Posts Tagged ‘ NaNoWrimo ’

It’s dead Jim

I’m a writer, not a necromancer. My NaNo was DOA and got more putrid with every word I injected into it.

So I said, screw this!

I started over.

Will I make it to November 30th?

I doubt, but at least I shed a lot of bad ideas and now I can proceed with a clear mind.

Because NaNo is not (just) about winning, it is also about the writing.

And that makes this a win for me.

Good luck to all of you this month. Keep on writing!

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Fire in the Sky (2)

Grand Peterhof Palace, Peterhof, Russian Territory, Earth, Sol System, Orion Arm, 30 March, 08:00 hrs. Local Standard Time

Shaparov waived his hand over the conference table, “Please take a seat.”

To the left of  House de Havilland sat the ambassador to Earth of House Garou, Altain Jorgen whose pointed canine ears twitch in response to every sound in the room. To Edwards right say Jackelyn Carter-Moore, representative from the Imperial Bureaucratic Corp, with her long black hair running the length of her gold trimmed white robes, both front and back. Both seats across from him remained empty. Light streamed from the large floor to ceiling windows. Edward noticed the rich baroque furnishings, from the vases to the ornate frescoes in the ceiling

Shaparov stood by his seat, waiting for the final delegate, “And there she is.”

She glided into the room. Her sapphire blue eyes pierced the young duke’s mind like nothing he had ever seen before. Platinum blond hair flowed in long streams behind her. She had a single escort, a shot hair woman of about the same age with a stern expression on her face.  It was the sight of the second that snapped the duke back into reality.

With a snap of the boots and a bow Shaparov welcomed them, “Thank you for coming, Lady Andrea. Now if you will take a seat, we shall begin.”

Edward took a zip from the glass. He saw the Lady’s impish smile refracted through the water. He cleared his throat to distract him from the burning sensation on the tip of his ears.

Shaparov’s demeanor changed from amiable host to military commander in a heart beat, “Ladies and gentlemen, the reason why you are here is simple.” He took a deep breath and held it for a few seconds. ” With your help, I intent to reshape the universe.”

The announcement was greeted with stunned looks of silence by all of the participants except two, Edward Duke of  House de Havilland and Lady Andrea Jessica,  First Daughter of House Kaiser. “For the past three hundred years, the Throne of Stars has remained empty. This was and still is due in grand part to the infighting between and within the Major Houses. We in the Imperial Arm have also contributed to this by our own military actions. Although the intentions of those who held my post were honorable, they were also misguided. One can be a soldier or a ruler, but not both. Soldiers need leaders to follow. Those leaders in turn set the missions to be accomplished and give the soldiers the means to accomplish them. Therefore I propose that,” he waved an open hand toward Edward, “that we find such a leader.”

This time the gesture was greeted with murmurs by the others.

Jorgen spoke first, “House Garou’s position has always been to support any legitimate candidate to the Imperial Throne. Considering that the last Dynasty came from House de Havilland, we believe it to be the logical choice.”

“We have the Duke’s genetic material on record and it is a match to that in the Imperial files. There is a question about parentage–”

“A question that has been asked and answered,” Edward retorted.

“Yes, well the Corps would have to review the records. But if they meet with the established requirements then the path should be clear.”

Edward felt Lady Andrea gaze on him, studying him closely.  Her soft lips move slowly and deliberately with each syllable, “The position of House Kaiser is thus, we make no direct claim to the Throne of Stars. However, we do reserve the right to support or reject any candidate to it, and we will enforce that right by any means necessary.”

She drank from her cup, delaying the moment.  Then she spoke again, “Our approval hinges on one condition.” Her looked directly at Edward with an unflinching stare, “that our Houses be united by marriage.”

“I see. An Emperor needs an Empress, but I did not know that the Duchesses was still available,” Edward replied.

“Not her, me.”

“A union between the eldest and youngest of the Houses would erase any question of legitimacy, would it not Ms. Carter-Moore?” Jorgen added.

