The Ongoing Care and Maintenance of Your New Space Station

Hello everyone!

I hope this week finds you well. It's been a slow week in the Station Keeping world. I did send out an email to a list of possible contributers, but the replies are still trickling in. I have to keep up this correspondence, and with luck we'll get a team (more) established soon. That continues to be my project for the near future.

The other project that I've worked on this week is to sketch out and develop the story. I've sketched out a few more installments, and I'm pretty pleased with those installments, although I have yet to put them on the wiki. I think I have enough of that done by now, so as I work on building the team, I'm going to see if I can write an installment, so that I have an example (and a begining!) for how these might work out. The first two installments, I know I'm going to write myself so those will be on my list, after that they're all up for grabs.

I've been thinking about the parallels between what I'm trying to accomplish, and something that we're more familiar with, such as television, or the newspaper serial. They're both imperfect, but I think we can understand what I'm aiming for more clearly by thinking about both of these models.

Television shows are generally written by a group of writers, and they tell a single story in multiple parts. They have "seasons" or "series" (depending on where you are in the english speaking world) and individual installments have varying levels of interconnectivity with each other. They are also performances, produced like films, written as scripts, and require substantial budgets. I don't think it's particularly productive to comment on the shift from "traditional" to "reality" television models, but it seems like the reality show very much affects the way that we think about story telling in television--but that's beside the point. Lets try to think about a "traditional" drama/science fiction television show.

The other form that we're working from is a newspaper serial. To be honest, these are a format that I can only imagine. Mostly. I keep thinking of Armisted Maupin's `Tales of the City <>`_, which were published daily--which is way more than I can ever imagine, although he was getting paid in a way that I can only imagine. Anyway, Maupin published a column of about 800 words daily that explored the lives and situations of characters living in the city (San Francisco). I loved the books that were produced of the collected columns, and I think they've been a great influence on me. The feeling I got from reading it as a book was not the sense of a story in the same way, because each "chapter" was largely self contained--a scene or two, a little corner of a characters life, a spot of action--but there was definitely a sense of a larger story, but I enjoyed how the story functioned under these conditions.

I think that both of these forms, while not ideal, provide some remarkably powerful forms that Station Keeping might well benefit from. I also feel that with the idealization of the "novel" form for fiction writing, providing with another structure and alternative means of story telling is always a worthwhile project. While I think there are ways that SK, is like neither of these previous forms, there are ways that SK could be a lot like both the television show and the newspaper serial, and I think both kinds of story telling have influenced the way that I'm thinking of SK right now. I also hope that you could contribute to the way that SK is actualized.

I'll be back in a week with more thoughts and updates as things progress. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best, tycho

ps. After I wrote this, but before I was able to get it posted, I had a conversation with one of the other writers about some of the plot development issues, and I thought it was really productive, so I've chosen to post in our writers group, and I'll try and get it up on the wiki in a little while.

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