Wednesday, August 5, 2020

WIP Wednesday - Anatomy of a Scene Outline for Clans of Europa: Tina

Most know I'm not a pantser--someone who writes 'by the seat of her pants'. I'm a dedicated plotter. I outline. Vigorously. In fact, it's been argued my outlines are more on the order of first drafts. Which perhaps they are. They are quite detailed.

What follows is a typical outline of a scene. This is an early one in Tina, coming out late this year.

Stage Setup: spyship

               Time/place: night at convent/bridge

               Temp/season: comfortably cool for Kalquorians/na

               Lighting: good overall lighting, excellent task lighting, colored indicators on control panels

               Sounds: hum of engines, small beeps and buzzes, low conversation, light footsteps

               Smells: Kalquorian musk, an ozone-ish electric scent

               Props: Control podiums with computers, Tukui mans navigation, holo-vid screen

               Symbols/images: Tranis’s slight disapproval of Tukui—due to his impetuous nature

Characters: Tukui, Simdow, Tranis, others on bridge

Dialogue and action:

               (Tukui tries to look busier than he is, though with the spyship in orbit, there isn’t presently much for him to do, all the action is on the small moon below, yet with the captain on the holo-vid speaking to the first officer, he doesn’t want to attract Tranis’s attention for the wrong reasons, he’s done more than his share of that in his short career on the spyship, he listens closely however, ever since hearing there were women on the moon, every man on the ship has been eager for information, he wishes it was he who had gone to the colony instead of Osopa, his Nobek had better be ready with details about the place, if his taciturn clanmate dares to offer no more than generalizations he’ll—; Tukui’s head snaps up, did the captain just say the full clans on board would get their choice of Matara? Tranis notes the sudden interest from his navigator and visibly winces) T- Of course, if any clan doesn’t feel they can shoulder the responsibility—the heavy responsibility of caring for a Matara—they need not claim one. (Tukui’s mind is racing despite it being obvious Tranis was speaking for his benefit, a Matara? For his clan with only the first hints of growing rank? Of course he can handle such, all it takes is doting on her and telling her how wonderful she is, as his fathers have always treated his mother, a female lifemate! He wonders if Osopa has seen anyone likely and again chafes that he’s not down there to evaluate them for himself) T- Simdow, make sure when you pass the news along that you tell prospective clans to consider this opportunity with the greatest gravity. To consider all the changes having a lifebringer will make to every facet of their existence. (Tranis’s gaze again flicks to Tukui as Simdow acknowledges, meanwhile Tukui sends a message on the sly to Osopa to contact him asap)

Exit line: I realize you have a lot going on, but com as soon as possible, my Nobek.

POV: Tukui

Conflict: Tranis obviously doesn’t think Tukui is ready for a Matara

+/-: Tukui’s clan to get a Matara/he can’t pick one out yet

Climax: Tukui over the moon to discover he can claim a Matara, not considering all it entails

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

WIP Wednesday - Character Sketch of Imdiko Yorso

Here we are at the final member of Clan Tukui. Imdiko Yorso has not appeared at all in the previous Europa-set books, so I had to make him from scratch. Looks-wise, he's loosely based on Tom York, who played Sam on the British television series, Poldark. Google him. He's a real cutie.

Height/Weight:     6’6”/245 pounds 

Sex:                      Male

Hair:                     Black, shoulder length, photogenically mussed

Dress:                  black formsuit with green trim

Body:                   very toned and muscular, keeps himself in shape to show off

Face:                    big bright-eyes, adorable, sweet, earnest expression—especially when he’s teasing someone

Mouth:                usually smiling, full lips

Imperfections:  a bit naïve, sometimes too flirty out of habit, his manner tends to hide how intelligent he is

Age:                      25

Birthplace:          Kalquor

Home:                 Spyship, tiny quarters shared with his clanmates, kept neat because they have little room, tiny paintings on the wall, primitive weapons on wall, mirror (he checks his appearance often out of habit because he loved to date before being clanned).

Habits:                 Reading and researching—it’s his hobby as well as his profession

Job:                       Cultural liaison, not military

Name of Character:   Imdiko Yorso


Year 0: Born to governess Matara Dulsen (she’s paid by her much richer sister—Dulsen clanned for love, not status), historian Dramok Roslad, training camp instructor Nobek Enra, historian Imdiko Adnun. Only child, raised in quiet and contemplative surroundings, spends a lot of time with cousins whom his mother teaches.

Year 3: So beautiful that vid-scouts convince the parent clan to put him in vid-dramas; coincidentally, he plays the son of Osopa’s father Mokta in one…but the boys don’t meet.

Year 5: Classified an Imdiko. Same year, his parents end his vid career because they don’t like the self-centered attitudes they see and the unreality of the life at his age. Though he doesn’t miss the demands, Yorso does miss being fussed over.

Year 12: After attending one of his historian fathers’ lectures about Kalquor’s past diplomatic works, Yorso finds himself fascinated by alien cultures. He begins studying the subject on his own.

Year 14: After his mother notes the encyclopedic knowledge Yorso has gained about Joshadans, Tragooms, and other cultures, she consults with leading educators she knows. His schooling takes a turn as he’s granted a scholarship to study his interest at college-level while continuing his basic education.

Year 17: Earth is discovered. Yorso excitedly follows the latest information on this species that looks so similar to his own, but is socially quite different.

Year 18: Completes basic school, continues studies in alien cultures. Has first sexual encounter with a Dramok, then starts dating around when he realizes how popular his good looks make him. Begs his parents not to arrange any clanships—he tells them he wants to concentrate on studies and become a diplomatic aide, which is partially true, but he really wants to slut around. They agree to let him pick his own clan.