“It would help the Duke’s cause, although there is the question of who would take the Duke’s title. After all, once he becomes Emperor, should that happen,  his House would be the Imperial House, not House de Havilland,” added Carter-Moore.

“Indeed, in order to retain the balance of power, the would be Emperor must appoint a successor,” Jorgen said with a flick of his pointed ears.

“That will not be a problem. My cousin is next in line and more than ready to take the position if comes to that. My only question is what you, Grand Marshall, get out of this,” Edward said.

“The only thing that an Emperor could give me and those who have served with loyalty the Empire for hundreds of years, the recognition that we are due.”

“A title of your own. That would elevate the Orion arm to the same level of the other Houses, and deprive the Imperial House of territory,” Edward said.

“However misguided, our loyalty to the Throne of Stars has never wavered.  What is territory compared to the fealty of millions of the best troops in the galaxy standing at the call of the Empire?” Shaparov said.

“A net gain,” Edward said. Turning back his attention across the table, “Which leaves the matter of marriage. You’ll forgive me my Lady if I take sometime to ponder your proposal.”

“I expect no less. But I believe I speak for everyone here when I say that the window of opportunity is small and could close at any moment,” Lady Andrea said.

Now it was Edward’s time to smile, “I understand.”

“If there are no other matters to discuss I call this meeting adjourned. I hope you stay with us until this evening. We planned some modest celebrations in your honor and I hope that you take the time to enjoy them.”

Edward exchanged a last glance with Lady Andrea as group departed the conference table, a move that met with stern disapproval from her escort. On their way back to their quarters Mercer spoke into his duke’s ear, “There was someone missing from the table.”

“I know. But I expect that we will hear from the Han soon enough.”

1 (or so) Days to NaNo: Counting the Hours to NaNo

The time is 10:11 A.M.

This is is it! Tonight, at 12:00 a.m. local standard time, NaNoWriMo begins. My wounds have healed enough that I can write for an hour or more and hopefully I’ll dump…I mean write a few thousand words in the wee hours of the morning. One thing I learned about NaNo last year is that you have to bank your word count early. The more you write at the beginning, the more time you have when life, and writer’s block hits you upside the head.

I’ll post the opening paragraphs here, the usual bitching and moaning and may be a excerpt or two.

So stay tune.

And good luck with your NaNo 09!

 

2 Days to NaNo: Writer’s Notes/Encyclopedia Galactica

More world building stuff, this time an “encyclopedia” of useful terms. Again, this is a reconstruction, since I lost the original some time ago. Now, in no particular order (and therefore defying the encyclopedic concept|) here are a few terms:

Galactic Empire:  Form of hereditary government that claimed dominion over the whole of the Milky Way Galaxy. Currently defunct.

Throne of Stars: Galactic seat of government. Established on Pharriss Prime.

I.C.: Imperial Calendar. Current year 1300. Year Zero 3000 CE.  Not in used outside the central spar.

Imperial Credit Standard: Or ICS (not to be confused with I.C.). Serves as the galactic monetary reserve standard and main form of galactic currency. Comes in two forms- ICS and BICS. ICS covers all transactions except those at the world governments/institutions level, those use the Billion Imperial Credit Standard.

Imperial Governance Bureau: The main bureaucratic/technocratic corp that enabled the Emperor to administer the galaxy. They now control the central spar of the galaxy waiting for a new Emperor to take the Throne of Stars.

Imperial Navy: Main military branch of the Empire. It’s mission was to patrol the trade routes between worlds and uphold  Imperial writ(s).  Currently divided among the House Major with 40% under the control of the Grand Marshall of the Imperial Arm.

Grand Marshall:  Supreme military commander under the Empire.

Gate Network: A series of “jump” gates that allow ships to traverse space at Faster Than Light travel (FTL) and also serve as transmitters for FTL-communication between star systems. Military vessels rely on their own “jump engines” for FTL, but this makes them several orders of magnitude more expensive than not FTL equipped ships.

