Keep calm and carry on writing

May 10, 2013

Good advice, mostly.

A slower week this week. Progress hasn’t been as strong. The bank holiday took a day out of my normal schedule (nice day in the sun though) and I’ve got a half day holiday today (more of that later). None of this is a problem, but this is the first week where I’ve struggled for words. It’s felt a bit of a slog, and the word count has dropped away. It’s not really cause for alarm – this has happened before and it will happen again – but I promised I’d bring you the ups and downs of this strange business we call writing, and, as far as the book goes, this week was a bit of a down. I need a bit of a recharge and the odd ‘keep on truckin’ message of well-wishing would be very much appreciated.

Fortunately, I’ve got a bit of a filip coming almost straightaway. I’m the chairman of our local astronomy society and we’ve been invited to a premier of the new Star Trek film: Into Darkness this evening. We were asked to do ‘Something Spacey’ by the local cinema to help promote the film and flap our own banners too. We’ve got telescopes, portable video projectors and enough built in geekiness amongst the members to carry that off with aplomb – pics to follow! We also get to see the film for free, which is cool. I’ll post a quick review afterwards.

They’ve only gone and blown up the Enteprise… again!

I’m rather fond of Star Trek in general, but my ultimate allegiance is to the original TV series, which I’ve recently enjoyed once again with the digital tweaked versions which bring the special effects up to 21st century par. The new films are watchable, but I tend to enjoy them as Star Trek-esque rather than true ‘Star Trek.’ It’s a bit like the current Doctor Who syndrome in some ways – with all the infinite possibilities offered by the universe, why do we always seem to just hang around the planet Earth? We’re certainly not ‘boldly going where no one has gone before’ in the story telling.

Back to Elite: Reclamation and there’s no mention of the Earth whatsoever, we’re far out in the void. I’ve managed to reach 42,447 words, so still ahead of the 40k target. I’ve also got some quite difficult scenes that I’m working on. We’re near the mid-point of the story where most of the major characters (with one exception) are in flight and the scene is being set for some of the end game components.

One particularly fun scene was where my heroine encounters a rather unusual person during a stop over. This was an opportunity for me to write a cameo into the official Elite universe, from the perspective of my previous fan-fiction. It’s not overt but it is necessary for the story, if only in a minor way. For those of you who have read the Oolite Saga, something about this person maybe vaguely familiar. It’s also an opportunity to hark back to the ‘good old days’ in a nod to the original game.

Writer’s block? Or just waiting for the idea to come?

So far I’ve been writing in chronological order. The story is unfolding as I’m writing and each section follows the previous in order as you’d expect. For the most part this works well for me, but I’ve encountered situations in previous books where I get ‘stuck’ on the current scene for lack of a better word.

I’m not sure if this counts as writers’ block, but I find that in order to resume progress I have to write some of the scenes ahead and then return to the ‘present’ before I can move the whole story on. I’ve had some of these problems this week, so I’ve been skipping around a bit, hoping the creative juices will keep flowing. I’ve been a bit under the weather too, which hasn’t helped.

I’ve also noticed that I’m missing a bit of backstory too, so I’ll probably be going back a few chapters in order to sort that out to my satisfaction. In terms of location in the plot I’m in the midst of Chapter Seven. According to my synopsis, I’m not far from the halfway point, so the predicted 100k words seems to be about right at the moment.I’ll also have another tranche of feedback from my editor on Chapters Five and Six to deal with shortly (EDIT : Just arrived, stuff to tweak but still very positive), so as we approach the halfway point it makes sense to take a little time to ensure the overall flow is working well. There are a lot of strands to the story floating around at the moment, so I’ve got to ensure they’re all being moved forward as they should be.

I’ve got a few concerns on characterisation too, so I need to go back and ensure that the distinctiveness of each character shines through. This is a job for the editing of the first draft, so for now I’m just leaving comments in the text to remind myself in the future.

You're listening to Laaaaaavveee Radio!

You’re listening to Laaaaaavveee Radio!

What else? It’s pretty quiet on the writers’ forum at the moment. Most people seem to be working hard on their manuscripts at present, which is a good sign. We’ve seen a little bit of new information on the general technology landscape (no real surprises to be honest) and some stuff on the Elite Pilots’ Federation, particularly on how the revised Elite ranking system will work. I’ve already referenced that in my story. LaveRadio will be pushing out a new community broadcast called ‘the Conclave’ next week which I contributed to, so keep an eye out for that.

I’ve got some plans to do a video update when I reach the halfway mark. More on that when we get there. Only 294 days left – that’s focusing the mind!

See you next week.

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