Writing prompt: I’ve never seen one, but how hard could it be?”

Time: 7 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts.

“I’ve never seen one, but how hard could it be?” (This prompt inspired by the Erie Canal, built by four men who hadn’t even seen a canal when they set out to build one.)


“I’ve never seen one before, but how hard could it be?” Emmaye Cevluss said. “They built them practically in medieval times, it’s just a ditch full of water.”


Three months later and how she regretted those words. Without construction equipment, how did she remove the dirt? Without drafting software, how did she visualize the project? How would she calculate stress loads? On this new world, where would she find the materials for good concrete? For good steel?

How hard could it be? A canal connecting the bay to the western part of the peninsula with the quarries and mines. It might as well be a space elevator. Since they had arrived on this world, every day was a day spent learning to adjust to all the things it didn’t have.

Their ship, the Neva, was supposed to help with many of these things. Instead it sat broken, useless, to the west. All the energy it held was devoted to cold storage, to keep biological samples like seeds and useful fungi and bacteria until they could be properly used. And now the cold storage was having issues.

And it was starting to rain a lot. Especially a lot for a supposed desert region.

It was going to be a while before there was a canal.


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