Truncated 30 days of world-building, part 4

Back to 30 days of world-building.  Only got a couple days to go before the commencement of Nanowrimo this year.

Skipping Days 17 and 18


Day 19 – Characters and what they’re all about

I’m not going to bore most folks with the character list.  Hell, I want to keep a lot about the characters a secret, since characters are often the key to my success in writing.  Instead, I’ll just offer a brief taste of some of them.

Here they are, in alphabetical order.

  • Grant Channing – Member of the Psychean Guard held by the Eurydice Compact for at least fifteen years.  Father of Lindsay Farragut.
  • Alana Chase – Born to the Eurydice Compact conglom, heavily cybered soldier.  She escaped to E-557 eighteen years before the story begins.
  • Brendan Cho – Born to the Chinasia Corp conglom and trained as a military pilot.  He is the only survivor of a ship shot down over E-557 eleven years before the story begins that was allowed to stay.
  • America Farragut – Member of the Psychean Guard held by Chinasia Corp. for at least fifteen years.  Mother of Lindsay Farragut and sister of Rachel Farragut.
  • Lindsay Farragut – Born a member of the Psychean Guard two years after the decimation of Mimir, the home of the Psychean Guard.  She is the Oracle and came to E-557 with her aunt twenty-three years before the story starts.  Member of the Rose Council.
  • Rachel Farragut – Member of the Psychean Guard who came to E-557 twenty-three years before the story starts.  Aunt and surrogate mother of Lindsay Farragut, the Oracle.  Member of the Rose Council.
  • Ezra Grace, MD – Born and bred on E-557, Ezra is of genius-level intelligence when it comes to medicine and the interactions of humans and cyberware.  He’s not quite thirty when the story starts.
  • Adam Windsor – Member of the Psychean Guard who came to E-557 shortly before Rachel Farragut, after the destruction of Guard HQ on Mimir.  High-ranking military officer on E-557; one of the Guardians (military commanders of E-557).


Day 20 – Oh, the plot!

This particular directive — that is, starting to outline plot — is something I started a bit ago, as scenes started to form themselves in my head.  Basically, the exercise for day 20 asks the writer to say what the story’s about — what’s the overarching plot.

On the Nanowrimo forums, there’s a thread that was fantastic: the 20-word summary of your plot.  This was mine:

Humanity has killed dozens of worlds. They’re not allowed to kill this one.

Thirteen words to describe the plot of The Last Colony.  We’ll see what the ending holds.

I do have one major subplot already in mind, which deals with the rescue of America Farragut and Grant Channing from the Chinasia Corp and Eurydice Compact congloms respectively.  Of course, Lindsay isn’t going to like the plan that Ezra (since it will be Ezra that comes up with the majority of the plan) comes up with for rescuing her parents.


Day 21 – Flora and Fauna

Largely skipping this one, except for to jot down the note that there are various terrestrial species that have been preserved since the loss of Earth that have become semi-domesticated.  Other species were used to populate the lands of E-557 long before the colonists ever landed there.  No one’s really sure who terraformed the planet or seeded it with terrestrial species.  There is some data to indicate that E-557 was a world that had once harbored life before being terraformed, but for some reason had been abandoned in a very distant past.


Skipped to Day 24 – Mood (again!)

Day 24 is all about artwork, mood, and music playlists for working on your project.  Of course, this can take a long while to put together, especially the artwork.  So, for the moment, I’m going to forgo some of the artwork but share some of the music that’s evocative and inspiring lately…

Other songs include “Keep Holding On” by Avril Lavigne, “Now or Never” by Three Days Grace, “Wonder” by Natalie Merchant, “Believe” by Staind, “Carry You Home” by James Blunt, and “World” by Five for Fighting.


Day 25 – The Sky (and what’s in it when)

This isn’t so important, since I don’t have any nighttime sequences in mind that will require moonlight.  I love the moon in all its phases, and if it becomes important to have the moon be a certain way at a certain time, I’ll be sure to keep track of phases.  Though the exercise is a wonderful cautionary tale.


The rest of the days on the world-building lists are mostly wrap-ups — finish up with this, that, and the other thing.  So I’ll be spending my last few days before Nanowrimo working on school work and doing some outlining for November 1!

Truncated 30 days of world-building, part 3

Back to my brainstorming fueled by 30 days of worldbuilding, of which I’ve skipped several days (in part due to finishing up a paper for the Great Lakes History Conference — which is almost done, mercifully, and will be completed on Thursday).


Day 8 – It’s all about the Economics and the Resources

Basically, the Foundation and the Psychean Guard control the resources–all of them–of E557.  Other congloms would love to exploit the virgin planet.  That’s not going to happen.

