A Date with Epsilon Eridani & Progress Report – 11/3/13

Another week done and it’s been a fun one. I’ll jump straight into the stats but first a quick announcement: I’m expecting this first draft to be around 100,000 words so I’ve put together a little tracking bar to show my progress graphically. It breaks up all the text and is a good way to gauge my position. Let me know what you think.

Word Count for the week: 10,791 words.  A bit up and down this week. A few good days, a few days where I fell asleep getting my kids to sleep (in their bed) and had to struggle to wake myself up just to knock out my thousand words. You can sleep when you’re dead though, right? They promised me. . .

Total Word Count: 46,342. Right on the cusp of the mid point, contextural shift.

46342 / 100000 (46.34%)

Quote du jour:
“I’m good,” he said.
“You don’t sound good.”
“I said I’m good.”
“You did say that.”
Robert sighed. “Being surrounded by Imps not trying to kill you, I guess it takes a little bit of getting used to.”

View of Epsilon Eridani and its dust cloud from the moon of a supposed second planet.

View of Epsilon Eridani and its dust cloud from the moon of a supposed second planet.

Epsilon Eridani

For those of you out there who have played Frontier or First Encounters and hung around Federation space, you should be pretty familiar with Epsilon Eridani. Its a fun system. Its a corporate system. There is one inhabited planet, a terra-formed world called ‘New California’ and ruled by ‘New Governator’.
(Ok I made that last bit up). There is only one planet starport, Masseyville, but there is an orbital and a few other settlements.

I described in an earlier post and in my Lave Radio interview how the characters will be visiting the system and will have to interact with the people and the environment there. This leads to a bit of a tricky problem for myself:

What will actually be in the game?

I have a few sources of information to go to when it comes to Corporations. I have the Frontier and First Encounters computer games. I have a direct line to Elite:Dangerous backstory writer extroadinaire Allen Stroud. I have Frontier Developments themselves to ask questions of. But the specifics of this one system are quite low on their priority list and I can’t just sit around waiting for it to be finalised.

And thats just the Corporation details. What about the solar system? I’m an engineer with a strong interest in celestial mechanics so in my writing I’d like the Epsilon Eridani system to be as true to reality as I can make it. But again I have the same problem:

What will actually be in the game?

For example, my research into the Epsilon Eridani system has lead to several nuggets of information:
1) The star has a dust belt/ring which extends beyond the equivalent orbit of Jupiter
2) A planet has been tentatively detected inside this dust belt, as well as a potential second planet beyond the ring.
3) Epsilon Eridani, a young orange star, is going through puberty and has increased x-ray emissions and magnetic activity compared to our own sun. Oh, and it’s spinning quite fast.

But these all depend on what Frontier:Developments are going to do with the game and what I have license to do (and not do.)

So what is my plan? Well I don’t want to write vague. Specificity is the key, even though I have little specifics. I write the Epsilon Eridani system that I want to write about using all the Frontier/First Encounters knowledge I have. I have run a quick check past Frontier Developments over my description of the city of Masseyville but otherwise I’m going to do what works for the story knowing full well that when I submit my draft, Frontier may ask me to change some of it.

They key is BEING OK with this. This whole Elite Universe belongs to them. It might be my favourite science fiction universe and I might feel like I have some rights, but ultimately this is David Braben’s sand pit and I’m a guest (And I feel extremely honoured to be a guest). I would like to think that some of what I have added to the Epsilon Eradani system will be taken on board. Hopefully a lot of information from Frotier/First Encounters will be retained.

So I’m going to write how I want to write it and I’m going to write it fast to give myself time to change it in the next draft. Although the story is about the specifics, I’m not going to let the specifics hold up the story.

Backers

This is a shout out and ‘Hello’ to all my new backers. Thank you for your financial support. I appreciate it and feel indebted to you. I also have my first Kiwi backer to back me through the website. That’s fantastic, but it does lead me to a problem. My paypal is setup to accept payments in Pounds because most Elite fans are English. If Pounds are not your local currency and you would like to support, feel free to drop me a line and we can organise paypal off the website and do it in any currency you like (though GBP, USD and NZD are preferred).

Stretch Goal – Audiobook

To my wife’s horror I spend a lot of time thinking about this project, as there is a lot to do: Writing, updating this site, keeping up on twitter and facebook and thinking of new plans.

One of these new plans is an audiobook. The more I think about it, the more I think I can put together something reasonable for little money. I have some sound help and some voice talents and with a few more pieces falling into place I can have a good crack at this. If anyone has any ideas on ways to cheapen this process or if anyone is able to offer tips, please get in contact.

Once I’ve figured out the total costs I’ll be annoucing this as an official stretch goal. If we reach funding I’ll ensure that it is completed in time for the game launch. If it does not reach funding then it is something I may look at after the official launch.

—–

Ok, that is this week’s report done and dusted. I’d love to hear your thoughts. See you next time.

Cheers,

John

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