July 26th, 2010

Baby and me

30 days on writing: Entry #5

More memeage.

Collapse )

5. By age, who is your youngest character? Oldest? How about "youngest" and "oldest" in terms of when you created them?

I know, I know, broken record. Not all of us write with the idea of serials in mind. That said, my own track-record includes a series of recurring characters; think (though it galls me to use such an eggregious example) of Salinger's Glass family.

With that in mind, the youngest character I've written is (here she comes again!) Ashera, whose birth I wrote as a flashback and part of whose childhood (roughly her 6th or 8th year; it varies with the draft. If ever I go back to it I'll decide how old she is for good) I chronicle in The Valley of Shabathawan. In fact, that novel was first intended to be about her, birth to young adult-hood, but another character elbowed the child aside and insisted the novel was about her. But more on Philomena Hawkins in Question 9, I think.

Oldest? That would either be Catherine from framing prologue and epilogues in a re-write of "The Question", which I talked about yesterday, or else Charles Sprelling, from a story I wrote in late 1983.

The former was an attempt to paint a portrait of a woman resting from her labours after a long life spent ensuring that her colony did not revert to a male-dominated tribalism or feudalism. I was trying (and, though perhaps somewhat lugubriously) to implicitly make it clear that having and raising children is not antithetical to feminism and personal liberty.

The latter was from a story called "Dominion", another of my early attempts at science fiction. (I'd forgotten that so much of my earliest stuff was SF, though considering my reading then, I shouldn't be surprised.)

In retrospect, the story clearly owes a great deal to Heinlein's "Requiem".

Charles Sprelling is a dying old man, the architect of a social Canada and its space program, who is dying of cancer and who manages to do himself in by stealing a space suit and floating off into the night.

I've just taken a look at it and find it frankly embarassing in its naive portrait of age, its baldly-written politics and info-dumped history, but I kind of admire my chutzpah in even trying such a story.

And I'm pretty sure, having now flipped through its brief pages again after many years, that it was written very much with Heinlein consciously in mind, both an argument and an homage, but certainly not a rip-off.

But it's certainly a story I have no desire to re-write.

This entry was originally posted at http://ed-rex.dreamwidth.org/11577.html. Comment there using OpenID, or here as per normal.