Look, I amuse myself, okay

“Okay,” Akemi said, “new plan. We do whatever Hikari tells us, and maybe we don’t get murdered by a tent.”
“Fine with me,” Shoichi muttered, still rubbing his head.

No idea if this scene will make it into the final version. It might be too silly and fillerish. But for now, at least, I am enjoying the Great Battle of the Celestial Guardians Versus Shoichi’s Tent. (It goes a lot better for them once they let Hikari at it. She’s good at instructions and assembling things.)

Avengers: Endgame

Short version, NO SPOILERS: it was a triumph, I am so impressed by the cleverness of the storytelling and meta-closure, and by how much heart it had, and how much love for the characters and the fans shone through.

It wasn’t perfect. There are a few things I want to dig into. Some of those things are inevitable consequences of the realities of making films, and although they sadden me, I think the film does the absolute best it can with those realities. Others I’m a little more critical of. Overall, though, my feeling at the end of the film was satisfaction. A closed loop, a complete story, a victory that came at appropriate cost.

Longer version below the cut. Spoilers abound.

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April Writing Update

Well, April decided to continue much as March had, and my doctor now suspects that I’m getting a hayfever reaction that’s triggering the fatigue and flu-like symptoms, so that’s fun, since it could go on for months. Would it be excessive to wear a full hazmat suit out of doors? :/

Celestial Chronicle

Got chapters 6 and 7 written! Suck it, fatigue!

It’s kind of fascinating how it’s playing out this time around. I’m using pieces from the first draft but the whole flow and pacing is different. At this point in the earlier version, Kestrel and Luna had recognised each other and Astra was yet to appear. This time around, the reveal hasn’t happened yet (mostly so I can let them get properly attached to each other first because I am a monster) but Hikari is ready to join us as of the last scene of chapter 7. It feels like everything is moving a lot faster, but I’m at roughly the same narrative point. Current wordcount: ~38k

Also, this happened:

“It’s not kidnapping if you put her back after,” protested Akemi.

Goals for May: Minimum goal is to get to chapter 9, main goal is to get to chapter 11 or 12. I feel like that ought to get me to the showdown with Neikos and the labyrinth and the Kestrel/Luna kiss, but we’ll see. If I can get to that point I’ll be in all new territory, and we might finally get to meet the other two Guardians.

Starborn

Worked on a lot of bitty details, like names for the fully FIVE MILLION CAST MEMBERS that seem to be involved. I mean, I like big casts and I cannot lie, but this may be excessive even for me. Sigh. Anyway most people have names and a bunch of exciting backstory, lots of stuff to explore. I am definitely setting this up as a series where I have a rough plan and a lot of space to explore, rather than something with a strict outline or end point. We’ll see how that works out…

Wrote a couple of scenes of Aster’s viewpoint that may or may not be the opening scenes of the first book. Not sure yet, but I enjoyed writing them a lot, particularly the first glimpses of Kallisto being her Awful Awful self.

Goals for May: Write a bit more of Aster’s POV and keep working on the details so I’ve got a solid background. I might do some blog posts to convey a bit more of the universe and characters. You all need to meet my disaster gays. 😀

The Other Side of Twilight

Didn’t work on it this month since I was so low on energy and time, and CC is my first priority. I think I’ll try and set aside a chunk of time, a few days or a week, later on in May to just plough through to the end of Blood and Promises and see where I end up.

March Writing Update

So much for the best-laid plans… I’ve been battling a persistent bout of increased fatigue and immune system symptoms (which I refer to as phantom flu, and which ironically I was planning to write a blog post about this month). That’s taken up most of March.

Celestial Chronicle

Managed about 5k words of Idiot Nerds Go On Dates But Don’t Realise They’re On Dates (very important content). Sincerely wish I could draw well enough to do a manga-style page of Shoichi and Satoru having their simultaneous OH NO HE’S HOT moment.

Goals for April: I think I’m going to try a min-max approach: minimum goal is writing chapters 6 and 7, stretch goal is getting to chapter 10.

The Other Side of Twilight

Suddenly realised I’d taken a wrong turn and needed to rewrite and rethink slightly. Which is fine but has slowed me down somewhat.

