September 25, 2004

Baen's Bar and the Big Stick of Author Anti-Correction

I want to invite everyone to visit the news forum hosted by Baen, fondly known as Baen’s Bar.

My section is called Tinker’s Dam. Come in, hang out, read, and post! I post snippets of my work in progress, so you’ll be see stuff years before it sees print.

Two warnings:

1. What I snippet often has TONS of spoilers, not only for books in the stores that you might not have read but also for the novel that I’m currently working on. I try to keep the biggest surprises of the current project under cover, but sometimes it leaks out.

2. I do not NOT NOT want any public posts on what I just threw up is wrong in any way. And I publicly smack down anyone that points out errors in my snippet. Hey, if you intimately know that the DEA carries one type of gun and I’ve used the wrong one, feel free to email me privately. I don’t want copyediting, not in public or private. What I just posted is so fresh off the griddle that its still splattering grease everywhere. What you will buy in the bookstore will be polished, copyedited and then proofread by a small army of people.

But the main reason I ask for no nitpicking is that ALL OF IT MIGHT CHANGE!!

Yes, indeed, what you’re seeing might not make the final book!

Take for instance the most recent smack down. I posted a scene where Tinker is in mad scientist mode on the space ship. I had written the scene the day before. On one wall, she had scribbled equations and when another character asked about them, she had technobabbled about vectors, velocity, and whatnot at him.

And someone jumped up and down and cried “That’s not right” and I hit him.

And here’s why.

When I first conceived of “Tinker rescues the colonist” (see I told you there would be spoilers) I originally planned that the colonist had all landed on the world of the dragons and were scratching out a meager life just outside of Turtle Creek, waiting for rescue. I decided I hated that idea for all sorts of reasons. So I decided that they were all still in space and came up with logical reason that they’re still in space.

After ages of trying to figure out how Tinker GOT into space, I then started to wrestle on how she gets back home. My first plan involved her dragging her oni gate into space, pushing space shuttles through it and then having them land at Pittsburgh International Airport. I decided sucked. I then decided that she painted the “jump” circuit onto the shuttle itself and replaced the engines with hoverbike motors so that they could “hover” down. That sucked. I then decided that she would fling the colonists into the void and they bob up out of Turtle Creek like so many fishing floats. That sucked.

Next she popped the entire ship back and it plowed through Turtle Creek like a run away freight train and was immediately surrounded by annoyed elves. It was at this point that I posted the mad scientist snippet.

Now if I had decided to keep that scenario, I would have emailed it to my friend who has a Ph.D. in astrophysics and teaches at the University of Pittsburgh and ask, “What is wrong with this and how can I fix it.” (Actually I still will, but what she will see is something totally different because I changed it again.)

But I decided that idea sucked too.

Mostly because I wanted now was that they were immediately surrounded by annoyed oni. Oops, things had changed while Tinker was gone. I spent a week playing with that when I decided, no, I hated that too.

Currently – and I am stressing currently here – the ship no longer is going to freight train through Turtle Creek. It now is going to warp in and fuse half into the bedrock of Turtle Creek. Tinker instantly creates the tallest structure of Pittsburgh, the Tengu Aerie.

I think that would be cool.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know all about the structural design of skyscrapers are delicate things and spaceships shouldn’t be able to become impromptu skyscrapers…

But it would be cool.

But I might change my mind on this…

Posted by wen at September 25, 2004 09:40 AM