Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Good News And Bad News

Trinity here!
Well, I have good news and I have bad news. The good news about the good/bad news is that the good news applies to just about everyone and the bad news applies mostly to me. So, no need to be concerned.

The good news is I finally managed to design an acceptable and spiffy cover for my NaNo novel! Ta-da!

This was a frustrating project because I wanted to have both an element of the modern (as in, a ravaged city), and an element of medieval. I tried looking for swords, girls on horses, girls with swords, etc. etc. and I just couldn't find what I wanted. But I eventually got this, and I think I like it.

And the bad news. Yesterday I spent a couple of hours researching nuclear power plants and radiation. 

Now, I realize that all this information coming up might not mean much to you, and if you want to you can go ahead and skim right over the next little bit, but I'm putting it in anyway because it helps me think things through and solidify them in my head. 
First though, note that I've done a lot of research and I've stated things as simply as I can, so you might learn something cool. Like, the fact that the code name for the first nuclear detonation test ever was called the Trinity Project. :D 

Anyway, it looks like nuclear-osity might not be able to play into the plot quite as much as I'd hoped for several reasons.
First of these is that the fallout just wouldn't stick around long enough. 
Radiation has this thing called a half-life, which is basically how long it takes to lose half of it's power. The two main types of radiation that would be released in the case of a nuclear reactor failing are Iodine-131 and Cesium-137. 
    Iodine-131 has a half-life of eight days, which means that 100 years later, it would give off such tiny amounts of radiation, it wouldn't make a difference to anything. 
    However, Cesium-137 has a half-life of 30 years. Which would mean that in one hundred years it would have halved it's power three times which would put the total decrease at something like... 87.5% 
In any case, the radiation wouldn't be as powerful as I had previously thought it would be. 

The second thing I learned is that the Chernobyl disaster was so devastating because the nuclear core was exposed, on fire, and sending up plumes of radiation for many days before it was contained.  Also, it was a very poorly designed plant with few of the now required safety features.
        So these days an accident as huge and horrible as the Chernobyl disaster is virtually impossible, not only because of new safety requirements and backup safety requirements, but also because the reaction time of containment would be much, much faster and handled more safely. 

I still might be able to make it work, because with a world-wide earthquake and tsunamis, etc, etc, the damage could be much worse than anyone has ever considered could happen, and containment reaction time would be almost none. If I chose that route, though, I'd probably want to bump the time of the earthquake ahead a couple decades because currently nuclear power plants just aren't widespread enough.

Another option would be to have them raid an abandoned hospital or nuclear facility and steal something radioactive that weakens and contaminates them, such as happened with the Goiânia accident in Brazil (Warning: The story is pretty tragic). 

Okay, boring part's over!

As far as characters go, I'm vaguely, faintly outlining them in my head. They've been inspired by pictures from (surprise..) Pinterest. Mostly this one

I've kinda worked out who she and the babies are and then as I browse through the rest of my board my brain is gradually beginning to pin together which characters go where and how they may enter the story. 
Eight days until NaNoWriMo, and I have a feeling I'll be scrambling until the last second preparing!

Sé onr sverdar sitja hvass! 
~ Trinity 

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