Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Writing exercise #2: character via setting

Continuing my writing exercises, this one goes to the other main character in my sci-fi WIP. 

This exercise comes from Fiction Writer’s Workshop (ISBN 1884910394) by Josip Novakovich. Chapter 2: Setting. #12: One page. Make a character visible through her surroundings. (he lists some examples of how) Objective: to learn the power of setting as a means for character portraits. Bits of environment are your tubes of paint. 

Lena dropped into her VR recliner with a sigh. A few crumbs from the morning’s coffee cake lingered on the arm. She flicked them off one by one. Then she picked up her jack and plugged it into the socket under her left ear. Virtual reality slid down over what her meat eyes saw.

Green and amber status lights on her rig winked. Custom-built, of course. A steel rack of quantum processors, another of wireless hubs for various frequencies, the third rack for her secret-ingredient hardware, and a private bubble fusion plant so the draw on the station’s power grid wouldn’t give her away. Everything was cabled to reduce snooping and the extra wire color-tagged, neatly looped, and zip-tied.

The rest of her apartment’s front room was a tangle of dirty laundry waiting for the multi-washer and boxes from the grocery delivery service that she hadn’t broken down for the recycling chute yet. She had two tall stools that stood before the kitchenette counter — or at least two mountain peaks in the field of clutter.

Front door had a clear swath in front of it, though, and a second, vertical deadbolt that Lena had added well above the standard one. Wouldn’t stop anyone determined to get in, but it’d give her time to get out the fire door.

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