Narrative editing of Elite Dangerous Premonition is complete

Posted by on May 26, 2017 in Progress Report

Another big hurdle out of the way. Today I put the finishing touches to the narrative edit of Elite Dangerous Premonition! This means we’re now at a third draft (Draft one was the rough story, draft two was my own personal edit) and the book is in really good shape. Lots of plot holes and inconsistencies have been worked out, extraneous text has been axed, prose has been tightened, POV and pace has been enhanced. That all goes to making it better to read and more enjoyable. In total there were 734 changes made based on suggestions by my ever so talented editor, Mae. Word count remains a chunky 153,086 words! Next up is the copyedit. The manuscript now goes for a professional ‘spit and polish’, looking for errant typos, grammar and other inconsistencies. Once that’s done it will be ready for typesetting, the actual process of turning it into a book. Having read it all through again it’s already much better than it was. I’m now really confident I have a solid, exciting and quality story that’s a worthy sequel to my original book, but will also stand on its own for Elite Dangerous aficionados and new readers alike. More importantly I’m confident it captures what’s been happening in the game and gives the reader the chance to experience all those events over again from a different, and more in depth, perspective. I’m hopeful it will also stand as an SF novel in its own right. I’m really looking forward to what people make of it. Production time lines look encouraging. Once I have more news on that I’ll let you know straight away. I’ll sign off with Mae’s last comments to me – “You’ve done an incredible job with it. It’s a great...

Read More »

Elite Dangerous Premonition is with the editors

Posted by on May 11, 2017 in Progress Report

A major milestone for me today. The second draft of Elite Dangerous Premonition was finished and sent to the editors. 151,354 words in total. I have incorporated all the details from the event that happened on the 29th of April into the closing chapters of the book. The overall story has had a ‘lore consistency check’ from Frontier Developments and the manuscript is now in the hands of the editors for fettling. The second draft is complete! At this point the story is told, it ‘makes sense’ from beginning to end. Hopefully most of the major plot-holes are filled in. (A couple of howlers were spotted en-route!). The overall story has been approved by Frontier in its close to final form. So it’s ready then? No. There will still be a lot of problems with the book at this stage. Typos for sure, POV inconsistencies, character dialogue which isn’t quite right. Descriptions that are too long or too short, pacing that doesn’t suit the scene… this is all stuff that needs to be fixed and authors aren’t always great at it. I’m happy the story is a good one, but to turn this into a book requires a different kind of magic now… the editor. These wonderful folks turn a good yarn into a proper readable form. They dramatically improve the text, tightening passages, cutting out the flabby words, firming the tone, sharpening the words and dealing with the dross. What comes out is the same story, but punchier, harder, more compelling, more exciting and, well, just better! I’m lucky enough to be using the same one who worked on Elite: Reclamation all those years ago. An SF specialist and someone who already knows the ins and outs of the Elite Dangerous universe. We’re in safe hands, Commanders....

Read More »

Elite Dangerous Premonition – First Draft Complete

Posted by on Apr 5, 2017 in Progress Report

Something of a milestone today. Having pledged to complete the first draft of Elite Dangerous Premonition this week, I have in fact completed it today. A big push over lunch-time was sufficient to finish off the last remaining scenes, details and some of the major glaring inconsistencies I knew were lurking in the manuscript. The novel stands at 140,707 words. It took 236 days (7 months, 24 days) to get to this point. So the book’s ready then? Not so fast! What happens next is that I need to re-read the entire story from beginning to end, tweaking and adjusting pace, dialogue, tense, viewpoints, making sure characters ‘pop’ and keep on looking for typos, mistakes, continuity errors and so on. Right now, the book is not even close to ‘ready’, there is still a lot of work to do… …Not to mention that last chapter that you will all be writing on the 29th of April! However a first draft is a significant point in the creation of a book. It means there is definitely something very tangible already in existence, the overall story is told and it’s now a case of polishing, refining, tweaking and adjusting. The second and third drafts will follow in due course, but we are getting close. Many names will be immortalised in the canon, lore will be established and many mysteries revealed. For now, I write on, Commanders....

Read More »

The 100k Barrier

Posted by on Jan 25, 2017 in Progress Report

Something of a milestone in the writing this week, the first draft of Elite Dangerous Premonition has hit the 100k mark against an approximate target of 140k. Now some folks will point out, quite rightly, that word count isn’t everything. The old writing cliché – “Don’t worry about word count, worry whether your words count” may apply. Is the story working, is the plot sound, are the characters appropriately differentiated? All good questions. I’ll let my previous track record in writing speak to those points, I don’t intend to disappoint my readers. You can assume that is all in good shape, though there’s plenty of work left to do. I use word count as a progress indicator because it’s straightforward and easily accessible. It works for me. Sometimes an author has the luxury of putting out a book ‘when it’s ready’, but often I see that as an excuse for ‘late’ or ‘never’. I find I work best under pressure, so I set myself word count targets and track progress against them. So far so good. 100k is a good slug of work and with just over 70% of the draft written it’s appropriate to ask “So how’s it going, Drew?” On balance, I think it’s coming together well. I don’t encounter ‘writers block’ myself (I put that down to good planning), so I’ve been able to continue on at pace. I’ve been capturing player events as they occur and usually get to write those up a week or so after the event. My biggest concern at present is two fold. The first is the character arcs. There are quite a few in Premonition by necessity and I need to ensure they all make sense and have a purpose. This isn’t currently the case in many places. It’s an editing job, but a big one. The second is ensuring I wrap up certain threads in-game and from my previous book in a satisfying way. I’ve made a bit of a ‘rod for my own back’ on this one, because I weave in multiple meanings and layers and like to leave readers with a few unanswered questions. The trick is finding a balance between how much to reveal directly, how much to leave for readers to infer and how much to leave unanswered. I will say, however, that this has been a much tougher assignment than my previous Elite Dangerous book ‘Reclamation’. That felt, at the time, quite ambitious, but it’s child’s play compared to the task of ensuring that ‘Premonition’ works well. Premonition is not only a book, it’s part chronicle, part lore repository… but it has to excel at all three without compromise. Polishing this up to a real shine is going to be a hard job. Here’s what I’m juggling at present in addition to all the ‘normal stuff’ required to produce a book: Monitoring social media and...

