23 Jan 2015

Beaver Flight - What Could Have Been

Despite the abrupt ending last week, I did have ideas of where Beaver Flight should go.  The first twelve chapters focused on Darkside One, the secret lunar base.  The people of Earth were kept in the dark about the invaders with only certain people within the governments involved knowing the full details.  Typically, this would be the head of government, the minister of defense, head of the military, possibly the minister of foreign affairs, and the least number of people needed to get the mission off the ground.  The more people involved, the more likely there's a leak.  That idea would lead to a new arc, one where a news outlet breaks the story that there's a secret mission on the moon.  Sure, conspiracy theorists are crackpots for the most part, but when a reputable source accidentally reveals the mission?  Damn straight a media outlet would latch on to it like a leach to a blood source.

The arc, and I was thinking in terms of arcs during the writing, would start with a news broadcast that would be seen at Darkside One.  Worried families would get involved, making Tori's disappearance a bigger problem.  Other nations would want to get involved, but not all would be interested in maintaining the all-woman aspect of the joint force.  Problem is, the invaders want Earth men.  While some of the women on Darkside One would celebrate having men around, so would the aliens.  Increased attacks and more MIAs abound.

The original nations are still trying to get more women up.  Australia's Kangaroo Flight would be joined by Koala Flight, informally known as the Drop Bears.  The American Eagle Flight would get a sister team, turning the group into Eagle Squadron.  Eventually, the Beavers would get more their own countrywomen on the moon.  Going by the backs of Canadian coins, the choices for the new flight's name are Maple Leaves (from the penny), Bluenosers (dime), Moose (quarter), Loons (dollar coin, aka the loonie), and the Polar Bears (two-dollar coin).  The nickel doesn't come into play; there's a beaver on the back*.  Maple Leaves run into the problem of being associated with the hockey team, who may not have won a Stanley Cup even by 2128.  The other problem with the penny is that the coin is no longer being minted.  The obverse of the coin may become a trivia question on a game show in 2128.  Loons may fit Tori; other women might object.  Polar Bear could get confused with the Russian Bear Flight.  Moose may also create objections, leaving Bluenose Flight as the best possible name.  Yay?

Tori won't be idle.  She has new people to annoy.  Through Tori, the aliens would be developed further, showing why they're abducting Earth men and trying to learn from their latest captive.  The main lesson they learn will be to toss her back.  However, Tori may be the best way to settle the hostilities.  She's learning about the invaders and what they want, beyond getting her to shush.  Even if I remained with the "Venus needs men!" approach, there would be volunteers to go with the aliens to help repopulate their world.  Tori is also the stick in any negotiations; give the Terran diplomats a hard time and she gets assigned to go with the aliens.  Dire threat, indeed.

I never really had an idea of how the story would end.  At some point, as a novel, it has to.  But, as I've pointed out many times, /Beaver Flight/ never fit the novel format.  The story would've worked better as a serial.  The first arc would be the Beavers' arrival on the moon, followed by an arc that led to Tori's disappearance, followed by the news leak arc, and so on.  As a webcomic, the pacing would change, allowing for splash pages as mecha launched.  As a serial along the lines of Subject 13, I could set up the cliffhangers better and not worry about making sure the plot didn't bounce around erratically.  Beaver Flight gave me the ability to see when an idea wouldn't fit in the form I wanted, and the ability to realize when the story just isn't working.

Thanks go to the NaNo Ottawa folks and, especially, the Municpal Liaisons for help us cats stay on track.  Another shout-out goes to the Arrogant Worms for the song that served as the inspiration and the unofficial theme for Beaver Flight, "We Are the Beaver".  Thanks also go to Greg for an early look at the story.  Go read his works, too - he's experimenting with a "Choose the Plot Twist" style of writing that deserves a look.  And thanks to everyone who has been reading along.

Next week, Unruly debuts.

* Or, to quote the song, "the nickel we complete".

1 comment:

  1. I would not have called the media arc - in fact, pulling in anything else from Earth (other than another team, or maybe some intel) would have been a surprise. Perhaps because it feels like (as in Stargate) one nation would just stand up and say "We're in charge now!", and there wasn't much tension along international lines to this point. (Well, maybe between Darcy and Yulya, but that was personal.)

    I'm not surprised about not having an ending, lord knows I rarely do when I start something. I am surprised you never got past the WHY of the "needing men", beyond reproduction. Given all the sexual talk, that was the obvious choice. Part of me wondered if the invaders needed slave labour, and men were more easily hypnotized, or just built better for it. Or maybe their race simply didn't have them, and they took them to try and better understand their enemy.

    I'd even go so far as to say the reason this failed as a novel (but not as a story!) is because the aliens were merely a catalyst for you - they had no tactics, no endgame, and no real characterization, yet that was where the characters were focussing. If you don't have those answers, don't look there, look at the people brought together to deal with them. Shift the focus to the boardrooms and the science labs, not to the battles and the mechs. (You can't have your cake and eat it too!) Tori needs to be acting under secret orders to get intel at any cost, and after she's lost, Dom needs to be hooked up with Eagle, who it turns out have been conspiring against Yulya all along. Meanwhile, Renee is told to betray Hue, in order to get Tori back. At this point, we don't care why it's Chapter 10 and we still haven't seen an alien.

    Anyway, just my thoughts, sorry they're clocking in a bit late. It might be interesting to revive the story in another form some time. Thanks for the shoutout too!