First draft completed!

Sep 6, 2013

The first draft is finished!

The first draft is finished!

Well, there it is. The End. 111,814 words. I present, an Elite:Dangerous novel… and only a few days behind my scheduled date of the end of August. Not bad… not bad at all.

I typed the last few sentences of the story, the characters have completed their arcs, the final scene has taken place. I’ve trashed a massive fleet of starships in the process. Some folks have died, buildings have been wrecked and some lessons have been learnt. All par for the course for a sci-fi epic of course. What makes Elite:Reclamation different from the rest?

You’re just going to have to wait and see. I bet you hate that phrase by now! I really wish I could let you know about some more of it; the characters, the situations I believe to be really compelling – I hope you’ll have an absolute blast – but the book needs a lot of work yet…

I said before that the spacecraft and the scenery are all aspects of  the background for my story. You’ll not be getting any scientific explanation of the weapons, the drive units, the shields or the hyperspace mechanics in my tale – I’ll leave that for the official manual. My tale is all about the people.

The Federation and the Empire exist in a cold war, but there are pockets of disturbance across the universe where conflict emerges over territory and resources. Elite:Reclamation features such a conflict, and it’s looking very likely that you’ll be able to take part in this ‘in game’. Details to follow – it’s going to be extremely cool. The new ‘instant’ hyperdrive is a key dynamic in my story, and you’ll have heard how I set the scene in my reading of the prologue.

From the recent Frontier Newsletter, but it could easily be in a scene in Elite:Reclamation

So… what is next. How do I move from first draft to published book?

In the next step the book goes back to the editor for a thorough going over. I’ll also be reading it from beginning to end (something I have yet to do myself) to see how it flows. This will throw up a load of inconsistencies, poor dialogue, missing continuity and plain old mistakes. A huge truckload of things to fix.

After that my publisher will send it off on a huge trip around world to get a good reading from various readers across the globe. These are the ‘alpha’ readers.

They’ll mark it up with track changed contextual and script tweaks along with comments for me to agonise over. This is likely to be a bit brutal.

Then I’m hoping to be able to include all the ‘Frontier’ descriptions, system details and pledger rewards. That gives me a ‘second draft’.

That red pen is back again…

Then the proofreaders are unleashed. The readers are terribly proud of their jobs and often act as partial copy-editors too so they are a really good ‘second sieve’ for loose ends and plot holes.

More brutality. The story gets refined in the fire. I think it’s pretty good now – but by this point it should be awesome… no ‘fantastic’ !

That should give me a third and final draft. This is the one that will go to Frontier for their approval. Fingers crossed on that one.

Then I need to think about the cover.

I’ll supply my publisher with extra detailed character profiles, a fresh full synopsis and any other artwork I think should be considered – lots of Frontier eye candy I hope! That gets sent to the cover designer.

ISBN… I need one.

After that, it’s my publishers design teams job to knock the third draft format into shape for ebooks, add my bio, place relevant links to other books, ISBN, copyright stuff, etc, and wait for the cover.

When the cover arrives and Frontier signs off, we are ready to publish.

This is a stack load of work still to do. I said back at the start that writing the story was only half the job. The good news is that that half of the job is done. Now I’m embarking on the second half – bringing that story to a publishable state.

In other news? Fantastic Books have launched their Audiobook Indiegogo campaign. You know all about crowd-sourced funding by now, so I don’t need to introduce that, but pop over to their project and give them some support – an audiobook would be the icing on the cake.

Next week I’ll be doing a video update, so look out for that. Answers to questions, competition winner to be announced and my take on how the whole Elite:Dangerous game is developing.

We’re in great shape as we move into the second half. Thank you for your support in all this. Keep those comments coming, every single one is a shot in the arm and I’m going to need that boost for this second half of the process. There is nothing more energising than connecting with you folks. You’re all brilliant. See you next week.



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