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[Comments] (3) Constellation Games Author Commentary #35: "The Unilateral Extradition Expedition Solution":

When I look at my narrative arcs I see myself shovelling coal nonstop into a locomotive which builds and builds up speed, until it's travelling at relativistic speeds, like the locomotive in Einstein's thought experiments, going so fast that Lorentz contraction becomes apparent, and then the locomotive crashes into a wall and that's the end. If you've seen me give a technical talk you've seen the same thing; my talks generally end with "And that's the end of my talk." Not saying that's a good thing, but that's kind of where I am as a writer.

We start this chapter in the middle of the big action scene, the climax of the climax, the moment at which the locomotive is going as fast as it's ever gonna go. As with chapter 22, I came into this scenario treating it like a puzzle. I put Ariel in peril, wrote down all the details that might be relevant and tried to figure the best way out.

The difference between this and chapter 22 is that, as Curic says after the locomotive crashes, Krakowski's failure is overdetermined. He's operating on enemy turf and his plan is insane. He only gets as far as he does because Dana is enabling him. Dana having somehow gotten the idea that a huge dramatic rescue is a good way to spark romantic interest in the person you rescued.

So here the challenge was coming up with the most interesting way to solve the problem. The only restrictions were that Ariel had to take an active role in saving the day, and I didn't want Krakowski to die. As in chapter 22, Ariel tries a lot of stuff that doesn't work, and with the introduction of Dana his problem gets even worse, but here in the second part he's able to save the day in suitably dramatic fashion.

I think this sequence is pretty good for a first try, but in the future I'm going to try to plot these big action scenes a lot better. The "write everything down and figure something out" technique is a little sloppy. I should have had this planned much further in advance.

Before the misc commentary I want to announce that the microblog archive is complete! I wrote 403 tweets for Ariel and 173 for Tetsuo, not to mention the software that scheduled their posts in a realistic way, and it was all super time consuming. There are two tweets that haven't been posted yet, but I went ahead and added them to the archive. Ariel's final tweet I wrote just now, to give his feed some closure. I didn't like the idea of the top of his Twitter feed saying I don't think that deserves a special "freezer edition" for the rest of time. That looks the Twitter feed of someone who died suddenly.

As you find out this week, Ariel doesn't die, and this isn't the end of the stuff he and Tetsuo post in-universe, any more that "A Few Ip Shkoy Games About Asteroids" is the last thing Ariel ever posts to his blog. But it is the end of the slice you'll be able to see, because the novel's just about over.

The denouement approacheth! Tune in next week for THE SERIES FINALE, when Ariel will say, "You named a girl after me?"

Image credits: Unknown, Wikimedia Commons user Sissyneck, Luigi Rosa.

Month of Crowdfunding #24: Space Shuttle: Back to Rockethub today to back ROCKETS On RocketHub - Space Shuttle Movie! As you might have guessed, this project is a film about the end of the Space Shuttle program. Like many space-related crowdfunding projects, this one doubles as a Month of Kickstarter Platinum entry: high-roller contributions get you perks like a visit to a private space launch. And like many space-related crowdfunding projects, I backed it.


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