The Space Cantina – The Blood, 36 Hours, Editing and SciFi World Building

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Good news everyone! I’ve decided to post some more updates about my writing today and you know what that means?

Yeah… I’m behind again. It’s not my fault, I swear! Well, actually, that’s a lie. Sorry. As I sit here listening to “The Glass Prison” by Dream Theatre, I’m reminded how time can get away from us, closing in around us with its invisible, intangible walls until there’s hardly any room to breathe. That’s how I feel lately, but it’s all for the best. The wife and I are moving soon, in three weeks in fact, and a great deal of time lately is split between a ton of overtime at work and packing up the apartment. I’m very excited about this move because at our new place I will have my very own writing room! Right? How cool is that? I’ll have my own quiet space to work, plot and scheme.

But enough of that; time for the updates!

The Blood

I feel bad for this story, I really do. It’s become that friend who you really love but never have enough time to see. It’s there, vaguely plotted out in my head and yet it lingers week after week due to time constraints. When I do have sufficient writing time, I’ve been working on my novel bible and my fourth—and hopefully final—draft of 36 Hours. Because of this, The Blood is suffering from lack of attention. I love this story, and I love the world it’s set in. More than any of those things, I love Aderyn.

One thing that’s hard about writing stories on the fly—as I’m doing with this story—is that I’m unable to write like a madman and then go back and edit what doesn’t work. I was looking over Parts 10 through 13 this week and discovered that I made a mistake with it. Unfortunately, my readers here have already read those parts, so I can’t go back and change it now. Normally, in another draft, I’d just go back and change all that stuff later and just continue writing as if I’d already made the change.

So what isn’t working, might you ask? Have you spotted it yourself yet? It’s how the rebels have treated Aderyn. If I had the ability to edit the whole thing, I’d simply erase the entire imprisonment and go forward again from the scene where she meets the council. They’d welcome her, make her feel at ease and at home here. I would provide a stark contrast to her life at home with her mother. Then, after I’d made her warm and comfy, I’d rip it all away and make her see the ugly truth of the world once more.

Aderyn is a mentally flawed protagonist. She relies on others far too often, reacting to the world rather than acting upon it herself. This is a flaw she has to eventually overcome, but as the story is right now, I’ve hindered that growth by giving her no room to relax and be herself around people who will not judge her. This is a problem and when I revisit this story for a 2nd Draft, I’ll be doing those changes.

So do I continue as if I’d made those changes like I normally do? Will that be ridiculous for an online audience as I have here? It’s something to think about for sure. For now, The Blood will be another week in the writing as I simply don’t have any time this week to dedicate to it. Not the appropriate amount of attention anyway.

Sorry Aderyn, I still love you. I do. So hold on, okay? I’ll be back soon.

36 Hours

36 Hours is now in its 4th Draft. What you read on this blog was essentially its 2nd. It’s become a lot tighter, more cohesive and a little more Steampunk. I’ve flavored the world a little more and straightened out some confusing passages. The biggest change so far is the removal of an entire character that just didn’t seem to fit. If you’ve read the story, I’m talking about Lenmerer, the physician’s assistant. There was an entire scene between him and a captured Confederate soldier that no longer was working for me, so during my 3rd Draft, I edited the whole thing out. In doing that, I also removed Len entirely and reformed the story around just the four boys.

The 3rd Draft was a pretty good product, but it was still sloppy in a lot of areas. When I read it through again I found tons of world building that misled and confused the reader. In the 4th Draft, I’ve tightened these things up and corrected a dumptruck-sized pile of grammar and sentence structure problems. It reads smoother, easier and hits home more easily now. At least, I think so. I’ve done more research into Civil War weaponry too, specifically on the Sharps rifles. In doing so, I scaled back the rifle firing rates and made a great scene with Vanmere even better.

I hate editing. It’s easily the worst part of the job, but in editing 36 Hours I’ve come to respect it in a way I couldn’t have before.

SciFi World Building

I just want to do a quick update on my novel’s world bible. One thing I’ve struggled with is the idea of realistic scifi and… well… my scifi. I love science and I love it when it creates a new situation that’s amazing and mind-blowing. Joe Haldeman’s Forever War delighted and enthralled me in ways that few books can. I’ve read and listened to this book well over a dozen times now and it’s always good. Sure the characters are stiff and the sudden relationship between William and MaryGay seems stilted and forced but by the end, I love them both anyway. I care about them, their relationship, and their struggle to remain together across the centuries.

And that’s what hit me. It was William and MaryGay that I cared about. The stuff about relativity was fascinating; time dilation made me feel very small and very scared of the universe and it was fantastic. Still, in the end, it was the characters that mattered to me.

In that regard, I’ve come to accept that it will be my characters that will make or break this story of mine, not the science. The science in my novel is tentative and weak, I’ll be the first to admit it, but it will be internally consistent. That’s incredibly important no matter what genre you write in. So I’ve let go of my hesitation and decided that I don’t care if people think I’m awful for having starfighters and capital ships that act like aircraft carriers in space. I love that. I find that fun and entertaining and a great platform for characters to have a story.

And it’s that story that I want to tell.

So, that said, I have devised a way and a reason for the Space Corps to fight and act the way it does. That’s important because it goes back to remaining internally consistent. I feel that as long as you have a solid groundwork to work from, then the story will stand up. I read a review of Ian Douglas’s Star Carrier series that completely dismisses the story due to the above setup. I felt this was unfair because he set all those realities into motion to show a story about people. Those people used the technologies at hand and did what they could with it. I liked the book a great deal, though I felt a lot of its science was heavy handed. I found myself skipping several paragraphs of exposition that explained singularity drives… sorry Mr. Douglas.

Anyway, so I wanted to get that off my chest. My story features starfighters and ships that launch them. There are reasons for this, and those reasons have far-reaching consequences to the universe at large. And, best of all, it’s true to my passions. This is what I like, and if I don’t like something, I’m not going to write it well.

So when the time comes, I hope you all take that trip with me deep into space to fly beneath the light of distant stars. It will be a trip full of laughter, cheers and tears. Friends will be lost and loves will flare and die out. That’s life and I hope to tell it as best I can, as true as I can.

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4 responses to “The Space Cantina – The Blood, 36 Hours, Editing and SciFi World Building

  1. Ahhh editing. That wonderful, awful, evil, hair-pulling, I want to cry, I worked so hard on that process.
    A writer is never completely happy with their work. No artist is. It’s never quite the vision you had in your head.

    But honestly- the reader never knows all the incarnations a story went through. The reader will either fall into the story and love it and its characters- or not. Sometimes that has nothing to do with the story, or the writer… just how the reader brings the story into their own paradigm.

    For example- I HATE reading Tolkein. Now… do I hate the story? HELLS NO! The story is awesome. But his writing style drives me batty! Anne Rice- stories are not bad.. but again.. writing style makes me crazy. There are even authors who have written Star Wars books that I cant stand- and i’m a Star Wars junkie (no old-republic tho please).

    So In the end, write what you love. Fall in (and out of) love with your own characters… Look past the imperfections of your story and enjoy the story! Your readers will, too.

    And no, I’m not a writer- I am a costumer- same damned thing applies 😛

    • All good points Cally 🙂 I remember writing all those horrendous Fan Fictions back in the NR days. The stories were… meh, but those characters! I loved all of those.

  2. You listen to Dream Theater?!? I knew I liked you!! Excited about the newly-announced, self-titled album coming in September?

    I wouldn’t mind if you wanted to go back and change Blood. Just let us know to reread everything, and I will head back to the first post for the tenth time and gladly start over! 🙂

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