As I mentioned in my Writing Process post, when I've completed around three chapters of a novel, I take a step back and review what I've learnt about the story and characters. Something always turns out differently from what I was expecting, and I need to be sure I'm happy with it and understand its ramifications.
Well, I've now reached that point, so I thought I'd let you know where things stand. Actually, as well as the first three chapters, I've also written the 'Duties' (the prelude, interludes and postlude), giving a total of about 16,000 words. The first chapter was slow going as I grappled with a few things, but after that, things flowed nicely.
What can I safely tell you about the story? It has two protagonists, plus a third mysterious entity that keeps poking its nose into the narrative. I'm pretty sure these details will go on the blurb – in a more succinct fashion – so let's keep it to that.
Humanity colonised the planet Juventas a century earlier, arriving on a generation starship, barely surviving the journey. There was no sign of the vessel that was supposed to have prepared the colony for their arrival, so the first fifty years were a struggle. Things have been stable since then, and pressure grows to remove the strictures that have been in place since their days on the starship and expand the colony further. A pivotal election looms that could change everything.
Jess Kimber has had quite a year. At the start, she was married, ran the colony's most prestigious project, and had been nominated for the Senate. Now, she was divorced and out of work. She couldn't be happier. Things rapidly become complicated by the failure of the product she was responsible for – which included secure voting in the colony's elections – just after she left. To make matters worse, her ex-husband is standing for election to the Council. Jess reluctantly gets sucked into the battle for the future of the colony.
Ravi Antic was a member of Jess's former development team, and it had been a relief when he'd left. Ravi's talent in the system's security were prodigious. It was a pity they didn't include getting on with people.
To everyone's surprise, Ravi turns up as a member of charismatic Till Bullen's self-funded expedition to explore Juventas beyond the local region. Their mission becomes a critical issue in the elections for the next Council, and their discoveries about the planet could prove crucial. Like, why does none of the planet's geology make the slightest sense?
Bekomdef knows why. The alien entity watches the human race with suspicion. It knows they have transgressed a fundamental law in the past. If they do it again, it will have no choice but to act.
So what's changed since I started? Nothing too major, although there was one serendipitous adjustment in the relationship between my two protagonists. In a conversation between Jess and a former work colleague, they discussed Ravi Antic. In their sarcasm, it came across entirely differently from how I'd intended. I was about to change that when I realised a few delicious possibilities in having a more antagonistic starting point.
I've also fleshed out several of the support characters in more detail and added a couple of unplanned people that the story demanded. If you compare my current character outline to that in my Writing Process blog post, you'll see what I mean:
I've also ended up with one extra chapter in part one, alternating between Jess Kimber's and Ravi Antic's perspectives. These have all been renamed as follows:
I've also looked a bit further ahead as to what's coming in part two. At present, I'm planning four chapters, although I think I'll end up splitting these further to give six again. It depends on how the timelines align when I write them. It's all fitting together quite nicely at present.
As you can see at the top of this post, I've started playing with front covers, as it often gives me further inspiration for the tale. It's based upon this image from deselect on Pixabay. It fitted one aspect of the story scarily well, so I couldn't resist as soon as I came across it.
I'm still investigating colour schemes and layout, so it will likely be different from that above. The image positioning certainly isn't right. You'll see I've been playing with colour palettes:
I think this will likely end up back closer to the original blue, but we'll see.
Right, I'd better get back and finish part one. Tedium on River Hebe looms.