So, I’ve been trying to work out what the next book in the Greensky series is – it’s provisionally titled “I don’t know what this one’s called” (seriously, the word document is named that). I’ve made a few decisions, but have a few more to make…
I know I want to set it somewhere I haven’t been yet. My world was planned out when I was little – I’ve got a map drawn on my dad’s art paper someplace – and weirdly, it’s worked so far. So, out of my worlds, I’ve set a lot in my rolling farmlands (Quorl – Green Sky & Sparks & Changing Winds), one book in forests (Salt Winds – ok, it’s mostly set on the sea, but it is set in Taderah), and one in tropical islands (Empty Skies & Sunlight, set in Tao).
So I have the choice of two deserts. One is complicated and rather nasty – they’re my industrial “baddies” in Changing Winds, and some of my tentative story (Freedom & Fire) is set there. Also, it’s not a society I really want to write about, which possibly explains the lack of work on Freedom & Fire…
Right! Orei it is, which I love. Most of it is desert, but has two beautiful cities – Belmont, which is golden and soaring, and Huish, a centre of learning. It’s also got some nice touches with pseudo-technology, and Anoe comes from there so it’s a ‘place’ in my head. So, bingo.
It will run on from the rest of the series, so the next thing I wanted to deal with was the rise of technology (see this post for more details on a previous line of thought), but I think I’m avoiding dealing with it directly. So, I leave Meton and Toru to sort their own technological issues, and I have a look at what the influx of technology is doing someplace else. Orei’s a likely candidate: it’s just across the mountains from Meton, the two lands get on well, and it’s the sort of society that would welcome technology. Bingo number two.
I like to pull across one or two characters from previous stories into new ones. Yeo and Anoe came across from Greensky and Changing Winds respectively to Empty Skies; Obak (from Salt Winds) was originally in the start of Greensky. Toru and S’ian keep bouncing in and out, of course, but I would like to limit them if I can. I adore Toru but I feel like he might be getting over-used, and it seems unfair to keep dragging him away from his work: he’d be in Meton, designing, not running around Orei! So I am determined to keep both of my soulmates out of this one.
The one character I definitely want to pull across is an engineer from Meton, Alenna. She’s been met briefly in two books, but never in a major role. The other who is sitting in the back of my mind is a small boy, Hob, who was in Changing Winds, and he may or may not come across.
Apart from that, everyone’s going to be written as they come into my head! It’s quite fun, and I like the anticipation of meeting a new cast. It’s like meeting new friends.
I was driving back from Gloucester on one of my infrequent commutes, and it was dark: all I had was the road ahead, my headlights lighting it. And the first scene came: a boy, or a man, running – but not out of fear, not running away; he’s trying to get somewhere. So maybe he’s travelling; he works, on something that means he travels across the desert. Who is he? What is he doing? What effect would a new technology have on him?
Two: what technology? If Meton’s developing electricity, wind turbines, engines, batteries, radio (or at least morse) – what would come across first? And what would be the first priority? Would Belmont like it? Would the desert folk like it? What would it do to the workers who maintain the existing technologies?
A group of engineers from Meton come to Belmont to look at replacing or putting in a line across the desert, connecting Belmont and Huish – possibly electricity, possibly communication, I don’t know yet. My main character, who works with the current line and will be out of a job when the new one goes in, is assigned to guide them; the Meton engineers are led by an incredibly stubborn, undiplomatic twit (the sort you work with – you know the sort I mean. They’re usually your manager) who manages to get the group killed.
The guide is blamed; it suits Belmont to have a scapegoat, but Alenna is sent out to re-assess the situation and find out the truth. She’s dumped in the middle of a fraught situation both with the politics in Belmont and for the workers on the line. I haven’t entirely figure out anything past that, as it will most likely depend on who turns up in my head and what they do. But that’s the basic outline.
So there you go! That’s a rough summary of the layout and ideas I have for my new story (with the disclaimer that they will, of course, change a lot). But you read it here first, folks!