At the Winter’s Solstice, the First draft of the Lords of Midnight

Posted by on Dec 21, 2017 in Progress Report

Yesterday I reached a major milestone in the production of my latest book, The Lords of Midnight. The first draft is complete! Those of you who have followed this blog for quite some time will know that this is an important step, it means there is a ‘story’ end-to-end based on the original plot and direction and that the greater bulk of the writing itself is done. Yet, in some ways, it’s just the start! From here the story has to be tweaked and fettled. I do edit quite a lot as I go on, so this draft isn’t as rough as many fellow authors’ would be, it’s probably more akin to what most writers would consider a ‘second draft’, but it still needs a lot of work. From a pure editing perspective there will be typos, grammar issues, clunky sentences, insufficient character differentiation, repeating words and phrases, too much or too little description, continuity errors and bad POV changes and scene transitions. This is quite tedious to fix, but I’m fortunate to have an excellent editor with her red pen poised to wreak bloody havoc over my manuscript… However, before that, the story needs to have its lore, characters, situations and overall feel checked by the LoreMaster himself; in the case of the Lords of Midnight this is the inestimable Chris Wild who is both the expert and the ultimate decision maker on the lore as it relates to Mike Singleton’s world. As of yesterday evening a draft is with Chris for review and comment. Thus there is an awful lot of work still to do, we may have won a skirmish, but the battle continues! However, having skim read what we have already, I’m confident we have a good foundation to build upon. For me, after the event, it’s fascinating to see the differences between the first draft and the final edit. There are massive changes in some places, minor nips and tucks in others. It’s all aimed at ensuring the book, and the story it tells, is of the highest possible quality. This book was original promised back in 1984 by Beyond, the company that published the original game – they failed in that particular quest. 33 years later we’re on track to close that circle – but we want to ensure that we do the best job we can, making something that Mike himself would be proud of and that lays a solid foundation for future books if this one is successful. For now then, a brief hiatus as the year draws to an end. The Solstice is here, but before long glad hearts and minds will turn to longer days and the promise of spring. A new dawn for Midnight...

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As my publisher would say… onwards!

Posted by on Nov 29, 2017 in Announcements

A little bit of a milestone today – signed off the official Elite Dangerous forums for an extended leave of absence, after a 5 year stint I’m leaving that universe behind me and moving on to pastures new. I’m not involved with the game content at all any more – so please don’t ask me about the v2.4 narrative or the Thargoids – nothing to do with me! Oddly enough, I played the original Elite for about 5 years (from 1984 to 1989) when I headed off to university, so it feels like a good time to move on after a similar timescale. I’ve uninstalled the game from my PC (along with a few other games too) in order to focus all of my spare time into my own creative endeavours – no distractions – though I’ll obviously be popping along to conventions and community events where I can. In its place comes the space simulator “Space Engine” which provides similar, and often even better looking, space backdrops with the advantage that I can ‘go anywhere instantly’ and programmatically alter the contents with a bit of scripting. I’ve also acquired a commercial license for it, allowing me to export and use videos from it without having to worry about royalties. That gives me huge flexibility and creative control I didn’t have with ED. Alongside this I’m also learning some 3D character animation software – I rather liked the ED character creator, but it was very limited, now I’ve got the opportunity to create animated characters all of my own. With the combination of these two elements, a truly compelling narrative, some music and a lot of work, I’ve got all I need to make my own audio and video stories. These will, naturally, be based on my books – the bread and butter of what I do won’t change – hopefully I’ll be able to crank them out faster. What I have decided to do is expand the Shadeward universe quite dramatically. Shadeward is set in a semi-post apocalyptic setting, but the event that precedes the Shadeward series of books is only alluded to, never detailed. I plan to go back there and write books about that, but also go forward to alternative worlds that are concurrent with Shadeward, and tell other stories. Whereas the folks in the Shadeward series suffered from regression in their technology, other worlds may have advanced in the same time frame, leading to the possibility that worlds not too far away may have very advanced technology. In short this gives me the ability to write a space opera in the same setting, combining the best of what I did in my ED books in a new and more consistent universe where I don’t need to worry about ‘retcons’ or the limitation of gameplay. I can also stick to ‘real’ physics too. What I plan...

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Book of the Month

Posted by on Nov 16, 2017 in Announcements

Rather pleased to announce that my latest book, the official novel Elite Dangerous: Premonition, won ‘Book of the Month‘ over at KindOfBook.Com. Premonition was selected as a nominee amongst 12 other books that have recently been published and was the only SF novel in the mix. One of the other novels was (and is!) an Amazon bestseller, sitting in the top 100 ebooks sold. Another was by a New York Times bestselling author. Frankly, once I saw that I didn’t think Premonition had a chance, but I was honoured to be included. After a few days Premonition had pushed itself into a credible third place, unsurprisingly behind both of the novels mentioned above. However, with a few posts on social media, the FDev forums, reddit and a mention in the FDev newsletter (Thanks to Ed and Zac!) the word got out and Premonition’s share of the vote began to climb. Soon we were in second place, and a few days before the end of the competition, the combined might of the Elite Dangerous community and the fanbase for my stories pushed Premonition into a commanding lead, 15% ahead of the bestselling Amazon entry. To be frank I was a little gobsmacked by the result, but I shouldn’t have been. Time and again the Elite Dangerous community has proved its worth, it’s ability to mobilise and come together to support things. This was also brought back this week in a different way. The charity I support with 10% of the proceeds of my books suffered from theft compounded by an arson attack. They pretty much lost everything as a result, utterly devastating. They’ve been working for years to support young people who’ve fallen out of school and college and need help getting their lives back together. My family and I set up a JustGiving page to raise a few funds to help them get back on their feet. We set a modest target, and cracked it in a few days, but then the word got out to the Elite Dangerous community once more. In fact, the community got behind the funding before I had a chance to ask them. Lave Radio, Obsidian Ant, NatScrambles, Malic and DJTruthSayer were already on the case. As a result funding has skyrocketed to over £2,000. An amazing, humbling and astonishing result. The page is still live if you’d like to donate > https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/andrew-wagar Once more, I can only say a big thankyou. The Elite Dangerous community has supported me far more than I could ever have hoped for. You’re all brilliant. Right on, Commanders....

