One week from from now, NaNo officially starts.
I have joined the local (Calgary) NaNo group and hung out with some of them during a newcomer event, as well as a kickoff event. Next Saturday, the 31st, we’ll meet around 10pm for coffee and sugar, and start writing together comes midnight.
I’ve always found the notion of writing together a little weird—what with everyone sitting there together to be alone. But groups like this all over the (NaNo) world are doing this every year, so there must be something to it, no? I’m sure it’ll be fun.
We’ll be writing for about two hours until 1am—hang on, you say? Shouldn’t that be 2am? We’re turning the clocks back this weekend up here in the great wasteland of Canadia, so: fooled you!
So, have I prepared at all, you wonder? Indeed, I did. As I mentioned in my last post, I’ll most likely be picking up a piece of flash fiction to turn it into a novel. The Drop, it was called, which will probably be the title for the first part in the story. Of course, some things will change. Character names will change, as well as the details of their current mission (who their clients are).
I also outlined said first part in little more than rough detail. As well do I have concrete ideas for the other three (3) parts to complete the narrative arch and all that.
Reason for parts is to pace myself properly. It’s possible that I won’t actually split the final story into parts, but for the writing process it helps. I also commit a certain amount of words to each part to sort of kind of try and give myself a timeframe for each. That, of course, assumes I stay within the 50,000 words and won’t go over (a lot). The split so far is something like this:
- Part I: The Drop (~10,000)
- Part II: On The Run (~20,000)
- Part III: Deus Ex Machina (~15,000)
- Part IV: The Last Drop (~5,000)
Part 1 is the characters decent into the maelstrom of shit-vortex unfolding around them. You know, the setup. Part 2 is them trying to make the best of it until it all comes crushing down, leading into Part 3. There, they’re picking up the pieces to throw them at the bad guys for whatever good that may do. Part 4 is sort of the Aftermath of the epic space battle and all, wrapping up the story and potentially setting up Book 2 of a potential 3-part series (always have one braincell think ahead a little, I always say). (I really don’t ever say that.)
Let me get into the story itself for a bit, shine a light on the dark galactic vastness of my narrative.
On the surface, it’ll look like your classic space adventure (ships and shuttles and stations and orbits and moon bases and all the goodies), mixed in with an unhealthy does of cyberpunk (corporations, espionage, underground organizations, fixers, augmentation, artificial intelligence). The two main charters (Cade Stern and Kenneth Colburne) will be forced to abandon their cushy lives as shuttle pilots and start dealing with the underground of the massive space station, Terra Zero, in order to survive. Couple that with a bio- and cybertech corporation funded solely by the military (Caduceus Corp), which is now starting to take an interested in Cade for more than one reason, and you got yourself an action packed, intrigued filled cyberpunk space-chase narrative. Looking a little deeper, one may find a layer of conspiracy dating back to a simpler time, before man conquered space. With nods to the end of WWII, setting off events to an alternate timeline (and the following speculative fiction), which still progresses in the distance future, sucking in Cade Stern and her friends and foes.
The station itself (Terra Zero) has along history, dating back to the first steps in colonizing the endlessness of the universe. But nowadays it’s an isolated hunk of space-metal hovering around the wasteland of the old earth (speculate what happened to it, of you will—climate change, nuclear war, clouds gaining conciseness and wanting to eradicate the human species, religious doomsday Facebook pages finally getting the date right!) On that station, people are not much more than prisoners, working to get food and supply rations. Some jobs pay better, like flying shuttle to the old earth (mostly corporate clients with an interest in research and possible future exploitation of an already abused planet). Others, not so much. The station, cut off from Terra Nova due to distance and lack of fast intergalactic travel options (damn you, laws of physics!), is half falling apart, half already fallen apart. Lights flicker, steam and sparks shoot out of walls regularly, strange, metallic noises keep you up during scheduled night cycles. Most of the station is run by computer systems. Humans have little control over most of its function (life support, the hanger bays, stabilizing orbit). That alone would make any “guest” uncomfortable.
The new home of mankind, Terra Nova, will not be explored in this book. Though a few hints and nods will surely creep up throughout, since Cade Stern was a rescue pilot during the Euro-wars of ’21, when half the planet (and its orbit) was plunged into war yet again on the mega-continent New Europa.
The old earth will get a bit more love, having (at least) the first and last part take place in the dystopian, mutant-filled wasteland.
There’ll also be a corporate luna-base that needs breaking into, dangerous sectors of Terra Zero most people don’t even know exist, a less-than-suaficstated computer network with some spooky happenings (I lean towards not having a full VR matrix as it’s common for Cyberpunk, at least not outside of the new earth), and a variety of unknown and hidden artifacts on the old earth, shining a light on what might have happened back in the day to that old, blue rock.
There you have it. A lot of world building that needs to be done through the narrative, and all of this here is surely not everything there is.
I hope you find some of it interesting. Let me know what you think.
I’ll see you next time, whenever I decide to update my progress on NaNo and the story.