Beginning The Night of the Calendars

Hot off the release of my last novel, “Calypso, Girl of the Crystal City”, I decided to expand my efforts in the realm of worldbuilding calendars for my space opera setting (not just one but two blog posts!) into an actual book. I started writing it as an in-universe textbook, but it came out just like a blog post! It was unsatisfactory as a book. But then inspiration struck me!

Instead of making it into a blog post, why not structure it as a series of letters recalling a conversation about the calendars of my space opera setting? For some reason that night Mary Shelley conceived of the story of “Frankenstein” came to mind as an analogue of what I wanted to do. So, shoving aside 5000 words of writing, I began anew, and that version of the book is what I’m writing, little by little each day, now.

The characters, tentatively, perhaps among others, are Dendro, Alexander, Casimir, and Amidala (yes, Padmé’s regnal name from Star Wars; it’s an Italian name meaning “beautiful flower”, and I really like it!), plus Enya, the host of the “week-long vacation” they’re going to on a planet recently populated by her plus a small scattering of others of her race; this is only a few years after “Warp Dawn” so the new wormhole technology has opened up a lot of cosmic real estate, an infinite amount in fact.

A Bonfire Night to Remember

The idea is that they spend a week together at her mansion, arguably more of a castle as it’s big and made out of stone in a pseudo-medieval style, high up on a mountain summit deep in the interior of one of the rather Earth-like world’s continents, socializing with each other and partaking in wholesome and fun activities to pass their days, sort of like a party.

Feeding the guests some wine and honey-roasted nuts, all made from local ingredients, as they all arrive, they take a horseback ride together with their host up and down the mountain ridge lines, seeing the woods and the breathtaking views from the various overlooks; this takes up most of their evening before the sun sets.

At sunset they go up into her mansion and start a dance party in her great hall, windows open to spectacular views on both sides of the mountain summit, a big bonfire raging in the fire pit, which tires them out for the rest of the evening, as the two moons rise and shine on them, and as squalls of freezing rain and thunder build outside.

A Conversational Text about the World of my Space Opera

Against this backdrop, one of the men sees the big calendar on the short wall of the great hall and wonders what kind of calendar that is; Enya’s people use a five-day week and additionally the calendar displayed is local to that planet. She tells them of her calendar and the cycles of her planet, and this gets a conversation going for the rest of the night where they all share their calendar systems and what they think of them, which I’ve decided to call both in and out of universe “The Night of the Calendars”.

I think I’ll make the title of the book “Letters from the Night of the Calendars”, or perhaps just “The Night of the Calendars”. In-universe it’s presented as a compilation of letters she sent for from the party-goers after the vacation was over, as she thought their reflections on that edifying night would make for a fine text. Enya’s taste in making stories must be much like my own!

More seriously, this is a book that I’m making that more or less purely consists of worldbuilding, and that in a very specific and niche part of it, which makes it the most unusual text I’ve written up as a book so far. I can’t say I’m apprehensive about it; I’m quite enjoying writing it so far, and I think it’ll be a thing of beauty when it’s finished. Besides, it’s not like it’s pure infodumping, since with my latest inspiration guiding it there’s character interaction that’ll be a pleasure to read.

I originally intended for this book to be a short story, perhaps 10,000 words at the very most, but I’m already up to 1,500 words for the new version of the book, plus an additional 5,200 words of information for the textbook version that will be worked into the new story’s character dialogue. That adds up to 7,500 words of material so far, and I’m nowhere near done.

So it might end up being considerably longer than a short story. Most intriguingly, it might turn out I have enough material for it to technically qualify as a novel, 40,000 words, in which case it would be the most curious novel with the most curious production history I’ve made to date. We’ll see.

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