Forms Without Shape or Substance

The above title has to do with a dream I had last night, where it seemed that nothing possessed a true form or was in any way substantive.  You couldn’t lay something flat, because “flat” was a relative term:  it might look flat, but it wasn’t.  Some totally non-Euclidean shit going on, trust me, and it could very well be that my old buddy Cthulhu was paying me a visit last night, but if that were the case I’d likely be insane right now.

Or am I already?

I was in a good mood last night.  I was editing along well, maybe getting thirty pages out of the way while listening to some good music.  I even snapped a picture of myself and passed it along to a few friends, which should give you an indication of how I felt at the time, because I’m seen online as often as the Loch Ness Monster these days.

Once the editing was out of the way my mind began to wander.  I was back on the story that I’m not now working on, but in reality I was thinking ahead of the story I’m not now working on.  I was thinking of the future history, of what lay ahead for Annie and Kerry.  Since I can’t leave things alone, I started to plan, and to plot, and to work . . .

First I got out an old map I’d created a long time ago.  How long?  Maybe two and a half years at this point in time and space.  When I look at this I know what it means . . .

It meas someone took their girlfriend on a tour of Europe.  Chicks dig tours of Europe.

It means someone and their girlfriend went on a tour of Europe. Chicks dig tours of Europe.

I had an old time line of this laying about somewhere, but since I have Aeon, I decided to lay out some point in time leading up to this trip, and for a few things that happened along the way for this trip.  In my kid’s history this is an important moment for them, because it’s freedom, and not the kind that gets you drawn and quartered, probably because you were walking around a battlefield with a Plasticine dog in your arms.  (True movie buffs will know what I’m saying here.)  Needless to say I ended up with a lot of plot points on a time line, and everything seemed to fall in place a lot better–including a moment I realized yesterday that proved, beyond a doubt, that no one was ever going to keep these kids apart after a certain point in time.

Then I started thinking on another subject with my kids, and that meant I needed to head over to one of the various websites I keep bookmarked because I never know when I’m gonna need it.  What was I doing?  I was blowing up stuff in Russia.  No, really.

That's not a bomb; that's a . . . different kind of bomb, baby!

That’s not a bomb; that’s a . . . different kind of bomb, baby!

Of course what I was blowing up in Russia is my business and mine alone, and I really can’t say for sure if things really do get blown up.  It’s all part of a “What If?” that I’m working out for a future story that will likely get written one day when I’m old and gray–well, I’m already gray, so old-er.

With all this behind me, all this mind tripping said and done, it was time to get some more time lines figured out.  So on to Aeon and the building of a future that someone besides me will see one day.

See all those lines?  They mean something to me.  Maybe one day they'll mean something to you.

See all those lines? They mean something to me. Maybe one day they’ll mean something to you.

While For a Few Dollars More played in the background I figured out points in time and set them up against characters.  I set up and defined events that I’ve thought about for a long time, but I’ve never actually set down like this.  There is more to do–the bomb thing above actually takes place during their E Levels, and I haven’t worked out all the time yet–and I’ll probably get to that tonight after I put more editing under the bridge.

Even when I’m not working on my stories I’m working on my stories.  Even here, it’s more about stories yet to come than the story that’s coming.  This is why breaks from your work are good–

It’s lets you build upon your world without being distracted from the events in front of you.


Hanger Time

This is one of those moments when I wake up and realize I made a mistake.  Oh, noes!  What do I do?

Don’t panic.  It’s not that bad.  Allow me to explain . . .

Yesterday I worked on the penultimate scene in Part Three of my Camp story, the part that has all the attacking in the middle of the night and a lot of death and destruction.  It was a good scene.  I’d figured out what sort of equipment was going to be used, which characters would be on stage.  I did my research ’cause there was a bit of math that needed calculating to get one part of the story right, and I’d checked my observation and calculations against the maps I’d created, to make sure when I wrote my last scene, I would at least have some accuracy behind the drama.

It all looked good, so when I wrote the last line in the chapter–“The Hanger vaporized”–I was satisfied with the vision I’d created.  I listened to some music for an hour, read a bit, then headed off to bed.

And . . . I didn’t feel right when I woke up.

The scene I’d written was dramatic, but it felt too dramatic.  It was too explodey.  Yeah, my original calculations said I’d blow things to hell, but I didn’t feel right.

That meant re-checking a few facts.

First off, I’m using Nukemap, an online nuclear bomb effects program, to calculate effects.  I’d used the original version, but this morning–about seven AM to be more or less exact–I checked the link for the new and improved 2.0 Nukemap, and I thought I’d give it a spin.

What’s nice is that I could set this for a surface burst, and eliminate Nukemapthat pesky radiation, since my detonation wasn’t an actual nuke.  I added a few blast markers to check for over-pressure effects, centered the point of detonation right about where it should be in the real life place, and clicked the Detonate button.

As you can see, my effects are quite a bit different.  In particular, the radius of my air pressure effects.  Damn those ground bursts; they always try and spoil your fun.  In primary effect I want–which is a lot of damage up close and personal–is still there, but what happens to the structure is going to be a lot less than “vaporized”.

(With this site, if I wanted to use the 3D version, I could have had a little cloud rise up from the point of detonation, but that would mean loading the Google Earth plugins, and knowing my computer, it’d have a breakdown trying to render that effect.  I’ll just pretend the cloud is there and move on.)

One I have the new effects nailed down, I bring up my map and start Hanger Blastabout doin’ some figurin’.  I need a couple of rulers, I move them to the area in my Hanger were I figure the blasting is going to happen, set them at right angles to each other, and . . . yeah.  Just what I thought.  Not a lot of vaporizing going on here, but there will be a lot of damage.

So away with “The Hanger vaporizes” line.  Instead I head back into the last chapter and write a bit of prose about how one wall disintegrates and the southern portion of The Hanger collapses to the ground.  There’s no mention of how the floor craters and everything dropped into the basement under The Hanger, or how two instructors die and three bad students end up with incompletes for the year, but a reader should be able to figure that out for themselves.

Some people wake up and wonder when the coffee will finish brewing, or what the weather’s like.  I gotta think about power systems blowing up and buildings collapsing.  Because I want a paragraph to be right.

Yeah.  It’s like that all the time with me.