, continued)

The beach lay strewn with fallen trees, a bounty of choice from which to find three relatively straight and sturdy spars. Anna took her inspiration from the Keplerians’ own design, as she knew it was a good one. Lateen rigs had served ancient humanity well, from early days moving goods through Egyptian waters, to latter days on small boats for training young sailors. An easily handled rig, it would give them some modest upwind capacity using the materials at hand.

With plenty of climbing rope available, Anna and Laxmi soon had the mast stepped into the bottom of the raft and stayed forward and to either side. To avoid the need of a backstay, Anna rigged the port and starboard shrouds to pontoon handholds a meter aft of the mast step.

The shuttle’s emergency gear included five parachutes, just one of which provided more than enough material for a sail.

Read more at

Outfitting


Have you ever wondered how to turn an emergency life raft into a sailing trimaran? Well, if you ever find yourself marooned on a small island in the middle of a big ocean on an alien planet thousands of light-years from Earth, who knows? It might be just the skill to have.

Especially if the native inhabitants of that planet have made off with one of your crew members and left you with almost nothing with which to survive.

I will confess that way back when I first started writing The Silence of Ancient Light, I imagined a prologue scene with Anna, our protagonist, on Earth before the expedition begins. The scene involved Anna participating in a single-handed ocean race, navigating her sailboat alone across the Pacific, and yes, I meant it to serve as foreshadowing, as well as to provide some initial clues into Anna’s essentially introverted character. I dropped the scene before I ever wrote it, thinking it superfluous, but now I’m considering that it might serve a purpose after all, if nothing else than to explain just how it is that Anna knows how to build a crude sailboat and then operate it.

What do you think? Too much?


Header image credit: user:janrye / pixabay.com under Pixabay License

WIP: Toxicology, & Continuing Chapter 3

Ah, but this has been a tougher month than anticipated, writing-wise. It’s been a good month otherwise, but I have been distracted, and procrastinating, and avoiding, and…

For some reason, I’ve found it hard to get started with this scene. I’ve crash-landed my characters on an alien world, and then… well, what now? Inspiration seemed to be lacking, so I did what any writer would do: anything else but write the scene. I played with Twitter (the bane of productivity!), I wrote 5000 words of advice for my daughter (which she’ll probably never read), I worked, I took a sailing vacation with said daughter…

And, of course, as always happens, when I finally sat down to write it, after a couple hours of staring out the window, once I started to write the words flowed easily. This is pretty common for me, and I hear it’s common for many others, too. I just need to get off my butt and spend more time in front of a screen.

Wait, that’s self-contradictory, isn’t it? If I’m spending more time in front of a screen, it’s probably while sitting on my butt. Hmm, a conundrum.

I’m distracting myself again, without getting to the point. The point, dear reader, is that the much-deferred and delayed scene is finally here. And what’s the first thing that a crew who find themselves marooned on an alien planet, teeming with vegetable life, need to do? Why, they need to run a toxicology report, of course. They need to find out if they can eat said vegetable life without dying horribly.

Good thing Laxmi’s along on this expedition, as she’s a top-notch exobiologist as well as ship’s doctor, and she knows just what to do. And, so will you, once you ride along on her shoulder:

 

Toxicology


header image credit: user:CHUCKage/flickr.com under cc by-nc 2.0