El Frío – The Process
**SPOILERS BELOW. If you have not read the story and want to be (hopefully) surprised, come back to this when you’re done.**
Sometimes a topic yells at you so loudly that to ignore it would be tantamount to leaving an injured pedestrian on the side of the road.
To ignore it feels utterly wrong.
Do something about it.
That’s what happened with my need to write something set in Antarctica. In the December issue of Smithsonian Magazine, Kim Stanley Robinson wrote an article regarding Robert Scott’s daring expedition to the South Pole in 1911. On top of that, I had seen a notice earlier that month regarding an exhibit at a local museum showing unbelievable photographs and documentation of Ernest Shackleton’s near-catastrophic voyage in 1914. So after reading the article and visiting the museum, I was pretty hyped up on investigating every little bit of history regarding that barren land to the south.
I discovered that in 1819, a Spanish ship named San Telmo was blown off course on the way to Peru and its splintered remains were discovered on Livingston Island, possibly making any one of its 644 sailors the first known people to set foot on what’s considered Antarctica.
So, I figured the Captain ought to be the one to do it. From there, I ran with the intriguing setting of a very real Blood Falls and how it might be interpreted by a likely-devout Catholic who’s on the brink of death.
Of course, I had to throw in a sci-fi twist. You guys know by now, that’s just how I roll most of the time.
In regards to the writing process itself, I’m trying to get out of this nasty, occasional habit of rewriting the same paragraph over and over early on, only to scramble on Sunday morning to finish the damn story. It doesn’t always happen, but it seems to more often than not. It’s good to course correct when the boat’s heading off-kilter (hopefully before it ends up crashing into an iceberg…)
You’re probably also seeing a pattern whereby, sometimes, I’m barely using the scratch file at all. I’m just diving into the manuscript and working it out from there. It seems to depend on the story and how confident I’m feeling.
Hope you enjoyed the tale and a bit of history!
Here’s the general scratch file:
And the daily journal entries:
- Monday, January 1st
- Tuesday, January 2nd
- Wednesday, January 3rd
- Thursday, January 4th
- Friday, January 5th – Skipped
- Saturday, January 6th
- Sunday, January 7th