Friday, January 26, 2007

Yronwode Charges Toward Completion

Just a note here.

I frakkin' love Book 7.

I like all my books, but I do have favorites. I thought Book 2 came the closest to pulling off what I wanted to pull off with Worlds Apart. And I've always thought 2 was so good it overshadowed the others.

But Book 7 is turning out as funny, weird, and exotic as any of the others. It started out as a meditation on Middle Eastern politics, but like a wild horse, it went way beyond that. And throwing bits of Dune, Lord of the Rings, Ghost Recon and Halo into the mix didn't hurt either.

I'm just four chapters and somewhere between 20-40 pages of having the final draft done. I still need to shine up some edges. There are at least two characters ... Dayvan Cowboy and Cardinal Meek ... who turned out to have a lot more page time than I thought, and have to be more interesting. But the story has gone places I never expected it too.

I am really looking forward to getting Book 7 finished and on the web.

Friday, January 19, 2007

What I did this week

Now much to report. The writer's block started kicking in as I was setting up the climax in Chapters 14 and 15, so I went back to Chapters 3, 4, and 5, did a little editing, a lot of backfilling, and stitched some disparate pieces together.

One thing I am trying to work out is a distinctive linguistic style for the Xirong, (a human subculture on the planet Yronwode.) I'm trying to achieve kind of a prison-slang meets Yoda sort of effect, and it's not going to be easy to pull off. I think the best approach will be to write the Xirong dialog normally, then go back and spend a round of editing on just the Xirong dialog, to make sure it's right and consistent.

I also had some revelations about Yronwode during my long, unpleasant commute this morning:
  • The Xirong are basically very, very violent Goth kids
  • Yronwode is deadly to people who have not been genetically altered to survive in its habitat, which is a complication for the Pegasus crewmen who are stranded there
  • The other human sub-culture on Yronwode, the Midians, are to a certain extent economically dependent on the Xirong as laborers, and the economic interplay between the groups has to be more complex than I envisioned it. I don't think I have to write about this specifically, but it is a background detail that will have some influence on how Midian culture is organized and how they respond to threats from the Xirong.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Image for Book Eight

Part of Book 8: Hellfire, will be set in an underground complex called 'Crack in the World.' I just outlined Book 8 a week ago and came up with the Crack in the World concept about the same time. Today, I found this on the internet, and it was strikingly close to the mental picture I had of Crack in the World.

It's a design for a luxury hotel being built by the Chi-coms in a quarry near Shanghai.

Monday, January 8, 2007

The arrival of the new laptop

My New Laptop Arrived. Yea! And what a long strange trip it had...

Shanghai (ugh) -----> Anchorage ---> Indianapolis --->Dulles IAD ---> Hagerstown, MD ---- > Me!

Now, it gets the honor of being the place where Book 7 is finished and Book 8 is written.

Book 7 Update, Book Eight Epilogue

I thought Book 7 needed a nice homecoming scene at the end, so, I added one with Max Jordan rejoining his family. I wanted it to recall the homecomings of soldiers from Iraq, since one of the things I wanted to do with books 6 and 7 was explore Pegasus's warfighters in more detail. It's a warm and funny sequence that turns creepy just at the end. The draft is drafty, but I think it will end up the way I want.

I also decided to tack on an epilogue to Book 8. I think of 7,8, and 9 as 'The Kariad Trilogy,' concerning this mysterious race called the Kariad who try to help out the human colonies, but end up screwing things up instead. My original way of working the Kariad into the plot of Book 8 seemed kind of forced, but by addressing their relationship to the plot in the epilogue works a little better and ties up some plot strings.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Book 8 - Outline

I had some time this week because I started a new job and had no computer, no network login, and no email. The person who was supposed to get all that stuff was out of the office for the Christmas holiday. So, I spent half a day outlining Book 8, Hellfire (with three chapters still to go in the first draft of Book 7: Yronwode) and a 100 page spiral bound notebook on recycled paper.

Dave Alkema will be the focal character for most of Book 8. It's shorter than Book 7. I only anticipate 100-120 pages. Max Jordan, Trajan Lear, and Johnny Rook will be supporting roles, once again. I wanted to use books 6,7, and 8 to explore their camaraderie and friendship a little more.

Alkema is based on someone in college I never actually knew, but used to come into the computing center where I worked. He was from Grand Rapids, the city where I was born, and he had a striking ruddy handsomeness about him, and seemed like a nice guy, but I never really got to know him. Johnny Rook was named after a Discovery Channel special on a species of aggressive South Atlantic seabird (also known as the Striated Caracara), and is meant to be a sort of amalgam or archetype of the high school quarterback jock type. Max Jordan is loosely based in my son CJ.

Monday, January 1, 2007

New Year, New Blog

I am setting up this blog just so I can post about the writing process that goes into Worlds-Apart, and hopefully promote some dynamic content.