Space Train 1 is at that enjoyably intricate stage where the story is written and what I’m doing now is tweaking and polishing (and open to possibly making some bigger changes) in response to comments and suggestions from my crit partners and beta readers.
Space Train 2 is at the delicious stage where I’m turning it from a jumble of dreams and ideas and thoughts into a proper plan.
Which includes thinking about research to come.
For Space Train 1, I researched: spaceship design and propulsion; space shuttle launch; orbital navigation; fighter plane design; exoplanet ecology; binary planets; asteroid belts; terraforming; mining in space; lava tubes; wormhole theories; gunshot surgery; socialist cooperative societies; matrilineal societies; crocodiles; intelligent computer systems; aliens of various types; sniper science; glacial landforms; prosthetics manufacture and fitting; Old West speech and slang; kinetic bombardment; minerology; helium-3; effect on tides of multiple moons; communications satellite technology; and more but I’ll stop there because spoilers.
The list so far for Space Train 2: astronomy telescopes; military occupations; theories about spaceship cloaking technology; Native American/First Nations hockey; broken bone healing medicine; symbolism of turquoise in different societies; and ancient Egyptian (New Kingdom) burial rituals.
That’s what has come up in the first four chapters of my plan, with maybe thirty-six more chapters to plan.
I love this, putting it all together in a skeleton plan, learning lovely new stuff and calculating how I’ll apply it. It gives me shivers. 🙂
Very early yesterday morning I finished writing Space Train. It’s 97k words of space opera adventure spread across four solar systems, with faster-than-light wormhole transits and alien cultures and a big diverse cast of characters I’ve fallen in love with.
Happily, over the years I’ve developed my way of building a novel, which is to edit and polish as I go, scene by scene. Obviously it’s slower than fast drafting, but by the time I write The End it’s pretty much ready to go. So for me it’s actually far faster than other methods I’ve tried, and certainly it feels like less work.
I honestly think this has been the most fun I’ve ever had writing a novel. I adore the universe, its science, and most of all its people. I’ve loved every minute of it, and I’m already looking forward to writing Book 2. In fact I’ve skeleton-planned the entire four-book series.
Space Train is with my crit partners and beta readers now, and while it’s in their hands I’m preparing a submission package to send it to Angry Robot’s open call in November.
Happy David! Very, very tired, but still happy. 🙂
In a dangerous world of isolated, steam-powered, island communities, a thousand years after Earth’s apocalyptic flood, Princess Victoria and her robot mentor King Henry recruit a ragtag band of airship adventurers to help her fight the military traitors who intend to murder her family and enslave the kingdom.
Victoria has spent all of her sixteen years in a secluded palace on Ben Nevis Island under the protection of King Henry, one of the three original robots programmed by the ancient ancestors to rule the flooded planet Earth. She’s safe there, but her family and their intelligent clockwork servants treat her like the tomboy child she used to be—and sometimes still is. She yearns to fly away in one of the great steam-driven iron airships to see the world.
It seems too good to be true when Henry asks Victoria to board the Royal Airship Elizabeth, with him disguised as her robot footman, and fly over the sea to meet the Lord of Ireland. Victoria jumps at the chance for an adventure, and they take to the skies together.
But the world is a dangerous place. Air pirates prowl trade routes, and slaver fleets cross the oceans to raid unprotected islands. The Royal Navy is building up to a war, and Henry’s old friend, the Lord of Ireland, is accused of giving safe harbor to pirates. Victoria and Henry must overcome them all in order to make their way home to a kingdom that might not still be standing.
A Flight of Thieves is available from:
Apple, Nook, Kobo, and Inktera