Sunday, July 15, 2012

Total Chaos: A Writer's View --- Part Three

In addition to creating and fleshing out the mercenary units, each author was also given a list of tracks to write intros and aftermaths for each one, as if the unit was part of the battle. Each author received about thirty or so tracks, with each intro a maximum of 150 words and the aftermath no more than 250 words.

We were given large latitude in what form we could use, as long as the intros were from the POV of a character in the battle. One of the Mercenary authors used multiple viewpoints in both introductions and aftermaths, while the other used the character POV for the intros and a summery of what happened from a third-person POV. All were valid ways of doing these small sections, and I think it helps give a more organic feel to the entries.

I took the tack of using entries from Gannon's journal for half the entries, and reports from a Wolfnet spy inside the Cannons. Half the introductions were from Gannon's journal, while the other half were excerpts from the reports from the Wolfnet spy, codenamed Ramrod. For the other half, I decided to use Ramrod's report excerpts as the intros and Gannon's journal entries for the aftermaths. I did it so whichever one was the aftermath became the POV for the next introduction. Simple, right?

Not really. Each intro and aftermath had a MAXIMUM word count of 150 to 250 words. For the intro, we have to give the track come context to the POV, a brief idea about what's happened to the unit at that moment in time, and establish something about the POV's character. The Aftermath, while a hundred words more, has to sum up the results of the track, give the reader some idea what happened and feed a little more about the POV character. There's only a few words you can devote to character development, so I had to spread out the character interaction over those intros and aftermaths

For Gannon, I made his entries direct fact, no truth-shading or excuses. When the Cannons fail a mission, he says so. When he expresses his opinion about someone, he doesn't pull punches. Gannon is a direct person, even in his personal journal.

Ramrod, on the other hand, is a Wolfnet agent, assigned to infiltrate the Cannons and find out if the Cannons were going to accept an offer from employment from Colonel Wayne Waco, only to find themselves stuck with the Cannons after the attack on Outreach. They spend fourteen years keeping Wolfnet up to date on the Cannons activities and sending data on the planet's situations and nuggets of intel for Wolfnet.

We didn't do all the tracks -- a number of tracks were created after we'd been assigned our tracks, so others wrote those intros and aftermaths. So, over these tracks, the reader catches a glimpse of these units personalities and how they survived fourteen years of intense warfare.

Next up -- writing textbook fiction....


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