2014-06-01

Getting the Science Right

Peacekeeper Update
The first draft is complete! Total word count is 71,785. I will, of course, be making at least 2 editing passes before turning it over to a couple of beta readers for their feedback. After I get the comments back from the beta readers I will make any appropriate changes and then turn it over to my wife for her grammatical check. There's still quite a bit of work to be done.

Getting the Science Right
I'm a big fan of trying to get the science right. Yes I live in a universe where stardrives, shields, and colossal energy weapons are possible, but I can at least try to make the science believable. If I'm writing about something that is currently known then I absolutely must be able to get it right. If I don't, someone out there is going to find it and call me out on it. To help me out, I've created an Excel spreadsheet allowing me to compute travel time between star systems, distances between any two stars, kinetic energy when two objects collide at high speed, etc. It has come in handy.

The other day, while finishing the last chapter of Peacekeeper, I mentioned that Jupiter and Saturn were on opposite ends of the solar system. A few paragraphs later I went back and asked myself if this would be true at the time of the story. I have given my readers a very good timeline in Translight and if someone carefully follows the narrative of the remaining books you can easily identify a year when things take place. I did a preliminary search on the internet and came up blank. So, I did what anyone else would do – I yelled for help. I fired off an email to the Launch Pad alumni.

While waiting for a reply, I looked around the internet again and came up with a clunky but workable solution. I found an interesting little solar system simulator at http://www.faustweb.net/solaris/. I allowed the simulation to run until it hit my target date and I was very surprised that my guess was almost perfect! So now, how do I find the distance between the two planets? Jamie Todd Rubin to the rescue. He sent me a link to WolframAlpha.com and I found heaven. Here is the exact link he used: http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=distance+saturn+to+earth+on+july+17%2c+2142. I suggest you give it a try. I have it bookmarked.

Blog Updates
Up until recently, I've been relying on people's memory and Facebook notifications to get the word out that I've posted a new blog entry. I try to post every Sunday but people forget and Facebook is no longer sending notifications of my posts. Fact is, people these days are so overwhelmed with social media that few have the time to read all the posts and updates. I sent out a quick email from my mailing list asking if people would mind if I fired off a reminder and a link to the post once a week. The response was overwhelming. I was planning on using my own email account but maintaining it and using it to send out these emails would have taken up quite a bit of time. I turned to MailChimp. This blog is being announced via MailChimp for the first time.

If you do not want to receive these weekly updates, please let me know. I will put you on a less frequent list. If you are not on my mailing list and you want to be included, please send me an email at author @ dougfarren.com. I will put you on the weekly or the less frequent list as you request.


Just a reminder: 85% of all book sales are by word of mouth. If you enjoy my work or any indie author's work for that matter, please – tell your friends! Get the word out. Send them to my website or just tell them to look me up. Help support us independent authors.