2 May 2015 - 11:00 am

Writers’ Asylum: Colonising Minds: Prologue

Will your colony start like this? (Picture: The Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft crews. Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Will your colony start like this?
(Picture: The Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft. Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Welcome to the Asylum. Settle in, make yourself comfortable; you’re going to be here for a while.

We have a lot to get through today: 5 challenges, each with a goal to write 1,000 words in an hour.

This year, we’re trying something different: a series of connected challenges, building up a single world and a single story. These challenges are intended to be done in order; it will make much more sense if you do.

I’m going to ask you some questions, guide you through some decisions, and help to build a picture in your mind. People, places, situations. From there, I’m going to ask you to write about a specific aspect of the situation in front of you.

Ready? Let’s get started.

Today, we’re going to establish a brand new colony. Step by step, you’re going to break free of the comfort and security of an establish community, you’re going to strike out on your own, cross wildernesses and vast open spaces, and at the other end, you’re going to set up a new home. Over today’s five challenges, you’re going to tell the story of this colony.

First, think about the community and society where it all begins. All colonists come from somewhere originally. Think about the era it’s in: it can be anything you like, from ancient Vikings to the tall ships of the 17th century, from magical medieval lands to far-future planet-hopping. It could be a contemporary setting, or near-future, trying to squeeze something new out of an already fully-claimed planet or foraying out into our nearest heavenly neighbours.

Next, consider where your colony will be located. Is it a foreign land, or planet, or climate? Is it at the bottom of the ocean, or huddling inside the warmth of an old volcano? Is it ice-bound, or the temperate rolling of fertile fields? Think about the distance between this new colony and its origin.

You have some idea of what your colonial effort will require now. Equipment, supplies, sustenance. Skills and people. It’s no small endeavour, no cheap feat. You are starting to get an idea of what it might take to make this thing happen.

Next up: Challenge #1

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  1. Matt says:

    Can this be a science fiction concept? Can colonies involve Exoplanets? 🙂

    May 2nd, 2015 at 11:54 am

  2. Jun says:

    Sorry I couldn’t make it in person (thanks to the weather… ) – am doing it from home. I am ready for my +2.5hr start!

    May 2nd, 2015 at 1:12 pm

  3. Mel says:

    Matt – absolutely! You can make it anything you like. 😀

    Jun – sorry you couldn’t make it. Queensland weather can be such a pain! Hope you enjoy the challenges ahead. 🙂

    May 2nd, 2015 at 2:12 pm

  4. Matt says:

    Then count me in like Gunga Din!

    May 2nd, 2015 at 2:53 pm

  5. Mel says:

    Yay! 🙂

    May 2nd, 2015 at 2:58 pm

  6. Matt says:

    Sorry I’m late! How does one submit stuff? Email to you? Attach a doc?

    May 3rd, 2015 at 6:58 am

  7. Mel says:

    All good! You don’t have to submit to me: the challenges are really for you, a way to get writing and maybe try something new. I’d love to read what you came up with, though!

    You can add the pieces as comments to the challenges here on the blog, if you wish (this has been done with some challenges in the past). Some others who did the Asylum said they might put their colony stories up through Inkspired. You can email it to me if you wish, too. 🙂

    May 3rd, 2015 at 12:09 pm

  8. Matt says:

    Awesome! Only got part I done today, but I think it could turn into a nice short story. And of course, I do want your opinion 🙂

    May 3rd, 2015 at 4:26 pm

  9. Mel says:

    Wonderful. I’ll look forward to reading it. 🙂

    May 3rd, 2015 at 4:34 pm

  10. Writers’ Asylum: Colonising Minds: Diagnosis : : Adventures in Text says:

    […] This year’s Asylum went well. I think it’s pretty safe to say that. All the feedback I’ve had so far has been overwhelmingly possible. When we got to the end of the day, we had happy chatter, and people excitedly telling each other about their colonies and stories. […]

    May 15th, 2015 at 7:01 pm

  11. Francisco says:

    I wrote a story about a city created by linking airships together using hi tech retractable “rope” bridges. It was set in the near future. Would that have counted as a new colony?

    May 19th, 2015 at 4:56 am

  12. Mel says:

    It certainly could do, yes! Why not?

    I have something similar in the Starwalker universe, in the pirate home base. We haven’t seen it yet but it’ll most likely turn up in the next book.

    May 19th, 2015 at 6:29 pm