If you got that email a year ago with the wave file called "Wake Up" (a line drawing cartoon of a cat trying to get his owner out of bed) and enjoyed it, hop over to Scita Scienda for C.L. Dyck's "Happy Holidays" post.
TT: Forgive her for the PC title. She's Canadian. They don't have Christmas, I guess. Or they'll imprison her for mentioning anything with "Christ" in it.
Just kidding, Cat. Mostly.
I was a writing fool last night. Too bad I started so late. It won't last, I'm sure.
What helped was remembering one of the things I love about Past Ties: all the psyonic stuff. I thought, why on earth am I not writing more about that? That's good stuff, chock full of conflict with hints of occult to draw in the modern day reader.
Viewpoint Character Tayra Shah is a member of the Psyonic Guild. Her title is "Tracker," and her ability category is Empathic Precog. That means she is able to sense past, present and future emotional states in regards to a specific item or person. In the case of an item, she senses the emotional states of the people surrounding it.
This awareness can be used for a variety of purposes, but since Trackers are rare (about 1 in every 1 billion births), the Guild uses them to locate stuff. Valuable stuff. Good P.R., and pays for all the upkeep.
Trackers have a hard life. They have very little control over what they sense and often get bombarded with unwanted information. Think TMI for every person you ever meet. Or pass. Or see. Or don't see, 'cause the precognitive aspects of the ability mean time is no barrier to reception.
Doesn't sound so fun, huh?
It isn't fun, although Shah used to be very, very good at her job. Arrogant good. Then she got spanked. Hard.
When we meet her, she's a mess. A guilt-ridden, shame-filled, emotionally-crippled mess being forced to take her first assignment in three years.
Like the best therapy sessions, good story-telling is about conflict. I was forgetting that. My favorite part of writing, and reading, is the conflict. The yelling, the blaming, the sarcasm and the fear of failure. I won't be able to chop off heads in this book (unless I get really creative), but my folks can fight.
Add in describing abilities no one has ever experienced before and my fingers are itching to type just thinking about it.
TT: That last sentence was a little bold, even for me. With the resurgence of interest in psychic phenomena, people have certain expectations of what a psychic or psyonic can do. I don't care about their expectations too much. My psyonics will be judged on their own merits, and Shah will be judging herself for a while yet.