Futurism: Part One

This is the first part of a many part series of blogs that are going to talk about the science fiction world that I have created for my son’s Serial ‘Space Courier’ and others.

(Part One of Space Courier is nearing completion in editing and I expect to publish as an ebook on Amazon and a print version on Create Space.)

As a general declaimer, the information created for the world building of these stories is not intended to be thrown completely at the reader, but shown slowly throughout the stories as it becomes relevant to what is going on. Example, the main character, Des, in Space Courier lives on a giant space station Jov 1-H. He does not care what is happening on Venus or the price of tea there. As such, there is no mention of Venus or its Psychedelic Tea leaves.

So the story of Space Courier is set 500 years in the future. Why 500 years?

Good question. I picked it out of my ass.

Well. Kinda.

I selected 500 years as it is a good point in time that is far enough in the future that it gives me freedom to decide what has or hasn’t been accomplished at that point, but it is not too far away to be completely unmanageable. I didn’t want to be so far away that it I show life similar to modern day in many ways that it would break the story.

To start, I decided on a very rough history of how we, as a race, escaped the confines of Earth and became a multi-planet species.

There are two main schools of thoughts that have sprang up when you talk about us colonizing other planets.

The first is that it is obvious that it is a National or multi-National government that colonies other planets and moons.

But I don’t fall into that camp. I sit firmly in the other camp. I think that while governments have will power and money to do expeditions of this type, I don’t think that it is the case with interplanetary travel.

Christopher Columbus revolutionized travel to the Americas. He led an expedition to India and found North America. Everyone knows the story. He was also paid by the Spanish monarchy to do so.

But the numbers don’t add up.

Columbus was using old technology. Sailing ships have been around forever and the style that he had were around for many years. Further more, he knew that the Earth was round. They had known that for a while. He was an idiot and did not bring enough food to last the journey to India if there had been no North America around for resupply.

Nothing in his trip was experimental or difficult. They could navigate by the stars and the currents would bring him to the Americas even if he had no sails. His trip was nothing special in relative terms to what the first Space Travelers seek to do.

When we go to space, in real life as well as my fictional world, every piece of technology used is going to have been invented in the last 30 years if not sooner. That is getting all of the supplies, personal and material into orbit. The multi-month trip to the planet or moon, as well as that habitat that they will be living in.

The struggles that they have to face, especially the environment, is so much harsher that what Columbus faced that there is no comparison. I can’t come up with a single metaphor or simile.

Stating all of that and looking at the social and economic problems that are around today, I feel that it is not going to be governments that take people permanently to space. Governments will take Astronauts to space to play golf and maybe do some experiments when they can. They will not be taking people to space for permanent settlement.

They do not have the money or the political will power to do so.

What one government takes years to build up, it is often ripped apart by the next. NASA cuts programs all the time as one congress takes money away almost at a whim.

Also, the fact that the Spanish Monarchy payed for Columbus is not the same as the U.S Congress funding NASA. It would be like SpaceX going to congress for a lump sum of money to outfit an expedition to colonize Mars. Not a government bureaucracy getting a quarterly budget allotment that it MUST spend.

So, politics aside.

In my fictional world, NASA and China send over a couple manned missions to Mars and they play a killer game of golf. Among some really good discoveries that manned missions tend to do. There is no wind storm that disables stuff and causes a botanist to be forced to grow potatoes from his own shit. Sorry.

What happens after that is that there is a landmark legal case where a private corporation sues the world governments and opens up private space travel and privatization.

The legal basis of that idea is shaky at best, but it is something that happened 450 years before the main characters of my books were born. It’s okay for it to sound off. Listening to a history professor is like that. I know many times where I heard the history of what happened and thought to myself, “Really?”.

In my fictional world, the first permanent space colony was funded and built by someone that wanted to make money in the enterprise. I will go into more detail on some of the stuff that a corporation could be making money on in space next time. For now, this blog has gone on long enough.

Until next time.

 

Rambling: Encouraging others to write.

In many ways I am an enabler. I enjoy having others find enjoyment in things that I find enjoyment in. That I have passion in. I enjoy it so much that I don’t shut up about it.

I have been criticized for obsessing about my passions and my interests.

Is that criticism justified? Warranted?

Probably.