Year 20: Finishes his studies and quickly lands an assignment to the Kalquorian minister to Plasius. Has a very good time on his few trips to that planet.

Year 22: Vies to work with ambassador to Earth, but doesn’t land the position. He takes a new job with ambassador to Adraf instead.

Year 23: With hostilities growing with Earth, Yorso recruited by Kalquor’s fleet after they note his interest in the alien culture. He’s not a member of the fleet, but a cultural advisor on Tranis’s spyship. He enjoys his work though he never gets to interact with the Earthers they’re spying on—advising Tranis and Lidon as they investigate the aliens and their movements. Has many relationships, but not in any hurry to clan.

Year 24: War with Earth breaks out. Most of the experienced crew is sent to destroyers, more as casualties call upon good fighting crew. Large turnover in crew brings on board many new young men, including new navigator Dramok Tukui and new weapons subcommander Osopa. With his pick of yummy Dramoks and Nobeks, Yorso is having a grand time despite the danger of their missions. Despite all efforts to remain fancy-free, Yorso is drawn to Tukui and Osopa bit by bit.

As with Tukui and Osopa, Yorso's timeline is cut short due to potential spoilers.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

WIP Wednesday: Character Sketch of Nobek Osopa

This was my inspiration board for Tina. The fellows from left to right would be Tukui, Yorso, and Osopa.

Osopa, the Nobek hero of Tina, is already an acquaintance. We encountered him in both Alien Conquest and Sister Katherine as the Weapons Subcommander, second to Nobek Lidon. He’s young but already a well-seasoned fleet officer. He’s the opposite of brash Tukui in many ways, but too much of a good thing can have its own disadvantages.

Height/Weight:     6’8”/260 pounds 

Sex:                      Male

Hair:                     Black, shoulder length, wavy

Dress:                  black formsuit with red trim, boots, gold and silver bar denotes his rank as subcommander

Body:                   strong, well-muscled, moves with a dancer’s grace

Face:                    hooded ‘bedroom’ eyes, he looks sleepy unless he’s on alert, broad features

Mouth:                rarely smiles or frowns, nice when he does smile

Imperfections:  all business when he’s on duty even around clanmates, when he claims Tina he’ll do so very matter-of-factly though he cringes inside at her reaction—can seem cold though he doesn’t mean to; this habit of hiding behind an emotionless façade puts him at odds with his unclanned, infertile sister who cares for their widowed mother

Age:                      29

Birthplace:          Kalquor

Home:                 Spyship, tiny quarters shared with his clanmates, kept neat because they have little room, tiny paintings on the wall, primitive weapons on wall.

Habits:                 Building primitive-style weapons from scratch is his hobby

Job:                      Weapons subcommander

Name of Character:   Nobek Osopa


Year 0: Born to heiress Matara Balnea, vid star Dramok Mokter, Mokter’s bodyguard Nobek Snem, Mokter’s personal assistant Imdiko Jumo. Older sibling, infertile Matara Teroz.

Year 4: Family lives in treehouse; Osopa manages to disable safety barrier and climbs out on limb, no fear whatsoever, pitches a fit when his Nobek father pulls him in, they already know he’s a Nobek and with their social standing and wealth, they get him in the best training camp money can buy.

Year 5: Osopa shows tremendous grace under pressure, he excels despite his young age, is promoted with older trainees, which affects him socially. He’s left mostly to himself, except when jealous older boys ‘put him in his place’.

Year 8: He understands there is some fuss over his sister Teroz, she’s sad and parents seem to be concerned but embarrassed all at once. She’s in therapy for coming up infertile.

Year 12: Osopa continues to advance beyond his years, has few friends and his family is focused on his sister still; she’s coddled but kept in the background; as a Nobek, Osopa is expected to mind himself for the most part; he keeps his own counsel.

Year 15: Fathers killed in shuttle crash, mother left brain damaged, older sister feels it’s on her to take care of mother, she does so because she loves her, but is quick to play the ‘poor me’ card whenever Osopa sees her.

Year 16: Osopa finishes basic training camp, he’s nominated for a prestigious Nobek-centered fleet officers’ school.

Year 19: Completes officers’ school, since he’s still on the young side, he alternates between assisting other trainees and practical service on vessels.

Year 21: Meets Tukui during fleet battle camps, at first the devil-may-care Dramok gets on Osopa’s nerves, but Tukui brings Osopa out of his shell and shows him some fun, Osopa likes himself around Tukui, they make an impression on each other. They begin to meet when able until Osopa (who is older) ships out for his first ‘permanent’ assignment. 

Year 23: Osopa ships out on first assignment. He maintains contact with Tukui for a little while, though they date others. Bit by bit, they lose touch, especially after Osopa lands a plum assignment on a troop carrier.

Year 26: Tukui upgrades to the troop carrier vessel and meets with Osopa again. Though Tukui is still impulsive and Osopa as introverted as ever, they are delighted to discover there’s more than a mere spark between them. They clan. 

Year 28: War with Earth breaks out. Tukui’s older brothers, both serving on spyships, are killed. Tukui and Osopa ask for an assignment on a spyship to honor them. Tukui is made navigator on Tranis’s vessel, while Osopa scores the weapons subcommander gig. There is a cultural liaison Imdiko on board who at first gives them the cold shoulder (he has his pick of yummy Dramoks and Nobeks and is in no hurry to get tied down).

The rest of the timeline is excluded to avoid giving out potential spoilers.