Read More »

Signing off for 2016

Posted by on Dec 23, 2016 in Progress Report

It’s been such a busy year! When I entered 2016 I was putting the finishing touches to the second book in the Shadeward Saga, Exoneration and planning to start work on the third. Since then my plans for the rest of the year were majorly disrupted (again!), by not just one but two new official books drawing the inspiration from halcyon days of the 1980s. First up was Lords of Midnight, the epic game by Mike Singleton. I’ve been fortunate to be working with Chris Wild, who was responsible for the iOS and Android ports of the game and was a close friend of Mike Singleton. Lords of Midnight was my second favourite game from those early days of computing. A game that showed real genius, flair and innovation in its design. An entire world, with characters, adventure and drama which allowed you to explore its every nook and cranny. And the opportunity to work once more with Frontier Developments: David Braben, Michael Brookes and the rest of the hardworking team there to tell the story of Elite Dangerous and what its players have done since the game was launched back in 2014. Premonition is on its way. I consider it a huge privilege to be working on both of these projects, though it’s often difficult and painstaking work. I was there when both of these games were first launched. 1984. I played them both, unaware as a wide-eyed 14 year old that I was taking part in a bit of history, a very special formative time in computing history in the UK. The ZX Spectrum that my parents bought me in 1983 now has pride of place on my study wall, reminding me of how much I collectively owe the writers of those games and the designers of that 8-bit computer, with its 48k RAM, cassette interface and ‘high resolution’ colour graphics. Not only books, but a career in computing too. But with both books in flight, I owe more nowadays to the fans of what I’ve written. I’ve been delighted with the response to my original Elite book, Reclamation. The fact that there is another book on its way is very much down to readers of that first book making a groundswell of noise and demanding that the story continue. You can very much thank yourselves that another book is on its way. So many of you have said “It couldn’t be in safer hands.” Thanks for that. The fans made it happen and I’m very honoured to be asked to do it on your behalf. Rest assured I’m doing my very best to make sure it’s worthy of that trust. Lords of Midnight? We’ll, if I didn’t have a reputation for making a good story out of a computer game, that likely wouldn’t have happened either. Thanks again. Those reviews you’ve left me? Gold dust. Whilst I...

Read More »

It is nine score and four days since the writing began…

Posted by on Dec 21, 2016 in Progress Report

A year from now we will be launching the novelization of Mike Singleton’s epic game, the Lords of Midnight. Here at the Winter Solstice itself, it only appropriate to have a little bit of a status update. How are things going? Are we still utterly invigorated and confident that victory will go to the free? In short. Yes! Progress has been very good. We’re on track with the novel. I have been writing as fast as I can. Chris gets a version of this whenever I save it out, via the magic of Dropbox, and I thus get feedback on the new sections within days – very handy. At the moment we’re sitting at just over 56,000 words. I’m aiming for a finished first draft in the order of about 140,000 words, so with a bit of deft calculator action that means we’re about 40% of the way through that. The first draft is only half of the work though. There will be a second, third and probably a fourth draft. Editing isn’t nearly as much fun as the initial creative work, but an essential part of the process of turning writing into a finished novel. There are no shortcuts here. Characters have to be checked for consistency, plot-holes eliminated, pacing, tension, dialogue and all manner of other essential components reviewed, adjusted and tweaked. It’s never really ‘finished’, but my personal litmus test is to keep working until I really find it a chore and I can’t stand the sight of it anymore – about then is when the book is ready! As I mentioned before we’ve had to take a long hard look at all the elements of the story. Lords of Midnight was created in the 80s, but we’re now putting this together for an audience of fans from that time and new readers here in the 21st century. In the same way as a stylistic choices, enhancements and tweaks have been made to the original games in order for them to be ‘acceptable’ to modern gaming tastes on Android and iOS, we have had to consider how readers will respond to this story with modern eyes. Diversity is a bit of a problem. The Lords of Midnight is unremittingly male dominated in its original incarnation, with a series of Lords who are superficially identical. In the same way that the Hobbit faced the challenge of differentiating between a collection of Dwarves, we have a similar problem with Midnight. We have solutions however! For original players we have the challenge of writing a story which will entertain and delight, despite the fact that the players know the ending. We don’t want to change the established facts (in fact we can’t if we want to go on to write sequels) so we have to accommodate the known ending. There’s a danger that the book is a little too obvious....

Read More »




'Elite Dangerous', 'Frontier' and associated logos are registered trademarks of Frontier Developments plc. All rights reserved.

Assets borrowed from Elite Dangerous, with permission from Frontier Developments.

All Content Copyright Drew Wagar 2006-2017 unless otherwise stated.