  • On E557, most goods are shared communally–everyone contributes based on their own skills to the whole and in return get what they need (it’s something of a highly advanced barter system, with goods in return for services, ect).  Most people grow their own food (at least some of it) on small plots near their homes.  Those who cannot are supported by the community (such as those in military service who have little or no time to tend a garden plot, ect).
    • Natural resources are prized and protected.  There are stringent limits set on what can be taken.  Still, there is often major surplus that is exported back to New Earth, and that income is in turn invested in the Foundation’s efforts and the survival of E557 and the colony, which is rapidly becoming self-sufficient.

Skipped Day 9-11.

Day 12: What ifs and the speculative element – brainstorm some speculative elements embedded in your story.  It doesn’t matter if they end up making the final cut or not.

  • Limited/dangerous FTL
  • Terraforming/colony seeding
  • Psychics
  • Wetware
  • Genetic engineering
  • Sustainable energy technology
  • O’Neill cylinders/colonies/stations
  • “Hover” technology (crossing the sea, salt flats, deserts, ect)
  • Psychic enhancement technology?
  • Wetware/psychic dependant fighters/armor suits?
  • AIs (this would be mostly on the Conglom end)
  • Hardcore resources extraction technology (Conglom end)
  • Nanotechnology (medicine, weapons)
  • Advanced satellite communications and scanning technology

Skipped Day 13

Day 14 – Education: So, what kind of educational system does your society use?  How are people educated and what does that mean for the societies?

  • Education depends on which Conglom you’re born to, and where.
    • Psychean Guard – Children born psychic in the Guard (which most, but not all, are) are trained from an early age to hone and control their abilities.  This continued after many fled to E557 (though their numbers had been greatly reduced).  They also enjoyed an education heavily committed to knowledge deemed “esoteric” by most of the other Congloms–a curriculum based on the humanities, research, social sciences and science and math.  especially bright children are channeled toward their passions in terms of study.
    • Chinasia Corp – Children are exposed to science and math early on and all are expected to be literate by the age of eight.  At age ten or eleven, children are channeled into different training cadres for particular pursuits.  Those deemed physically suited enter military training at this stage.  Only about half of those selected for military training survive the first five years of training.  Other children are tracked for technical activities and are trained accordingly.  A bare handful are identified for “other duties” and are trained accordingly.
      • Children (indeed, most people) are only numbers.  Many find they cannot remember their given names, only their family names, after entering the training cadres.
    • Eurydice Compact – The Compact works on a caste system–what your parents had been, so too shall you be unless the leaders of this conglom see fit to change your stars.  Children can expect to begin training at about four or five and become part of the workforce by twelve or thirteen.  Children who are born psychic  are sterilized (this began around the same time that the Foundation was founded – psychic ability when parents are not themselves psychic is generally not discovered until the first manifestation of abilities, which tends to take place during adolescence) and subjected to genetic testing and other experiments.  Most die before the age of twenty.
      • The Psychean Guard rescues a disproportionate amount of psychic children from the Eurydice Compact.  It is suspected by the Compact that they have moles that alert them to the discovery of psychic children, or ways of finding these children before the Compact does.
    • Rose Foundation – The Rose Foundation focuses on a liberal arts education with additional education in ecological and technological sciences as well as survival and other practical skills.  It’s sometimes said that the Foundation raped the Congloms of the best and brightest thinkers of the past 400 years.  Much of the Foundation now resides on E557 and most children are publicly educated with opportunities for higher learning based on strengths and aptitude.
  • Most of the congloms are combinations/variants of the above.

I hope I’ll be forgiven for not sharing character notes that related to the above, though I did scribble down some stuff about Brendan Cho (a refugee from Chinasia Corp), Alana Chase (a refugee from the Eurydice Compact), Lindsay Farragut (the Oracle and thus a refugee from the Psychean Guard), and Ezra Grace (who was born and raised on E557 to an old Foundation family).

Skipped Day 15.

Day 16 – Refining and further detailing speculative elements

Psychics – Some psychics, such as the Oracle, who are particularly strong can and will suffer sensory overload when all six of their senses are available to them in most types of “public” settings.  The overload can cause discomfort ranging up to causing eventual brain damage in the most powerful psychics due to repeated “trauma.”  Training can alleviate this for most psychics, but for the most powerful there is simply no way to prevent psychic “seepage.”  Some use drugs to control their abilities, but this isn’t considered an entirely viable solution and is only turned to (within the Psychean Guard) when absolutely necessary.

Cyberware/Wetware – Often used in military and technical applications, but very, very hard on the body.  The most heavily cybered individuals often don’t live long, either dying or going insane.  In most congloms, this isn’t a problem, since most of the time these people are expendable.
– Cutting-edge, less invasive wetware techniques have been pioneered on E557.  They’re also the leading experts on decybering, which was prevously thought impossible.
—-> Part of deybering requires genetic engineering and limited cloning technology.
– Very few psychics can tolerate cyberware.  More can handle basic wetware, but usually not too much.  There has been some research that suggests it does somethign ti kill psychic ability because of chemical imbalances caused in the brain as a result of installation.
—> The Psychean Guard developed techniques for determining whether or not particular individuals could handle wetware/cyberware.

