Articles for February 2014

New Chapters and Infodumps

We have two new chapters from Part 2 ready to release those who request them. Please leave a comment and let us know if you prefer PDF or Kindle format, and whether you would prefer to download them from the site or have us email them directly to you.

These two chapters (and probably the next one as well) are rather more infodump-ish than most. Infodumps are one of the main hazards of writing sci-fi. Larry Niven explained it nicely back in the early 70’s (or before) and a short bit I call “The X-ray Laser Problem.” Niven was writing a series of sci-fi mysteries at the time and he wrote the piece to lament that these were tricky. Say you have a locked-door murder mystery (his example). In contemporary fiction, the reader knows all the limitations and such, but in sci-fi, what if the bad guy had an x-ray laser that can shoot through walls?

You can’t just drop that on the reader at the end (if you want to still be read). If there are x-ray lasers in that universe, you have to say so and describe what they can do and what they can’t, and how this adds to the mystery. The problem arises though when the author gets carried away talking about his uber-cool x-ray laser. After all, he did research and exercised a bunch of creativity to invent the thing, and he naturally wants people to know all that. So he infodumps.

Back when Niven wrote his piece, there wasn’t much infodumping. At some point that changed and now some successful authors (David Weber comes to mind) have made infodumps part of their style. I don’t know how this came about (maybe it was Tom Clancy who showed that readers actually liked a wealth of technical detail), but the views on infodumps have evolved and are still evolving, and they seem to be getting more controversial again.

Our Minority Report #1

As we have ceased posting new chapters here, we thought it might be nice to give people a report on the completion of The Morning Which Breaks. We will endeavor to update this periodically (weekly is the goal, but we all know how that sometimes works out) so our readers can stay abreast of our progress.

To recap, MWB is presented in three parts. The current status is as follows:

Part 1 is completed in beta draft form and is being proofread.

Part 2 is still in work.

Part 3 has been completed as an initial rough draft and is in alpha review (a silly name for us rereading our own work).

The breakdown for each part is as follows (page refers to a typical paperback page):

Part 1 is 194 pages long and consists of 23 chapters, plus Prologue.

Part 2 is currently 145 pages long and consists of 27 to 28 chapters: 18 of these have been completed as a rough draft; 4 are ~50% complete; 5 or 6 are in outline form only.

Part 3 is 56 pages long and consists of 12 chapters, plus Epilogue.

As writing is an elastic business (especially the way we do it), the numbers for Part 2 are soft, in the sense that we may discover the need to add chapters to it as the story continues to evolve. And it is possible that as we complete Part 2, it may be revealed that we need to add to Part 3. (The closer you think you are to being finished, the more holes have a way of making themselves known.)

For those who like nitty-gritty numbers, the manuscript is 131,650 words long as of this writing (rounded to the nearest 50 words). For comparison, Alecto is 54,930 words.

Finally, we will be ready to release a couple of new chapters from Part 2 to interested parties shortly. Check back in a day of so for updates.

As always, we greatly appreciate your support for our efforts!

Hey! Where’s My New Chapter?

Some of you may have been wondering if we are going to post anymore sample chapters of MWB here. Our plan always was to keep posting sample chapters until we got to the end of Part 1, if we hadn’t finished the draft at that point and sent it out to our beta readers.

Having reached that point, and with the draft as yet unfinished (although we are working feverishly on it), we faced a bit of a dilemma. We enjoy the valuable feedback we’ve been getting and want to keep people engaged, but given the length of Part 1 (within is, by itself, a shade over 15% longer than Alecto), we’ve decided not to post any additional chapters publicly.

We do appreciate that we have some awesome readers to whom this will not be welcome news, so we are going to do the following. If you want to continue reading sample chapters until we get the draft completed, leave us a comment here. We will contact you directly via the email you provide and make arrangements to send you additional chapters as they become available and (hopefully) we’ll have the draft done soon.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support of our endeavors!

‘Morning’ Beta Cover Reloaded

We made a new cover for The Morning Which Breaks! This is the beta version, still with some clean-up needed on the figures, but we thought we’d put it out for comment. You may fire when ready! ;-)


Chapter Headings?

It has been suggested to us that perhaps we should replace the chapter headings with a location and date, maybe like this: Deimos, Mars; 040842 GAT. The location is already shown in the subheading, so the only new info would be the date. Dates can be a bit problematic in a narrative like this and we are not sure how much they add to the reader’s experience.

The primary reason for the question is Part 3 for MWB, which is even more episodic than Part 1 and switches rapidily among locales and does not have a smooth timeline. The though was offered that changing the chapter heading for that section might aid the readers with the more episodic structure of the narrative.

Feel free to share your thoughts on this issue below.