Salvage Premise and Synopsis

As a beginning writer, I’ve struggled with describing my story ideas.  After research, thought, and effort around the definitions of idea, concept, premise, synopsis, and theme in writing, I discovered a solid concept, premise, and synopsis can help me craft the story more robustly.

I came up with the following premise and synopsis for Salvage:
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Brio’s Hope

Here’s a little backstory on the ship in Salvage, Episode 1.

Brio’s Hope is a solid workhouse of a space transport.  It’s old but serviceable, and the crew are used to working in a pinch and using what’s at hand to fix problems.

The small crew consists of the captain, first mate, cargomaster, engineer, doctor, and a new hire.  Possibly few other unnamed crew.  Most of the crew have been together a long time.  While the captain owns the Brio outright, money is tight.

They’ve ferried colonists in the past but not recently, so this trip required some re-tooling.

The ship consists of a cylindrical dome on the front, followed by a ring of crew quarters, then the massive drive and engine, then the cargo holds.  At the very end lie the crucial water tanks.

Water onboard is used for drinking and, in limited fashion, for hygiene and cleaning the ship.  Water is also used to preserve valuable seedlings and embryonic tanks for the colonists.  It’s also used to generate oxygen and in CO2 removal systems.  Solid waste is not reclaimed/reprocessed but stored for to be sold for composting later.  The colonists worked out a deal for the compost to be used on-planet when they get there.

The Brio uses a water reclamation system that’s usually about 90% effective, but slow.  Inefficiency in the system comes from the planned non-use by the crew of solid waste recycling, in oxygen generation, and from losses within the CO2 scrubbers.    The colonists brought onboard a system that processes the solid waste into fertilizer, but the process doesn’t reclaim that much water.

So, the Brio has planned water stops along the long route, as well as secondary stops favored by the crew and noted in an open-source database used by most spacecraft

A milestone of a finished draft… of part 1

I’ve completed a draft of the first part of the first episode of the Salvage project. May not seem much, but it took a great deal of honing my writing craft to get here.

If you’re interested in being a beta reader, let me know. I will — hopefully — cruise to the novel’s midpoint by early next year. The time I’ve taken to hone the plot and supporting scenes should really help.

Dim lights flickered on, illuminating curved metal walls extending into darkness. While he waited, he put one hand on the smooth metal, envisioning the giant struts just outside, encasing the tube and holding the water tanks fast to the body of Brio’s Hope.
From down the corridor came soft sounds, a light series of tapping soon followed by tiny green lights swirling around the tube, moving closer. Soon he could see the crowd of centipede-like robots spiraling around the corridor walls, the cleaning brushes sweeping around conduit and pipe. They soon streamed around him, on their way to their docking stations.

Writing Status: Improving Plot Structure for Salvage, Ep. 1

So, sometimes a writer has to tighten her belt, er, plot.   Did I mention my unique talent for making a short story very, very long?  Turns out that’s something to rein in to create a great story.

After research, thought, and analysis, I’ve tightened up the plot for Salvage’s episode 1.

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“So, Kili, want a treat?” The doctor held out a jar of lollipops.

It’s “Kaylah.” She shook her head.  Does he think I’m three?

A flicker of a frown crossed his face.  “Suit yourself.”

They were not alone in the cramped medical bay.  Beyond the doctor the medical assistant checked supplies with deft, efficient movements.  The younger man had short hair that spiked up in the oddest directions.  His lip curled up in an odd way on one side, yet, when he had glanced her way…

He seems friendly. More than the doctor, anyway.  I wonder what— 

“How are you enjoying your trip so far?” The doctor offered a false smile.

“It’s okay,” she said softly. I wish Mom had stayed with me. She shifted uneasily.

“It can be scary leaving home for some people.”  He leaned forward and pressed his hands together at the fingertips.

Who does that steepling thing? 

“It’s no big deal,” she said aloud.

“Do you miss Earth?”

Well, duh, it was my home, all I ever knew.  She shrugged.

Behind the doctor the assistant medic looked over his shoulder at her and rolled his eyes.  Her mouth twitched a little, and the burning sensation in her stomach eased.

The doctor continued, “Space is really big. Does it bother you?”

“No.”  What, he can’t use big words? Wait– didn’t he even check my file? My space stuff is all over it.

“How about ship life? Others onboard?” He asked, now scrutinizing the tablet in front of him.

The lights overhead seemed really bright, almost harsh.  Why is he asking about that stuff?

“Passengers had a water leak an hour ago.” The air suddenly seemed to sharpen.
Water had been critical to interstellar travel from the beginning. Reclamation tech had never lived up to its promise, and building craft with large enough water supply tanks proved too expensive for most. So, ships like the Pinoche carried less water, relying on carefully planned stops along the route to collect ice.

Although incredibly clean, like the rest of the ship, the floor in the corridor showed its age with scuff marks and scratches, the kind paint doesn’t hide.  As she strode along, the worn metal grating beneath her feet rattled occasionally.  Kaylah tipped her head back to examine the conduits running overhead behind a series of grates.  Several were taped together with what looked like duct tape.

“A budget ride is a budget ride,” a family friend had warned as they said their last goodbyes back on Earth.  He had added earnestly, “but it will get you there in one piece.  The captain’s a good man.”

“Whatever that means,” Kaylah thought.  She pulled her coat tighter.  The air smelled musty but better than in the passenger rec area.   On any given day, when too many of the unwashed crammed into the converted cargo hold… Her nose crinkled in disgust.  She understood the need for limited water rationing, but she didn’t have to like it.