Tl;dr: Go read my fiction.
So I’ve been running this blog close to a year now and haven’t written any fiction of my own. It’s time to find if I’m less full of it than I think I am. I’ve started writing a military sci-fi GameLit book. The universe is based on the Proxima Universe of Harmon Cooper with permission, though he’ll obviously get final say if it’s good enough to be canon or if it’ll be considered a fan-fiction/alternative universe.
As for Royal Road, it’s not that bad, but it would definitely be helped if they had a writing app that allowed auto-publishing of fictions, synchronization, etc. An Electron app would probably be best for them to allow parity between the website features and the actual website. The 300 x 200 picture that they use as a cover is wonky and weird. We view things in widescreen mode, so purposefully creating an inflexible image that goes against most designs is weird. I suppose that it’s meant to imitate the cover dimensions on a book.
The biggest issue thus far is transferring tables over. The tables used in Royal Road do not match up with the tables inside of Scrivener, which will lead to tweedling inside the Royal Road webpage to work with the book to format tables correctly. Not my idea of a good time.
For my writing process, I tend to simply write to get ideas out of my head as quickly as possible. There’s little editing or structure, get it done. Afterwards, I go back and edit to make sections move quicker, flow better, or make more sense. I do that on this website quite a bit as well, I started pushing out updates on my Facebook page to help fans of this blog know when I’m updating content.
I like to wait a few days between the period of writing and the period of self-editing. If you try to edit when it’s too fresh in your memory, the brain tends to fill in blanks, add in pieces, and explain the story in a way that’s not actually on paper. There’s a programming joke:
When you first write code, only God and you knows what it does. In six months, only God will know.
In the case of software, this means if you didn’t write tests or documentation, you will spend an enormous amount of time figuring out what the app does, since it will essentially be as if you’re reading someone else’s code.
In the case of writing a book, that’s a useful feature. Reading your own work as if it was written by someone else allows you to apply a critical eye to it. I’ve found trying to edit my own work right after I was done with it is like getting a parent to admit they have an ugly baby.
I’m also using Natural Reader (free version) to see where problems are during editing. It is helpful to see hear it out loud, (even in a robotic voice), and see it slowly go through, highlighting each word. There’s obviously a lot of errors in an unedited document. Hearing the document spoken, having it slow down to the rate of speech, and the word-by-word highlighting helps out.
After that, it’ll be looking for my biggest problem: Wordiness. Wordy expressions, redundant words and phrases, overused prepositions, overly complex sentences, multi-syllabic writing, and more.
I’m using Scrivener for the writing software. It has a major downside, the PC and Mac version are not inter-operable, something the developer teams for Windows are working to fix. Windows Scrivener is definitely the “lesser” of the Scrivener versions out there, it’s still clunky and missing features.
Still, there’s an excellent tutorial on Lynda.com that will get you moving with it quickly, and it has a lot of features that make it excellent for writing and archiving what’s going on in the novel with title card summaries, notes, research, and more.
As for the novel itself, it’s a GameLit novel taking place in the Proxima World Universe that Harmon Cooper built up. It’s military sci-fi in terms of its sub-genre. I’ve relaxed some of the hard science requirements in the book, since it would interfere with the story.
There’s a lot of “writing against convention” in the novel. These are all things I’ve preached about on my blog, so it’s time to put them into practice.
- Main character has serious character flaws. He is not an obvious author self-insert or deified version of myself. He will start to overcome his character flaws, but they will always be a part of who he is as a person.
- Game mechanics contribute to the story and are a major part of it, not just for page count, word bloat, or because it’s crunchiness for the sake of crunchiness.
- Characters that are not the main character are meaningful and relevant, they are not just there to worship the main character. They all have their own goals and dreams.
- Romance and sex are a natural part of the story and not for gratuity.
I plan on finishing the novel by the end of the year. I will hopefully be done far sooner than that. The planned stages:
- Get the rough outline done along with all the major plot points, twists, and hooks of the story. Done.
- Get the actual novel written out. This part will be done as fast as possible so that the rough outline of the book will be available.
- Find the high points of the novel and start sprucing them up. Find the unnecessary parts to the novel and rip those out.
- Do two editing passes by myself.
- Send it off to Harmon Cooper to evaluate.
- Send it off to an editor for him/her to evaluate.
- Fix it with their suggestions.
- Get some decent artwork done. Both of the covers have been designed by me, I really like this one:
But I need to redesign the spaceship to be more in line with the story. (There’s technically two space ships in the story).
- Publish it.