FTL Travel – Faster than light travel is possible, but tricky and dangerous outside of known corridors.  Even in known corridors, 1 in 50 ships never make it to their destinations–and no one knows what’s become of half of these vessels lost.  When traveling outside of known corridors, the number jumps to nearly half of the ships lost.  As a result, most travel is restricted to known “safe” zones and ships drop from FTL usually days from their intended destination (the system surrounding New Earth is an exception).  For example, “safe” routes to E557 have ships coming in 5-7 days away from the planet.

Truncated 30 Days of World-building, part 2

Back to 30 Days of World-building!  Some of this I actually did yesterday before my classes began, while I was having some lunch.

Day 4 and Day 5 – I skipped both for now; Day 4 is really something that is important for a world that’s not newly settled (30 Days of World-building was originally designed to help people build fantasy worlds rather than science fiction worlds–a world such as the one I’m designing is recently colonized).  Day 5…yeah, that’s a map.  I just don’t have the brainpower (or the time) to dedicate to making one of those right about now.  But soon.  Probably after next weekend.

Day 6 – Spend 10 minutes figuring out what people who evolved in each major area of your world would look like. Then spend another 5 minutes asking “what if this group encountered that group?” Would they fight? Trade? Both? Inter-marry and blend their genetic types? Would they remain largely separate, with pure strains of both racial groups co-existing (not necessarily peacefully)? How would that encounter be brought about in the first place?

This got me running off in random directions.  What follows is directly taken from my handwritten notes on the subject.

 Because the world is terraformed and there are no true indigeneous people extant, all of the people that come to E557 come from New Earth or near-New Earth settlements and stations.  A few may even be from one of the spacefaring congloms and have only seen land briefly in their lives.

* Genetic mixing – Some congloms are a mixture of different racial types (though this has largely lost meaning since departure from the Solar system thousands of years ago).

– Other congloms, such as Chinasia Corp, are largely of one racial type.  Chinasia Corp members are Oriental in appearance with some Indian/Polynesian features in some, but these are rare (and sometimes the subject of ridicule by their peers).  Members of this Corp are more often considered as numbers rather than individuals. (This idea spawned the idea for one of the characters that will probably play a large role in the story, named Brendan Cho).

– In these congloms, you’re born to them.  You can leave, but no one who does not look the part and match certain genotypic requirements can join.

– Russian/Scandanavian Conglom?

* Psychics – Humanity has produced them for centuries, but largely they have been shunned, feared, or even disbelieved in.  For a time, there was a movement to sterilize any recognized psychic in order to prevent the production of more.  This is still practiced uner some Congloms, but most either ignore psychics or try to turn them to their advantage.  One psychic conglom exists: the Psychean Guard, which specializes in information–how to get it and how to protect it.

– The Psychean Guard was understandably instrumental in the work of the Foundation.

* Congloms are the equivelant of nation-states, for better or worse, but with an economic twist–thye’re also major corporations that have control over a large portfolio of activities and interests.

* Slavery?  Possible – “racially” based in some congloms (Chinasia, Eurydice Compact).  In most cases, it is more a state of eternally extended indentured servitude.


Day 7 – Spend 15 minutes outlining the major historical events of the last 100 years before your novel begins.

Well, I started with a little more than 100 years, since the history of my world, E557, is actually pretty short comparitively.  These are just notes I jotted down and will probably get changed quite a bit as I develop the story more — shuffing dates so they make more sense is something I do a lot.  For sake of ease, I started with Year 1 (I haven’t figured out my actual system of dates yet).

Year 1 – Colonization planning begins in earnest when Foundation scouts land on E557 and declare it “extremely habitable.”  Within six months, the first advance party lands on E557 and begins erecting infrastructure for Foundation colonization.  The sites settled are on two continents on either side of an ocean about 2500 miles across.

Year 3 – Infrastructure largely in place for the advance colony, the first settlers arrive on E557 and begin new lives.

Year 10 – Persecution drives some psychics to settle on E557.

Year 15 – First great drought.  The colonists begin to figure out the patterns shortly thereafter.

Year 30 – Second great drought.  Major droughts are determined to be cyclical.

Year 50 – Eruption of offshore undersea volcano creates the island of Tobie off the southeast coast of the western continent.

Year 100 – A new O’Neill colony is established near New Earth.  Three more are completed in the next five years.  Congloms begin making overtures to the Foundation, requesting resource and settlement rights to unsettled areas of the planet.  The requests are firmly denied.

