Sci-fi led me to excel… also 96,494 words!

Firstly, let me start off by saying: research for your writing is good. Doesn’t matter what genre, a bit of well-directed brain-nugget harvesting is always going to be time well spent.

That said, I took a bit of time off from churning out words, and did a wee bit of research into my setting. Things got a bit elaborate from there, and spreadsheets eventually got involved, so if you’re not a naturally curious space dork you might want to either prop your eyes open with some toothpicks, or head for the hills.

Done that? Okay: the planetoid Ceres. It’s in our solar system, in the groovy asteroid belt that goes all the way around between Mars & Jupiter. Ceres is the biggest rock, and the first load of books are all planned to sit in this neck of our planetary woods, so I decided to dig a bit deeper into what life there could actually entail…

Days on Ceres last for only about nine hours.
Holy moly, how does a guy go about writing a normal day of a story, when a normal day is just over a third the length of one of our days? You just get stuck into a McGalactic burger lunch, and the day is done. You’re out on a romantic date, but the sun comes up before dessert. You dress for a sunny day, and suddenly it’s midnight and you’re turning into a popsicle.

How badly messed up would your body-clock become? I mean, we’re geared for 24 hours, maybe 25 if we’re living in a test tube (apparently, there’s been some pretty weird research around this point), and we are designed to wake with the light in the morning, so how would a person survive going to bed for three hours out of every nine?

I think that in no time we’d all be licking the walls, wearing tin foil hats, and murdering people with names that start on odd numbers. It’d be like an Event Horizon sequel, only with thousands of people, and even worse: nobody would be able to get any work done.

So! I devised a handy repeating day, not perfect, but as close as I could figure to a repeatable interval of almost 24-25 hours, with cues from the sun for where you’re up to. I present to you, the Twenty Seven Hour Day!

the sleep rythym that I figured out for life on Ceres

the sleep rythym that I figured out for life on Ceres

So tada! I’m pretty proud of it, because I can use the cues of the sun and the moon to dictate time’s passage still ( e.g. bedtime is around sunrise on the third cycle of a day).

What strange and wonderful things have you committed to figuring out for your writing? Your favourite research resources?

Best regards,


About D.R.Sylvester

A Clinical Research Associate by day (google it), writer by night, D.R.Sylvester lives in Sydney, Australia with his patissiere wife and Siberian Wolf. His interests include travel, music (predominantly Metal), reading, & archery.
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5 Responses to Sci-fi led me to excel… also 96,494 words!

  1. I think that’s awesome that you did so much research for your novel 😀 To be honest I never thought about what it would be like to live on a planet with a nine hour day XD To be honest, I can’t sleep more than 4-5 hours at a time, so it might work out okay. It’s also possible that people would just get 8 hours of sleep and work regardless of the night/day status. There are quite a few people that work night shift. I mean it’s hard to say. If one grew up with that, maybe humans would have evolved differently. Are the people in your books human or another race? I just spent a few hours looking up guns, gunshot wounds, hypovolemia, and shock. I only used about 5% of that info too >_>

  2. Thanks!
    I think I need to research that kind of thing as well, though more with burns (energy weapons) and general getting beaten up. You planning on some shoot-outs in your story? 🙂
    I think out in space people will probably have to just run on earth time and their ship’s computer dim the lights etc.
    Dunno how people do shift work, I turn into a zombie if I don’t sleep each day the same, even with lots of hours asleep.
    We’re talking all humans, but there’s a bit of genetic modification going on. That could be a particular mod… Hey! Cool idea! That could be a thing, where all the rich folk get it because they don’t need the full day to get any work done anyhow…
    Thanks again.

  3. Mary Michelle Scott says:

    Great post, D.R. I really enjoyed reading it. I tend to love the research part so much that it is easy for me to get caught up in it, while weaving plots in my imagination, totally losing track (focus) on staying on task and getting back to putting words on paper. I am looking forward to reading more of your posts.
    Mary Michelle

    • Haha yeah, I know what you mean. Last night I went from writing a simple horse race, to reading about the Battle of Trafalgar, including poring over diagrams of the lines of engagement, and then seguing into an article about the boers in the 19th century… I’m not sure that it benefited the passage I was writing in any way. Thanks, will check out your blog too! 🙂

  4. Pingback: What’s Up Wednesday #2 | WRITES & RESPONSIBILITIES

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