Hitting the ground running 2


This was my summer - not exactly writing per se, but definitely recharging the writing brain

This was my summer – not exactly writing per se, but definitely recharging the writing brain (That’s my daughter on the bike in the distance)


Hello and welcome back to the blog.

It’s the first day back at work for me. I’ve had a good break and I’m already back into the novel.

What’s been happening?

In mid December I completed an edit of the novel and sent it through to Frontier Developments. This was part of the approval process, to get them to look over the novel from a holder-of-the-IP point of view. I wanted to make sure they were happy with all the elements of the novel: the design and shape of the ‘bad guy’ organisation, the engineering and technical aspects of the space ships, construction of the star ports, basically making sure everything in the novel adhered to the new and current vision of the universe of elite.

The feedback came back late last week and I’m really happy with the response. Some details of the universe I didn’t have quite right (such as how Imperial citizens view their Emperor). There were some technical details which needed revising (such as the height of orbit required before hyperspace). I have a few specialised groups in the novel and Frontier Developments wanted some clarity over their size, influence etc, to ensure they fitted in with already canon organisations. All the comments raised were easy to fix. A few were humorous, e.g “I’m not sure you can do that with a nuclear ion engine”. At one point I have the POV character make a pretty big blunder in recounting history. As Frontier pointed out, it comes out that me the author made the mistake, not the character.

So all in all, it was pleasing that I was pretty close to the expected vision with only minor detail changes needed. The novel is now technically compliant with the Elite universe. For me, this is pretty damn exciting. And Here The Wheel is a real Elite story.

What happens next?

Another edit of course! Now that the macro layer of the story is pristine and the story is in line with Frontier’s vision, now its time to really roll up the sleeves and tighten that prose to within an inch of its life. Yes, I did that in the last edit, removing around 6,000 words. Now its time for another pass. The goal of this edit is reading flow. No extraneous detail. No ‘sticky’ sentences that hold the reader up. Just smooth, polished prose. All the feedback I have received so far for the gamma edit have been exceedingly positive so I can’t wait to see what the response will be after this edit is completed!

Will I ever get one of these?

Will I ever get one of these?

What about the starmap?

This is a tricky one. Fantastic Books Publishing are recording the novels to turn them into audiobooks and for that they need completed novels with all the solar systems in the novels to be named. We can’t have a recording of “Hey lets go to System A after we have finished at System B”.

That just won’t work.

Unfortunately the time frame for the starmap and the timeframe for the recording are, how shall we say, at odds with each other. To get around this we’re having to play it smart. In the weekend I sent through a list of details to Frontier Developments and a star map sketch. This has all the details of what systems I would like and where I would like them to be. Frontier will then do a bit of number crunching to see what they can supply me with. This may result in some rework of the novel, changing the design of some solar systems, and of course adding the system names to the text.

Just thinking about this gets me all excited. I can’t wait to get these solar system names, put them in the text then load up the game and see those same systems. It’ll be bloody fantastic 🙂

Anything else?
Well yes, actually. Thanks to the Fantastic books kickstarter being successfully funded, I now have a bit of extra work to do. Character biographies, Appendices to design and write, a certain pirate flag to make ready for printing. The rest of January is going to be pretty busy, and it’ll only get more intense from there. Publication is only months away. This is where this gets real, ladies and gentlemen.

How is the Garry Clan going?

Very well thank you. Robert Garry got a bit tied up in Senator Drew’s thirst for power that ended in his death on Chione 1. Robert’s escape will be chronicled in the first Garry Clan Newsletter, which I’ll get out once this current edit is completed. Then the members of the Garry Clan who have signed up will get to vote on what direction the fiction takes. The highest vote wins and that is what I will write. Hit the sign up button below if you want to get involved and go in the draw to win a Garry Clan designed USB stick. It has the Garry Standard draped across the front with the Frontier logo in the corner. It comes complete with the novel and a bunch of extras.

Last question: What music are you listening to?

Right now I’m listening to the First Encounters soundtrack by the Quality Quartet. Atmosphere is my favourite. It really gives me a buzz and a sense of place in the Elite universe. When it comes to music and writing I’ve had ups and downs. I used to not be able to write without music. Then it kept interfering in the ‘process’. Now I’m a bit more easy-breezy about it, though I find that the punk rock to death metal area of the spectrum works well.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2 thoughts on “Hitting the ground running

  • T. James

    Looks like you have everything under control, John. It’s good you’re fired up and ready to storm the final entrenched defenses. Cold steel, y’know they don’t like it up ’em. 😉

    • T. James

      ‘It’s a long way to Typo-rarely,
      It’s a long way to go,
      It’s a long way to Typo-rarely,
      To the sweetest book I know!
      Goodbye Prosaic-silly! Farewell Letters’ Scare!
      It’s a long, long way to Typo-rarely,
      But my heart’s right there!’