Support Books Under the Bridge

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Delving into the Guts of "The Launch Rail Ticket"

A couple weeks ago I wrote my first 5-part short story ("The Launch Rail Ticket") for Books Under the Bridge. The idea was for this to be a recurring feature of the site, and I wanted to see how it would work. My goal was to write something easy and fun that could be posted every day, Monday through Friday.

So, how did it work out?

I'm satisfied with the end result, but the writing for that week was a lot more work than I expected. Little went as planned, much like Jeremy's quest to ride the Launch Loop (just not as extreme). For instance, I should know by now that writing shorter is harder. You can't put in all the description you want, you have to keep your funny quips and asides to a minimum, and there's little room for any kind of exposition. Your story also can't be too complex, or it won't fit.

Starting out was easy. I first read about the Launch Loop idea a while back at fredosphere.com, and I immediately thought, "Hey, this Launch Loop idea is pretty neat." It has the same basic function as a Space Elevator, an Orbital Ring, or a Space Fountain: to get things into space without having to rely on big rockets. However, even though I could think of a story with a Space Elevator (Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy), and a story with a Space Fountain (David Brin's Sun Diver), I couldn't think of a story with a Launch Loop. The idea occurred to me: "Wouldn't it be cool to ride it?!"

And that's how the story began. I'll write a little more about the process and the challenges tomorrow.

No comments: