I’ll probably get more systematic in titling these things as we move along. But, for now, this is what you get.
As I stated in my previous post, I’ve embarked upon a new writing project, and am sharing with the blogosphere my musings, processes and conundrums as I prepare for NaNoWriMo 2015. We have but four short months; so, let’s get started, shall we?
First things first. I already have a general idea for the sort of tale I want to tell. I have the seed of an idea, at least. In this post I am going to set that seed in the fertile ground and over the next few months we shall watch it grow.
My previous NaNo attempts have been in the ever exciting and utterly romantic genre of Steampunk Adventure. I’m going to mix it up a bit this time and go for a good old Sci-fi Space Opera. Rocket ships, alien planets, far future, space fleet battles, that sort of thing. Now, when considering this option I had to ask myself where I wanted this work to fall on the Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness. I have decided that I would rather not completely ignore the laws of physics. I may bend a few laws here and there, but for the most part I intend to stay within the current, or perhaps extrapolated, understanding of things. This will, I hope, put me somewhere between 3 (Physics Plus) and 4 (One Big Lie) on the scale. For a better understanding of where the lines are drawn I owe a large debt to Winchell Chung’s excellent Atomic Rockets website.
If this sort of story is not your cup of tea, then you may not entirely enjoy the next few months of this blog. I welcome you to stay if you wish, and hope you may still find something interesting here. In the process of building the future history and setting we will discuss such things as “Where are all the Aliens?”, Post-Capitalist Economies, Social Engineering/Evolution and the merits/faults of various political systems, the foibles of human nature, educational paradigms, and yes Rocket Science.
OK, now we know generally what our setting will be. What, then, will be the main point of it all? What is the crux off the issue? The kernel of the idea that set us off on this journey to begin with? My original idea was to concentrate almost exclusively on growing the setting and see what story, or stories, might suggest themselves. It then occurred to me that it is often easier to solve a problem if one already knows the answer. Put another way, it is easier to build a setting if we already know where we want to end up. Where might that be, then?
I am going to answer that question using a little device I picked up from author Jim Butcher’s Live Journal (link). Mr. Butcher lays out a system for story building that I have found quite useful. In that system the first step is to formulate the Story Question. This is the fundamental, bare bones description of the main plot and it has a simple format.
*WHEN SOMETHING HAPPENS*, *YOUR PROTAGONIST* *PURSUES A GOAL*. But will he/she succeed when *ANTAGONIST PROVIDES OPPOSITION*?
The following is subject to change, but here is what I have at present.
When the Collective Fleet’s System Command Platform suffers an inexplicable loss, newly promoted Lt Major Conrad Fitzroy-Mbega is assigned as Internal Liaison and must uncover the truth. But will he succeed when faced with a distrustful crew, a suspicious command staff, and the looming threat of war with the Celestial Kingdom?
We will flesh out the various portions of this question in upcoming posts. If in the course of our discussion I feel inclined toward a different direction or type of story, we will amend the question as appropriate.
This will give you something of an idea of where I’m currently heading, at least. Please, join me along the way. I welcome your comments and questions.