Goals for April: Finish at least one more chapter of Blood and Promises. Hopefully finish the whole thing and start work on The Road to Hell.

Starborn

Been working on the general worldbuilding and specifics of immediate backstory. Figured out several major things that were holding me up. The nice thing about worldbuilding is that it’s possible to do it while curled up in bed feeling too unwell to sit at a computer, and I can jot down notes on my phone. This month I’ve gone from “not ready to write anything set in this universe yet” to “okay I just need to finish coming up with names for the technobabble and characters and then I can jump in”, so that’s awesome at least!

Goals for April: maybe write a few prompts or something? I want to get CC back on track though, so we’ll see how things go.

Stories from Kestrien – Part 4

In November 2018 I wanted to do NaNoWriMo but knew I wouldn’t be able to manage 50,000 words of coherent narrative at that time. So instead I took the prompt list for World Anvil’s Inktober Challenge, and wrote a prompt a day. I posted them day by day on tumblr, but I’ve reordered them here to make things flow.

The world of Kestrien has three moons, one continent, a hurricane that never stops, and magic coming out of its hypothetical ears. The main narrative takes place in its modern age, nearly 1500 years after a worldwide apocalypse during which one of the moons, Demira, was shattered, and now hangs broken in the sky.

More About Kestrien

Part 4: Before the Fall

Three snippets set on Demira, which was once home to a powerful kingdom (before it, you know, broke). I didn’t write as much for this as the others, partly because it’s full of spoilers for the main narrative. I recommend reading these stories last even though they chronologically take place before everything else. The first (“Poison”) is deep backstory for Zephony, set hundreds of years before the Fall. The other two (“World” and “Treasure”) are set in the Last Days of Demira, which will someday get its own prequel story.

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Stories from Kestrien – Part 3

In November 2018 I wanted to do NaNoWriMo but knew I wouldn’t be able to manage 50,000 words of coherent narrative at that time. So instead I took the prompt list for World Anvil’s Inktober Challenge, and wrote a prompt a day. I posted them day by day on tumblr, but I’ve reordered them here to make things flow.

The world of Kestrien has three moons, one continent, a hurricane that never stops, and magic coming out of its hypothetical ears. The main narrative takes place in its modern age, nearly 1500 years after a worldwide apocalypse during which one of the moons, Demira, was shattered, and now hangs broken in the sky.

More About Kestrien

Part 3: After the Fall

These stories take place between the Fall of Demira and the modern age, and follow two immortals, Zephony and Akana, who are kicking around during that time. (Akana is the one doing most of the kicking.)

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Stories from Kestrien – Part 2

In November 2018 I wanted to do NaNoWriMo but knew I wouldn’t be able to manage 50,000 words of coherent narrative at that time. So instead I took the prompt list for World Anvil’s Inktober Challenge, and wrote a prompt a day. I posted them day by day on tumblr, but I’ve reordered them here to make things flow.

The world of Kestrien has three moons, one continent, a hurricane that never stops, and magic coming out of its hypothetical ears. The main narrative takes place in its modern age, nearly 1500 years after a worldwide apocalypse during which one of the moons, Demira, was shattered, and now hangs broken in the sky.

More About Kestrien

Part 2: City of Light

The city of Vanrillion has been isolated since the Fall of Demira, its tunnels and halls delving ever deeper below the ground. The surface world is lost to them, and the once-great city is shrinking in on itself. Many within make a living of scavenging old technology and old magic. Sometimes they find things better left undisturbed.

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Stories from Kestrien – Part 1

In November 2018 I wanted to do NaNoWriMo but knew I wouldn’t be able to manage 50,000 words of coherent narrative at that time. So instead I took the prompt list for World Anvil’s Inktober Challenge, and wrote a prompt a day. I posted them day by day on tumblr, but I’ve reordered them here to make things flow.

The world of Kestrien has three moons, one continent, a hurricane that never stops, and magic coming out of its hypothetical ears. The main narrative takes place in its modern age, nearly 1500 years after a worldwide apocalypse during which one of the moons, Demira, was shattered, and now hangs broken in the sky.

More About Kestrien

Part 1: The Seagrave Academy

Ever since the Fall of Demira, the people of Kestrien have blamed magic for their misfortunes. Now the island nation of Thari, troubled by the restlessness of the Sea of Storms on their eastern shores, has defied tradition and built the Academy to try and turn sorcery into science.

