I do not have much to offer in terms of the creation of 'Ship Wreck'.  The liner notes for the story
explain the primary source of genesis.  I read an article about 'singing sands', which do NOT work
the way they do in this story, I stashed the idea in the junk heap that I sometimes call my brain,
and left it there until a story grew up around it.  

I will say that the setup for the real thrust of the story was a difficult one to create.  There's an
awful lot of lead-in just to get to the singing sands.  Getting Aeryn's level of frustration and
concern to sound right, and deciding how much of the story to spend building up to the 'reveal'
was one of the more laborious efforts I have put into a story.  From the moment she says, "I will
frelling kill him!" until the end of the story was far simpler to commit to the page.    

As far as I know, there is no such thing as harmonic compaction.  I made that up.  It seemed to
suggest how the singing sands might work, if there were such a thing.

The one small reveal I have to offer has to do with the pattern that John drew in the sand with his

    He scrawled an intricate symbol in the sand with his big toe.  He spent several microts
    patting one or two small ridges of sand down with the ball of his foot, then wiped the entire
    thing out with his instep.

I knew from the first instant what John drew, and could not work it into the story.  It interrupted
the pace.  No matter what I tried, it took too long to describe it.  I left the two sentences above in
the story because I wanted John to be doing something, but the actual 'artwork' he drew in the
sand had to be sacrificed.  

Remember, this is John Crichton we are talking about.  If I told you to just think about it for a
while instead of posting the image, I'm betting you could figure it out on your own.  I'll save you
the trouble though.  Forgive the lousy graphic.  I'm a writer, not a Photoshop whiz.

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Ship Wreck