So, I’ve posted another bit of the Space Hunter story over on my Patreon, for those interested in my fiction. It (like most of my content in both places) is free to read. If you’d like to read it completely unspoiled by any behind-the-scenes info, go ahead and click the link first, then come back here. I’ll keep the first several paragraphs of my commentary vague enough that it shouldn’t matter if your eyes have already strayed down.
I’ve got quite a bit more material written over the first half of the month, but it doesn’t all join up neatly into a complete chronological story yet. A lot of it is fragments of conversations without the connecting context, which is how I do a lot of my writing.
The next bit to come chronologically was written before either of the two scenes in today’s post. Originally, there was not going to be much less of a direct line from the card story through to the next case… I think I may have mentioned that my idea was to try to cheat my way into a novel by writing a series of connected short stories? Well, as I’m writing, stronger connections are showing up.
Most of the next bit of story that I’ll post was written before these two scenes. I started writing the scene of X returning to her ship as part of the opening of that, to show how she got from the Winslow bounty to where that scene properly starts, and as I wrote it, I decided to introduce her usual handler in order to emphasize how very different Leroy Destyles is from the people she usually deals with.
If Destyles was the first and only official contact you saw in the story, it might give the impression that the Galpax is completely run by cheap, seedy, greedy, grasping, grubby people like him, and not tired and overworked people who are trying their best and who believe in what they’re doing.
To introduce Vasilly Wallace, I needed to have a reason for him to talk to X. I didn’t envision a setup where she’s got to call in each time she collects a bounty, and it really doesn’t fit my model for the setting to change that. Well, it’s a pretty good bet that aren’t exactly popular and she’s got a laundry list of complaints filed against her that usually go nowhere, and the previous bit established that the crew of the ship didn’t love her.
So that gave me a topic for a conversation, and I just wrote that organically, and as I did, something magical happened. Because if Vasilly is bringing up X’s record, she’s got to defend herself. Why does she get so many complaints? Because she does the jobs no one else wants to do.
As soon as I wrote her accusation of being punished for her success, I could see immediately where the story would go: Vasilly decides to take the biggest headache in his docket and use it to punish someone more deserving, which is how the Varda case winds up in the hands of Leroy Destyles, who decides to use it to his own advantage… by enlisting X, who apparently just can’t catch a break.
It’s one of those magic moments that writers love to talk about where the story just seems to write itself… and it doesn’t, of course. I mean, if only! But the pieces just fell into place so beautifully.
I’ll probably have more to say about this particular tangled web when the next bit goes live.