“Turn your face to Lacaille, and your shadows will fall behind you…” – Zoella
(Traditional well-wishing amongst the people of Esurio)
Can you believe it’s almost two years to the day that I ‘crossed the line’ with my Elite: Dangerous Writer’s Pack Kickstarter? Well it is. It was 30/11/2012 at 13.39 to be precise.
First – if you reached this from my new newsletter – great. I’ve moved on from the Kickstarter mailing list to one that I can manage more effectively. If you don’t want to be on this revised mailing list (and why not? 😉 ) then you can unsubscribe using the link at the bottom of the email. I hope you won’t though, as whilst this project isn’t an ‘Elite’ project, it promises to be even more exciting as a piece of Sci-Fi.
Two years on from those Kickstarter days and I’m still a bit dizzy from the Elite: Dangerous premiere, but I haven’t lost focus, though I’ve been doing a bit of rejigging on my plans. My intention is to have the first book in the Shadeward Saga available for Fantasticon 2015, which is currently planned for 10,11 October that year. This is a little later than originally planned, so I’ve moved the completion date from ‘Summer’ to ‘Autumn’.
Why is this?
A couple of reasons. First – as I’m writing this story I’m having to flesh out the ‘universe’ or ‘world’ of my book (unlike Elite where much of it was done by a team of world-builders). This is more a solo activity, it’s fun, but every so often I have to stop or rewind a bit to make sure what I’m referencing from my characters perspective has a genuine reason to exist. I’ve done a lot of this in advance (far more than for Elite: Reclamation) but it’s proved to be not quite enough. This is slowing my word count for the book down a bit. My ‘background’ doc for Elite: Reclamation was about 9,000 words. Shadeward is 17,000 and still rising!
Second, I’m finding that to do justice to the story and the various characters I’m not moving forward through the synopsis as fast as I expected to do. What this means is that rather than three books to round out this saga, I suspect it may be four or even five. We will have to see how it goes. I’m also planning to straddle various time periods in the history of this world. Even more good news – there may be prequels and sequels to the events I currently have planned. It may be that there is at least a decades worth of writing to come out of this idea.
All this means I’ve moved the completion of the first draft from end of March to end of May. Currently expecting this draft to be around 140,000 words, prior to editing. It also allows me to have a holiday!
Thus I’m resetting my plan to aim for the first book (working title “Shadegirl” – might change) to be available next October, followed by a yearly release after that. Time will tell if that works out!
As I’ve mentioned before, the story is set on a very unusual, but totally plausible, world. I’ve named it ‘Esurio’ (which is Latin – and you may research at your leisure – a minor clue!) and it orbits a real life red dwarf star called ‘Lacaille 9352‘. It is ‘only’ about 11 light years away. As you’ll see from the trailer, the world has been carefully simulated in a similar many to the work I did on the ‘Prism’ starsystem. This time I’ve devoted all my attention to the planet itself. It was far more challenging for many reasons, not least that this world is tidally locked – meaning one side of it always faces the star, and the other is locked in eternal darkness.
This is a major draw for the book and the stories set within. Much of our common nomenclature on Earth is based on time, examples include: Sunset, sunrise, tomorrow, yesterday, overnight. We can measure our position easily on the earth using time and calculations derived from the angle of the sun in the sky. Here on Earth we have North, South, East and West. We have alternating periods of light and dark. None of these things exist on a tidally locked world. This has presenting a fascinating series of, in some cases, very tricky problems to try to work out on behalf of the people of this world. I’ve painstakingly worked them out.
Astronomers will be quick to point out the other problems associated with Red Dwarfs which might make a world very difficult to inhabit. Rest assured, I’ve covered those too, infact, they are major plot devices in many cases. I’ve done vast quantities of research in this regard.
This is hard SF, but it’s not ‘traditional’ SF. I’m cutting my own furrow here, and the story may not be exactly what you expect. The trailer shows you how things started, the books will cover what happened next…
And so to the trailer. As per the one I did for Elite: Reclamation, this is designed to whet your appetite rather than tell you the story. For the technically minded out there the raw footage has been generated with SpaceEngine and then enhanced using various filters and compositions before being video edited. I hope you enjoy it, please share and tweet if so!
I recommend fullscreen and HD if your bandwidth allows.