I'm leaving tomorrow for a few days in San Francisco to visit TNG and catch up with a couple of old friends.
TQC report: I've decided to divide the narrative into sections of ten episodes each. So (retroactively) the first episode, dealing with Shakti (the Gilkesh homeworld) becomes the introduction. The next ten episodes form Part I, the next ten Part II, and Part III will end with the upcoming episode. This system will give me a way to pace myself and hopefully tie up some loose ends while developing new aspects of the plot. After Part III is complete, I'm going to take some time to work out the rest of the plot trajectory and add some depth to the settings. Hopefully Part IV will be richer in detail than the story so far has been. I pretty much know how it's going to end, but I have no idea how long it's going to take to get there (remember, this was a two-page short story) or what's going to happen along the way. Most of the events I am making up on the spot; same for the characters. With the exceptions of Kathris, Amira, and Joli, almost all of the characters in the story have been summoned up extemporaneously. Writing this way is scary but fun.
You've heard me mention my sister Stephanie. The other day I found a picture of her, it must have been taken when she was about 26 or 27. (Twenty-eight was as old as she got.) Looking at the picture now, I see our mother's features, and I'm also struck by how much we look alike - the same forbidding eyebrows, the same lines around the mouth. She's looking inscrutably into the camera, giving little of herself away. Without effort, she has perfected the "goth" look - dark clothing, sallow skin (she was a junky), and that distant stare. But she was too intelligent, too independent, too herself to be captured by any pop-culture cliche. I look at the picture and I see her looking back, as if she's looking at me. As if she's asking me a question.
If only I knew how to answer it. If only I knew what the question was.
Stephanie McLintock (1964-1992)