Chemistry tends to be complicated. I basically majored in it, though chemistry has little to do with my life as it stands at the moment. Twisting and turning supposedly 3-Dimensional compounds written out as 2-Dimensional structures (on a chalk board) to understand the mechanisms that take place in chemical reactions. I don’t think I was a very good chemist, but I had a lot of fun.
So, instead of making up science whole sale, one of the aspects I enjoy is taking existing science and having impossible events occur with it. It’s still making things up, entirely, don’t forget that. But, as a writer, it feels better for me knowing I have concrete rules that I have to follow, even if no one else knows they exist.
Groans echoed in the emptying mug of coffee. Rubbing the tired sleep from her eyes with one hand and trying not to destroy her glasses by misplacing her mug with the other, Sophia stifled a yawn. Three weeks with hardly any sleep and a diet that seemed to consist solely of coffee.
Work on the chemical hadn’t gone nearly as well as she’d expected. Only half the time did she even understand what she was looking at. No derivatives existed for this compound. Of that, she felt confident. Whatever her partner had given her, this structure was the only viable form. Not even adding a hydrochloride would make the bonding sites more accepting.
Still, knowing the final compound didn’t actually help her. She needed to decipher the chemical mechanism behind the compound to find the original components. The synthesis of this particular molecular structure stumped her. Each time she thought she had successfully reversed each step, she discovered another possibility.
So far, she’d scratched out over thirteen distinct reaction mechanisms, several well over 40 steps. The shortest—and one of the least likely—sat a step over 25. More than twenty discarded mechanisms, each deemed impossible, littered her chalkboard and iPad.
Still, none of her mechanisms could fully account for the inorganic component of the molecule. So far, she knew the molecule was a tightly bound synthetic metalloenyzme designed to boost protein folding inside the victim. An inorganic core wrapped in an organic structure.
Thoughts: Writing this has made me think a lot about research into subjects to make their appearance seem more palatable or realistic. Sometimes, the research is critical. Other times, it doesn’t matter.
This isn’t a fresh scene. I wrote it a long time ago, when I was far more fluent in chemistry. I did revise it significantly and it will go through further revisions, as it belongs in the my second novel. Going back, I can see a lot of chemistry terms that I used to take for granted, ideas where the details matter.
The actual scene is much longer, where my narrator actually explains quite a bit about folding proteins and how they interact with other forms of matter. It’s fascinating stuff.
I know some people will gloss over the technobabble aspect, and hopefully, a complete story means no one will be forced to read it or even understand the technical details. But, I think it adds some layers to the narrator because this is how she thinks and it’s important to her.