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Elite Dangerous : Premonition Audiobook

Posted by on Nov 6, 2017 in Announcements

The top question I’ve received regarding Elite Dangerous: Premonition (well, other than about boy wizards) has been “When is the audiobook version coming out?” A little backstory here, if I may. 🙂 When I was writing my first Elite Dangerous novel, Reclamation, back in 2013, I wasn’t really all that aware of audiobooks. I did recall them from my youth, when I’d listened to Treasure Island and Robinson Crusoe, but at the time it hadn’t occurred to me that you did that sort of thing with science fiction. However, when I undertook a small reading at the original LaveCon back in 2013, the response was hugely positive and it quickly became clear that I had to find a way to provide an audio version of Reclamation. Fortunately my publisher, Fantastic Books, was able, via Kickstarter, to fund the recording of Reclamation and by combining the voice talents of the wonderful Toby Longworth and the recording and edit expertise of Chris Jarvis, Elite Dangerous: Reclamation the audiobook came into existence. You can play a sample here, courtesy of Audible. Audiobooks are extremely popular. They provide some notable conveniences. It’s impossible to read a book when you’re driving, but an audiobook is the perfect accompaniment to a long journey – and that applies whether your commute is on a road, train or in supercruise! Some folks either don’t enjoy reading directly, or don’t have the time, whereas an audiobook can fill in that gap. Additionally, audiobooks bring a different dramatic emphasis to the story. I’ve listened to Reclamation myself and it comes across in a new way in its audio format – not better or worse, but different. The addition of actors, actresses, editors and sound technicians adds new creative ingredients. Fast forward a few years and the sequel, Elite Dangerous: Premonition is out in ebook and paperback… so where is the audio version? The answer to that question is that the decision rests with Frontier Developments themselves. Whereas I Kickstarted my license for Reclamation, and FBP kickstarted the production costs of the audio work for it, this time around Premonition is Frontier’s IP, their book. I was commissioned to write it, but the production of different versions of the book is up to them. Creating an book isn’t cheap, but creating an audiobook is significantly more expensive. You have to pay actors/actresses and their expenses, you have to hire a studio, you have to pay for extensive editing, potentially license music and incorporate sound effects. Ultimately it’s a commercial decision – will sales of the audiobook justify the costs involved in creating it? Can Frontier make a profit? They’re a business at the end of the day. Many folks want an audiobook version of Premonition. For Frontier to be able to gauge that demand, a forum thread has been set up. If you genuinely want a copy of Premonition in audiobook format, please...

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A little tidying up

Posted by on Oct 20, 2017 in Announcements

I’ve been giving the website something of a belated ‘spring clean’ of late. My intention is for it to be solely about my published books and associated events – various other stuff was cluttering it up. That’s now been pared back to the essentials and I’ll be focusing on that from now on. One of the major components of this was my Elite Dangerous Lore articles. After Reclamation was released back in 2013 I began collating information from the game and my own work, with the intent of producing a ‘close to definitive’ lore account of the game. Back then not much was available, these were the days before prominent youtubers and twitchers, before wikis and so on. As time went on this became more and more complex, and not helped by the frequent ‘retcons’ of what had gone before. Other folks began covering the lore and doing it more justice than I could. Time was also an issue, researching items and writing them up is very time-consuming – a luxury I can no longer afford if I’m going to keep writing my books! I need to concentrate on my own lore too. So, those articles have been transferred to the custodianship of, arguably, the most notable lore enthusiastic organisation in Elite Dangerous, Canonn Research. You can find my articles here. You may also wish to check out the recently released Elite Encounters RPG by Dave Hughes, as it contains a 50 page Elite Dangerous lore guide within it – far more comprehensive than anything I wrote. I can also wholeheartedly recommend Obsidian Ant’s youtube channel, DJTruthSayers Twitch Channel and the unofficial Elite Dangerous Wiki. Alongside all this was my previous fan-fiction work with the Oolite Saga. This was very much unofficial work. I never charged for it and always allowed it to be freely available. Unfortunately there are some issues with hosting unofficial content side by side with official content, so I’ve taken the step to only have my licensed, or professionally published books available and referenced from this site. You can still find the Oolite Saga from Ascorbius.com, or via Google Play and Smashwords – and probably thousands of other less reputable sites. 😉 Hopefully this isn’t too inconvenient for...

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