Some of the people I used to work with have encouraged me to do a story about transportation planning, so I have tried several times to do that. Nothing has come together yet.
I started to write a movie set in a transportation planning office, but got bogged down in the details. That experience made me realize that I need to focus on plot before I get into any transportation specific details. After 30 years focussed on those details, it is easy to get caught up in them.
More recently, I decided that I should write a series of short stories as a way to develop my ideas, which I would later incorporate into a film. I need more practice telling stories too. Back in January I developed an outline for a story set in a transportation planning office. This week I started to write it. I set a goal of a 6,000 word story. I got just under 3,500 done and I’m less than half way through. At that rate it will end up at 9,000 words. I’ll need to do some severe edits to get it down to size. That can be a good thing for the quality of the story.
I started with the Lester Dent master fiction plot that I used for The Abattoir Project: A Ken Walker Adventure. In the master fiction plot, the hero gets in to actual physical fights. I was tempted to do the same thing in my transportation planning story, but decided that would be silly. Instead I had verbal arguments rather than fist fights. Maybe if/when I do another story I can have some real knock down melees. Another approach would be to make it a comedy.
In the master plot, the heroes and villains are black and white (or rather white and black), but I’m much more inclined to make them more of a dark grey/ light grey. The story is about a fight over a development proposal. My heroes are the City’s transportation planners, while the villain is a developer. A consultant is caught in the middle. That isn’t the only situation where transportation planners run into conflict, but it was an obvious place to start.
I’ll need to avoid the temptation to preach about how transportation planning should be done. That can be a bore, and I’m bad enough at that as it is.
Note 2015 May 20: Since the Lester Dent Master Fiction plot keeps vanishing, I added it to one of my blog posts: