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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Interesing things to do on a spaceship?

   
Author Topic: Interesing things to do on a spaceship?
Lyrajean
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Please help me with a little bit o' writer's block. I'm stuck writing one of the connecting bits in my SF WIP novel.

My 2 main characters have escaped a remote colony world by hitching a ride with a bunch of pirates (or smugglers) who make their living by illegally importing agricultural products, medical products etc... to remote colonies where the local populace feels deprived at inflated prices.

What interesting incidental things about the trip and or spaceship could I throw in here to break up the conversations where Ryan is pestering Jan to restore his lost memories telepathically. Jan's hesitating to put it mildly. They're both fugitives at this point. Ryan is recovering from getting shot in the shoulder and a concussion and has some familiarity with interstellar travel.

This section leads into a long flashback which is the 'recovered memory'.

FYI: using a traditional hyperspace FTL system. The jump is pretty quick but getting out of the system to where you make it might take anywhere from a couple days to a couple weeks either end.


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BenM
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Crocodile fighting in zero-g! Only one crocodile is sick and they're thinking of using the fugitives! ie, something completely unexpected It'll be more interesting than playing dodgeball in zero-g I'd think... Now if that can't prompt an urgent conversation amongst your characters, I'm all out of ideas...
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Phobos
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There is always Low-G Sex.

What happens in lightspeed stays in lightspeed.


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Teraen
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Depends on your society/technology/ship. You could add in movie theaters, golfing courses, etc (can you say Holodeck? Better Than Life? (That's a Red Dwarf reference))

Or, if it is less technologically advanced, you can do what they do to keep astronauts sane: lots of daily tasks (checking systems, running drills, etc) exercise.

You could also play around with induced sleep to make the time go faster, computer games, news broadcasts (TV. Great way to waste time.)


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Teraen
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Oh... and stellar phenomenon:

Getting hit by meteors, passing planets, neutron stars, cool nebulae (Nebuli? Nebulas? Nebulises? Whatever. Big clouds of colorful gas.)

But remember, space is mostly empty, so not much of this.


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KayTi
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If they're hitching a ride, they've presumably been pressed into service by the crew. They'll have jobs to do (busy work/maybe the least appealing work - depending on their standing on the ship.) There can be the equivalent of office politics. Shipboard politics, petty fights. Maybe a crew member stealing and blaming it on one of the two stowaways.

cleaning/prepping of weapons, if they're really a pirate ship. Stealth drive maintenance...

the in between times are probably used for working out, too. So they're fit for all those fights they get in when they're being pirates.

EVAs, perhaps, some kinds of exterior ship maintenance if they're not in the FTL portion of the journey (in FTL, well, that would be funky. Elizabeth Moon has written some about that...I'm blanking on which book it was in, but I could look back and find you a reference if you're interested.)


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Architectus
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I always like to think of bad things that can happen during a trip. This makes the scene more exciting. You give you characters two goals. One to get past the bad thing, and the unsaid goal, to have the characters have the conversation you need them to have.

Pirates attack the pirates. Engine falure or some other failure. MC accidently spills one of the agricultural products and it becomes dangerous.

Think of bad things that could happen.

-------------------------
How to write engaging, suspenseful scenes like Dean Koontz (Inhale Scenes) Blogspot

[This message has been edited by Architectus (edited November 18, 2009).]


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Zero
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Playing games, dialogue exposition, deep conversations, brooding/thinking/analyzing, and if you have nothing story-important for them to do then I recommend the brush over "It took them eight days to reach Alpha Centauri but when they arrived the majestic view of the binary stars glowing through the window was worth the wait."
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MrsBrown
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How about a health emergency with someone they care about, and they've gotta figure out how to stabilize them. How about going outside to fix something? Water-pistol fight?

Don't make it too fun, make it tougher for them (unless this is YA, in which case I'm clueless). Fun is good too, to relieve tension and provide the cool factor, but it should serve to advance plot, characterization, or whatever too.

[This message has been edited by MrsBrown (edited November 18, 2009).]


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Lyrajean
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Lots of good and not so good yet humorous ideas here... It's totally worth it if it makes me laugh. I might think of something good while rolling around on the tatami.

-I was thinking about a sex scene, but it has to wait until after the flashback. I've already tossed in one juicy kiss between the captain and Jan. With Ryan wondering if she noticed Jan flinching since he's a mindreader (dilike of physical contact).

-As for being pressed into service by the crew. Jan certainly has. That's how he talked his way onboard. He's a genticist and is busy trying to un-tag some seed grain so the smugglers can resell it....

-As for medical emergencies. I just got done with Ryan being shot, and the 2 of them were the colony's only doctors until they left so there's been a lot of that up till now and one of the flashbacks will deal with a lot of medical issues.

There... More ideas please...

[This message has been edited by Lyrajean (edited November 18, 2009).]


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Andrew_McGown
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He could make stuff up about his past; long, elaborate stories as to why she is hesitating.

"Come on, what don't you want me to remember? -- Have I seen you on the crapper?"

That sort of thing.


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Andrew_McGown
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1:___a taffy-pull
2:___could make a spaceship in a bottle
3:___zero-g swimming -- maybe not

But I think the most realistic onboard passtime is playing music.

Edit: It is something you can do alone or in a group.

[This message has been edited by Andrew_McGown (edited November 18, 2009).]


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Lyrajean
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FYI: Jan is a guy too...
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stutson
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Learn to fight hand to hand in free fall from the pirates?

Discover something medically/genetically wrong with the pirates that they can fix, but only after being threatened with death for learning the deadly secret?


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Teraen
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Your MC gets to writing that novel they've always been procrastinating on...
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