Continue reading →

Why Gold Looks Golden Instead Of Silver

Today I Learned something really awesome and mind-boggling! So naturally I’m going to geek out about it.

Relativity, in extremely oversimplified terms, is the universal law that when things go fast everything gets weird. Time slows down, mass increases, all the things we think of as constants turn out not to be so constant, you and your twin have an awkward birthday reunion. However, when we say fast, we mean really really fast, measurable fractions of the speed of light: the kind of fast that, in general, does not apply to our day-to-day lives. Relativity is therefore associated most strongly with astrophysics and space technology (satellite-based GPS is the classic example of a real life application) and things that operate on a very, very large scale.

However! It turns out it’s also really important on a very, very small scale.

Atoms, as you may or may not recall, have a nucleus made of protons and neutrons (except for hydrogen, which don’t need no neutrons kthx), and then electrons orbit around this centre like tiny planets around a sun. The number of electrons in particular (and the way they are arranged into layers or shells around the nucleus) is important because they tend to have a big effect on the chemical behaviour of an atom.

But as you start getting into really heavy elements, with big bulky centres, the electrons have to move faster to keep up their orbits. So fast that they are actually moving at… measurable fractions of the speed of light.

And so relativity becomes a Thing.

Which brings us to the title: the reason that gold is yellow in colour is because its electrons are moving fast enough for relativistic effects to apply. Most other metals (apart from copper, which has its own shit going on) are silvery or grey in colour; gold would be too, except that the effects of relativity cause it to absorb more blue light than other colours, making it appear yellow to our eyes.

(It gets even weirder when you go much further along the table, into the semi-charted territory of superheavy elements that are so unstable they don’t exist in nature.)

So there you go. Next time you look at something made of gold, remember that its soft warm pretty colour is because its electrons are screaming around at unthinkable speeds that warp the fabric of spacetime and gobble up blue light!

I think that’s neat.

Further reading: Relativistic Quantum Chemistry (Wikipedia)

February Writing Update

Celestial Chronicle

Chapters 1-4, ~20k words. Started rewriting at the end of January, thought I would just be editing the original text, but then it rapidly became VERY DIFFERENT and required complete rewriting from scratch. So that’s pretty good progress tbh, especially since for the last week I’ve been dealing with high fatigue, and crawling along at a couple hundred words a day.

Goal for March: another four chapters seems good, let’s see if I can hit 40k. With the streamlining that’s going on in this rewrite, that might even take us up to the labyrinth, the kiss, and the whole “wtf is happening in Kyoto” question, but I shall not underestimate my ability to go off on an exciting diversion somewhere along the way…

The Other Side of Twilight (fanfic)

Story 8, “Blood and Promises”. First 4 chapters (18k or so) have been done for like three months and I’m just sloooooowly picking my way through chapter 5. It’s hard work because I’ve got to a point where I need to start explaining some of the core mysteries I’ve been throwing about. And I have the answers, neatly labelled and outlined, but the process of working them into the story without either overloading or going into extended flashbacks is… well, it requires some very careful footwork. Plus I’m feeling out the next bit of Hisoka’s character arc: I know where I want him to end up but he’s just surprised me by taking a slightly different route to get there. And then there’s Muraki being Muraki, and there are some days when I’m not quite up to writing that.

Goal for March: finish “Blood and Promises”, get far enough into “The Road to Hell” to feel confident I won’t need to change anything before I post it.

Tentative outline of remaining stories: Blood and Promises, The Road to Hell, Dead Man’s Gambit, Forever and a Day, Daylight. BUT DON’T HOLD ME TO THAT I MIGHT INSERT ANOTHER ONE SOMEWHERE.

Starborn & Kestrien

I’ve been letting them sit for the month, as I wanted to get CC rolling along well and TOSOT is taking up the rest of my time. Probably going to pick up worldbuilding on them both again. I want to ramble about Starborn in particular, and I’m hoping to get to a point soon where I can write some character one-shots without immediately contradicting myself because I changed my mind. I have private World Anvil sites for both, but so far they’re full of spoilers because I’ve been using them to work out some stuff I want to write. I’m considering making public versions.