Approaching the halfway point

Posted by on Oct 10, 2014 in Progress Report

Nearly at the halfway point!

Progress on ShadeGirl (Working Title – Really must nail that at some point) has been excellent this week. I’ve actually got myself a week ahead of schedule. I’m aiming for 3,500 words per week, which not quite so intense as the 4,000 I set my self for Elite: Reclamation. The first draft is due to be complete at the end of March.

One thing I’m able to do is give each major character rather a lot more airtime than before. With ER I had but the one book (and whilst sequels are a possibility they’re not within my gift at present.) With Shadeward I could keep writing forever should I so desire. I’ve planned four books, and given that wider space, I can spend a bit more time moving the characters through their life stories as events unfold.

In this case, I can start a bit younger. I’m picking up the major characters during their teenage years, to give you an insight into how they start out. As with ER, there will be no ‘goodies’ and ‘baddies’, but people in different places, with different views and formative experiences. Some of these are going to be quite ‘messed up’. I have unhappy families, orphanhood, abuse, poverty and all sorts of stuff happening on my world of ‘Esurio’.

Huge sun spots, incredibly powerful aurora and devastating UV flares. Red Dwarfs present some real drama!

I’ve also been paying attention to the scientific stuff too. Research on exoplanets around Red Dwarfs has continued to progress and has revealed some fascinating things. Some that jumped out at me were the level of infrared radiation (heat as we’d call it), the sheer power of the Aurora Borealis on such worlds, and the devastating impact of solar flares. All of these are thousands of times more powerful than we experience on the earth. The impact of these events on my unsuspecting populace will be dramatic, exciting and huge fun to write.

The story opens when the star has been through a period of long stability, knowledge of these effects has been lost to myth and legend, meaning their sudden return catches the populace unprepared.

Esurio and fierce Red Dwarf star

Esurio and fierce Red Dwarf star

Also, I’ve been using the SpaceEngine simulator to create the star-system for modelling purposes. This allows me to ‘visit’ the planet and see what things look like from different latitudes on the surface – essential for a bit of descriptive flavour. SpaceEngine does a great job of rendering tidally locked worlds. You can see it in these pictures.

Esurio with its frozen terminator

Esurio with its frozen terminator

As I mentioned before I’d got quite a lot written prior to ER, so I’m in the progress of writing and editing some of the previous material. There are a number of plot points I need to improve. I anticipate a book in two parts. One dealing with the main character’s youth and then a second which tracks them when they are in their mid twenties, which is when the problems with living near this unusual star start to make themselves more obvious.

So, nearly 67,000 words against a target of 140,000. Halfway point should be passed next week. In the words of my publisher…. onwards!

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