The novel I’ve been writing is on hold a bit. It’s gotten too complex for me to keep the details I need in my head. Too many characters, too many ship classes, ranks of different alien species. That sort of things. I have an outline, but, like most outlines from which I work, it’s rather loose and general.
As a result, I’m having to take time to sort out some of these details including:
- build a detailed character list: who they are, key identifying features, what their basic roll is, when they were introduced (I can just use chapters for that since I’m using rather short chapters here), and especially, where they were when last we saw them.
- Build a list of ship classes, particularly for the non-human races. For human ships, I can use terms like “Cruiser” or “destroyer” and most people (at least among fans of mil-SF) will have a reasonable idea where they fit in the scheme of things. A “second claw” or a “least fang” on the other hand? That’s a whole other ballgame.
- Politics is starting to become important to the story. I was expecting this, but not at this level of detail. I’m going to have to work out, at least, the structure of the government, maybe even write up a “Constitution” for it. For the non-humans I can be a bit looser. After all, that they “don’t always make sense” from a human perspective is a feature, not a bug. “The thing about aliens is, they’re alien.”
- I’m not significantly worrying about astrocartography. The scales are big enough that I don’t have to worry about the details so much. A “typical” cruise speed for a liner or military vessel using short-jump technology (let’s just say it’s complicated and that there is more than one way to exceed C in the physics of the fictional world) is 1 light year per hour so the volumes covered by spacefaring polities are simply huge and the vast majority of stars within them would be (in current astronomy) nothing more than catalog numbers if that much.