Last week, I completed the first draft for the rewrite of "The Wall," a short story about the dehumanizing effects of long-distance space travel. It came in at about 2,600 words, just slightly shorter than the 2,800 I'd planned on. I'm not entirely happy with it, though. While science doesn't factor too much into it, there are more scientific details in the manuscript than in any of my other current projects. Even if there's only a little bit of science in there, I'd like it to be at least plausible, and right now, I'm not sure that what I have in there is plausible. A second look at it will determine whether or not I need to make the science plausible, or if I should just take the science out and let the reader fill in the gaps with their own imagination. In other words, is the science really even necessary for the story?
That question promised to be a difficult one, so I decided to let the manuscript rest for a bit, and move onto something else in the meantime. I'm currently working on another short story tentatively titled "The Abyss." It's about a civilian technician who has contracted with the Civilian Corps of Engineers to maintain "accelerator stations" in deep space. These stations are critical to interstellar merchant and military traffic, and when the largest network of the stations spanning a vast, starless sector of space known as the Rift starts malfunctioning, she's called into fix the issue. But there are two problems: a huge civilian passenger ship is transiting the bridge, heading straight for disaster unawares. The other problem is, this main character recently lost her best friend to an extra-vehicular accident, and now she's terrified of working in vacuum and has been ruled mentally unfit for her job. In addition to these main issues, I'm hoping to explore aspects of the human mind in relation to the vast and dangerous universe we seem to think we own and rule. There may even be sub-currents of faith involved.
That's a terrible summary, I know, but I'm not making a sale pitch here. The story itself is still in flux.
No news on the Writer's of the Future Contest yet. I'm expecting it will be at least a month and a half before I hear something. Seems like a long time to wait for news on a short story, but I believe this contest to be worth it. Nothing new to report on The Serenity Solution either, except to say that perhaps after finishing the first draft of "The Abyss" and hopefully polishing up "The Wall" I might start work on the rough draft of the rewrite. I'm hoping to participate in Absolute Write's Flash Fiction Challenge tomorrow at 9pm EST; that usually produces some interesting ideas for future projects, so we'll see what comes of that as well.