Stevie Carroll (stevie_carroll) wrote,
Stevie Carroll

What I've Been Working On

One of the comments I got on Once An Assassin at the EasterCon Writers' Workshop, was that some of the passing references weren't SFnal enough. There was also some discussion of whether I'd put in enough description of how run-down Earth had become compared to the more recently colonised planets.

The part I added this week, hopefully addresses both points, although I'm still thinking about how exactly I can add more litter and dirt to the streets without drowning the reader in details.


Lee Ann could have gone to the Showplex any time in the months she had been in Woking, but none of her flatmates liked the presentations that she wanted to see, and she had never been interested in their suggestions. Even Kendra, far too old and cynical -- or so she said -- to believe that one day she would meet a rich client who would take her away from her life on Earth, favoured romantic stories to adventures or historical retellings.

Lee Ann had no understanding of love outside that she still felt for her family -- long since taken from her -- and no inclination to experience others' concepts of what it meant. Of course she cared that her flatmates were safe and healthy -- as safe and healthy as they could hope to be on this planet and within their chosen profession -- just as she'd cared that others she'd worked with rather than for survived the job they had been collectively sent to do. Once the association was over, though, she had always felt free to move on, without any further worry about what was to become of the others.

Even Harry, useful as it had been to find that he was on Earth and remembered that he owed her a favour, was just someone she had known once: someone she had left behind, never expecting to meet again.

Going to the Showplex alone had never appealed. Sitting in the A-V chair, with all her attention focussed on the action appearing to unfold around her, left too many opportunities for an ambush. It had been years, according to the newsfeeds, since any random individual had attacked patrons in an A-V, but then she wasn't any ordinary patron. If someone had recognised her, if they had been following her, it wouldn't have been that difficult for them to evade the low security of the Showplex, and capture or eliminate her undetected.

Lee Ann had never completed an assignment in an A-V, but she had considered the various strategies for doing so. The Captain wasn't an ideal companion, and she had no real proof that he hadn't recognised her for who she really was -- who she had been -- but he would act as a deterrent to anyone else trying to get close to her. If he tried anything -- and Lee Ann doubted that he would -- then she hoped she would have enough awareness of her real surroundings to notice his A-V connections going down before her made his move.

She needn't have worried. The Captain took his place in the seat next to the one Lee Ann had selected: adjacent to the exit with easiest access to the street. Then he strapped on the A-V helmet, and made no untoward moves towards her at any time during the presentation.

The equipment was several upgrades behind any she had encountered on other planets, making the action seem less realistic. Lee Ann had no objections: some of the total immersion A-V were too realistic for her taste, flinging her into a waking nightmare with no means of escape other than to rip off the A-V helmet and leave the presentation room. This felt like a show, one where she let the action carry her along, keeping key scenes in her mind to analyse later, but all the while remembering that it was as much a story as any static novel she might download at the library.

There were points in the action where she found herself gripping the armrests of her seat, and once, embarrassingly, the Captain's arm.

The Captain, to his credit, reached across and moved her hand away, making no further attempt to touch any part of Lee Ann's person.

Then came the grand finale, which was rather a disappointment, though it seemed not to be so to the majority of viewers. All around Lee Ann, patrons were discussing the story with great excitement as they removed their A-V helmets, and gathered up their possessions.

"What did you think?" Leaving the Showplex, the Captain tried to sling an arm round Lee Ann's shoulders.

"It was good." She sidestepped his arm, and kept on walking at his side, not quite touching him.


"I don't think the production team know much about shooting. No one could hit a barn door with a handgun from that distance, never mind kill a man. And how many shots did -- " She stopped herself from running on any further and giving too much away about herself.

"You shoot?" He sounded surprised.


That's a very rough draft, and will probably get edited beyond recognition at a later date. I'm considering whether to add some more details about the movie's plot in a way that will reflect on both main characters' back stories.
Tags: on writing, story extract
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