I've written the first draft of my [wannabe] masterpiece which is shaping up to be around sixty thousand words, one hundred and fifty A4/Letter pages (line and a half spaced that equates to around two hundred and thirty pages paperback). That's eight fairly chunky chapters including The Prologue.

finaldraft rubberstampThe book is called "Stars, Hide Your Fires" and it is the first book of what I am calling, "The Abyssal Void War" series. Without giving too much away I view the series as a future alternate history. BY that I mean it is set about eight hundred years in the future where humanity has spread out to colonise the stars in a group of systems they refer to as "The Extent". In the most generic sense the "universe" is human only and all of the life on the planets is seeded from Terran/Earth stock. I have tried to keep the physics in this "universe" as real as possible currently only allowing one main technology deviation from that, a plot device designed to allow my characters to travel between locations several light years distant from each other.

The book itself falls fairly clearly into a sub-genre called Military Science Fiction but, as I imply above, it's slightly different from the usual stuff at least as much as in my overall idea.

For those who are interested here is the chapter list:

  • Chapter 01: Wave Without A Shore [Complete]
  • Chapter 02: Agent of Change [Complete]
  • Chapter 03: Mists of Dawn [Complete]
  • Chapter 04: The Final Programme [Complete]
  • Chapter 05: Space Cadet [In Progress]
  • Chapter 06: The Only Thing We Learn
  • Chapter 07: A Fire Upon The Deep

Between finishing the first draft and moving on to review/correct my writing I realised something just didn't add up in my story and correcting that, even though the correction was fairly simple, had ramifications, huge ramifications. It took me more than six months to deal with that alone.

Since then I have been through several steps in order to make this book the best ever written (I jest of course, I can but aspire to be that good). When I started writing, I had little more than a vague notion that I would try to keep the science, the physics in it "real" but reviewing what I knew changed my mind in many different ways. I had already noted that as I wrote my way towards the last chapter the technologies I was writing about changed, not only from a progressing story's perspective but as I discovered we humans were even cleverer and more advanced than I had previously thought. My corrections involved the research of the various subjects my novel touched on, the writing of extensive background histories and the development of various other materials. I have now completed, inasmuch as anything of this sort is ever complete, this process but it is still true that my background changes on a daily basis although currently it is changing mainly in fine only.

I revisited my locations. Although there was some research involved this was primarily achieved by drawing maps, schematics, plans and profiles that allowed me to better describe the scenes in which my characters appear. Again this is largely complete subject to the proviso expressed above. Of course not wanting to reinvent the wheel much of that material will end up on my website wiki for those of you in any way interested in the universe I have created.finaldraft folders

Now I am in the process of creating my final draft which, in broad terms, involves me going through the book chapter by chapter, correcting, expanding and reviewing my material. I am currently at Chapter five of seven (actually six of eight if you include the prologue) and so on. I had been considering adding a ninth chapter and, as I write, I see a very good reason to do so ... that would make the next chapter I review, seven of nine (and if you don't get that you're really not a geek).

Finally, once I have completed the final draft I will have to create the final review copy to send to my editors. I strongly suspect that may be a painful process necessitating as it surely will going through the entire novel once again and ripping from it all that material that doesn't serve to progress the story or bear on the as yet untold stories of books two and three.

By my current estimates I should have the first book completed in about two to three months, so mid to late summer, which roughly speaking boils down to a total of two and a half writing and editing. I freely admit that's a long time but, in my defence, I am also working and don't have a great deal of time to devote to a project that may never really amount to anything regardless of how much I hope otherwise.

For now that's it ... thanks for reading.

J. C Rocks (aspiring author: "The Abyssal Void War" series)

Learning To Write, Part 2

In the last article I dealt with mastery of your chosen language. This article discusses the basic inspiration which we gain from a variety of sources such as events, people, books, movies, television. My own arose from book series, several well written and one not so much and from that I could imagine better and whilst I may never fulfil that dream it gave me something to aim for. The next requirement is dealt with in the following article.

Learning To Write, Part 1

Writing may not be as easy as it appears at first glance. This article, the first of three, starts the discussion of what I think are those essential skills, the first of which is a good understanding of the language in which you choose to write. It then goes on to discuss ways in which you can improve your language skills. The next requirement is dealt with in the following article.

An Author's Journey - Introduction

This article briefly introduces me, my work, my background and my web site. It outlines (at time of writing) my progress towards the publishing of my first and second novels in "The Abyssal Void War" series and briefly mentions other things to be found here including reviews and opinion pieces.

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