Year 110 – The Eurydice Compact attempts to colonize an area of E557.  Their colony is discovered and dismantled, the equipment seized or destroyed.  Colonists from Eurydice Compact are given the option to leave and return to the Compact or remain and adopt the Foundation’s ideology of sustainability and racial and religious tolerance.  Some settlers elect to stay.  They tell horror stories baout what’s going on “back home.”  The Psychean Guard makes it clear that further interference with E557 will result in dire consequences.

Year 115 – Most of those individuals who were invovled in the Foundation have left for E557 (or died subsequently).  The Psychean Guard remains a staunch defender of the rights of those who have chosen to settle E557.

Year 125 – Open war breaks out amongst the congloms.  The Psychean Guard, usually neutral in these conflicts, becoems a major target.

Year 131 – Most of the Psychean Guard is wiped out in an attack on their capital/headquarters.  Those who survive go into hiding and prepare to flee to E557.

Year 134 – “Oracle” is born, the daughter of two members of the Psychean Guard’s inner circle.  They are still struggling to flee to E557 while creating havoc amongst the congloms to avenge their murdered brothers and sisters in the Guard.

Year 136 – “Oracle” is brought to E557 by an aunt.  Her parents are missing and mourned as lost.

Year 142 – War amongst the congloms ends.  A few smaller congloms have been absorbed or destroyed.  The Psychean Guard is largely regarded to no longer exist.

Year 150 – Another large-scale attempt at colonization of uninhabited areas of E557 is repulsed.

Year 159 – Current year.  War with E557, the remnant of the Psychean Guard, and the Foundation against the other congloms and New Earth seems imminent–and Oracle says it is, though no one knows who she really is.

Truncated 30 days of World-building…

In browsing the NaNoWriMo forums, I came across a link to Stephanie Bryant’s 30 Days of World-building.  I decided “Huh, that could be interesting” — especially in light of one of the two ideas I have for my NaNoWriMo project this year (the project that parallels the colonization of the Americas is sounding more and more attractive the more I think about it versus “Universe,” a project that’s going to require a lot more research and thought since it takes place in a much, much nearer future and deals with MMORPGs, MMORPG culture, computer/gaming technology, ect).

So, that having been said, I’m going to do some world-building for the terraformed planet colonists have begun to settle–one a war will be fought over–for one of the potential projects, since the other is pretty much Earth about ten or so years in the future.


Day 1 of world building involved making a list of climates and feelings of climates; I’m skipping it, really.

Day 2 – “Jot down ten plot devices that relate to weather, and what you think they do to the story”

– Nor’easter – A sudden cold blow off the coast ravages settlements along one of the coastlines, wrecking some of their precious wind-catchers (which provide ecologically sustainable power for the settlements).

– Spring floods – The spring melt out of the mountains wasn’t ancitipated to be quite this quick or this large–some of the hydroelectric dams are overwhelmed, which cause flooding.

– Major earthquake leads to fires and coastal flooding–and a tsunami that wipes out an island settlement twenty miles off the coast. Some people will lose loved ones in the ensuing mess.

– Drought – east of a mountain range, alluevial plains suffer a major drought, causing food shortages throughout the colonies. This may cause some debate over whether it’s a good idea to build some irrigation devices or not — and still maintain ecological stability.

– Dust storms – the summer dry season (drier than anticipated) results in dust-storms. Some people will pick up and leave, others will become sick because of the dust and what’s in it (bacteria, ect).

– Hurricane – The terraformed world of one of the invading congloms has never experienced a hurricane–they think it’s just a big thunderstorm. While the locals have battened down the hatches and riding out the storm, the conglom sends down landers full of troops–most of which crash either along the coast or in the ocean.

– Long winter – An unusually long winter causes food shortages and stresses the communities on the colony world. Cannibalism will NOT happen, but there’s always the spectre of it.

– Summer storms – Sudden summer thunderstorms sweep down out of the mountains and bring down trees and wind-catchers. Some of the colonists (especially the newer ones) have never seen anything like it and have to depend on second and third generation settlers to help them figure out how to deal with these wild storms — and, more importantly, how to predict them.

– Tornado – A major settlement is completely obliterated by a tornado, and no one realizes what hit the settlement until later. It may have been an educational center that’s hit, which would cost the colony some major brainpower.

– Wind shears – these can easily wreak havoc with landers of any kind, which could work both for and against the colonists. The colonists come to understand their weather, whereas any invaders might well not have any idea how to handle it.

Day 3: “Close your eyes and think about what kind of feeling you like to have when you write or read.  Write down four words that fit into that feeling: two adjectives, a verb, and a noun.”


These are supposed to match up with a climate for day 1.  I skipped Day 1, and these terms are really very limiting anyway, so…moving on!

Day 4 will be tackled tomorrow….Day 4 involves geological history.  It’ll be fun times.