Imperial Marine Corps Support ground units of the Imperial Navy. Specializes in using powered armor for planetary assaults.

House-Major: Political subdivisions of the Empire. Each house controls an arm of the galaxy.  Each Five Houses exists divided into a host of House-Minor.

House Regiments:  Military forces of each House-Major. Considered to be inferior in quality to former Imperial elite forces (Navy/Marines). Most of the these forces serve as planetary garrisons and/or system defense. Since the fall of the Third Dynasty many of the forces have expanded. Some, like the 555th Infantry Regiment of House de Havilland have acquired reputations rivaling the former Imperial counterparts.

The Red Horse: A mercenary “company”. One of many that came to being during the Dark Age.

Dark Age (Galactic): Current area. The last 300 years of galactic history without sans Empire.

Garou: First space-faring alien race encountered by humanity. After a series of wars with humanity the Garou were defeated and assimilated into the Empire. Later, under the Second Dynasty they were ascended to House-Major status.

Dynastic Eras– The galaxy has known three dynastic periods- Kaiser/Han/De Havilland.

Powered Armor– Sophisticated suits of armor that provide omni-environmental protection to ground forces, with expanded sensor suites and enhanced strength/endurance. Basic armament consists of a 27 mm Grad-Mauser  auto-cannon, but can be armed with a series of weapons suites including missile/rocket launchers (direct/indirect fire),  recon/stealth sensor suites and enhanced kinetic or portable energy weapons.

The Void: The space at the edge of known space. The scattered worlds on the galactic rim (the edges of the spiral arm and the outer sphere of the galaxy) do not hold any allegiances to House or Empire.  Also known as the Grey Market, it is home to rebel factions, commerce raiders and the like.  Attempts over the centuries to bring this area over Imperial control have failed. Economist suggest that the Void acts as an “pressure valve” for the “close galactic economy”.

World: Any planet or system with over 100 million inhabitants.  Each world has a governor or some form of representation within the House-Minor/Major structure. They also sport one or more jump gates.

World-Sanctuary:  Worlds reserved for non-human sentient races.

World-Imperial: Worlds controlled directly by Imperial writ. They serve a series of functions, such as libraries or military bases.

—–

Well that’s all I have for now. I’ll add more terms as I remember them.

And now for the obligatory video!

3 Days to NaNo: A Writer’s Notes/Timeline

There is a lot of stuff that goes into writing any book. Among speculative fiction types, the work behind the scenes is called “world building“. It’s how the build locations, cultures and languages. The most that readers will see are glimpses of the lattice the writer used to erect their epic world/universe because they want to read a story, not an encyclopedia. Still, consistency depends on doing the research and taking the time to iron out the details before you put the proverbial pen to paper.

A common technique that helps the writer (and by extension the reader) keep everything in order is a timeline. Knowing what (and when) something happened in the past relevant to the current action helps give the narrative some depth as well as consistency.

Below I reconstructed (because I lost the original when my laptop went puff!) the RoE timeline as an example:

2034- End of Second Global Insurgency. Fusion power perfected.

2045- New Planetary Government invests in off-world colonies. Large scale terraforming of Mars begins.

2048- First Sol System Confederation. While off world colonies have autonomy, all major decisions are made on Earth.

2050- Second wave off colonization. Earth government unloads “undesirables” on off world colonies. Social tensions, crime and taxation increases across the colonies.

2055- Martian “Civil War” erupts after several city-states declare war on their neighbors citing terrorist attacks on their territory.

2058- Martian Civil War ends in stalemate/truce negotiated by Earth government. Massive contingent of Earth peacekeepers arrive on Mars.  Low grade fighting continues. Earth forces casualties mount.

2066- First Interplanetary War/Colonial rebellion. Begins after Earth defenses fire on a refugee ship from Mars transporting people displaced by the continued upheaval on Mars.

2067- End of First Interplanetary War/Colonial Rebellion with massive bombardment of Mars colony domes by Earth forces.

2071- Second Sol Government established. The Pax Sol begins.

