I've just completed by first full day of work on 'Price of Admiralty', managing 7,757 words – given that my target for the day was 5,000, I'm pretty proud of my day's work. I elected to start not quite at the beginning, though I did start at Chapter One – there is a Prologue I have yet to write, probably because I have not yet decided exactly what form it will take, and I want to get more of a handle on the main core of the story before I do. I'm using Scrivener, which should make things an awful lot easier when it comes to converting to the Kindle at the end of the process – right now I am hoping to finish this draft in time for my birthday on the 17th. Fingers crossed!
One of the biggest bridges I found I had to cross while working on this in the run-up was the fight against over-accuracy. I know that sounds strange, but it was hard for me to get my head around 'it has to feel real, it doesn't necessarily have to be real'. I did an awful lot of reading up on all manner of topics, tried to get my head around out a faster-than-light drive would actually work, and so forth...before realising that all it was doing was making it harder to tell the stories I wanted to tell. I had – and have – an arc in mind for this series of books that spins off quite a way into the future, though naturally a lot of it is still fairly vague. Until I get properly in the head of these characters, I'm not going to know how they think and feel.
Getting the feel right was important. Here I resorted to a lot of reading on military structures past and present – some blogs were very helpful, as were books on current structures. Is it wrong that I stayed up until past midnight last night working on an 'Organisational Chart for Triplanetary Forces'? I know how many officers in the senior grades they had...and one of the things I most enjoyed doing was a 'rank conversion chart' between five different militaries, each with a different influence in their creation. If it feels real, then it does the job. Though most of it won't be in the book, I worked out how the economies of the Solar System work, I know the main alien races – even though none of them feature in this first book much, I have to do some foreshadowing of things to come – and I had to establish what the ship looks like in my own head. (At some point I mean to commission some artwork of it.)
Although about 99% of this is in my head (for I confess now that I am truly terrible at keeping written notes), Scrivener is still proving itself extremely useful in keeping track of everything. I couldn't recommend it highly enough; the full licence cost, if memory serves, about thirty dollars, and I'm certainly going to get the use out of it. If for nothing else than the ebook converter.
The other great help has been having the covers of the first three books in front of me. Having those to look at – thanks to Keith Draws, my fantastic cover artist – means that I have a strong visual aid in what the characters look like, what the ship interiors look like, even what some of the planets they will be visiting look like! Not to mention that it is a fantastic spur towards writing more books – once I have finished the first three, I will hopefully be selling enough of these that I can justify ordering the next three from him, and that's something I am very much looking forwards to. (He's already working on three books for my 'Hyperborea' series as well, about which more later.)
Anyway – back to work tomorrow. I managed today's workload in about seven hours, so hopefully I can keep that sort of pace up. When I planned out my schedule, I was intending to finish the draft in sixteen days, but if I can do it in ten, so much the better!