Thursday, March 05, 2009

New Beginning 612

Chapter 4

Tighe floated motionless in the dark water of the Milwaukee Deep and let the current flow gently through his gills. The towers of Main Man 7 reminded him of the Eiffel Tower lit up at New Years; three city blocks of steel and iron structures thriving in the ocean depths. LEDs blinked on motorized pickers as they moved over the ocean floor retrieving ancient coins and raw metal nodules. The crawlers dropped their finds into bins on mechanized crawlers that moved to individual loading docks to disgorge their booty onto carriers capable of climbing one of the dozen cables that stretched the surface of the Ocean, 8500 meters above. Tighe felt a tingle as his exoskeleton glimmered in shades of blue-green.

Piet stood outside the communications shack, his body phosphorescing green and blue. Twenty meters east of him, Orry and Dane's bodies glowed in response. He scanned the ocean and found Tighe floating a hundred meters away. He waved for him to return.

"You like that view, don'tchta?" Piet vocalized over the intercom. Tighe's body snapped forward, his webbed hands and flippered feet sped him towards the platform.

Colin Bruck strode to the edge of the platform to help the dive team back aboard. His wide-eyed gaze drifted from Tighe's webbed limbs to the others' glowing skin. Christ, they'd been down less than an hour. "I guess it's true," he said. "We are pumping too much toxic crap into the bay."

Opening: Dave.....Continuation: Anon.


Evil Editor said...

I would expect climbing to be done on cables that hang from the surface to the depths, not on cables that stretch the surface of the ocean.

I don't see them calling the communication device between ship and diver an intercom.

Are the pickers the same as the crawlers? Are the crawlers that aren't described as mechanized mechanized? If so, there must be a better way to distinguish between the two kinds than to call one kind mechanized.

There've gotta be better places to look for ancient coins than 8500 meters under the ocean.

V. Dunn said...

I found the POV shift from Tighe in the first paragraph to Piet in the second a somewhat jarring.

Given that we've been dropped into an aquatic Milwaukee complete with industrial mermen, it might be best to stay in one POV - at least until we're comfortable here.

Evil Editor said...

Actually, we're not in Milwaukee.

V. Dunn said...

Whoops! I had no idea there was an oceanic Milwaukee, too. I learned something new today!

Um... "The towers of Main Man 7 reminded him of the Eiffel Tower lit up at New Years; three city blocks of steel and iron structures thriving in the ocean depths."

Is it just me, or does that make it sound like Paris is submerged? I suspect it's not, but you toss in mermen and Milwaukee (of any sort) and I go to a totally Waterworld kind of place.

Dave F. said...

I'm reading these now. When I get my chores done, I'll talk about these comments.


This really is Chapter 4 and it doesn't seem right to me. I've got a plot and four chapters (10,000 words) and I'm now revising and trying to figure out how the rest of the story falls together.

The plot: What if the meteor Apophis had a hidden shadow, a huge ball of ice that will hit the earth after the close approach of Apophis. It will melt in the atmosphere and raise sea level so high that the land will disappear. Only a few know about the hidden asteroid (ice ball) and they are making plans for the new world.

Chapter One showed up on EE's blog on March 8, 2007 as New Beginning 237. I changed the names big time, changed the location to earth, cut it by half and added back plot points that hint at chapter four's climax. The oldest chapter one opening is here:

Part of Chapter two showed up on EE's blog as part of a writing exercise on Dec 24, 2007. The scene's been completely revised three times -- once for location and action (In the Atlantic Ocean near Puerto Rico). Second when I revised a character (He's unwilling to continue and steps out. He'll return later in the story with an armed force trying to thwart the hero.) The second revision came about because I changed a main character's temperament. I made Tighe the driving force behind the hero of the story Piet. Most heroes need someone to kick them in the ass to become heroes. It's kind of like Samwise Gamgee in Lord Of The Rings, sort of. And I made Tighe quirky. He makes comparative judgments to hide his knowledge of what is to come i.e. "might be, might not" or " Decisions, indecisions, maybe yes and mostly no." He chooses to make Piet into the leader and makes Piet grow up.

Then nothing happened on this idea for a year. I mean nothing. Not that I didn't write. I left this for a year. When I came back to it, I threw out 3000 words of needless explanation. I was over-explaining the technical details and the people involved.

I have an excerpt of Chapter one that barely survived revision on this page of my blog It's changed because the one character disappeared. I really do cut by half. In case you ever wondered. I really do cut ruthlessly when the idea doesn't lead anywhere. I threw out six useless cardboard characters and changed the one to a villain. In first drafts, I tend to write lots of characters and it gets too tedious to flesh them all out. So in subsequent revisions, I delete characters.

When I get my chores done, I'll talk about these comments.

Dave F. said...

Point well take about cables hanging from the surface. I'll fix it.

"Intercom," I'll have to think about how to rename that. Intercom isn't a good choice.

Pickers and crawlers will become one device just to simplify the description. That's one thing I wasn't seeing in my own writing. It makes that first paragraph long and now I see how to simplify it.

