Editing the first draft of The Perihelix

Exciting times here, as I start to work on the first draft of The Perihelix to get it into shape for publication.  It’s my Camp NaNoWriMo project for July, to get it finished

It may seem a long time to leave a first draft, and I suspect the next book would only lie around for a few months waiting for further attention.  I like to be able to approach the story completely fresh to get a better view of what it is, and especially in this series, to make sure that the world-building is correct.

World-building?  Yes, well scifi to me needs not only to have interesting worlds but accurate ones.  So, I’ve been thinking about the concept of having two planets in more or less the same orbital path as each other – fairly common for star systems, so I’ve extrapolated it to planets – and also my idea that Sunset Strip has a 12-hour period of rotation.  If that was the case, then the speed of rotation of the planet could make it uninhabitable, at least at the equator, but then again, if it was a smaller planet, then the speed of rotation would not be such an issue. Imagine a tennis ball and a larger ball like a volleyball: if they both rotated the same number of spins per minute, the surface of the volleyball would travel faster in miles per hour than the tennis ball.  The reason speed of the surface matters is because of winds and surface stresses.  I’ve made Sunset Strip very earth-like apart from the two sunsets per standard day, so its size and rotation have to be such that it isn’t be ripped by megastorms (which is what happens in Jupiter’s atmosphere).

That’s a very rough guide to the things I’ve been worrying about in the science of my fiction, but I also want to make sure I’m consistent with my technology.  I’ve been considering why their technology may only be slightly in advance of ours in some ways. Even a year ago, tablets and thinkpads were much less common than they are now, so will they be ‘old’ in my world? How did my civilisation in the Viridian series get so much more  advanced in others (space travel).  And there’s a plot point where Dolores and the other girls get worried about having to refuel the ship.  The more I thought of refuelling, the more ridiculous it sounded, but I’ve got it worked out now, and the concept of refuelling stands, even though it isn’t a case of putting gas in the tank!

Part of the editing of the first draft will be devoted to these technicalities, then there is the attention to consistency: how they land at the Pleasant Valley space dock is treated two ways in the first draft! I also need to work on building the characters, tweaking the story, building tension and drama, and generally making it a Good Read!

When I’m happy with all that, I’ll do the grammar edit!  And then the typos that are still left…

And then I’ll send it to my beta-readers.  If you’d like to be one, leave a comment below.