Ugh! Will it ever end? I’m writing this Monday evening, and I’m about to run back upstairs to scribble out another page.
The problem with The Exile is that it’s about to check in at 60 pages, assuming I finish on Friday. It follows the outline closely with a few extra scenes to smooth the transitions. I was particularly pleased with a scene I wrote earlier where Delda, Tishla’s Laputan benefactor from The Roots of War, explains why he’s so loyal to her, or rather, her dead husband.
So far, I’ve crammed four species into this story, with references to two more. Humans and Gelt, of course, are at the heart of the story. They’re the heart of the entire series so far. But this takes place in Armenaya, an orbital city in the Laputan Guardianship, so the Laputans get a share of the spotlight. The Orags are referenced as “those other humans” (Neanderthals who escaped extinction thanks to ancient aliens who did not, in fact, build pyramids because why travel light years to build piles of rocks?) The Yedevens are mentioned in passing as that species that allegedly eats people who are not Yedevan. If I ever get to build out this universe, they’ll be much more interesting than that. And more frightening.
The last species is the Zaras, for whom there is no Humanic (ie – English for you, gentle reader, though that’s not really what the humans are speaking) word. That came about because of an editing glitch. Stacy Robinson and I italicized Zara, but not Orag, Gelt, or Qorori. Anyway, when I was sketching out ideas for the Compact Universe, I wondered what it might be like for there to be an actual planet of the apes. They’re not human. They’re not even hominids. They’re just knuckle-dragging, fur-covered primates who, despite having space travel and solar and nuclear power and vast data networks, live in trees and hoot when they laugh or even talk. Imagine walking into a room full of tourists who just happen to be Wookies. Or sasquatches. Or really big chimpanzees. They were fun to write, especially when our protagonist, Rosc, tries to leave Armenaya on a Zaran ship. The passengers have some fun at the hairless ape’s (human’s) expense.
But I need to get this done. I have Gathering Storm #3 to get out, a serialized novella, and the follow-up to Holland Bay to finish.