Making maps

When you’re writing, inventing worlds, exploring new places, you will need to map your world. Making maps means you have an idea of where things are. You can keep track of what’s going on.

If, like me, your drawing skills are sadly lacking, then Photoshop, or an equivalent image manipulation program is your new best friend for making maps!

I’ve been using this page as a guide, and this is the result so far…

making maps

Yes, I know, it needs work, and it’s not finished. But, that gap in the trees on the left? That’s where Fin crashes, lands, the ship. That beach on the bottom left corner, that’s where Sean and Joss end up.

Probably. I might make a different one at some stage, when I work out what needs to be on the map.

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A hopeless vigil – NaNoWriMo 2018 finished.

With A hopeless vigil – NaNoWriMo 2018 finished and won a day early. This is never the end though. NaNo starts the process, and now I have to decide if the story is good enough to carry on, to work on it and finish the book, and then edit. The story, as always, is only half told, with gaps and plot problems. That is the very nature of NaNoWriMo.

I just finished, and won, NaNoWriMo 2018! Woohoo!

Spaceship - The Last of Humanity
Phase:NaNoWriMo 2018
Due:6 months ago
100%

Here is a sample of

A hopeless vigil – NaNoWriMo 2018 finished

A soft knock on her door woke Fin. She’d dozed off in her chair, still going over reports and data.

“Come in.” She called.

The door opened, Scout Reynolds filled the doorway. “We’ve found the signal from a pod.” His voice was laced with doom, but he looked her straight in the eye. She stared back, unblinking, asking the question.

“But?”

“There are life readings, someone is alive in there.”

“But?” She asked again. “I know there’s a but, I can see it on your face.”

He took a breath. “It’s pod 36, and it ditched in the sea. They’re underwater, and we can’t get to them.”

They ran for the control room they’d been setting up with as much sensor equipment as they could get working.

“Scout?” Fin had her back to him, gripping the edge of the desk so hard with her one good hand, her knuckles were white. “Update,” she demanded. She stared into nothing, hoping the news would change.

“No further update. No change.” His voice soft behind her as he surveyed the information relayed to him through the monitors in front of him.

She swore, low and hard. Her hand balled into a fist, hit the desk, making the keyboard jump. “There has to be something we can do.”

He leaned back in his chair. His face was pale, his eyes dark shadows and filled with sharp knowledge. “If there was then we haven’t found it. We can’t get to them. We don’t even know where they are exactly.”

The door to the control room burst open. “I have a comms link. It’s audio only, no visual. It’s patchy and keeps dropping out, but I have them.” Corban held out an earpiece. “Remote link for you, already patched in.”

“Them?” Fin dared to hope, brushed her short grey hair back and forth with her good hand as she pushed the link into her ear. “Pod 36? Can you hear me? It’s Captain Finley Beck.” Her eyes lost focus as she concentrated in the crackle in her ear. She sagged, leaning on the desk, face twisting as the voice she heard confirmed her fears. Gareth Stanton, the only man she would ever have considered.

 

A hopeless vigil - NaNoWriMo 2018 finished

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NaNoWriMo 2018 is almost over

NaNoWriMo 2018 is almost over. November is dying, December is rapidly approaching. Work is chaos, family life is a little more turbulent than usual. And I’m not quite on target. I have 3 days left.

The story so far, has crashed a ship full of colonists, on the wrong planet, separated them and scattered them across an unknown land mass, killed a main character in a freak weather event… I think Fin will be fine, by the way, I like Fin.

The ship ripped a path across the forest, tearing up trees, sending birds flying in flocks, scattering everything in its wake. Rock melted and wood burned from the super heated metal, and the stink of burning flesh filled the smoke.

Torn apart and scorched, the ship creaked as it began to cool. Metal found new, twisted, shapes as it settled. Resting mostly on the lower decks, the dome was still on the top. Shattered and open to the new world, chickens and bees rose through the steam coming from the many holes.

There was no other sign of life outside the twisted wreck.

