Tag Archives: snowflake

Ginnie Dare: Blockade Runner – Snowflake Pt. 5 "Ginnie's POV"

Part five of the snowflake model has you write a page for each character’s story arc. Essentially the story from their POV. I decided to do this as a sort of “debriefing”.

Virginia “Ginnie” Dare Debriefing Report – It’s been a busy few months since we left the colony at Eshua. I’ve adapted the Eshaun crystal to a variety of applications. The most success I’ve had is making it jam the current level of scanner technology that I’m aware of and pushing that past theoretical limits to cover tech that I’m not aware of. I kept Dad in the loop on this one since he was still a little upset about the secrets I kept from him and the rest of the crew. That’s understandable I guess.

I also decided that I want to be more involved in the daily goings on onboard the Helena. As a result I’ve learned more about how the ships runs and about navigation. Dad says that if I’m ever to run a ship, something I’m not convinced I want to do, that I need to be at least familiar with every function. It made him happy and it kept me occupied when I puzzled over something particularly challenging.

All of that was set aside when we got an emergency communique from Rafe a while back. An old friend of Dad’s is the President of the colony there. Some research told me that they’re important to the manufacture of elements used in the Peeg. Apparently they decided to secede from the Commonwealth. That happens occasionally, a colony figuring that they’d do better on their own. So far as I’m aware there’s never been a successful attempt. The Commonwealth always manages to convince the colony that there are far more advantages to staying in the fold. That’s not to say that there arent’ independents out there, but once you’re part of the “happy family” you’re in to stay.

Dad shared with the crew that we’d been hired to take them some important supplies, things they depend on a steady supply of and won’t get once the net is tightened. Not everyone was on board. It surprised me that Jonas didn’t want us to get involved. It took time to get the supplies together. During that time I worked out a way to get us in under the SDF’s security net and a way to burst communicate with them once we set up a station on the planet itself. That will make future communication easier.

Once we made it into the system proper, everything ran smoothly. We didn’t run into a problem until we literally ran into one. None of us expected the SDF to seed the system with mines. Apparently they were attracted to us even with the cloaking I used. The first one caused minimal damage. Jonas said they primarily serve to alert the locals to the presence of undesirables and aren’t typically configured to cause major damage.

We stopped the ship and Jess and I went EVA. Unfortunately one of our cargo pods was badly damaged and ejected itself. We weren’t able to re-attach it and were in the process of rigging it for towing when Jonas showed inbound SDF scouts. The only choice we had was to route the pod to a nearby satellite while the Helena went on to the planet. Dad said that he’d set up secure communications and either get a tug out to us or come back in the Helena. We agreed to coordinate one they offloaded the main cargo pods.

Thankfully our pods are equipped with sufficient motivators for brief in system travel. It’s hardly a replacement for an actual shuttle and it’s usually used for the rare situation where we can’t get the Helena to a cargo elevator. The satellite was close enough that it only took us an hour to arrive. In a day that seemed doomed to failure after failure there was a malfunction in the thrusters. Jess was able to bring us in, but she broke her leg during the landing. To say that I was nervous is an understatement. She assured me that she’d be okay and the medkit we had access to agreed. I set up the secure transponder so that the second Dad was able to communicate we’d be synced up. In the process I discovered that we weren’t alone after all.

Unfortunately, once I unscrambled the encrypted radio transmissions, we found out that the people were terrorists bent on destroying part of the colony, using the Helena to do so. We weren’t able to contact anyone without risking unwanted Commonwealth attention. So it was up to Jess and I to take care of them. First I was able to set up the transponder to scramble any outbound communications. That meant they wouldn’t be able to trigger anything remotely. Second, I was able to make it seem like someone or something was passively scanning the moon. That kept their heads down. Jess was able to rig up some directed energy weapons and we made it seem like they were being pinned down by SDF forces.

We kept up the siege until dad contacted us and arrived, followed by the SDF. I found the tracking device with Brad’s help and was able to trace it back to the President’s aid. After that things went even more pear shaped. I had to end up giving my research on the cloaking device over to the Commonwealth. They took the terrorists into custody and their representative seemed to listen to reason. They took down the blockade and let us go on our merry way, for now at least. The whole thing makes me even more glad that I’m not entering the academy.

Ginnie Dare: Blockade Runner – Snowflake Pt. 4

This is step four in the Snowflake method.

By this stage, you should have a good idea of the large-scale structure of your novel, and you have only spent a day or two. Well, truthfully, you may have spent as much as a week, but it doesn’t matter. If the story is broken, you know it now, rather than after investing 500 hours in a rambling first draft. So now just keep growing the story. Take several hours and expand each sentence of your summary paragraph into a full paragraph. All but the last paragraph should end in a disaster. The final paragraph should tell how the book ends.

I would love to know if you see any major problems or if there’s anything that interests you particularly about this process or the results so far! Sound off in the comments.

The settlers of the gas giant Rafe, one of the primary sources of fuel used in Perry-Gamblin drives, are seceding from the Commonwealth and have been cut off from aid by a government blockade. The Dares have been hired to run supplies to them in secret, able to do this thanks in part to modifications made using the Eshuan crystal. The succeed in getting through the first layer of the blockade without being spotted. Halfway between the outer ring of security and their destination they hit a mine that damages one of their cargo pods. They must make an emergency stop to repair it before they go on and they have to do it before Commonwealth forces arrive.

Ginnie and Jess to go EVA and repair one of the the damaged pod. It takes longer then they realize. The damage will not allow them to repair the connector and there’s no easy way to get it back on. Jess can jerry rig something, but before they’re able to the ship picks up an incoming scout. The only choice they have is to steer the pod to a nearby moon using emergency thrusters, and park it there. The Helena continues to Rafe and must maintain radio silence. They plan to get a tractor to come retrieve the pod along with Ginnie and Jess in 24 hours or less. Unfortunately the pod’s systems are damaged too and it crashes on the moon, injuring Jess.

Ginnie goes to find a place to set up an encrypted beacon she fashioned from the damaged parts of the pod’s radio. They don’t want to use it until the Helena is closer, but it needs to be on the highest point she can find. During her explorations she discovers what she thinks is a colony outpost. It strikes her as odd since there’s nothing important on this moon. She hacks into their channel and discovers that they’re terrorists, plotting to destroy the settlement making the Commonwealth and the Dares look responsible. Ginnie and Jess must find a way to stop them not only to save the colony, but to save their shipmates who will be caught in the attack and all without alerting the Commonwealth to their presence. They come up with a plan equal parts A-Team and MacGyver.

One of the agents working for the Liberation Front (President’s aid? Choochus?) gets a signal knows that the jig is up and sets the backup plan in motion. He alerts the President to the existence of the bomb and accuses the Dares of being in league with the Commonwealth. There’s a tense showdown. Jonas uses his military experience to help disable the bomb, but that doesn’t ultimately free them of suspicion. The President makes them leave and promises that they will work it out latter. While the Dares are on their way back Choochus alerts the Commonwealth to the Dare’s presence in the sector and via an improvised tracking device he planted gives them their coordinates. The Dares make it to the moon and succeed in recovering Ginnie, but a host of Commonwealth ships block their retreat.

The Dares reveal the presence of the Liberation front and their plans. Ginnie and Jes are able to produce the captured terrorists. Ginnie is able to get the tracking device and prove that it belonged to the president’s aid. The President is able to use this incident as leverage to ask for the blockade to be stopped. Colonel Delaney decides that having the terrorists is proof that the blockade is too much of a hardship on Commonwealth citizens. The Dares also offer to give up their “cloak” to the Commonwealth in exchange for amnesty for running the blockade. They are granted it, provisionally, and leave the sector for the return trip home.

Ginnie Dare: Blockade Runner – Snowflake Pt. 3

Step Three of the Snowflake – The Characters:

Virginia “Ginnie” Dare

  • DoB – August 18th, 2257 (Age 15)
  • Description – Black hair, dk. brown eyes, 1.75 m., slim build running to curves, dark skin
  • History – Born in space to a spacing family.
  • Marooned with an injured Jess, Ginnie needs to make sure they survive and discovers a plot to destroy a portion of the Rafe colony.
  • The character’s motivation – To become a more vital part of the ship/be seen as more of an adult.
  • The character’s goal – Survival of her team/the colony
  • The character’s conflict – The terrorists
  • The character’s epiphany – Becoming an adult can’t be rushed.
  • During a less than routine repair, Ginnie and Jess get marooned on Rafe 3 a large rocky satellite. Jess is injured and Ginnie needs to set up camp. While placing an encrypted radio beacon, she sees some activity on what is supposed to be an otherwise barren moon. She catches some local radio traffic that indicates these people are here for nefarious purposes. At first she thinks that they are plotting an attack on the Commonweatlh presence. After checking with Jess and doing some further investigation they find out that it’s the colony they want to attack. They will be targeting the space port that Helena is supposed to land on. The two women must stop the attack until they can get into radio contact with someone.

Jess Murphy

  • Description – Light brown hair cut short, hazel eyes, 1.5m wiry build, very pale skin, freckles
  • Jess must help Ginnie as best she can, while injured, to help Ginnie survive and to warn the Helena and or the authorities.
  • The character’s motivation – To help Ginnie grow.
  • The character’s goal – Survival
  • The character’s conflict – injury/terrorists
  • The character’s epiphany – What mistakes you can let someone make.
  • Jess calls on Ginnie to help her effect some repairs once they are past the blockade. It’s not part of her normal duties, but Ginnie’s expressed an interest in learning new things since she’ll be staying on board for a while. The pod they’re working on becomes damaged and ejects from the ship taking the two women with it. They’re close to the moon and use the tools they have to guide the pod and its contents safely to the surface. She’s injured in the process and must guide Ginnie through getting a shelter set up and a radio beacon. Then she must also help her deal with the terrorists.

Nuchtchas – President of Rafe

  • Description – Long straight black hair with a green streak, blue eyes, 1.63 m curvaceous, milky skin
  • Nuchtchas is leading her people in a secession and they’ve hired the Dares to help deliver some supplies.
  • The character’s motivation – A successful and peaceful secession from the Commonwealth.
  • The character’s goal – Getting the supplies necessary to make that happen.
  • The character’s conflict – The Commonwealth and the Liberation Movement.
  • The character’s epiphany – She will realize that the cost of freedom can often be too high.
  • Called by her people to break from the commonwealth, Nuchtchas wants to do so as peacefully as possible. Long time friends with Walter Dare, she hires his company to deliver data, some raw materials, and necessary fuel to take them through what may be a long siege. If the first one goes well there may be more and if the secession is successful a lucrative contract is guaranteed. She’s caught between negotiating with the blockade and keeping her people happy. They’re in the third month and getting restless. She’s aware of the small minority involved in the Liberation from but is unaware of what they’re willing to do.

John Wilkerson – Leader of the Liberation Movement

  • Description – Crewcut sandy hair, greenish brown eyes, 1.7, thin build
  • He believes that Nuchtchas is a weak leader and that decisive action is necessary to throw off the shackles of the Commonwealth.
  • The character’s motivation – Separation from the Commonwealth and its eventual downfall.
  • The character’s goal – Freedom for Rafe and the presidency.
  • The character’s conflict – Ginnie and Jess
  • The character’s epiphany – Don’t mess with the Dares.
  • John has long been dissatisfied with Commonwealth rule. He believes that Rafe’s abundant mineral resources belong to the people first and foremost. He also believes that the Commonwealth is holding all of the colonies back. He has a small loyal team behind him. If achieving his goals cost lives, even his own, he believes that it’s worth it (though he won’t risk his own unnecessarily). He is personally overseeing operations on the moon and will try and cause as little collateral damage as possible he knows the Dares are coming and will try and make it look like the Dares are in collusion with the Commonwealth and brought a bomb in to destroy the space dock. In one of the pods there is just such a bomb placed there by one of his allies outside the blockade.

