Finished the first cut-down. I’ve got it just under 5000 words now. Next step is to let it sit for a day or two, so when I go back and look at it, it’s easy to pick out the mistakes and what clarifications need to be added.
So for your reading pleasure, here’s an excerpt from later in the story:
Emily Norton let them into the office. “Home, Sweet home. Well, I share it with another lecturer. Welcome to the academic plantation system. You want tea?” She picked up an electric kettle, the exact same kind they used in their own office.
Mustapha said, “I’m about to float away as it is.” He expected a women’s studies lecturer to look more mannish, but Norton could have been a sorority girl dressed for comfort.
Diana said, “I’m fine, but make yourself some if you’d like.” Norton plugged in the kettle. Diana held up her tablet. “Do you recognize this man?”
A squint. “… Maybe.” Norton took the tablet from Diana, examined it more closely, opened her laptop, tapped and typed. “Yes. Taylor Green. He writes an awful blog–”
Mustapha said, “Which you make a lot of comments on.” At Norton’s frown, “The Internet’s not anonymous unless you make up a name you’ve never used before. It took my partner three searches to figure out you’re Hensbane and you were here at Tech.”
Raised eyebrows joined the frown. “I see. Well, yes: it’s an absolutely odious blog, and sometimes… well, I have to keep up with the stereotype of an angry feminist once in a while, just for kicks. He’s having a book published, did you know? That he’s profiting from victimizing women… my students would say I can’t even.”
Diana said, “Where were you Monday morning, Ms. Norton? Dr. Norton?”
“Yes, but Ms. is fine. She blushed. “I spent the entire morning ignoring my poor research and playing Halo on Xbox Live. Way too much fun. Some people get so upset when they get 360-noscoped by a girl.”
Mustapha said, “You should meet my son.”
“I have a partner.”
“No; I mean in the game. Can anyone confirm you were online?”
“Chat logs?” said Diana. Norton nodded. “We’ll check. Why did the blog upset you so much?”
“Because its misogyny is subtle enough for it to be influential. Do you know what the Red Pill is?”
Diana said, “Oh, the pick-up artist thing.”
“Yes. It’s predicated on some willful misunderstandings of evolutionary biology. Only the alpha male gets to mate.”
Diana said, “But isn’t that just for college kids?”
“Mid-twenties, maybe. The blog is directed toward men in their thirties. Instead of assuming women are stupid, Taylor assumes that they’re desperate. His premise is that women who want heteronormative monogamy greatly outnumber potential partners. Which isn’t completely false, though it’s problematic for several reasons. Taylor Green’s philosophy involves manipulating women into sex with the promise of a relationship. It’s much worse than the Red Pill, because it’s deliberately dishonest. The alpha male thing is at least direct, and easier to see through, which is why it only works on very young and naïve women.”
The key thing I’m going to need to add is an excerpt from the actual blog. But this is the trickiest part, because it needs to be both horrible and illustrative. It will be about phones.