For those who’re just arriving: These blog posts are going to be as much reports on what’s going on as part of the process of getting it all worked out. So stuff will be in them that may either be very general, or very specific. Sometimes there’ll be both. The posts will be functioning as much as a project diary as anything else. (PS: yes, I’ll happily chat with you in the comments about what’s going on, but I won’t be doing that anywhere but here. Want in to the chatter? Register. Almost all blog posts here will be locked and unviewable from outside. …BTW, I’m not averse to the idea of installing a forum here if enough people want one: there are ways to do that.)
Anyway. I’ve spent the last few days pulling some general thoughts into order about how to proceed, because I couldn’t really start writing until that had been done. Style issues, how chapters will be organized, things like that. Some of these issues got sorted out very quickly, almost immediately, and some of them took a few days to settle. Others are still being resolved.
Infrastructure issues have been most important in the last seventy-two hours or so, because from the very beginning it’s been obvious to me that my version of this concept is a Space Story, and Space Is Not Earth. The whole business of how one gets around, where one gets around to, and what the means of getting around are, has to be handled and balanced against the concepts of country and city houses and home counties and the great city of London that permeate P&P. I’ve found what look like some initial solutions, and while they sound good in the theoretical sense, now I have to see if I can make them work in prose.
Additionally, while there are planets in this story, this is primarily a story about people who live in a spaceborne culture… so relatively little of the action or business actually happens on any planet. Though these people’s lives center around a basic economy sustained by selling things to people who live on planets, they feel themselves to be rather above the general run of creatures who do that.
(BTW, some of this may sound familiar. Almost certainly some of you are going to detect tropes that Heinlein either established or popularized in Citizen of the Galaxy. I acknowledge that right up front. II don’t think he’d mind me using a few aspects of that stuff as a foundation; he didn’t mind me deriving Dairine [somewhat] from Clark in Podkayne of Mars. So.)
If I seem to be putting a lot of emphasis on the worldbuilding/development end at the moment, it’s because (a) beginnings are important — it’s way too easy to get stuck in a wrong way of doing something at the beginning of a novel if you don’t pay attention — and (b) one of my most basic goals at the moment is creating something that won’t cause Jane Austen to lift one dainty ladylike boot and kick me in the crotch should we someday meet in some writers’ afterlife. The science fiction aspects of this work need to feel natural, and not bolted-on as some kind of advantage-taking afterthought.
This is both an issue of good story construction and also of something else really important to me: courtesy to the source material. If I have some reputation as an adaptor of other people’s or companies’ licensed work, it’s because I feel strongly that the characters and basic venues and setups of those worlds have a right to be respected and treated courteously. It helps when you already love them, yeah. But it’s easy to be courteous to stuff you love. A true professional knows how to do it even when they and the source material are on the outs.
Which definitely isn’t any kind of problem in this case. Some work you do for fun, or joy, or because it jumps on you out of the bushes and demands to be done. All three, in this case. Nonetheless, I have my work cut out for me. I have no idea what’s going to happen to this book in the long term, but I intend to do a job I won’t be ashamed of later. And that work starts now.
Anyway, I’ve now got enough of the basics of this project laid out in my head to start writing. So that’s what the rest of today will be about. With luck I’ll have some wordcount to post to the NaNoWriMo site in the morning. (The P&P&S page is here.) Whatever I’ve written between today and tomorrow will go up here on a locked page just before the wordcount updates, so that people can see it.
After that: each day a page will go up here, either with the new day’s writing or a note that some other business has interfered and nothing will be forthcoming that day. And so we’ll progress until November 30th.
Got questions for me? Register and ask them in the comments on this post. (You can use them to test that your registration is working OK.
(BTW, about registration: profile pics aren’t working yet, don’t ask me why… I’m looking into it. They’re supposed to be responsive to WordPress gravatars, but I have one and I’m not seeing it on my profile yet… again, no idea why. Weirdness, possibly something to do with the membership plugin, which is taking a little work to configure. Bear with me.)