So, this isn’t exactly in the spirit of the Spotlight on Chris, but I’ve been tagged with the Lucky 7 meme, and I’m going to play. I’ve decided not to tag anyone else, though, just because I don’t feel up to figuring which of my friends have already played.
I’m taking the previous draft of “Won’t somebody think of the Children” as my work in progress, since I’ve been slaving away at it for months now in the Holly Lisle revise-your-novel course. Following the instructions, I have paged to page 77, and scrolled to line 7 for my starting point.
This lands me right in a bad section where Tom is talking at the reader, instead of showing anything, and I’ve decided to share seven paragraphs instead of just seven lines or seven sentences.
Let me know what you think, especially if you think it’s bad. (It improves a little bit towards the end, when Brenda shows up.)
One thing that occurs to me is the idea that the ship’s company might need to be more clearly regimented and hierarchical, just to make sure that the right thing happens at the right time, that more things can be happening at one time without compromising safety, and so on – a slightly more military mindset, as it were, though still not violent or warlike. I haven’t mentioned much about that to anybody but Jeremy, though – not sure how Melanie or the other girls would think about it.
What else can I tell you about? Melanie’s doing well with the baby, though she complains a bit about being dizzy sometime, and I was worried about that until Doctor Joe and Odin both told me that it’s perfectly normal. Julie’s doing well now too, she’s off bed rest – well, I guess you knew that she was, because she was at the meeting last week, but that was really just a ‘get out of the room for a few hours before going back to bed’ kind of thing. Now she’s completely back and only sleeping the usual amount in bed, as far as I know, and her baby boy is doing great. She and Melanie have definitely bonded as sisters, as you might have been able to guess from some of my descriptions, and I guess I even think of Paul as part of the extended family now. Other people have commented on how much time the two young women have been spending together, and how close friends they suddenly seem to be, but as far as I know Melanie only told one new person about the true relationship since giving Julie and Paul the whole story – and that’s Laurie, one of her old and close friends. I think that was because Laurie was feeling jealous about somebody new squeezing her out, so Melanie felt obliged to explain how it wasn’t really just about meeting a new girlfriend.
Oh – Brenda came to Jeremy and I when we were working on some microprocessor controllers in the kitchen yesterday, and sort of demanded to know what was going on, why we hadn’t come to her if we were making a play in the game after all – she’d been very good about leaving Melanie and I alone while we’d been taking time off, but hadn’t we picked her as campaign manager, after all? Wasn’t it at least common courtesy to let her know if we wouldn’t need her help any more? And it went on and on like that.
For a long time, I wasn’t really sure how to reply. It wasn’t really a public situation, but I couldn’t tell if somebody else could overhear, especially out in the cafeteria. It wasn’t good letting Brenda ramble on like that and give other people notions about what we really might be up to, but telling her what actually was going on while there was any possibility that someone else could hear was much worse. Finally I looked over at Jeremy, trying to make my meaning clear, and he nodded slightly. “Come with me,” I whispered to Brenda.
Of course, she was still in mid-rant, and it took a second try before she realized that I was even trying to say something. “What the hell was that? Speak up, boy.”
I didn’t even speak the words aloud on the third time, but I shaped them with my lips clearly enough that Brenda got the meaning. “Okay, okay.” She didn’t say anything else, possibly getting the idea that we were worried about what other people might hear. Silently I led the way out of the kitchen, leaving Jeremy to continue working on the job, and up one deck on the ladder, to head down the corridor to our workshop. This space has been pretty well soundproofed, to avoid inconveniencing others if we have to bang on things loud, and somebody back before Brenda’s time installed a bypass switch that instantly cuts off all Odin’s monitors, just for an added sense of privacy. (He must know, and that must be against regulations, but nobody’s ever made an issue of that little rewiring job.) Once that switch was engaged and the door closed, Brenda turned to me. “Okay, we’re alone, so spill. What’s the deal?”
I sighed softly. “This – well, this isn’t entirely about the game, though it’s similar, and we weren’t really sure if you’d be interested in backing what we’re planning. I’ll tell you what the deal is now, if you want – but you’ll have to promise me that no matter what, you’ll keep it secret from everyone until after the meeting.”
Thanks for tagging me, Lorraine!