This is part 4 of our series on how to write good stories. If you are interested in the process, read the other 3 blogs of course, haha.
Ok, time to write the real summary. A summary is a brief synopsis of the storyline, not the actual writing – so you have to fill in the gaps with your imagination. The concept is that each sequence would have plenty of character development, dialog, details, etc. The summary is supposed to follow just the core plotlines that are required to get to the ending.
Using the ideas and then the holes, the fixes, more ideas etc. I normally would work on this for a week or so and present it when done, but I promised to do this as I go, so here are the first three chapters. I may come back here and edit when I write chapters 4+, but I will note that here so we have a record of what came when.
The new summary splits the storytelling between the human and alien perspectives. The graphic concept is that when telling from the alien perspective (green text) the humans will look more alien and the aliens more human – to visually indicate how the species see each other.
This step is always fun because the stories start to write themselves. As you get into a character and how they would react, the natural progression just happens and the story itself gets changed. So here we go, my first three chapters of the summary.
Boneeaters – Summary
Chapter 1 - Arrive
Nalgazta (Nal) is the long-standing, well-respected leader of her pod. Harvesting in the necessary pattern for full replenishment, she monitors and cares for her sisters. The pod’s group stands about seven feet tall, with large eyes, tiny oval mouths, thin limbs, small hands and feet, deep aquamarine skin, small pointy ears, a very long and thin tail, and lush female curves.
They cover a large area of nutrient in efficient, but playful time. Today the pattern is flowing well, even while many sisters relax and enjoy themselves. Their minds are connected, joyous sharing of emotions, it is a loud yet comforting ongoing chatter. [joy… nourished… happy…fornicate?...soon!]
Suddenly, the pod sees a horrible creature – a sky dragon! – descend on the planet. The pod’s fear paralyzes Nal for a brief moment. [fear… panic… run… hide…!] She gathers herself, requests that the pod go silent so she can focus. And the mind chatter is instantly gone, the eerie silence only serves to unsettle Nal even more. She rushes towards the dragon knowing she must assess the danger and warn other pods. Her pod nervously follows.
Nate is the science lead of the team, Doven is the military lead, and they are joined by just two others in this first landing on the planet – Sally from the science team and Ursula from the military group. Doven cracks that the vaccines better fucking work or he’ll kill Nate. Nate responds that if they don’t work, he won’t need to bother.
They land their shuttle in an open field, one they planned on for months. It provides the perfect location for their operation. The planet is one in a million – breathable air, habitable weather, and about half the size of Earth. They will be like Greek gods in paradise, or so everyone hopes.
As they begin to setup the camp, the team notices the pod of aliens watching them from a distance. Doven asks if they have broken some prime directive already or not? Ursula comments that Doven watches too much Star Trek. Nate states that seeing how the aliens react to them is exactly what they want.
The pod witnessed the dragon birthing more creatures. Pale, sickly, ugly walking maggots! [gross… revolting… disgusting… ] It seems that the dragon is dead already, maybe it accidentally crashed here as it was dying? At least that threat is no more! Nal breathes a little easier, it won’t be hard to deal with maggots after all. [inform?... attack?... protect?] Nal asks the pod to do nothing yet, the maggots may be carrying disease – they have some of the dragon’s innards all over them. And they are big! Maybe strong, take care.
Nate watches the alien group closely while the rest of the team constructs a fairly sizable habitat. It goes up amazingly fast, but the equipment was designed for that. Hours later the aliens haven’t moved at all, it seems they won’t be taking aggressive action at this point. That’s good, it will give the team time to settle in, another 16 people are coming in tomorrow.
Nal and the pod are enthralled at the dragon maggots and how they rip the sky dragon apart and make a shrine! A huge shrine that is even larger than the dragon (how is that possible?) The maggots are actually very skilled, perhaps Nal underestimated them? Maybe they rode the dragon here on purpose? Are they upset the dragon died? At the least, they are dangerous. Pod! Retreat… study from farther… be cautious... [retreat! … run! … go now!]
Chapter 2 - Observe
The team of 20 has been working hard the last few weeks. Nate has been studying the aliens closely and noted they seem to have accepted the humans and returned to their normal feeding and playing activities. They are infectiously cute – never seem to fight with each other, flirty and silly, how could you not fall in love with them? He is now calling them the “fairies.” But he has a job to do, he has to determine if they are sentient and if they are a threat.
The fairies feed in one area for a while, play, relax… then move to another area. They feed right from the ground, somehow harnessing life from the very dirt of the planet. This spurred the team to study the soil itself in more detail than expected – it’s like plants and soil as one. Indigenous to the planet, but now a high priority to replicate on other inhabited worlds. Although this particular planet may have an ecosystem more robust than the others - it has cemented the planet as viable, even just for farming.
And thank goodness for that discovery – the military team is beyond anxious to move on colonization efforts. The soil discovery has provided a necessary distraction to buy Nate time. He is perplexed by the aliens – they look and seem to human, but they act in no way that would indicate an intelligence high enough to warrant salvage efforts.
