Second ‘Versing

Yesterday was all about playing around.  There wasn’t any writing going on, no novels to edit or develop, so it was all about doing things that might not seem interesting to you, but could be great fun to me.

There’s the whole “brainstorm the story” thing  I’m working on, and while it goes slow–because I have to think about whats happening, to come up with a few ideas here and there, and then line it out–it’s interesting.  I see how the program works, how the whole idea should come together.  If I see something that I forgot, I make a note and tag it back to a certain, particular idea.

I can see how I can use this to work on one character, one that needs more defining than I’m able to give in my head.  I can lay their name out in the middle of the page and start putting character ideas together.  I might only have a couple of weeks to work on it, because this public beta goes up in smoke on 15 September, but that’s okay, because I can save the information off, and even export the map to a pdf or image and show it to someone who . . . well, they’re always a good help.

But the one thing I really wanted was to do The ‘Verse.  By “to do”, I don’t mean engage in some strange sexual congress:  I mean I wanted to design it in my AstroSynthensis program.  I wanted to bring the information down from various sources and load it up in my program, and see what works.

There is a map that’s been created that is now considered cannon, so I decided to use that as a guide.  I mean, you look at the stars and it’s pretty easy to figure out what they should be.  But then I came across a white paper that has just about everything in terms of planetary data, and this helped a lot, because suddenly I have something which makes modeling far easier.

Right off the bat I discovered something:  The ‘Verse is huge.  If measuring the orbit of the farthest star in the system, it’s about forty light hours across.  From the next orbit in it’s about thirty-five light hours across.  Distance between close systems–and by that I mean when they are in conjunction and you are at the shortest distance between their outermost planets–averages about twenty AU, or about three billion kilometers, or about one billion, eight hundred sixty million miles.  That’s in conjunction, which doesn’t happen too often.

What this means is if your little Firefly Class transport doesn’t go really fast, it’s going to take a hell of a long time to get from one place to another.  Having to travel a distance of, say, twenty-five light hours isn’t that bad–if you’re a beam of light.  If you’re not, you could find yourself getting a little bored on your years-long flight.  But we know they have fast ship in The ‘Verse–

They travel at the speed of plot, don’t you know?

Constructing the Walls of a New World

The weekend was one of business and writing, among other things.  I started playing with Daz3D, and it didn’t take me long to realize that I need to work with the training videos, because I stumbled about for about thirty minutes before realizing I had no freakin’ idea what I was doing.  You graphic models, you know how to drive me crazy.

I got into writing Chapter Ten–and, man, is my muse a nasty person when she wants to be.  Not only that, but she’s a potty mouth, big time.  Probably picked it up during the Dark Ages, you know?  The story continues, and I understand why there is so much hesitation with my storytelling these days:  this is a somewhat dark tale, and there is a lot of unhappiness ongoing.  I’m not good with unhappiness  but I admit it exists, and you have to work it into your writing.  No, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns:  most of the time it’s a lot of pain, and I’m starting to feel it now.

On the other hand I could write about virgins having sex with their stepparents . . . naw, I think I’ll leave those masterpieces for the amateurs.

As the night wore on, I discovered I had–here it comes–nothing to do.  I mean, that does happen from time to time, but last night it was driving me a little nuts.  I was finished with writing for the evening, and if it hadn’t been so late I may have added a few hundred more words, but they wouldn’t have been good words, so no point there.

That was when I started talking . . .

See, someone I know on Facebook, another writer who is starting her research on her story, wanted to know if she could pick my brain in a non-zombie way about something science fictiony.  I said sure, go for it.  With that, we got into a discussion about what would happen if the moon were much closer to this planet, or if the moon were, say, twice as big, and what it would do to the Earth–or another Earth-like planet similar to one a reader might find in a story.

I love this sort of thing, building systems.  I don’t claim to have all the math right all the time, but it’s a good experience  letting you mind wander and imagining what could happen if this were in place.  So I started talking about Roche Limits, about higher tides and fewer ice ages because the primary is going to be more stable.  I spoke about how shorelines will look difference because of more erosion, and how the day will be longer because the moon is slowing the primary down.

I asked a few more questions, the made the offer:  give me some broad outlines about what you want, and I’ll put the system together for you.

See, I am a nice person.  Just ask most anyone.

Now I wait and see what comes my way.  After that, I start working things out, and before you know it, another system will be out there shining.

We need all the light we can get.