I know that I obsess over things. It is how I am able to write about my books. Fix my house. Go to work or get out of bed. By obsessing over things, I am able to focus on something long enough to see results in that avenue.

Even if I wish that I can hit the snooze button again and go back to sleep.

My obsessions is what gets me into trouble and out of trouble. (Like watching 18 hours of a game on Let’s play and then buying it for way too much money.) I obsess with keeping a roof over my kids heads, which makes me go to work and take Overtime hours. I obsess with my half completed house renovation so that I can keep getting things done in it. Maybe one day I will finish it. I also obsess about my writing.

My writing is my passion in life. They say follow your passion and this is it.

Writing.

Writing novels, writing for my kids, writing for the complete stranger so he gets a kick out of my work. Every day I spend most of the hours thinking about some story. How to fix it, how to make it better, where to go with it. Or a new story idea that will distract me from my current work in progresses.

At the beginning, I said that I am an enabler.

What does that mean? Most people think of it as a bad thing. That I am a bad guy for encouraging someone to do something. And it can be. If I was a drug addict or a drunk.

But I am not. I cannot afford to do those things. I am a writer after all…

I enable people to follow there passions. Follow there enjoyments even if it is just as a hobby and part-time. Even if they only dabble and are not serious about completing it. I do, however, mainly encourage people to write books. Read above about my obsession.

And you may ask why? Why enable people to write books?

The answer to that question is selfish. I do it cause it is lonely over here in writing land by myself. Writing is considered a solitary affair. You sit in a room by yourself writing about make-believe people in make-believe lands doing impossible and crazy things. With no one to talk to but the people in your head…

I just realized how crazy that makes me sound…

Anyways, writing is mostly solitary. But there are times when a writer must talk to other people. Other writers. It gives encouragement and it can make you responsible for getting the work done. (Like trying to explain why your word count hasn’t moved in two weeks, but look at what you have done in that game you play.) It also helps you grow as a writer as you can learn from other people. Learn from there failures as well as there successes.

I encourage people to write as there is a lack of a strong writing community where I live and the only writers that I talk is through a Facebook group. Most are from the U.S. and I will probably never meet in person. I hope that by encouraging people to write that I can build a small writing community of my own.

Or I am a crazy obsessive compulsive who can’t stop shutting up about my make-believe characters in my make-believe world who all live in my head. You decide.

The Horror! The Torture! The College Students!

Well. It’s been a while since I talked to you all. Today I am going to talk to you about perspective and beginner writers.

There are many different people that will have there own opinion and knowledge on the subject. Many of whom are much smarter than I am and are much better writers as well.

But today I am going to give my opinion on the subject as I am an opinionated S.O.B. and I feel like standing on the soap box.

You see, yesterday I wrote the majority of this blog post in a tiny note book as I was being tortured by an unspeakable horror. I was taken captive by my wife to go to listen to her college creative writing class read portions of there ‘manuscripts’. (Please note that I did find about four of the story exerts enjoyable. My wife’s was included in that number.)

I use the term manuscript lightly.

In there defense, they are all mostly beginners and they don’t know any better. They don’t know about show, don’t tell (unless you want to). They don’t know about proper dialogue techniques. Or plotting methods to make a story easier to plot out. They don’t know about a lot of things that only experience gets you.

But all of that is okay. I can usually ignore those mistakes and enjoy the moment. I can usually try and turn off that critical part of my brain. To simply enjoy listening to these passionate new writers enjoy the beginnings of their journeys as writers. But I couldn’t. Not that night.

Which is why I wrote this blog post on a tiny note book at the back of the crowded room.

The reason for my lack of enjoyment was the fact that most of the writers wrote their pieces in First Person Perspective. Author after author did it. Like herpes, it spread to most of the class and wouldn’t go away.

So as I sat there, I wondered why did they do it? The first answer to jump into my mind was that it is a college setting and it is all ‘Literary’ fiction. And that theory is possible. But there was a fantasy novel and a historical one. There was a Horror and a couple comedies. Maybe the fact that colleges push the notion of ‘Literary’ fiction isn’t the case.

Maybe the teacher gave them permission and encouragement to do First Person? And that theory is also possible. The teacher is trying to get them to put pen to paper and if a student was going to write in first, who is he to stop him. She is writing, right? Right?