8500 meters -- better places, yes but then, there would be no story. Everybody involved in this endeavor has hidden motives. Piet is a spoiled brat who has to grow up. Tighe and Dane are part of a government conspiracy planning for the meteor and its aftermath. Piet's father, the CEO of the the company responsible for this facility is just greedy and will do anything for riches. He's been experimenting on his son (Piet) to make this possible. Orry's there because he's a secret military ops subplot to do whatever secret military men do, and a few pirates thrown into the mix. All sorts of creepy sublplots involved here.

V Dunn:
That POV switch is one of the reasons I sent this to EE. It was causing me grief. I've been rearranging the sentences trying make it less jarring. And I invented that "glow" to replace the ringing of a cellphone. I thought the glow made an interesting unintended effect of the modifications that when one glowed, they all did. It hints at more unintended consequences.

And I take your point about this description being misleading.
The towers of Main Man 7 reminded him of the Eiffel Tower lit up at New Years;
sounds so nice but at least one element has to go - Eiffel or New Years. They clash.

Waterworld isn't bad as an idea except for the fact that the movie was a dismal failure and an object of derision. (and it wasn't supposed to be.)

Milwaukee Deep.
The CEO opens up chapter one with the proposition "How would you like to dive to the bottom of the Milwaukee Deep?" So, I don't think that the reader will confuse the city and the ocean. This is chapter four so it's not a surprise.

V. Dunn said...

Gotcha! As a chapter four beginning this works much better for me.

Even the POV change is less bothersome now that I know I'm already familiar with these two characters.

POV is a matter of taste and (apparently) much debate. I read a short story in the NYT Magazine that swung wildly from one POV to another - even within the same paragraph! So, I have to assume that it's an acceptable stylistic choice for many people.

However, personally, I prefer staying within a single POV as much as possible - marking off necessary changes with a centered asterix, or a double break, or some other visual cue. YMMV.

So the Eiffel tower really IS submerged? Cool.

What about rearranging the sentence something like this...

"The towers of Main Man 7 reminded him of the New Years in Paris; brightly lit city blocks of steel and iron structures thriving in the ocean depths."

Something like that would also solve the problem of comparing multiple buildings (the towers of Main Man 7)to just one (the Eiffel tower).

I like the sound of this story!

Wes said...

"Tighe felt a tingle as his exoskeleton....." was a nice touch.

chelsea said...

Hi Dave,

Since this is chapter four, I get the feeling the reader has already been given some description of the men's bodies. (I could be wrong.) As it is, we get:

"let the current flow gently through his gills"

"his exoskeleton glimmered in shades of blue-green"

"his body phosphorescing green and blue" and

"his webbed hands and flippered feet"

Granted, some of this is explaining the connection between them (when one glows, they all glow), and your descriptions are very eloquent, but by the time I get to "webbed hands and flippered feet", I feel slightly force fed with the physical descriptions. Maybe just because there are quite a few of them in a short space. But this may just be me.

I really like this piece, and your premise. It sounds like something I would enjoy reading.

Dave F. said...

The only way I will know for sure about there being too much description is to highlight the descriptive text in the four chapters. I'll do that sometime this weekend. Chances are, it might be too much. Thanks

chelsea said...

Ooh nice tactic. I may steal that. :)

Georgina said...

I feel many of the issues here are occurring because the story isn't seated in a firm pov. In four paragraphs we go through four povs (Tighe, Piet, Tighe again, Colin). As the author, you know in your head what's happening, but because the reader is being flipped around so much what comes across to us is disjointed. I think you'd benefit by choosing a pov character for this section and writing the entire thing from his perspective. Tighe seems like a good choice.

As for the second paragraph, maybe something like this--

Tighe turned, seeing Piet outside the communications shack. His body was also phosphoring green and blue, as were Orry and Dane, twenty metres east. Piet handsignaled for him to return.

Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuation:

"Just don'tchta say 'phosphorescing penises' too loud round these parts," Piet whispered, covering the intercom. "Unless you want your exoskeleton to really tingle."

--Chris Eldin

Jan said...

I liked the exoskeleton!

It's hard reading without having questions about the set-up, which may not be quite fair. The thing I wondered most was how far in the future is this? Coins from Spanish galleons (the only source I can think of for this part of the world) aren't really ancient yet (for me).

About the intercom, why not borrow a term from submarines - VLF radio, ELF radio, sonar telephone.

I think Sam Gamgee *is* the hero!

Dave F. said...

good suggestion. I'll work on a single POV.

this is 10 years in the future. "Ancient" is probably the wrong word for gold coins from Spanish Galleons.

phosphorescing penises is just so naughty. I might be able to get one of the characters to actually say it in a fit of anger.

Chris Eldin said...

Hi Dave, This isn't my genre, so I don't know how to comment. I thought there was some nice writing in there (Loved the exoskeleton bit!), but the pace felt too slow for me. That's not helpful, and I'm an impatient reader anyway, but perhaps it was just a bit too much description?

Book sounds intriguing though! Good luck with it!!