The Far and the Near

My jaunt into The Black has reached one milestone:  last night I finished creating the main system–aka, The Core–for The ‘Verse, which I’ve been working on here and there since Saturday.  Lots of things to put into this sucker, and even spending an hour or two at night means you only get to add a couple of planets and their moons.  Or a protostar and its planets and their moons–yes, there are stars within stars here, and it makes for one of the most impossible systems I’ve ever seen.

The more I build the more I look at this and shake my head.  It’s such an out there system, but hey:  it’s suppose to be considered canon these days, and who am I to argue with a bunch of Browncoats?  Though I’m sure at some point I’ll probably write about how all the core planets exist outside the habitable zones–the “Goldielocks Zones” we sometime say–and the most massive of the stars is in orbit around all the other smaller stars.  I don’t even want to try and calculate those parameters.  I know there’s one article I want to write that’s based in part on this system, and that’s something I think just might pop up this weekend.  If I’m not shopping, that is.

Then I was into the mind mapping for a while.  I love the Scapple program:  it has certainly become one I want to get when it comes out of beta.  I love the flow, I love how you can put notes wherever you like, and links them not only to one thought, but to many if that is your choice.  I’ve found a few bugs, but it’s beta, remember?  There are suppose to be bug, and they get corrected before the program goes live.  Or so one hopes, yeah?

The one thing I don’t like is how I’m using it.  I reached a point last night where I realized the story I’m playing with works, but I’m flowcharting, not throwing out ideas and seeing if they stick.  Tonight I’m going to “play” with it, do some character sketching, see how that plays out.  I need to think out some characters, and there are a couple I can use to “create them” with the program.  ‘Cause they ain’t gonna build themselves, you know?

That’s the fun when it comes to new software:  you test it, and in doing so you test yourself.  You look for things you could do, and you go there and do them.  You follow new paths, you try new things.  I’m great at thinking things through in an analytical sense, but I need to be a little more spontaneous, more of a throw things out there and see what sticks sort of person when it comes to the craft.  Then from that point, I can build.  I can make things that are incredible, that are inspiring, that feel real.

Just like the gift I sent someone last night, something that, I hope, will give their kids many hours of entertainment, and at the same time get their imaginations a-growin’.  Get them to thinking and dreaming at the same time.

Everyone needs to dream, and have fun while it’s happening.


Orbital Plaything

The allure of space is strong with me.  When I was thinking about stories, I was playing out a scene within my alternate space history story, where a woman, whose father was involved with Soviet Space program from the mid-50’s until the early 1980’s, is recollecting watching Valentina Tereshkova and Irina Soloviyova prepare to lift-off on Vostok 6.

That time Tereshkova flew and became Seagull, but her recollections covered two more important memories.  The first was standing at a launch pad two years later and saying goodbye to Tereshkova and Soloviyova as they prepared to lift-off on Voskhod-5, and how she felt a year later after Yuri Gagarin did everything he could to keep his best friend Vladimir Mikhailovich Komarov from flying Soyuz 1, where upon he suffered the same fate his friend suffered in this reality.

Where is this taking me?  Yesterday I became interested in a program I downloaded last year, a simulation program named Orbiter.  The person who created set it up so that it would be as realistic a space flight simulator as possible, and given the number of times I’ve already crashed, I’d say, yes, it very much is.

While most of the simulation is taken up by the space shuttle Atlantis, and the ISS, there are a few fictional craft that will let you experience things that you might not ever do in real life.  One craft, the Dragonfly, allows you to take off from the ground, fly into orbit, and even fly off to and land upon the Moon if you so desire.  There is another craft called the Saturn-A that is used on the Moon and Mars, but last night I managed to lift-off from Earth and fly into orbit–for a little bit, that is.  I did something bad, and I ended up putting the ship into an uncontrollable flat spin (or, in the vernacular, I entered an excessive yaw-right maneuver, and exhausted my RCS fuel trying to correct) and reentered the atmosphere somewhere beyond Africa.  One moment you’re trying to fix your situation, and the next thing you know there’s all this glowing red mist just outside your window . . .

Trying to figure out what you’re doing is half the battle.  I’ve gotten good enough that I can figure out how to get into orbit without burning too much fuel (I’ve still gotta learn those angle of attacks so I don’t rocket straight up and out), but I’m still learning the fine points of trying to go from the Earth to the Moon.  Tried that today, and ended up getting to the moon’s orbit–only the moon wouldn’t show up at that point for a couple of weeks.  Oops.  It’s that sort of “accident” that leaves you gasping for air, wondering what the hell happened.

The best part of this:  addons.  There is a very large community out there that’s constructed all sorts of simulations, from historic flights to flights that are happening today.  But if you prefer, there are modules that’ll let you fly craft that exist only in your imagination . . .

I’ve already got my eye on a few adons, but first I’m going to figure out how to fly better than I am, ’cause these ships cost a lot of money, and I don’t want to spend my time crashing them, or ending up lost in space for eternity–

Hey:  Lost in Space.  Sounds like a good title.  I wonder if I can do something with that?

Seeking Balance in the Sideways World

Up early, which isn’t a good thing, because I’m not getting sleep again, and I do need my sleep.  If for no other reason, it keeps me from flipping out and hallucinating throughout the day–

Oh, wait.  That’s called being a writer.

It’s coming up on a week off since I finished NaNo, and I’m feeling uneasy.  I don’t have anything to do, and it’s starting to tug at my head, because I need something to do.  I want to do something besides sit around playing with software, trying to make things that are cool to me, but deep down tell me I’m bored, and I’m stalling for time.

I’m stalling because I’m stuck for a project.

Usually something will hit me, tell me, “Hey, listen!” over and over, like Navi trying to show me the way to go, but it would seem she’s on holiday or something, because I’m not getting any clues as to the next big thing.  Other than to work on graphic projects that are only going to take me so far, because it’s not writing!

I’ve been in this place before.  It’s akin to hanging off the Trollveggen, wondering how much longer it’s going to take me to get to the summit, and if some bastardy trolls are going to get me before I’m there.  It’s the feeling that you have nothing holding you to the world save for a couple of clamps and some nylon rope, and if either of them ever give way, then you’re going to find life interesting for the few seconds it takes for your body to reach the base of the wall.

After that, not so much.

I have a couple of projects in mind, but nothing is smacking me across the face, saying that I need to do this one.  You often know what is striking your fancy almost before it does, but this time I’m stuck with the feeling that what I’m looking for isn’t there–at least not yet.

This isn’t the same as writer’s block, that mysterious force that keeps you from writing anything worth while, where you have no idea how to work through the story before you, or to even get started on a story.  This is more like, the ideas are there, but nothing seems good.  Or interesting.  Or worthwhile.

Maybe it is writer’s block.  If so, Chuck has a bit of advice for getting your Creative Mojo back, and I’ve already seen a couple of points that seem to be pointing at me.  Maybe there is time to do something else.  Maybe there is time to work on another creative release to get the juices flowing in another area.  In fact, I just had something pop into my head, based upon another idea that had come along months ago, and . . .

Well, it seems good now.  Maybe it’ll be good later.

I think I have something I could work on, a good idea that could be better.  Maybe I need to mind map this sucker out and see where it goes.

The story idea might not go anywhere, but it might lead me towards the next big thing.

That makes it worth while.