2189- Doctors Andrew Chan, Paul Johansen and Maria Estevez-Rivera win the the Nobel Prize for Physics with their development of their “fold-space” transmitter than can reliably transmit data at Faster Than Light speeds.

2198- First probes equipped with “jump” engines, based on the “fold-space” technology are launched from Saturn. Of the five probes, three reach their destination and transmit data.

2210- First launch of the Millennium colonization project.  Large colony ships, carrying over 10k colonist each are launched from the Sol System.

2280- Large colonies established across the local star group. Humanity expands along the central axis of the Orion Arm.

2351- Humans encounter first alien species of limited intelligence. As the distances between Sol and the outer colonies increase so do tensions between local governments.

2355- Large scale cross raiding human space occurs. Local governments blame each other.  Pax Sol ends as Earth forces can not contain the fighting.

2361- Alien forces strike at the human world of Hodierna.  First contact with intelligent hostile species.

2362- First intergalactic war begins.

2369- Sol forces fight a series of delaying actions across the Butterfly Cluster but the cluster is lost. Contact with the enemy ceases.

2414- The enemy is finally identified as the Garou, a canine-like species.  The Second Intergalactic war begins.

2419- Human forces manage to hold  enemy gains but are unable to strike back. Raiding of human space ceases once more.

2449- Collapse of the Second Sol government as infighting between colonies deplete its resources. Garou raiding starts anew.

2494- Third Sol Government launches a series of counter strikes against the Garou and rebel factions.  After severe losses on both sides the Sol goverment creates a buffer zone of “free states” between itself and Garou occupied space.

2514- Admiral Otto Von Kaiser launches a series of bold strikes into Garou territory after “discovering” intelligence that some Free World governments conspired with the Garou to launch an assault on the Sol Government.

2516- On his return to Earth, Von Kaiser made a successful plead to finish the Garou threat once and for all. The government grants him extraordinary powers to deal with the enemy.

2518- Now Grand Marshall Otto Von Kaiser launches a strike deep into the Perseus arm and into the Garou home world. Caught off guard the Garou central government capitulates.

2520- Von Kaiser returns triumphant to Earth. He is declared the first “potentate”.

2852- The Kaiser oligarchy extends human rule to the core of the galaxy.

2856- Liu Bang Han leads a successful rebellion against the Kaiser oligarchy.

3000- Hian Xian Han grandson of Liu Bang  declares  January 1st, 3000 CE as Year Zero of the Empire. Humanity expands from the center of the galaxy across the remaining arms.

3309- Liu Han, 8th direct descendant of the Han Dynasty, having conquered most of the galaxy divides the territory among newly created “Houses” lead by his most successful generals.  He claims the Orion and Cygnus Arms as his own plus the Galactic Center. The Kaisers are given the Centaurus Arm and House De Havilland is given Sagittarius Arm. The remaining arm is gifted to the Garou for “loyal service to the Empire”.

3436-  Wu Han launched the “One Year Campaigns” to rein piracy from the Void, (areas between the galactic arms and the outer star sphere of the galaxy).

3548- Lao Han, a first cousin to the reigning Han Dynasty Empero, launches a planetary bombardment using nuclear arms and high impact kinetic weapons of a rebel colony on the Void.  . 80% of the planets population (600 million total) die in the onslaught. However this world belonged to a De Havilland Minor House. Entreaties to the Emperor about this war crime fall on deaf ears.

3550- The de Havilland House Major allies with dissident factions inside the Han Dynasty and launches a successful assault on Earth.  The battle devastates the planet and ends the rule of the Han over the Galaxy.

3551- A new Emperor John I rises to the throne. He shifts the Imperial capital to  Pharris in the Galactic Central Spar.  To placate the other houses, he severs ties with his own House Major (House De Havilland), renounces control over the Sagitarrus Arm and creates a new House, the Imperial House.

3778- Law of Natural Birth announced by Alfred I. No child conceived by artificial means could be considered a rightful successor to any House, including the Imperial House.