Colonel Ed Delaney – In charge of Commonwealth blockade “Operation Hydra”

  • Description – Bushy silver hair, light blue eyes, 2.1 m, stocky
  • Delaney is near the end of his career and wants this last mission to be his final gold star.
  • The character’s motivation – a glorious retirement
  • The character’s goal – To bring Rafe back into the fold.
  • The character’s conflict – Both the liberation front and the legitimate government are doing everything they can to stop him.
  • The character’s epiphany – Doing the right thing is more important than glory
  • Delaney is given this final assignment – do what it takes to bring Rafe back in to the Commonwealth. Equal parts military leader and diplomat, he’s a powerful personality. He arrived with the blockade three months ago and has regular contact with the presidency. He has agents on Rafe feeding him information and knows more about the LF than Nuchtchas does, though not about the attack. He and Nuchtchas have become fairly friendly thanks to regular calls, but he is as unrelenting as his superiors. They will not break the blockade under any circumstances.

Ginnie Dare: Blockade Runner

This is the beginning of the snowflake for the Ginnie Dare: Crimson Sands sequel.

Step One: While running a shipment of fuel to a planet who’s seceding from the Commonweatlh, Ginnie and Jess get stranded on the planet’s moon where they discover a plot to destroy the secession making the Commonwealth look responsible.

Step Two: The settlers of the gas giant Rafe, one of the primary sources of fuel used in Perry-Gamblin drives, are seceding from the Commonwealth and have been cut off from aid by a government blockade. The Dares have been hired to run supplies to them in secret, able to do this thanks in part to modifications made using the Eshuan crystal. A malfunction in the ship’s systems require Ginnie and Jess to go EVA and repair one of the pods, which results in the pod getting ejected along with the women causing them to be stranded on a nearby moon. While waiting for the ship to return and pick them up, they discover terrorists on the moon, plotting to destroy the settlement making the Commonwealth look responsible. Ginnie and Jess must find a way to stop them not only to save the colony, but to save their shipmates who will be caught in the attack and all without alerting the Commonwealth to their presence.

Snowflake Step Four – Vampire Detective Novel

Here’s what I have for step four of the snowflake. It’s based on what I wrote here. I probably won’t be using what I wrote there, since some things have changed, but it gave me a feel for where I wanted to go.

A small portion of humanity, called “Schrecks”, are able to ingest human blood and gain strength, health, and nearly superhuman abilities. Samantha Chambers, a Schreck police detective, is one of the few she knows of that hates her “gift”. Still, it’s let her pursue the police career that she’s always dreamed of. Her first six months on the job are pretty mundane until she and her partner, Bill Jordan, are called in on a case that involves a Schreck attacker. When they arrive at the scene she’s shocked to find out that the woman looks just like her, practically her twin.

After some digging, they find out that this isn’t the first incident. This victim, a fashion designer, was the third in a string of murders. All of the women had the same build and general description as Sam. A homeless woman in San Francisco and a doctor in Oklahoma City. They were all killed by a Schreck or at least someone pretending to be one. The most recent victim has actual evidence that the attacker is one of them. He made the mistake of leaving some DNA behind.

The killer is identified as one Seth Marks. He’s a registered Schreck and is suspected of hunting people for food, though there’s no proof. Given his lifestyle it’s possible that he was responsible for the other deaths. When Sam and Bill arrive at his apartment they find it a complete wreck with blood everywhere. The partners go their own ways attempting to track him down. She follows a lead to another residence he keeps. There she’s attacked by someone much more powerful than her. Seth comes to her rescue and together the two are barely able to fend him off.

Seth reveals that he’s been able to find out some things about the victims. They’re Shrecks too and based on the evidence he’s seen they share DNA. The victims are all related. Convinced by the attack that’s Seth’s innocent and intrigued by the evidence that the victims might be related she goes to her partner. He tells her that she’s digging in some dangerous territory and that they should just bring Seth in and let the system deal with him. Unsatisfied with that answer she takes it to the chief. He assures her that it will be looked into. Shortly thereafter she’s attacked by some normals with some VERY hi tech gear.

Seth and someone who appears to be their attacker come to her rescue and they are able to escape. Once safe, she and Seth confront this person. This mysterious person reveals yet another layer of mystery. The three people killed so far are indeed all related. They are part of a set of sextuplets. Sam and one other woman are the only ones left, the sixth having died in childbirth according to the official records. They are part of an experiment to take the Shreck gene and refine it, creating a more powerful version on purpose. The fifth child is located in Canada and the stranger believes her to be safe at the moment. She reveals herself to be the sixth child, Andrea. The person killing them all is an unknown force. Seth and the Andrea convince Sam that it’s best if she disappears for a while. The government is after her and so is this stranger. Sam agrees to go underground with Andrea to root out the killer and evade the government.

