While on an intentional hiatus from editing my first novel (to resume in about ten days), I type and semi-write the second.
Semi-write, as in the story exists in some form already, hand scribed by me whilst at the camp. I came home with nine stories in all, one written to full length, four, or five within striking distance of crossing the threshold to novel. In this process, as I work off my minute scribbles in cursive, I revamp the wording by adding, subtracting, and amending.
The hope is hiatus from the first novel should provide distance and new perspective for editing round two. In the interim, I could not allow time to lie fallow, so I picked a second tale and set out to weave it into digital form.
Story two carries a title of Women of Thin Air and has from the first, unlike the tentative title of story one, retwin(n)ed. WOTA grabbed me the second it popped into my mind, and so it shall remain. Since I am a third of the way through the semi-write conversion of WOTA, it seemed a good time to give an accounting.
Also unlike the first, this one has a science fiction element, although I try my level best to sublimate it to the actual story, rendering it a facilitating tool. I am not a sci-fi writer, and have no interest in being one. I do have interest in how it creates an interesting dynamic for writing on a serious social issue. Readers should not expect pages of techowizardry or explanations of how impossible can be possible, only a couple of paragraphs. If readers wish to come on the journey with me, they must accept these things are extant.
To make this work, instead of telling the story from the perspective of the woman who makes these things possible, I tell it from her partner’s perspective, a person almost as clueless to the science as readers are. She is in their representative in this place.
October is domestic violence awareness month, another good reason to share an update on WOTA now. The title is also the name of their organisation, one with a mission to rescue women from domestic violence. Not originally emphasised in the draft, I intentionally reduce and emphasise their focus to abused women only. They do not rescue abused men. I decided to play up this fact of their existence, because my intent is for the choice to be controversial. Controversy sparks discussion, and DV needs more discussion – we tend to sweep the topic under the rug of society if left untended.
I can make a statistical case for how DV is overwhelmingly committed against women, but that does not make it exclusive to women. As WOTA rescues women and decline to assist a man, when they begin to deal with abusers, and when they err in how they handle one abuser, readers will have to make choices. Will a reader side with WOTA or view the women as dangerous vigilantes? Are they the front line of a building wave that will erode multiple millennia of patriarchy, or do they create a dangerous potential for eroding long standing social structure?
Those who know me know what my answer would be. Most who read the story will know how I view the characters. What most matters here is how the story can make people see things we normally block from our sight and from our minds, and what we can do to mitigate its occurrence.