It's that time again. Time for a new cover for The Bright Black Sea. I've been wanting a more "space opera-ish" cover for some time. I was thinking of having one ready for the release of its companion volume, but that won't be to late summer -- and only if all goes well -- and I really didn't want to wait that long. So this is it. For now. I pulled some 50 old paperback books off my book shelves -- back when they painted paint on paper book covers -- to see how they handled metal and such. However, this type of work isn't my strong suit, and it shows. This is probably not the last cover. I was using thick acrylics for this, and generally illustrators use opaque watercolors for painted illustrations. I might try using liquid acrylics on paper which should allow me to get more details in -- if I can actually draw extra details. Draftsmanship and patience are not my strong suit. We'll see. In the meanwhile, we have a picture of the Lost Star and an Omni-V jump fighter during the extended battle on the way to Boscone. Collect them all!
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
I met my December goal by finishing the first draft of the short episode entitled "The Floating Jungle" by the 12th of December. Which was a good thing since the flu knocked me off my feet for a week and the holidays prevented any further writing. After Christmas I went back and re-wrote large sections of it to try to bring it up to snuff.
The first draft is always the hardest, since you are pushing into the unknown. I generally try to get down what happens and as much dialog as possible, but it's rough and often just sketched in. In the second and third drafts I find that I often have to re-write whole sections to not only make them sound better, but make more sense as well. I hate plot holes, and try my best to see that everything flows naturally. The characters can make mistakes and miscalculations, but not to such a degree that it is out of character. You have to make the plot fit the characters, not the characters to the plot. Then, hopefully, after the third (or fourth) draft, I convert it to an epub and read the it on my iPad, which is much more like reading it as a book than on the computer screen. I highlight words and sentences that need a little work. That done, it's off to my volunteer proof readers.
I'm hoping that The Floating Jungle will be an easy third draft and I can put it in the queue to be read on the iPad. I've started the next to last section, "Long Street, Windvera" with the hope of having a first or second draft done by the end of the month. This was the problem section for quite a while as I did not have a plot for it. I do now, though it is a more modest one than I originally envisioned.
In February I should start writing the rip-roaring conclusion to the Lost Star's Sea and the whole Litang saga. Actually, I don't think it will be all that rip-roaring. Some danger and mystery, to be sure, but I'm looking to wrap up as many loose ends as possible with as much humor as I can bring to the story. There are a lot of loose ends to tie up, and I think I can have a lot of fun tying them up. I already know the last line of the book.
Of course, these last two sections are birds in the bush, and the last two I've written are probably a ways from being good enough, so nothing is certain. I'm hoping to wrap things and release the book up by late summer 2017. Truthfully, I'll be very glad to wrap it up. Right now writing seems to be a lot like work. And I do this for a "hobby", so work is the last thing I want to do. Writing a 300K word sequel to a 300K+ novel is not something I'd want to do again. Indeed, as of right now, I have no plans to write another book. That may change, but then again, it may not.
So that's were things stand at the moment. I'm getting my 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours of writing in every day, so we're making progress. And if you keep doing that, eventually you reach the end. That, anyway, is what I tell myself every morning. (Though once I start writing time flies. It's just getting up and going over to the computer to start the process that takes and effort.)