Space Stuff! Space Oddity

Plan 9 from Outer Space

Plan 9 from Outer Space, source: Valiant Pictures

A week back into the narrative, and it’s become fun again. I don’t know when it’s going to be finished, but I like knowing where I’m going. The story contains a lot of touchstones to other stories that nonetheless stand alone fine. One of the scenes made me pause, though. My male protag asked his girlfriend to marry him. (Because there’s no time like a day into an alien invasion to propose. Sort of makes your jumbotron engagement at the Raiders game on national television look kind of lame, doesn’t it?) The girl decides she wants to make the proposition mean something in and of itself. So she reveals her mother made her father perform the engagement ritual from her homeworld. It involves sucking blood from a cut and making a vow to love and protect the other person and to promise oneself in marriage. Um…

I’m not a Twilight fan, unless you mean the Paul Newman movie from 1998.

I liked the ritual and thought it could up the romantic tension nicely. But at the same time, I did not want my protag or his new fiancee to be the futuristic version of Edward and Bella. So when she makes him suck blood from a cut she’s made in her hand, he says, “Like a vampire?” to which she replies “That’s gross.” Then, as he finishes promising his life to her, a bug flies into his mouth.

The Tenth Doctor - BBC

Good. No Daleks. I can beat these losers in about ten minutes. OK, fifteen. I haven’t had my coffee yet. Source: BBC

The idea has origins in, of all places, Reservoir Dogs, where one character complains about sex scenes in movies. He describes an early Meg Ryan film where Meg and her lover wake up the next morning not to violins and soft light and warm fuzzies but a nasty case of morning breath. These characters are in a remote mountain ravine, living in tents with other soldiers and little electrical power, no running water, and food that was up and moving around only hours before (or stored in air-tight packs for months.) There are no violins and soft light and warm fuzzies. There are only bugs, animal jerky, and other people’s BO.

One of the fun parts was putting names, personalities, and backstory to characters referred to as “Soldier 1” or “the prisoner” in the outline. It makes it easier for a lightly-sketched scene to come alive. Now I have to resist the temptation to insert a whimsical Englishman with two hearts coming in to make weird stuff happen.

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