The starving rodents seem to have settled into one zone. Nal and her pod have grown accustomed enough to their presence, even though it will impact their feeding cycle in six weeks. But it is just so sad that the rodents are mentally limited. They keep trying to nourish from the same spot, over and over, even though it will not work and they will die. [sadness… pity… poor creatures…]
They even have a scout, one who watches Nal’s pod endlessly. They have shown him how to properly nourish – every day – for weeks! Yet his pod stays put, as if they are just building a coffin. The council is adamant that the rodents will branch out as they hunger – and they may be right. The danger is still there, although it hasn’t felt like they intend to be evil. Just ever watching and… continually refusing to learn how to live.
Nal has begun to feel this scout – able to read his state of mind? He seems to emit a low level of communal thinking, but it is localized to items he carries around – Nal can’t quite figure that out. Although the reason he takes such attention is concerning, Nal has noticed that when the pod practices mating cycles, the scout relaxes – clearly enjoying it – perhaps growing his affection? It is a calming effect that she can use. She encourages the pod to practice more than normal when the scout is watching.
Back at camp Nate and the science team are in a heated argument. Sally, who is also Nate’s girlfriend, is making the pitch that they need to capture one of these so-called fairies (she hates that term, shows Nate is leaning the wrong way!) and dissect it. It’s the only way to know what makes them tick. Nate is adamant that they can’t do that yet – the fairies are smarter than they appear, he knows it!
Nate asks Pete (science team) to search for bones, historical evidence, archaeology, something to show how the species has evolved. Nate believes they are on a similar path as humankind and will evolve – others feel they are simple animals that are just evolutionary perfect for this world. Pete takes on the task, but is a bit annoyed to have to take time away from his study of what is impacting their electronics – often even simple things like recordings fail, for no good reason.
Chapter 3 – Research
Nal is at a council meeting, twenty other pod leaders are there. They are in a heated argument about the new development with the pale explorers. They have another large beast they are using to spy on more of the planet – frightening dozens of other pods. Jaybeeka argues that this proves they are not content to find a place on the planet, but to take it over! [danger… fear… harbingers!] Nal is not convinced of their intentions yet, they have been peaceful to date and have had plenty of time to start aggressions. [unclear… peaceful… unknown]
Jay comes to Nal and holds her in a friendly hand embrace. She says Nal is one of the eldest and most trusted pod leaders and her opinion has weight. Other pod leaders nod in a supportive circle. [caution… wait… observe… learn]
The first male alien (sturdy, mean looking) approaches the council, this shocks and surprises the pods as they rarely see males. Tundalz says that Nal may be wrong. The Protective have been monitoring the pale explorers and are concerned they are slowly building an aggressive force. The Protective is leaning towards extermination now before it grows in threat. [act now… protect!]
Nal gets angry at Tun, which surprises Tun. She barks that is an insane approach to new life – they didn’t do that to us! It’s wrong! [genocide? Evil! Wrong!] She argues the pale explorers are intelligent and should be contacted to begin a co-existence.
Tun backs down, but has a caution to not allow the pale explorers to know how our people think or what we can do – do not give away the means to our own destruction. Nal nods, agreeing to keep the pale explorers thinking they are simple animals. But how long can this go on before it doesn’t work? What can they learn about the pale explorers to help?
Then Nal points to Tun’s large dick and says although it’s not mating season, and they can’t create life, she would like to enjoy that today. The other pod leaders squeal in excitement, mating season is rare and far off. Tun looks at the group and says that he is at their service.
Nate discovers that the fairies are actually eating in a pattern – it’s a crop harvesting pattern. They aren’t randomly foraging, they have a plan! Nate confirms with Jacob, head of the agriculture science, and Jacob concurs – the pattern (unmistakably a pattern) allows the land to recover in near perfection. It is an amazing form of evolution of life symbiotic with the land. Nate thinks that it may be more than evolution, it may be intelligence. Jacob gaffs at that, doubtful it’s not like they have a map or know where they are going.
But map or not, the computer model of their pattern intersects with base camp in just two weeks. Nate muses, two weeks? Damn that’s not much time to prepare for first contact. But maybe it’s time for the rest of the team to learn about the fairies, see them first hand. They are sure to melt their hearts.
Nate meets with Pete, his search has gone on for a few weeks and he is shocked to find nothing – not a single bone, no history, absolutely nothing. Maybe the land absorbs the dead? Because there is just no sign of any life on this planet other than the living versions. Nate is perplexed, no history basis at all to understand where the species is in their evolution. How can that be? But he can’t take more time for Pete to work on this, the mission failed.
In the broader science team meeting the team works on these new developments. Nate says that he will initiate first contact and try to get the fairies to interact with them, so we can learn their level of intelligence. The rest of the team is relieved – at least the waiting is over, some action at last. Their studies of the planet are far enough along to bring a larger crew in and start farming. They all say Nate has to make his decision sooner rather than later, the world is too valuable to wait much longer.
TO BE CONTINUED!
July 11, 2017
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