4001- John III dies without a successor. The  Third Dynasty collapses and the Galaxy falls into Civil War.

4010- Edward Duke de Havilland, dies at the result of an ambush.  Imperial forces under Marshall Makarov attempts to restore order but fails.

4011- Edward son, Jamess dies without an apparent heir.  His sister Elizabeth becomes regent of House de Havilland until her own son can assume the Ducal seat.

4023- Civil war erupts between two factions claiming the right of succession to House de Havilland. Jeremy de Havilland claims legitimate  status from his father. His cousin  Edward II disputes the claim.  After a year of infighting Jeremy slays his cousin and her aunt accepts his claim.

4250- Red Horse Campaign.

4320- Present Day.

———

I know, pretty long. Again, most of this stuff will never see the light of day, outside of my notes or this blog. But it puts certain things into perspective.

And now for some music with The Crystal Method:

6 Days to NaNo: A Writer’s Notes

I am not the kind of writer that creates outlines, but I do take notes before, during and after writing to keep things track of things. Here is an example of what my pre-draft notes look like:

Title: Ruins of Empire/ROE

Genre: Science Fiction

Sub-genre:  Space Opera

Time Frame: 2,300 years in the future.

Technology:

Travel

FTL– “Jump Gates” near major planets, large ships carry “jump engines” that allow them to fold space/time and make near instantaneous travel between stars.  Outside of FTL, travel is no faster than 1% of light speed.Travel is linear (no maneuvering while on a jump). It may take multiple jumps to reach a specific destination.

Weapons- Capital ships use a mix of energy, projectile and missile based weapons. Engagements occur at distances under a light second.  Ground units use missiles and projectile weapons with the rare heavy energy weapon. Standard heavy infantry wears powered armor with armor, artillery and aerospace fighter support.  Nuclear weapons reserved for planetary bombardment but use of “hi-impact kinetic weapons” and “nukes” against civilian targets illegal under Imperial Law.

Communications: FTL through jumpgates (that double as transmitters stations) and FTL equipped courier ships.

Sensor: Only work in “real space”, non visual targeting sensors can be jammed by advanced ECM or temporarily blinded by nukes and/or EMP charges (which need not be nuclear).

Politics:

Empire ruled under a Noble House System. House Major each control an arm of the galaxy while the Emperor controls the Galactic Center and the “Imperial Arm” (Orion arm of the Galaxy). The “Imperial House” is considered a separate entity from the rest of the House Major.  By custom no leader can rule both a House Major and the Imperial House. Each House Major internal political organization follows their own pattern from Constitutional Monarchy to a Corporatocracy. Currently the House Major feud among each other to see who will fill the vacant Imperial throne.

The smallest political unit is the “world”, which is a planet with at least 100 million inhabitants.

Military:

Task Forces of the Imperial Navy patrolled Known Space. The Emperor could call upon levies from House Major/Minor to support Imperial operations.  Planetary and system defense fell under each House responsibility. With the fall of the Empire, House Major have increased the size of their military and large mercenary forces have come to the forefront.

——

That’s just an example. I write the notes down as they come to me, more of a tool for mental organization than anything else.

NOTE: I’ll be in surgery tomorrow, so I probably won’t post anything until the end of the week. Hopefully I’ll be up and running come next weekend to kick off NaNo O9.

7 Days to NaNo: In the Beginning

So what exactly am I doing for NaNo 09?

The name of the this blog is a clue of sorts, as it shares said name with the title of my NaNo:

Ruins of Empire

The Throne of Stars remains empty. For three hundred years no one has has claimed the seat of the Galactic Empire. The last three centuries war consumed the length of the galaxy, with no clear winner in sight.  Now an unusual alliance of bitter rivals may change may place a young Duke on the Throne of Stars. But can he trust his new allies, his bride to be and survive the perilous journey from his home world to the very center of the galaxy? Will a new order rise out of the Ruins of Empire?

So what you think?

I’ll post more details tomorrow.

And now for some music: