Writing Updates

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If any of you have been paying attention to the right column where I keep all my writing nonsense (which you’ll likely pay attention to now, if you haven’t already), then you’ll have noticed that I’m terribly behind. I hit a horrible slump. Yes, I had been writing (mostly blog posts), but I refuse to include those in my writing total unless they are essay-style.
Well, I finally got on track today. I wrote roughly 2,300 words, and have finished writing two new chapters for The Spellweaver of Dern and am about 5/6th through a new fantasy short story called “The Gnomes of New Timberfax”.
If all goes as planned I should finish the gnome story tomorrow and have scheduled two chapters to show up this week and next week for SoD. I apologize for the lateness. Many things came in and really sucked up my time (school mostly, as I’ve said before). I expect to have some sort of semi-regular schedule for SoD now. I’m going to try to shoot for the “new chapter every other week” thing, with my optimistic side shooting for “new chapter every week”. I am writing a load of other things.
In other news about my writing in general: I’m planning to take a short hiatus from writing to do something that I need to get done. I won’t stop SoD, but other writing will come to a standstill. What could possibly be more important that writing new work? I have hit a snag in my SF novel The Lies of Venicia that can’t be resolved unless I spend a considerably amount of time developing a map for my universe. I had decided that for the time being I could just put ellipses where I couldn’t be sure of a system’s name or planet’s name due to not having a set out map of where things lie. I’m using a form of wormhole jumping for space travel, but it’s limited. You can’t jump great distances (in terms of lightyears as basic units of measurement here), which means that all jump nodes (or gates, or whatever you want to call them) have to lead to a relatively nearby location. That means you can jump from Sol to Alpha Centauri just fine, because that’s under five lightyears, but you can’t jump from Sol to Eta Cassiopeiae 2 because that’s a distance of over nineteen lightyears, which is too far for such a jump to be stable. You could do it, but you’d have to hack the network of jump nodes to do it and you’d be a moron to try (you could kill yourself or kill someone else during the jump, or both). The problem is that the galaxy is extremely complex and stars function in 3D, not 2D. That means I can’t just say “point A to point B” and draw a straight line ————– like so. I have to be conscious of where a particular stars lies in relation to other stars. Alpha Centauri it’s a straight shot if we look at the universe lying on a plane where Earth’s polar north and south are our reference points. It might be up and over to the left, and from Alpha Centauri another star may be down and back.
But I don’t know where all the stars sit. I don’t have that in my head mostly because it’s really complex information (a flat map of a fantasy world is easier to remember). What this means is I need to map this universe and I’m not 100% sure how to do that yet. I’ve considered trying a 3D program, but such programs may or may not allow me to create makeshift “shipping lanes” to represent where one can jump from any location.
I have one idea on how to do this. It involves using a foam base (some sort of hard foam I can stick things into) and measuring it, then putting Sol smackdab in the middle and try to scale down the coordinates proportionately. I’d use sticks or something that I can stick into the foam and basically cut them to the proper length, etc. That’s what I have right now and I don’t know if there is a better way.
Do you all have any suggestions? I don’t know how else to do that. I am not a 3D whiz, nor much of an artist. I basically need a visual to represent stars that actually do exist so I can accurately keep track of things. Perhaps it can be done in a 2D display somehow. I don’t know.
Anyway, I just wanted you all to know there may be a brief hiatus to do that. If you have suggestions, please let me know. Maybe there is a program of some sort to create 3D star charts or star maps of some sort.

Well, having said all that I can get on with whatever it is I’m supposed to be doing (wait, that’s writing!) and head on out to the wild blue yonder (okay, that was hokey and I know it).

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital Rhetoric and Writing at Bemidji State University. He received his PhD in English from the University of Florida and studies science fiction, postcolonialism, digital fan cultures, and digital rhetoric.

One thought on “Writing Updates

  1. Hey, so glad you’re writing. And wrangling with the novel, too. I have one of those lurking in the shadows. I’ve “finished” it several times, but it’s still not right. Meantime, GUESS WHAT! I’ve started the next Awesome Lavratt book. And it’s all about the adventures of Horace Whistlestop. I’m sure the Lavratt will make an appearance as well…

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