A quirk in the expression on Singh’s face and my (Mu-rau’s) response to that expression generated the first line of the story, as well as Singh and Mu-rau’s relationship.
Writing a story is about giving your characters problems and then working through the solutions to those problems. For Martian Law that was easy. Singh is an international legal consultant, so the problems he deals with come directly from current events. All I had to do was supply an English paint-job to some generalized post-colonial strife and hook that bigger political picture into a personal conflict between Singh’s love interest and her bad-guy husband. With the help of Simon in a conversation I stupidly failed to record, I did just that. The result was these characters:
Percival Q. Singh
Birthplace: Selenia Excavation, First Lunar Republic
Education: Savantry of La-uu’hi/veo’sa-uu (Helas Plantila, Mars), Nest of Social Engineering
Languages spoken: English, Selenian Creol, Ga-uhi/ge-uu’bi/bo’sa-u/nai, Mi’xa-u/ku’xa-uu, Scots
“I am vast, I am cool, I am unsympathetic.”
His problem: He is supposed to help earthlings, but doesn’t know much about them
Birthplace: The Byzantium Community (now the Konstantiniyye’den bir Marslı Çeyrek), Turkish Federation.
Education: Moral Philosophic sub-Savantry of Himalaya
Languages spoken: Ga-uhi/ge-uu’bi/bo’sa-u/nai, Turkish, Greek, English
“There is always a third option.”
Problem: he wants to help humans, but humans don’t trust him
Selma Dunwitty (wife of Arthur Dunwitty, General in the English People’s Army Birthplace: Burgh o Landeen, Sooth Scotland (now London, England)
Education: The Landeen Heich Schuil for Weemen
Languages spoken: Scots, English, Ga-uhi/ge-uu’bi/bo’sa-u/nai
“It is not who I am, but what I am.”
Problem: She’s being blackmailed by the Scots in order to put pressure on her husband.
From there, the story went easily. I only ran into problems at the end, which needed a solution to the problems I gave my characters. Because I don’t know the solution to a corrupt authoritarian state driven by rabid ultranationalism.