Sunday, August 22, 2010

First Draft of Outline

Here is the first draft of my outline. It is rough, but most of the elements are there and in the correct order. I will be shuffling this around as I go, but any early input is appreciated.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Roger's personal history

Since I kept opening holes in Roger's life, and some events seemed like they should overlap or outright contradicted others, I've spent the last few hours rewriting certain little bits in all three stories, and trying to consolidate his history. The timeline presented below is based on that, and hopefully structures my stories a bit better without quite so many holes.

Note - you'll see "failed to recover chalice". It's not a typo, as I've decided that there is more story to tell, but mostly action. Roger will get back to Bargaintown, where a bounty-hunting group led by Ace (a character from the first story I ever wrote) will waylay Roger, and take the chalice, but not before Roger does some permanent damage to Ace or his infrastructure.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Roger Ray: Time for a New Story

Well, I finished up one (if that's what you can call it legitimately. It's not great as far as endings go.), and started a new one. What has become abundantly obvious to me is that my action sequences are the most polished bits, with the suspense--including the ending--needing the most work.

In any case, I think after this next Roger Ray story, I'll try to move into a different character/storyline/universe. Reading a collection of 2005 greatest scifi has me excited to try something different now.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Astor: Origins and Overview

Cameron's post about pictures that inspired him to create Roger Ray got me thinking about where Astor came from.

I was alarmed when nothing immediately came to mind. I could post a number of fantastic, evocative landscape paintings that I found via Google Image, but I didn't look for them until the world was completely formed in my mind, and nothing quite fits what I picture in my mind.

Astor isn't similar to any sci-fi/fantasy universe that I am familiar with. It bears a superficial resemblance to Terry Pratchett's Discworld which ends after "Astor is disc-shaped". Hell, Astor isn't really even disc-shaped; after I explained what the place looked like to Cam, he came up with the 'badly frayed blanket' analogy which works much better.

Bits and pieces of the story I have in mind are similar to other stories I've read. In my next post, I will publish my 'cloud of plot points' OneNote page for dissection, and we can see what is original and what is derivative.

The characters, fortunately, don't bear more than passing resemblance to any existing characters that I am familiar with. We'll see if that holds true as they develop.

So, where does Astor come from? It officially started when Becca and I were on our way home from the grocery store, talking about how there aren't any new ideas anymore, only creative (or uncreative) rehashes of old ideas. Then she started thinking out loud about a world that grows organically, like roots from an impossibly large tree. It captured my imagination immediately, and as soon as I got home I jotted down everything we had talked about after that initial concept. I still have those notes somewhere. Maybe I should scan them and stick them here.

Astor was originally very much like a system of roots, with some rather mind-bending geography that allowed its denizens to look up and see other 'branches' of the world floating above them. Unfortunately, this was a bit too mind-bending, and I was having a lot of trouble mapping it out. I took things down a notch by having Astor be more like a wagon wheel, with a central point (the Core) and numerous 'spokes' jutting out from it every direction. The world was flat, however, which cause a number of new problems, not the least of which that this concept bored me. Becca stepped in at this point, because I was getting a bit frustrated, and suggested that an organic, growing world could easily have a large, usable landmass surrounding the Core, where the oldest roots have twined together so thoroughly that they basically look like solid terrain. Furthermore, this gave me an excellent way to explain the existence of mountains (where the roots dipped above average altitude) and valleys/bodies of water (where the roots dipped below average altitude). At the edges of Astor, bare roots are visible (and in some instances traversable, though laws of reality like gravity become thinner at the Edge) as they snake across the Void, searching hungrily for second worlds to devour.

Here is a horrible MS Paint picture of Astor. It looks like a black sun with measles, but it gets the point across (maybe?).

Note that the place where this story takes place (the Azrim Empire) is considered vast by any historical standard, and it only takes up one little corner of Astor.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Pictures that Inspired Roger Ray

Updated to use Issuu for the images. Pretty sure it's all Boris Vallejo.

Galaxy Map and Notes

Roger Ray

This is planned as a collection of short stories all about the character Roger Ray and his job as a relic hunter in a far off galaxy. There are many Earth analogues and it's not true science fiction. Classifying this set of stories involves the complex geometry of space, westerns, 1920's serial character, pulp fiction, and elements of fantasy. The elevator pitch is Indiana Jones meets Have Gun Will Travel in space, with a bit of Sam Spade thrown in for good measure.

Tentative title for the collection is "The Adventures of Roger Ray, Relic Hunter."


I still don't know what I'm going to call this novel (or series), so I'll be using the 'Astor' tag indefinitely. I'm not even positive that 'Astor' will stick.

In addition to the 2000 words I owe Cameron this week, I'm also going to begin my outline. This is usually the point where a given writing project dies screaming. Outlines are necessary to keep a large story from falling apart under the weight of its own inconsistencies, but I fear them.