While I have published a couple of books, and am working on my third book via my #TwitterFiction project, most people who know me also know that I am a massive science fiction fan, in particular, Star Wars and Star Trek.
I am very much enjoying writing “The Body in the Building” on Twitter, but I have learned the hard way not to push past the boundaries of the constraints I set myself writing it; that is, I have to write every paragraph into Twitter, and to keep writing at a consistent rate, not too much, not too little.
Sometimes, however, I felt like I wanted to write a little bit more. I didn’t want to change the conditions of writing “Body,” and I have wanted to write something sci-fi for a long time but just never had the story come to mind.
I chose writing to the Star Trek universe because it’s a known platform for most readers and I didn’t have to describe how the world works. Most people, even if they don’t identify themselves as hardcore Star Trek fans, understand what the Federation is, and so on.
I didn’t want to launch (if you’ll pardon the pun) into writing another full novel-sized story, especially given that I can’t publish a Star Trek novel for money without getting it approved by the holders of the intellectual property. If I really feel like I have landed on a great story, I can always adapt it to a universe of my own creation rather than remain limited as a short fan fiction story.
Coming to this particular story, I knew I didn’t want to write something around the familiar characters of the USS Enterprise. It’s too hard to be really consistent with everyone’s understanding of the characters, and frankly, it’s been done to death.
I have been known to play Star Trek: Online on occasion, and my very favorite ship from Star Trek is the Constitution refit, which made its debut in the Star Trek movies with the NCC-1701A. My character’s name is Arienne (a name I use when gaming online), who is currently at a rank in-game of Lieutenant Commander.
As I was playing, I thought to myself that it would make an interesting story around that character and her current ship, the USS Montgomery, which was ironically a randomly generated name from the game itself, in reference to the chief engineer about the original USS Enterprise, Montgomery Scott. I decided to take these elements and turn that into the basis for a story.
Thus Lieutenant Commander Arienne Landy, of the USS Montgomery was born, and so the story that followed, which was intentionally meant to feel familiar, like a Star Trek episode, but is actually an original story. No doubt, it is similar to some existing episodes, but hopefully not so much as to detract from the story I conceived.
What surprised me is how quickly I was able to write it. “USS Montgomery” is nearly half as long as “The Map in the Fortune Cookie,” but I wrote it in about a week. To be fair, it doesn’t go through the same process of editing as a book I would publish, but I think I have been increasing my writing stamina over the past couple of years, so I find it easier to write more and more quickly.
So that is the story behind the story, so to speak. If you’re ready to read, you can find “USS Montgomery” here. I hope you enjoy it!