The nature/character of the Space Academy had troubled me all winter. It’s another of those big questions which could make or brake the whole book. The Space Academy is such an integral part of Mervyn’s life that it is almost a character in its own right – like Hogwarts in Harry Potter, but I don’t want the Academy to be so intrusive or so dominating. The main setting for Mervyn Bright is the Galaxy and the main action always takes place away from the school. If I can get this right it will set the tone for not just this book but the whole series – it’s a crucial decision and I’m close to an answer.
I’ve almost decided to make it a kind of summer school which meets in different locations for four to six weeks at a stretch at the end of each semesters (term)). In between, the students continue their studies remotely and online, a bit like the open university I suppose. In fact, the Academy now almost becomes an idea, or an ideal, rather than a physical place. It also mean the eliteness of the Academy can exist as an idea even when the characters are isolated and far away.
On a practical level, it gives me plenty of scope to place the Academy in an infinite variety of settings and alien societies, but also the opportunity to interact with adults to whatever degree is necessary For the first book though, because Sledding is such an integral part of the story, I’m still tempted to limit contact with the outside world.
Currently I’m writing the second draft of chapter 26 and editing chapters 24 & 25. 26 is a transition chapter that takes the Misfits into the climax of the story – at last the end of the second draft is in sight. The first drafts of these chapters were written two years ago and I haven’t looked at them since. A lot has changed since then in terms of plot, characters and writing style – did I really used to write like that?
The link will take you to edited 2nd draft of chapter 24 – Oblivion.