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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Update On Writing: The Lies of Venicia

A.K.A. The White

    I've hit a snag. I'm at about 30,000 words, I have three POVs, and the story is moving right along. But I'm stuck. Why? Because I've hit a point in the story where I have two problems.
    The first is in the POVs. There are three characters: Alan, Carl, and Eileen (to be short about it). Each has a very distinct plotline that intersects with the others in some way. I've done that on purpose because I want them to be connected even though they are going in very different directions, which ultimately are all related anyway. It's complicated like that. Well I hit a point in the story where I realized that there wasn't going to be anything remotely interesting happening for Carl or Eileen for several days (days in the story itself I mean). I have also just finished a large chapter about Alan, so I don't want to delve into him again simply because it's a lot to take in anyway. So, what do I do here? I could skip ahead in time, but then I run into a huge problem that I don't want to deal with. The three characters are on the same time line, obviously, meaning that if I skip ahead for Carl and Eileen by a few days, I have to do the same for Alan, which means losing some important events for that character. An option is to add a fourth POV to the story that, while not nearly as important as the other three, still could add some depth to the story since the character I'm thinking of using is directly related to Alan anyway.
    The problem with doing that? If I put this character in it will be no small feat to remove him if it turns out now to work at the end of the novel. We're talking extensive editing to remove the POV entirely and rewrite over 2/3rds of the novel itself to keep things cohesive, not to mention still having to deal with the issue that this would initially have solved anyway. So, any advice on this guys? Perhaps someone with some publishing experience or perhaps who has been effective in multiple POVs could come in and give some insight (Tobias Buckell, hint hint...maybe do a "Ask a Writer" segment?).

    Now the second thing that is holding me back from doing too much is only partially related to the first problem. I started to write from Carl's POV again anyway, figuring that I'm going to write that segment at some point so I might as well get it down. Well, the universe for The Lies of Venicia is actually quite extensive. I'm not expert on stuff, and I'm certainly not dragging in too much science into this story (it's sort of a horror/political thriller with some adventure/military SF thrown in there). What's the problem with this? Well, my method of travel for my spaceships is sort of a form of jump drive, but a drive that requires a few things: security codes to activate the drive provided by security checkpoints at the edge of systems, small jumps to nearby systems where security gates are located, and strict enforcement at the security checkpoints. This means that I need to be able to see the systems that I have placed humans in in a 3D spacescape so that I can determine where I can put jump points (or basically the routes that would be deemed acceptable routes for safe travel using the jump drive). I want this to put limitations on space travel. I don't want characters to be able to jump to any magical place they want to. They have to have clearance by United Earth, a specially designed code that allows the characters to actually activate the jump drive in the first place, and they can't jump vast distances (astronomically speaking) because it would require too much power and it could very well be dangerous.
    But I haven't a clue how to get a rendering of this. There are programs that allow you to create star systems and the like, but are there programs that allow you to insert real stars and put them all into the proper place? If not, how would I even find out how to place these stars correctly? They have coordinates I'm sure, but I'm not sure how to read them in terms of X, Y, and Z. One thing I thought of doing, if I can figure out how to put things in the proper X, Y, and Z, is to get a large piece of stiff, this foam and label it appropriately. Then I'd use large, different sized pins with large balls on the end or flags to represent the placement of the various stars I'm using. This might be very difficult to manage, but it could prove really interesting because I could also use string to connect stars where legal jumps can be made (I say legal here because one thing I am going to get doing within the story is have one of the characters initiate an unauthorized jump by hacking into a jump drive...such a jump would flag the entire human empire...which might just be what the character wants anyway). This is an idea, but I haven't a clue how to start. I think a physical, tangible star map would really do wonders for getting everything into perspective. Maybe someone out there has a great idea. If so, speak up!

    So that is what is going on with me lately. I am still writing The Lies of Venicia, among various other projects, but it is in a semi-standstill as far as anything major being done to the story. I want to resolve the issues first.

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