Where Do They Live?

Just as I had to address “What do they wear?”, I’m now addressing, “Where do they live?”

My Travail and other intelligent species have evolved far beyond my initial glances. I can liken it to glancing at a cat and thinking, “Oh, look, a cat.”

What’s the cat’s sex? Male.

Does the cat have a name? Yes, we’re calling him Meep.

What color is Meep? Um…Meep is a ginger, a blotched tabby ginger with broad swirls on his side, white whiskers, amber eyes, pink nose.

Good. What’s Meep doing when we first see him? He’s sitting on the fence. He’s displaced a half foot of snow from the fence top. No other snow is disturbed so he must have jumped up there from the other side of the fence. Flurries swirl around him but he’s not forlorn looking. He looks relaxed and in command. His attention is fixed on something in the pines, something that I can’t see or hear.

Does he get along with the other cats? Meep doesn’t trust other cats and goes on instant alert, ready to warn, fight or flee, when another cat approaches. He prefers to warn them away. If they attack, he will fight back. Fleeing is the third choice. He considers it the smart choice but knows from practice that fleeing is better as a theory because other cats will chase him. So he stands his ground until the situation is dire.

I’m going through this with the Monad, Sabards, Milennial, Humans and Travail, especially the Travail. Part of that is because I already did a great deal of this with the Humans, but also one main character is a Travail, and their part of the story and activity is told through his point of view. This has forced me to delve into the Travail history, social structure, architecture, behavior, agendas, sex…everything known about Humans on Earth is required to be known about the Travail.

They have a complex structure. Their names end up reminding me of Russian naming conventions out of Tolstoy and Solzhenitsyn. But I didn’t want to just slap some Human expressions — or cats or other animals — onto my other civilizations. I wanted them to be unique.

They’ve responded to the challenge. I argue with myself about changing the naming convention and simplifying them for the reader.No; the book, the characters and the writer in me all resist this. Screw the readers. I think it was James Tiptree, Jr (Alice Sheldon) who said, “Let them catch up, if they can.” Okay.

Another big challenge was how and why did this species develop the technology to advance into space? Why did they want to go into space? That forced a deep dive into their history, as well as the history and development of other races.

It’s all challenging, daunting, and intriguing. It all builds the novel far beyond my first glimpses of it. That’s how it often goes. When you pursue a destination, details, paths, choices and accidents emerge that you never anticipated. Thinking it through enervates me as brain cells cry for mercy but afterwards, I sit in pleased satisfaction with what’s been developed and written. Each plot arc has its own beauty that touches me.

But now, yeah, my butt’s numbness informs me that time has passed. Mocha remains but it’s cold, cold, cold, with a skim of clotted chocolate like small clouds dotting its surface.

It’s been an excellent day of writing like crazy. Time to chug the mocha, take a walk and prepare for the next session. The words are already bubbling up. Were it not for my numb rear-end, I would pursue them.

But the words will keep until tomorrow, and another day of writing like crazy.


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