They decide to head north and make sure that their last living sister is alright. They arrive at the safe house only to find that they’re too late. The three of them do face off with the killer though. A person claiming to be a “real” vampire found out about the government experiments. Its primary purpose was to create a force capable of rooting out and destroying his kind. Secondarily, the force would be a practically unstoppable weapon. The government was about to take all five of the known living sisters and begin stage two. The real vampire couldn’t let that happen. Together the three Shrecks are able to defeat the vampire, but they realize that if he’s right the government will still be after Andrea and Sam as will the vampire’s kin.

End of book one.


Archangel Reboot

You may have heard of this podcast novel I wrote called Archangel? It’s got a list of supporters long enough to please me, but I’ve gotten some feedback on it and as any first novel does it’s not without it’s problems. I basically “pantsed” the whole thing and now that I’ve got some experience I know that it shows in the work’s structure. I’ve gotten some very good feedback and have decided to take a whack at rewriting it. I’ll be using the snowflake method as I did with Ginnie Dare, but with this as with Liquid Diet I will be doing a more full blown version of it.

I want to finish both rough drafts by the end of the summer and have finished novels by years end. Will snowflaking let me write like a meth cranked ninja? Is that a good thing? Well I guess we’ll find out.

Anyway, here are steps one and two of the snowflake for Archangel’s reboot:

1) Former soldier defends his city from supernatural evil at the cost of all he holds dear.

2) A former army sniper, discharged after a particularly odd final mission, tries to enjoy his retirement in peace. All of that changes when he meets a local business man whose activities have a dark and supernatural edge to them. When going to the police doesn’t help, he decides to use his skills to track the man and ultimately take him down whatever the consequences. Unfortunately the consequences involve an escalation that threatens the lives of everyone he loves and the very fabric of reality. His friends and family join him in the fight, but will it be enough to quench the fires of Hell?

Part-time Vampire

I plan on building two “snowflakes” this month in an effort to finish three novels by year’s end. It’s ambitious, but I already have one “in the can”. It’s still being edited, but I must continue writing, even while that one is cooling and being beta read.

This is made somewhat easier by my choice of topics. One of them will be a ground up rewrite of the first two Archangel novels. I’m shooting to make that one solid novel and rather than edit it, I really feel it would be easier/better to reboot it. The other choice was what I thought was going to be a short story I started on thanks to “News From Poughkeepsie”. Called “A Liquid Diet”, it involves a slightly different take on vampires, at least I hope so.

Here are steps one and two of the snowflake method for “Liquid Diet”:

1) Police detective and part time vampire, tries to track down a serial killer who may be targeting her.

2) A small portion of humanity, called “Schrecks”, are able to ingest human blood and gain strength, health, and nearly superhuman abilities. A Schreck police detective, one of the few that hates her “gift”, inherits a series of cases involving women who look just like her. Every one of them is found dead apparently at the hands of one of her “kind”. Finally a solid lead materializes, only to have the first real suspect turn up missing. The evidence in this missing person’s case points to a “real” vampire and it’s up to Sam to find out if such a thing is even possible and catch it. If she can’t everyone like her is liable to find themselves on the point of a stake, if the killer doesn’t get to her first.

Let me know what you think and keep kicking my butt if you want to see this written!

Step Four – The Page

The next step in the snowflake method is to develop a page from the paragraph you made in step two. Things have already changed a little, so this has been very helpful. I’m not sure if I’ll complete all the steps, but so far I love this. I have a complete story arc!

The Dare Freight company arrives on Eshu V, ready to resupply the nearly self sufficient colony there. Ginnie notices something isn’t right when she hails them and receives no answer. Once they get closer she realizes that there’s no communications traffic at all. A fly over reveals no activity and no apparent colonists. Standing orders require that they land and offer any aid until the military arrives. The ship lands near the colony site and Walter, Ginnie, and a few other crew members go to check things out. Walter isn’t happy that his only child is coming along, but they both feel that her skills and experience are enough that she can handle herself. They prepare for any biological/physical hazards and head out.

Continue reading Step Four – The Page