Point of View: Third Draft Hell

Scott

Anyone who follows me regularly will know that I decided to do NaNoWriMo (the writing challenge where you try to knock out a 50k novel in 30 days) for the first time in November. I survived the challenge and wrote Oberon, the first part of a trilogy I’ve been knocking around in my head for about a year. A week later, I dived back in for second draft, and thought that I had managed to iron out most of the problems with the story. I was fairly confident that it all when I sent it off for a beta read.

Then the betas came back.

I think I’m going to die.

They were good beta reads, don’t get me wrong. But they exposed a whole host of issues I hadn’t been able to see myself, starting with the very structure of the world I am writing about. You see, Oberon is a half-world. Literally a half sphere:

oberon1.jpg

Which presents some interesting challenges, which I apparently didn’t explain very well. Maybe because I hadn’t thought them out fully myself?

So it was back to the drawing board. The first question? Why didn’t the sea all pour away when the world was separated?

The short answer – gravity.

I found a formula that let me calculate the center of gravity for a solid half-sphere:

oberon2.jpg

Once I found the center, I drew a spehere that intersected the surface, with the center of gravity at the middle. This showed me that gravity would be strongest in two places – the outer center of the half sphere, and the newly exposed center that had once been the core. The gravitational attraction would actually subtly pull the water up and away from the edges, as you can see in the lovely chart I drew above.

The exposure of the core got me the rest of the way there, giving me a way to create an upthrust that would ring the edge of the world and help keep the water in.

Now I’m working on the atmosphere. Clearly it would be thinner around the edges. Water would naturally pool on the backside too, where the gravity is strongest, giving me a place to start storms that would then boil over the edge of the world.

I’m looking for a meteorologist to help me with this part – do you know one who might be interested?

It all goes to show that writing sci fi can be a real challenge, especially when you have a good beta to challenge your assumptions (and sometimes lack of research).

More on the struggle next week.