Inside, on the bridge, Fin slumped in the captain’s chair, blood oozing from her cheek. Eyes closed, still breathing, but her lungs wheezed painfully as she slowly came back to fuzzy awareness. She blinked.

88% complete for NaNoWriMo 2018. Only Three days remain until the deadline.

Spaceship - The Last of Humanity
Phase:NaNoWriMo 2018
Due:6 months ago
87.5%

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NaNoWriMo 2018 Progress Update

This year, having said a few years ago that I wouldn’t do NaNoWriMo ever again… Here I am, typing at ungodly hours, describing a spaceship, an unexpected planet and landing, and I’m just a little bit ahead of schedule. This is a NaNoWriMo 2018 progress update.

So, today I thought I would share a little of the work so far.

Spaceship: The Last of Humanity – In The Dome – Nanowrimo 2018

Covering the top of the ship, the dome wasn’t really a dome but the top curved to maximise the light and growing space. Protected, shielded against background radiation and artificially lit on a diurnal cycle that mimicked Earth seasons, it enabled them to grow food and medicinal plants during the voyage. It wasn’t large enough to produce sufficient food to feed the whole ship’s complement, but research had shown a sustained eco-system would benefit an extended journey. And the fruit and vegetables produced supplemented their diet of algae in various forms. The algae tanks were below the dome. Both the dome and the tanks had been designed to continue to produce food after landing.  Food supply would be critical while they planted crops and began to create the self sustaining colony. But for now the algae tanks made most of their food.

This was his dome.

And Bassett loved it. He loved the space, the light, and the smell. His favourite time of day was the artificial sunrise, when the overhead sprinklers lightly misted the dome as the lights came up. The feeling of being refreshed, renewed, kept him smiling every day that he worked in the dome.

Right now, though, it was lesson time and Bassett had 23 hens and one cockerel with him. The other chickens were ranging somewhere else. He also had 7 children following his every movement. He found the best way to teach was to immerse and show. So he was talking to the chickens, narrating his work as he went. He pulled weeds, scattered them for the hens to eat, giving the cockerel space to rule the flock. Identifying every plant as he passed, offering nuggets of information.

“These are nettles. They grow everywhere in the dome if we let them. But they make good tea, and can be cooked and we can eat them as a tasty vegetable. Nettles are rich in vitamins C and E. The plants are best used as food when young, before flowering or they get bitter and tough. As a medicine they can be used to treat urinary infection, osteo-arthritis, and other ailments. You can also use them in shampoo. And they make great plant food too. Fabulous plant.” He paused. “No, don’t touch them, they sting.” Eight year old Angel Reynolds pulled her hand back quickly.

It’s still very rough. NaNoWriMo is all about just writing, not editing. Just let the words run, get it all out onto paper, or into a google doc, or however you prefer to write.

If you’re taking part in Nanowrimo this year – Good Luck, you’re over half way there.

So far I’m 68% complete on the NaNoWriMo 2018 phase. 9 Days remain until the deadline.

Spaceship - The Last of Humanity
Phase:NaNoWriMo 2018
Due:6 months ago
68.3%

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Spaceship – The Last of Humanity – Progress Update

Progress up to today on Spaceship – The Last of Humanity! So far I’m 36% complete for NaNoWriMo 2018. 19 Days remain until the deadline.

Spaceship - The Last of Humanity
Phase:NaNoWriMo 2018
Due:6 months ago
35.9%

NaNo-2018-Writer-Progress

OK, so I’ve not been brilliant at updating progress. You see, when I first started doing NaNoWriMo, back in 2005, I was a stay at home Mum, running a small hobby business. I could write through the day, and into the night, if I wanted to. Any progress could be loaded onto my blog, posted onto twitter, and shared wherever I liked. I had the time.

Life has changed so much since then.

My kids grew up, one has left school and is now working, one is facing GCSEs next year. We moved to another country (Yes, before you start, Wales is a different country to England). My Mum died, and I got a proper, paid, job.

It’s harder to fit everything in, and keeping up with wordcount had been a struggle this year.

But, all you other NaNoers out there, keep at it. Keep writing. Every word you write is a win!

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