Previously on From Scratch, I changed my mind a million times, indicated I’d soon be writing about this story, and had every intention of submitting it to that short story window I found….yeah, about that.
Everything went a little bit awry with my plans to submit my sci-fi story, but in the best way possible. You see, I set out to get my feet wet with writing short fiction again after taking a too-long hiatus thanks to focusing on a novel I wasn’t enjoying writing, and thus actually not accomplishing much of anything at all.
So the deadline? Missed it. The word count? Blew out. The fantasy story I was also planning to write? Never got around to it.
None of this is bad though!
Instead of an 8000 word short story that was water-themed, I instead wound up with a 20,000 word sci-fi novella that I think is legitimately the best thing I’ve ever written – certainly I like it more than I’ve liked anything else I’ve done, and it hasn’t taken my usual ten edits to get it to the stage where I’m not embarrassed by it either. Hell, I wrote it from start to finish pretty much non-stop and knew exactly where I was going with it pretty much the whole time, which never happens with me.
What started out as a simple heist story is instead a good chunk of meaty story, a military space opera influenced by Star Wars and Firefly and all the other usual suspects, but with a focus on what I hope are interesting characters and a unique scenario that elevates it into something different while also walking the line between action, humour, tension, and cool space ships shooting at each other.
So yes, unfortunately I missed the short story submissions window I was aiming for. Instead, I’ve now got my sights set on the TOR novella window opening in early May. I think I’ve basically got zero chance of success, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth having a crack.
Wish me luck!
Finally, to show the difference a bit of time makes, here’s the intro to the story – now called Calayasii – from the latest edit. You’ll notice that it is fairly similar tonally, but there have been quite a few little changes here or there compared to the earlier draft:
The starfighters of Corsair squadron skimmed an ocean the colour of smoked glass, leaving chaos in their wake.
‘Incoming fighters: state your business.’ The query from Holy City Flight Control stabbed into Ayla’s mind. Most chip communications were not so intrusive, but the Cobies had a particularly blunt way of making themselves known.
‘This is Aquafex Hydronatus Lurr of flight group Zero-Two-Delta here for refuel and resupply.’ Ayla pulsed back, every word untrue.
‘Acknowledged, Aquafex. Welcome to the Holy World,’ Control buzzed back, a giant mosquito somewhere in her frontal lobe. Illusory lights floated into existence before her eyes, pink orbs illuminating a path toward the Holy City. ‘Hangar alpha-four, landing pad eighteen in City West. Deviate from the designated flight path and be destroyed. All praise to the Cobalt Waters.’
‘We will comply, Control.’ Another lie. ‘We have absolutely no intention of causing any trouble. Praise the Cobalt Waters of Holy Ter.’
Now that was some real crap, even down to the murky water they skimmed across most definitely not being any shade of blue Ayla had ever seen. Lies within lies within lies.
Captain Ayla Neshitani, leader of Corsair Squadron – former soldier, pretend space pirate, and extra-pretend Aquafex of the fanatical Cobalt Imperium – sighed and kept her focus on ensuring her fighter didn’t plough into the water below.
It’d be far too apropos to drown in the murk of this bullshit mission.