Or maybe the students were all lazy and thought that writing it in First Person was the easier way to go? They are college kids after all and most of them don’t have fine arts majors. This class was supposed to be an easy elective to break up the hardship of their major. A reprise.

My theory is that it is a mix between the second and the third theories. The teacher gave permission and encouragement. And the students were just being lazy. The students took what looked like the easy road.

But is First Person Perspective the easier way to go. Is it easier than Third Person Limited?

My opinion is no. It is not easier. It seems like it at first glance. Like that flat straight farming road. No turns or curves as far as the eye can see. But just beyond sight are dangers. by taking this road for it can quickly turn into a mud pit if you don’t tread carefully.

First Person is more restrictive than Third Person Limited.

In First Person you can’t see or hear anything outside of the range of your main character’s sight and hearing. If the main character can’t see it or hear it, they don’t know about it.

That leads to situations where it is impossible to move the plot forward. Or the plot moves forward but the writer has no way to tell the reader what is going on as the main character doesn’t know. It is also very hard to hide anything from the reader without coming off as cheating.

It is very hard to jump back and forth in time and forget about showing a different characters Point-of-View as writing a book with multiple First Person Point-of-View’s is not something anyone should try. Too many ‘I’s’ to keep track of. There is no ‘I’ in team.

In Third Person Limited, you are inside the Point-of-View of one specific character. You can hear the thoughts of that character when you want to. Or not as you see fit. You can’t, however, hear the thoughts of other characters around the Point-of-View character.

That is Third Person Omniscient and different than Third Person Limited. Also not apart of this blog post.

In Third Person Limited, you can run into similar problems as First Person. It is limited as the reader is only experiencing what the Point-of-View character experiences. He has no knowledge of what is happening on the other floor, etc. But with Third Person Limited, you can always jump into the Point-of-View of another character to let the reader know what was happening. If is easy to hide things from the reader without coming off as cheating.

Like First Person, you are still describing the setting, etc from the Point-of-View’s perspective. The intimacy that comes from a First Person Perspective story is still in a Third Person Limited, but just less of it and only at the authors discretion. However, with Third Person Limited a standard pitfall is the characterization coming off as hollow or only skin deep.

So does First Person have a time and place to be used?

Simple answer. It does.

On the other side of an airlock.

Let’s Play

On top of the writing that I am always doing, I am a bit of a gamer. I have approx. 100 games on my steam account. It is an addiction that I have.

Not a real bad, must go into rehab problem, just a problem with time management and the ole wallet.

One of the ways that it has hurt me is that I will buy bad games. I have a bunch that I have purchased that basically suck. The games aren’t that expensive on the most part, but it still hurts the wallet.

To combat this, I have found a wonderful thing. Well… Wonderful and evil.

Let’s play videos on Youtube.

A ‘Let’s Play’ video is a video of someone playing a video game. It sounds really dorky, I know. But bare with me.

The video shows someone playing a game. Let’s say that it is a game the you are interested in buying. The reviews are good and it sounds interesting. But it is 39.99. What do you do?

The ‘Let’s Play’ video shows the in game action that is not filtered or changed by the producer. There is no worry that the footage is edited to show the game in a better light than it is. These Youtubers show the game warts and all.

For example. I am a fan of the Sim’s game. A real dorky game. But it is interesting to me in various ways and reasons which I won’t get into here.

So I watched a Youtuber play the latest version of the game. While there are some features to the game that I like, there are some that I find appalling. Like having a repair man not leaving your house and standing around. Or going on a date with someone to have everyone and there dog come bug you at your romantic table. Or the times where the gamers has told the character to do something and the character not being responsive.

Are these bad issues that break the game? Not completely. But…

But the game has been out since Sept 2014. It has had 14 DLC content added to the game. There shouldn’t be any of these issues with the game. It should have been fixed. But it hasn’t. And the price hasn’t gone down at all. It’s getting close to 200 bucks for all of the DLC content and the game.

I have watched other ‘Lets Play’ for other games that are that old with just as much DLC added to them. They early versions of the games had issues to them that became apparent in some of the gameplay. They were fixed. I saw that they were fixed by watching the gameplay. I bought the games.

