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  1. #1
    Senior Member Gilfindel's Avatar
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    Technical Plot Point

    Things have been quiet around here recently, so I thought I'd pose a somewhat off-the-wall question, concerning a plot point for my Simulated Crimes series. Those of you who were around a few months back may recall the Angels I described in Simulated Murder; for those of you who are new, Angels are holographic simulations of people, visually indistinguishable from human beings, but of course intangible to the touch.

    The question is this: do Angels cast shadows? This didn't come up in the first novel, but now that I'm blocking out the sequel, I need to decide what the answer is. Of course, in science fiction, I can assert just about anything I want, but I'd like the answer to be plausible.

    Holograms have no substance and therefore are incapable of blocking light and thereby casting a shadow. On the other hand, since Angels are explicitly designed to emulate humans as closely as possible, they could at least project an appropriate image of a shadow. I'm inclined to go this way, but would that seem reasonable to an average reader?

    On a related note, if you wear a holographic hat outside, even one that emulates a shadow, will you still get sunburned?

    And while I think of it, can you see an Angel in the dark?
    Last edited by Gilfindel; 07-18-2013 at 04:44 PM.



  2. #2
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    A hologram casts no shadow unless it is a holographic shadow.

    Yep, you'd get sunburned.

    You could see a hologram in the dark, but since they are created with light, I imagine you'd also see some kind of projection aura around them, something that would indicate they were holograms that the daytime light or artificial lighting normally mutes. Maybe a sort of glow or fuzziness around the edges. I suppose sims could "silhouette" themselves to create the illusion of a body in the dark...we've already seen how they can create clothes or just about anything else, though insubstantial. I guess they could be seen in the dark as well as they wanted to be seen.

    "Angel in the Dark" - great title.
    Last edited by John Oberon; 07-19-2013 at 04:33 AM.

  3. #3
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    I guess I've always considered angels to have solid form that they can just move easily from place to place. So I'd be okay, as a reader, if they cast a shadow.

    Once holograms are invented that can sit on a person and travel with them, I would imagine some sort of sun blocker would be included as the technology. Otherwise, they wouldn't sell many of them.

  4. #4
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    Since sims appear solid to the rest of us, I would find it believable that they could cast a shadow or be seen in the dark.

    ANGEL IN THE DARK: A BENNETT SISTERS MYSTERY has my voter approval. LOL.

    Now that I've finished the first one I'm eager to see the series continue, so TYPE ON!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Gilfindel's Avatar
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    lol, thanks for the feedback, all. I'm hoping to get the sequel completed before Christmas, but I have so many other ideas percolating in my head, it's hard to decide which to tackle next. Lucky (my YA novel) is essentially done now, other than a final pass for typos; assuming I don't get any hits from the agents, I'll have that up on Amazon in a month or so.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Gilfindel's Avatar
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    A quick status update, now that I have an idle moment or two. I've just hit the 100,000 word milestone on the first draft of Simulated Assault, the sequel to the acclaimed Simulated Murder (available in paper and ebook versions on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in time for Christmas <-- shameless plug). I haven't been able to spend as much time on this as I had hoped (darn you, real life and work-related interruptions), but I'm nearing the exciting conclusion of the story. Our heroine Jen has just been kidnapped by the man she thought was helping her solve the case, and Elise will have to rescue her from almost certain doom. Of course, since Jen will be the central figure in the third story, Simulated Conspiracy, there's only so much dramatic tension I can build up here ;-)

    I think I probably have two chapters to go to wrap up the story, possibly three, and I should be able to bring it in under 120,000 words. That should shrink to about 105,000 once I've completed the editing and whittling process. (Simulated Murder, as a point of comparison, was about 108,000 words in its final form.) I had hoped to have this ready for Christmas, but it's looking like an early 2014 release now.

    Unfortunately, the app I used to create the cover illustrations for Simulated Murder no longer works, now that I've upgraded to Windows 7. The replacement software I have (which also happens to be obsolete but at least runs on my machine) isn't nearly as user-friendly, and I may just have to finally break down and get a real image manipulation/desktop publishing app. Heavy sigh.

    All right, back to work...
    Last edited by Gilfindel; 12-07-2013 at 02:27 PM.

  7. #7
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    Yeah, I think most of us understand how real life can get in the way of our writing, at least I do.

    I planned to ask Mrs. Claus for Sim 2 for Christmas, but I'm sure it will be worth the wait especially since I also now have Sim 3 to look forward to! LOL.

    WRITE ON!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Gilfindel's Avatar
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    Phew! After an epic binge of typing, I've just written the final word of the first draft of Simulated Assault (that word being "behind", if you're curious). Just shy of 121,000 words in just over four months, averaging somewhat less than 1000 words a day. Not nearly the epic pace of my second novel (86,000 words in 50 days), but surprisingly productive given the many distractions I've had to contend with.

    Now I just need to whittle this down by about 10%, smooth out the pacing, and resolve some of the minor plot inconsistencies that crept in when I changed my mind as to who the murderer was (twice!). Piece of cake.

    While I'm thinking of it, let me get an opinion from you guys (and gals). There's a small scene that I've left out of the current version, perhaps one or two pages that wrap up a minor side plot. Not including it doesn't change the story at all, and I can tie up that particular loose end with a couple of lines of dialogue, or even leave the reader wondering about it until the third book comes out. The alternative is to either fold that scene into one of the existing chapters, or include it as a short epilogue.

    The question for y'all is: when is it appropriate to include an epilogue in a story? Under what circumstances does it add to the story? I usually think of epilogues as a tool for foreshadowing events that will occur in the sequel, but that isn't the situation here. Your thoughts, as always, are appreciated.

  9. #9
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    I've always thought of an epilogue in exactly the way you want to use it - to put a nice bow on the whole package. As a rule, I don't like epilogues any more than I like prologues - just tell the dang story and be done with it. The exception is when I really like the characters; then if there is an epilogue, I don't like it short. I like longer, say 3K words, to give me another good taste of the characters. And with a longer epilogue, there's no reason you can't tie a nice bow AND foreshadow the next book.

    I don't know of any rule about when it's appropriate to include an epilogue. Just a matter of whether you think it will satisfy the readers and hook them on your writing.
    Last edited by John Oberon; 12-20-2013 at 05:27 AM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Gilfindel's Avatar
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    Well, shoot. There I was, just polishing up the grammar and punctuation so that I could publish this puppy before the end of the year, and I came to the realization that it was too long and too complicated, with too many characters and subplots. The book read well, but it wasn't a good story, or not as good as I felt it should be. I even had the cover illustration and the blurb done, too.

    I'm going back through and rejiggering it now. I think I can keep about three-quarters of the content as is, but I have to reconstruct the rest around the surviving characters. Unfortunately, pulling out one thread tends to unravel many others, but I think I can wrestle the remaining pieces of this puzzle back into shape (to mix a few metaphors). I've lost one of my favorite new characters, but she was there mainly to set up some comic relief, so her absence won't cause too many headaches. Maybe she'll reappear in the third installment...

    I did end up writing an epilogue for the story, and I think it wrapped the tale up nicely. I should be able to whip through all of the plot adjustments by the end of the week, and then it's back to fixing the inevitable errors and inconsistencies that have crept in. Two more weeks should see everything tied up with a pretty bow and on the digital shelf. Stay tuned...

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