Jul 182012

Someone recently asked me how I came up with the world of The Burning Land.  I’m sure most of you haven’t read it, but the few who have, know that some of it takes place on a rather colorful world.  It’s a world of green skies and orange seas, where the jungles are filled with plants of various shades of red.  (And of course, if you want to read about it, it’s in the Dead Robots’ Society’s anthology, “Explorers: Beyond the Horizon“.) ;-)

Beta Carotene molecule - 3D representation

Beta Carotene molecule – 3D representation

It started with a dream in which my muse took on the relatively complex idea of interweaving two related stories told from two VERY different perspectives.  For some reason, the biggest question on my mind when I awoke was, what color would the sky be on this world?  Well, some of you may not know this about me, but I’m a bit of a research junkie.  I love to try and figure out how things work.  I’m not saying I retain that knowledge, mind you.  But when a question like that occurs to me, I have a tendency to start googling right away.

In this case, that simple question about the color of the sky on an imaginary alien world took on a life of its own, and what I earlier referred to as “a relatively complex idea” suddenly became EXTREMELY complex!  That one thought led me down a rabbit hole of research trying to determine how the various factors that affect the color of the Earth’s atmosphere could have turned out differently.  I read more than I ever wanted to know regarding atmospheric density, Rayliegh scattering, types of photosynthesis, Stellar classifications and the frequency of the various star types in our galaxy, molecular composition of transluscent atmospheric particulates…

I researched possible alternate conditions for an alien world capable of sustaining human life in an attempt to justify the world that I envisioned.  In the end, I had a system that presented enough viability for me to accept that it could possibly work.  And it answered my original question – the sky would be green!  And the thought processes dominoed from there.  You see, it seemed reasonable that changes in the visible light spectrum from an orange dwarf star being filtered through an oxygen rich atomsphere could ultimately favor beta carotene over chlorophyll as the basis for photosynthesis.  If that were to occur, then plantlife wouldn’t reflect green light, but rather reds and oranges!

My imagination went nuts with all the possibilities.  So much so that it was difficult to reign it back to a 5000 word short story, as was required for the anthology to which I was submitting.  But in the end, I did it (obviously) and the story was evidently intriguing enough for the editors.

And that’s it.  Not very exciting, but it’s a glimpse into the way my crazy mind works.

That’s it for tonight.  I know this is a rather short post, but my daughter is visiting for a few days, and I want to spend a little more time with her.

So forgive me for now, but goodnight.  And as always, stay safe. :bye:

  One Response to “The Burning Land – How I came up with the story”

  1. […] also started because of a dream.  (I wrote about the process of that one in more detail in an earlier blog post.)  For now, I’ll just say that I awoke from a dream about a story, and the dream led me down […]

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