So that is why ‘Lets Play’ videos are good thing and evil thing. They show the game warts and all. They allow people like me that love buying and playing new games the chance to watch the gameplay. They also allow you to see other video’s by Youtubers that you might not have seen if you didn’t watch the Youtuber.

Then you buy those games that you like.

Until next time.

Java java java. (Off-Topic)

So I have been receiving some rather harsh criticism from people. Mostly in real life and not those that I meet over the interwebs, but whatever.

The criticism is that I am a coffee snob.

That I turn down my nose at some of the vile sludge that people call coffee these days.

Mostly, they say that I am too good for anything but Starbucks coffee. That I like my multi-named, confusing-to-say-with-out-practice drinks.

Well. I am here is set the story straight.

I. Am. Not. A. Coffee. Snob.

I just will not drink that vile sludge of coffee that is presented in some places.

But first. Lets run down some information on what coffee is. Coffee is grown in a plantation and consists of the roasted seeds of a berry. There is a varying amounts of differences between bean to bean. It depends of the roasting of the bean, and to where the bean was grown.

If the coffee plantation was near an orange plantation, then the beans will have a citrus tone. A cocoa plantation will give it a chocolaty flavor. Coffee beans have the tendency to act similar to tofu in that way.

Coffee beans will also take some of the flavor of the coffee tin that it has been stored in. It gives it a bitter metallic taste that overpowers its intended flavor. It usually takes time to develop, like the length of time the coffee takes to cross an ocean by ship to get to me.

The flavor of the coffee can stay for a very long time if the bean is in an airtight container and is unground,

What does that mean when it comes to me?

It means that I will not drink coffee if the beans are stored in a metal tin. Or if it has been pre-ground. Buying the beans bulk and grinding it at the grocery store is fine. Then it is up to me to drink the coffee. That does not make me a Starbucks only coffee slob who likes his Vente Americano’s.

That’s it. Two simple rules.

  1. Buy the coffee in the form of whole beans.
  2. Coffee must not be stored for an extended length in tins.

Well… There is a third. Don’t buy coffee from Tim Horton’s.

This is the real reason that I was criticized in the first place. I consider Tim Horton’s coffee bad coffee.

For those who don’t live in Canada. There is a coffee chain that goes from coast to coast. It has tried very hard in becoming as Canadian as the maple leaf or the Goose. It sells, donuts, pastries and sandwiches as well as coffee.

It, however, doesn’t know what it wants to be. Is it a coffee shop to rival Starbucks and Blendz Coffee? Is it a sandwich place to rival McDonalds and Wendy’s? Or is it a donuts shop to rival Krispy Kreams and Dunkin Donuts?

Because it is trying to be all of these things, it can’t do anything well. It’s donuts selection is lackluster. It’s sandwiches are bland and uninviting. And it’s coffee is weak.

Like food colored water weak. It looks like my kids was painting and the coffee cup was his paint brush rinse cup. It tastes very similar.

A while back they had introduced a dark roast coffee giving you two choices in coffee. Regular and Dark. The dark wasn’t very dark. It still no flavor of it’s own and as soon as you put any amount of cream into it, it tasted like cream. If you were to translate it to Starbucks coffees, it would be a very blonde blonde roast.

And the ‘Dark’ roast is not much better. It barely makes it into the realm of a Starbucks Blonde roast.

People complained and now they rolled out a new and improved dark roast. Dark. This one is as dark as a nerdy kid playing Pokemon is considered cool by high school jocks. It is a light medium roast. Maybe. On a good day.

I bought a cup of it to say that I have had a cup and the flavor is still bland, no body to it at all. And it still has the Tim Horton’s tang that is a standard thing of Tim Horton’s coffee.

So that is the reason that I am considered a coffee snob. I won’t drink the vile watery piss that is called coffee by some Canadian guy named Tim.

Bah. I like coffee dark. Like my soul.

(By the way. I drink my coffee black. I don’t add sweetener.)

Four Books

Wow. I mean wow.

After I did the blog about productivity and stuff, I started to think about the projects that I have on the go.

I have my ‘When the Lights Go Out’, ‘Culture Shock’, ‘Space Courier’, and ‘Felix the Swift Part One’.

But that is nothing that I haven’t  blogged about before. I have been talking about them since I have started this blog.

Here is the wow. Before a day ago, I had three of those books in some part of editing. Some needing more edits than others. One in particular might not get published.

