The Science in After Destiny: Greenberg’s Syndrome

In the book, there’s a character named Brady who is a seventeen year old kid in the body of a six year old. In part, this was just to illustrate that there’s some side effects to having a pregnancy partially out in the wastelands, but there’s an actual rare condition that has occurred that is related.

Brooke Greenberg was diagnosed with something called “Syndrome X” which meant that aged incredibly slowly. It’s a bit of a medical mystery, with only a handful of people developing it worldwide at any given time. Interestingly, their mental states also don’t age, which means it’s not a glandular problem like in some cases, but that they actually aren’t developing at the speed of other people.

I gave Brady a modified version of it. In the universe of After Destiny, there is a treatment for it, though they had a very limited supply of it and it only allowed Brady to age until the point he is now physically. I had plans to do more with it, but it didn’t fit within the context of the revised narrative and, like many other little darlings, the full explanation of Brady’s medical condition was abbreviated and largely cut back.

If you get a chance, though, do read up on Brooke Greenberg and Syndrome X. It’s fascinating and I couldn’t help but draw a little inspiration from it.

The Science in After Destiny: Birth Control

When you’re in a confined space with a lot of people and population has the potential to be a problem, there needs to be some way to maintain that population without having to worry too much about human error. There’s not only the issue of having an extra mouth to feed and extra body to put resources toward, but there’s also the loss of that worker that could be vital at that moment. Not to mention the general dangers of birth and the pains of abortion, it’s generally a good idea to have more than one way of keeping pregnancy limited to only when the mother actually wants a child.

In the Janus Complex, they use male birth control options. Rather than just a condom, males get a shot to ensure they cannot impregnate anyone unintentionally. I saw the article and I wanted to implement it in the story pretty much immediately, but it had to be cut because it didn’t actually fit into the narrative.

There is a small leftover in a section where Liah is talking to another worker, who mentions that three people are off on maternity leave at the same time. The way the system in the Janus Complex currently works is that if you want to have a child, you have to apply for it. They need to approve your leave and find someone to cover for you, then the male partner will have the shot reversed for a time. Once impregnation happens and the child is deemed viable, then the male is injected again.

And, of course, maternity leave. This differs between Upstairs and Downstairs, though both offers a full year off for both parents and options to go back part time.

I wish I could have made it fit, but I just couldn’t make it work. It sounded like a tangent and ultimately it had to be cut. It’s just one of those things that exists in the universe that never really came into play enough to be talked about in the narrative.

The Science in After Destiny: Underground Plants

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t use a lot of science in my stories. When I do use it, I tend to pick and choose between various elements and skim over the rest, usually to keep the text from dragging like crazy while I’m writing. I might have been great at math and science while I was in school, but even I found most of the classes pretty dull.1 That means After Destiny doesn’t have much in the way of long explanations for some of the elements in it.

It also means I definitely made some of the science up and based it off of old propaganda films I remembered from high school or that binge of them I watched a decade ago back when I first wrote the story.

It doesn’t, however, mean that some genuine science didn’t slip in there. I took them to a different place, but they do exist.

The first of these things is the farm downstairs that is entirely underground. While there is mention of these plants being engineered to have different nutrients and tastes to them,2 I added in an interesting bit of research. See, apparently you can grow plants under different coloured lights to create different effects.

It’s cool, right? You grow plants under a different colour and you get a different effect on the plant. Blue will allow plants to grow and red lets them flower, all based on the spectrum the chlorophyll can take in and process. Over the years, the plant leaves may change colour to adjust to their environment.3 Give science a few generations with this technology and who knows what it could eventually be used for.

Well, besides using various spectra to help create a genetically-enhanced, protein-rich apple that tastes like bacon.

Of course, this is not interesting to the people on the Janus Complex, so they don’t really mention it. Those who even understand how it works.4 It was an explanation I couldn’t work into the story and, in the end, it wasn’t that important to leave in. The food was strange colours and there were strange lights on the ceiling to help the genetically modified plants grow. Downstairs was more important as a setting and the food as a background element that the explanation for the lights and the science behind any of it seemed unnecessary.

One of the many darlings I ended up killing. And that’s not the only one.

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  1. Although that’s true of most of my classes back in high school. []
  2. And that would imply that, reasonably, they were also engineered to survive in the climate created in their underground farm []
  3. This was from another article on the process, but I can’t seem to find it now. []
  4. Admit it, you don’t really remember how plants feed themselves anymore. My mother plants a garden every year and she couldn’t tell you about the inner workings of her plants. She can tell you which ones are jerks, though. []

Rewriting Very Old Stories

I mentioned last time that I just finished rewriting After Destiny. It was originally written during Nanowrimo in 20081 and I thought it would be easy. I’d already written it once. I knew the story pretty well. Sure, I couldn’t use any of the prose, but I knew the story. Sure, I needed to rewrite it, but it would be easy. Sure, it would be a lot of work, but I could do it.

I won’t be doing that again any time soon.

While I’m happy I did it and I am looking forward to editing until it’s solid, I don’t think I’m going to have the energy to do it again for a very long time. It was much more exhausting than I ever thought it would be, though I suspect that’s partially because I really did have to redo the whole thing from scratch and I tried to make it good while I was writing.2

There’s something weird about going back to these old works and trying to remember what you were thinking when you did some of the things that you did in the story. There’s a desire that makes me want to keep everything true to what was originally there. It doesn’t make any sense in the new context, but there’s still a desire to preserve the original.

Steve is now Kitty. Clyde is no longer trying to make a movie that is never brought up after the first couple chapters. Smartphones and smartwatches and tablets exist now. Iris exists now. It is a very different world than the one I made 8 years ago.

Prying myself away from the original draft to make this more modern derivative of it was probably the hardest part3 and I won’t be trying to do it with such old works again. Going through the old book while rewriting the new one, I realized what a different person I was back then and how little of the story I could really save.

I wanted to save more of it, but I really couldn’t.

Needless to say, this version of the story is much better. It’s still very different from anything else I’ve written, but I like it a lot more. I look forward to editing it and reading the completed version in full. And sometime in July,4 you’ll get to see it too.

  1. I think []
  2. I’ll discuss why this is awful another day. Always another day. []
  3. Besides trying to make it good. I kept thinking of it as a second draft and that was a horrible way to do a rewrite. []
  4. With any luck []

State of the Things

I have been busy this last little while and just wanted to take a moment to go through everything happening on the general writing/publishing/getting stuff generally together front. I almost feel like this should become a regular thing with everything that is generally happening.

After Destiny

IT IS REWRITTEN.It’s honestly been more of a slog to get through than I thought it would be and I anticipate a very painful editing process ahead, but the rewrite is done. It was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be, but I forgot how much stuff I needed to change. There really was absolutely nothing worth keeping in the old draft and it was essentially writing it from scratch again.

Add in getting a stupid amount of sick part way through to grind progress down to a halt and, well, the process is just that much more difficult. I deserve a vacation for getting through it all.1

I have learned one very important thing so far from working on this one. I am never going back to a project this old again. I was planning to. I have a lot of old novels that I wanted to revisit and rework, but after this one, I’m thinking I am probably going to pass. I have more recent projects, not to mention sequels,2 that I’d rather get to than do this again.

Looking Glass Saga

Jabberwocky’s Book is out! It’s the second in the Looking Glass Saga, following Return to Wonderland and I’ve actually had it done for a bit. I don’t really know why I held onto it for so long, but it’s out now. For anyone who wanted to know what happened to Alice after the last book, do check it out!

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Cloned Evil

I’ve moved off of Jukepop Serials and I’m updating now on Wattpad, since I’ve been getting much better feedback on that site. I’ve been trying to update once every two weeks so far, which seems to be working.

I’m also getting ready to write the next arc just as soon as I finish with After Destiny. It’s been far too long since I’ve written for that series.

White Noise

I still have White Noise up for free on Story Cartel for a couple more days, so please do check it out.

I’ve also worked out a couple pages worth of notes for a sequel, including getting into more back story for a lot of the characters that were grazed over in the previous books. It’s also looking like getting the whole story finished in one book is going to be tricky, so it might end up being a trilogy when it’s all done.

It was only supposed to be a one shot. Really it was. I don’t know how this happened.

Jellyfish

I’m calling it that for now, anyway. I put making the framework for the interactive narrative stuff off to the side for a while, both because I was sick and because I really wanted to finish After Destiny. Now that it’s all been settled, I’ll work out which framework I’m going to use for it and get to work on building it.

And now…

I really need to sit down and plan a few things. With all this stuff happening, it feels like I’m missing a couple things in the mess of it all. While I know I’m going to be editing After Destiny as my next thing, I think I need to work out all the stuff that comes after it. Anyone know a good project planning app for Android? I could probably use it right about now.

  1. I’m probably going to loop back around to loving it once I don’t have to work on it anymore. Just you wait. []
  2. But not a sequel for this one. It should stay a one shot. I hope. []

After Destiny Begins

So After the End has already been renamed. I was going to wait, but I kind of like the name.1 I think most people saw that coming, but I’m glad it’s done and that I like the name. The rewrite is going just as rocky as I was worried it was going to be. It’s going to be a bit of a slog to get through, but I’m hoping a couple people will join me on it.

See, I’m going to be putting up the rewrite, piece by piece as I keep writing, through Wattpad. It’s going to still be pretty rough, since this is before the editing and before a lot of the making-it-good parts of the writing process goes into it, but it’s the restructuring. If you like it, you can let me know a lot sooner than waiting for me to finish this way.

Fair warning, I’m probably going to be stopping part way through. I can’t go spoiling the ending now, can I? But please do give it a look.

Even before the world ended, everyone inside the Janus Complex knew that the earth outside was flat. When the mountain appeared on the horizon that morning, they sent a small team out to investigate.

When that team came back, the mountain was gone. The only proof they have that it was ever there at all are some soil samples, plants and insects who somehow managed to survive the irradiated haze, and a strange woman with no name who knows just a little too much about what’s coming next.

After Destiny

  1. Also, After the End being attached to that other book was really starting to bother me because they are similar in genre from the looks of it. I need to read it and find out. []

Not Quite From Scratch

So the rewrite has begun as far as I’m concerned. I’ve started going back through the initial story and I’m working through what can stay and what can go in the whole mess of it. Considering how long ago I wrote this story,1 I am not that surprised with what’s staying at what’s going.

What’s staying:

  • Basic plot
  • Most of the universe elements
  • Most of the characters in some way
  • A few of the scenes

What’s going:

  • All of the actual written text

This was written nearly 7 years ago. The ideas I still like, but the actual prose is… well, it’s like it was written by me 7 years ago. There are a lot of things in it I don’t like, such as the belief I used to have that a large vocabulary meant that I was awesome at this writing thing.2 There’s also the fact that everything is kind of traditional in that there’s a damn lot of dudes, all two of the women in the original cast fall into the traditional roles and there’s nothing societally that’s changed from what I thought things were like back in 2008.

Which is weird because I took a glimpse at the story I wrote the year before and none of these things were an issue.

I do, fortunately, have a bunch of notes of things to change and I’m working on writing up a new plot off the old one. I need to flesh out bits of the universe and get the setting down3 and make sure I have the appropriate back stories switched, but it’s definitely workable. I just need to write it again.

And edit.

And edit again.

And again.

You know how it goes. Wish me luck. This one’s going to be a bit of a rough one, I can feel it.

Also, I keep changing the cover around, so look forward to previews of the cover with every post.

  1. 2008, I think, for Nanowrimo []
  2. It doesn’t, 23 year old me. It really doesn’t. []
  3. Looking at Saskatchewan for this one, not that it actually matters []

Procrastination and Covers

So I’ve been seriously procrastinating on the rewrite. Obviously. Besides starting to build that project I mentioned1 I keep doing this awful thing and opening up Photoshop.

So on the downside, I still don’t have the new book plotted. But on the upside, I know basically what the cover looks like.

cover

And I finally have a new title for it! I mean, I know there’s other books using the title, but it fits with mine as well.

Oh, but that’s not all. On top of that, I have the cover done for the book next year! Have a sneak peek!

coverflightless

Oh, but that’s not all. How about a book I had no plans to write originally and was still debating whether or not it was happening?

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00002]

So apparently I have to write the White Noise sequel one of these days. I mean, otherwise I’ll never get to use this cover, right?

Next week I’ll get to rewriting. That or I’ll be further in programming and I’ll be drowning in covers for the next decade. Really, it’s one or the other.

  1. Which now has three different stories I’m planning to make for it instead of just the one because I have no self control []