Stuff I’m finding out about Seal Tales and my own writing:
Manuscripts 4-6 (mostly aborted) can’t compare to Manuscript 3 (completely outlined, with some scenes filled in) in terms of ideas and completeness.
Yet the first scene of Manuscript 6 is miles ahead of what I have for Manuscript 3. Not surprising in the least.
This means further revisions of the existing scenes of Manuscript 3 ought to net some neat results. Or perhaps not. It’s hard to tell for me, so far.
I’m one of those people who need to revise before I can come up with something acceptable in the long run. Even my little assignments for Cat Rambo’s F&SF Workshop were revised 3-4 times each.
With Manuscript 3 back in play, I have a complete history so that I can proceed to write the first “real” story in Seal Tales.
The only way to find out this stuff is to write, write, write.
The only way to get better is to write, write, write.
The first three paragraphs of the thus-far-unnamed story, which I came up with while in Cat Rambo’s F&SF Workshop:
In morning coat, silken waistcoat and cravat, pressed trousers creased so sharply that they might cut an innocent passer-by, shoes gleaming in the sun, Psann kneels on a picnic blanket and sets out a small repast of cold fish sandwiches (cooked for her, raw for him), mandarins from warmer climes, berries in cream for dessert. More than his immaculate clothing, an onlooker would notice his gold mechanical fingers, flitting with only slight hesitation as he unwraps parchment and pours a rich red tea from a Montaine De Leur teapot on a spirit burner. The gentle breeze of an unusually warm Tunngavik spring brushes his short, black hair.
This itinerary of painstaking tasks does not escape Kinaktak’s notice, and she holds back a sigh as she puts away her padd. Frustration settles in as she watches, with an owl’s eye, the Dragonfly’s digits nearly spill tea across the blanket, but Psann is nimble enough to prevent the accident. It’s just like him, she thinks, to try the limits of every model to their breaking point. What else did he plan to defy his injuries from Anuri’s deity-wounding knife, when the original fingers had been separated from their owner? Would—no, _when_ would—the beach sand lock up the Dragonfly’s admittedly brittle articulation? She must improve the hardiness of its next make.
As her mind begins to work through the necessary mechanics, Psann arises and makes his way to her rock. He offers a hand. “My lady,” he says, “come and share with me this simple yet elegant luncheon, ere the sun hide her face behind yon clouds, or your mind suddenly retreat back into an ague of constant research. As your friend, I implore you—no, I beg of you: please join this humble seal for lunch.” As always, he says this claptrap with a serious look on his face, but the hint of a smile in his eyes.
This isn’t the final form of these paragraphs; they’ll need some rewriting before I feel like putting them up as excerpts even on my Clarion profile page.
As for world-building, I’ve decided to go back to the idea of Tunngavik as a mostly Inuit city in the future, rather than a part of Iqualuit. I’m sure that’ll flip or change as I research more and more about South Baffin culture.
Part of my inspiration for Tunngavik (which means “foundation”) is Chabon’s The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, which proposes an alternate history where Yiddish culture is preserved in their own city.