After I started think about my projects and the discussion on the Dead Robots Society Podcast about publishing series of books as the way to make money. Also about how there is a trend for shorter length work. Which I am not against writing.

I came to a conclusion. My Felix the Swift book. Originally started as a single novel with bits and pieces being told as flashbacks. I then decided that the flashbacks were too strong to be flashbacks and needed to be a full part of the story. The length of the book went from approx. 90k  to 180k. I then split it into two novels.

As of this writing I have 77k written in book one, while 30k written in book two. I expect another 15k min to be in part one and that is me keeping the plot of the rest of the part down to the bare minimum. I have an end scene for a book. It is really cool.

However. To write the rest of the book the way that I want to do I expect that I will need to  add 5ok at least onto the 77k that I currently have. So what do I do with the added words? My aim is to have 90k books max. Solution. Pull the novels back to 80k and add a third book.

Boom. Felix the Swift is now a Trilogy.

All I need to do is to get the currently projected 15k up past my 50k that I want to do and get it to 80k. An extra 30k. I have plans on how to do that. Other characters that I can make POV. Twists to put into it to get the characters from where they are at the end of book one to my dramatic end scene that was end scene book one, but is now end scene book two.

I am excited.

It means that out of the four projects on the go at the moment, all four of them have a book in editing. First drafts are done.

That means I am in editing. This is utterly awesome.

The next question is, should I publish these books sooner or wait until I have all of the books planned complete?

I am not sure. But that is a question for another day and another blog.

If anyone reading this has a suggestion on what I should do, please comment.

Cheers.

Nathan Pedde

Productivity

I have a dream. (Enter rest of song from Tangled here.)

Anyways. My 5 year goal consists of me making my living from writing novels and other creative pursuits. To do that I have a plan. And you have to have a plan. There is no way to get a to a goal other than to have a plan.

So what is my plan.

Easy.

Well. Kinda.

It is to be able to write six novels a year. That means writing everyday. No stopping. No days off. No fun.

Kidding. Kinda. Days off are fine. As long as the work gets done. As long as the projects get completed and published.

The way to do that is to vary the length of the projects. I have ideas for longer works as well as shorter works. By varying lengths I am able to complete more publishable works than if  I did one long work. Writing a 500k word novel is good if your last name is Sanderson and have huge advances to keep fed.

Me, however, I don’t get huge advances. I don’t have the capability of writing those long works. I also feel that the market for indie books is not for the doorstops. The people that buy indie books want smaller fiction that costs less and that they are able to get through faster.

So that means pulling back the scope of the books from 150k novels to 70k novels and making two novels. I also want to write even shorter length works. I like writing my 6 yr old middle grade sci fi book.

What does this mean?

That means that I must be writing for half the year. I must be be editing novels for the other half of the year. I must be writing between 1ooo to 3000 words a day. This is assuming that my editing takes half the time. If I can get my editing time down that means that I can spread the writing out between other days.

How do you do that?

Cleaner first drafts. Do I mean less spelling mistakes? Kinda. I mean less developmental edits. I mean that I am going to have to do more outlining. I have to plan my stories. Plan the work better. Get the story right the first time.

But this is not an over night thing. It will take time to build up to that. It will take time to get the productivity up to a point where I am writing enough. I do, however, have planned projects to get me to that part.

That is 4 projects under development. The 4 projects is translated into multiple planned novels. I have one current stand alone being beta read. One trilogy with the first novel being edited. My middle grade has the first book out of six being edited. The last project is a pair of novels. I might change it to a trilogy by cutting the same length of book into three parts.

But I will have to figure out how to add a projected 50k words into the ‘first’ part of the project. My wife says that I need to take a page out of the TV version of game of thrones. Add more sex scenes. I am not sure if she is joking or not…

That means that if I get the current projects completed that I will have thirteen novels. If I can get that done it will be amazing.

But this brings up the question of the night. How can writing and publishing works regularly mean that I can eventually quit my day job and write novels for a job?

By writing and publishing work, on Amazon, builds up a library of work that people can buy. As more books are published, means that more people will see the books and buy the books. They may go back and buy other books in your library. People do that.

Well. I rambled enough. More later.

Cheers.

Nathan Pedde