So, as many of you will know, I have now completed the draft of Elite: Lave Revolution and I'm now working towards submitting the first set of chapters to my editor at Fantastic Books.
As part of the pledge rewards listed in the Kickstarter, I still have a substantial amount of work to do to deliver everything attached to this project. the list of additional material is quite expensive, however, it is this kind of writing that invokes the academic in me.
I like writing background, history, and concordance information that can be attached to a fictional story. It is this additional information that can give a story a sense of size. A multitude of viewpoints in a novel can prevent the writer and the reader from connecting with a character or characters. If the story perspective is diversified too much, we lose the microplot of the individual. We can also lose the emotional connection with an individual character's plight.
However, when additional material is organised into an appendix or other equivalent section, we learn as readers to set this aside if we are more interested in the fictional story itself. Sometimes as readers, we come back to these appendices, looking for more information when the story is done.
In the past, The Elite/Frontier fictional universe was one without many human characters. The role of the player and viewpoint in the game came from "Commander Jameson", the name that appeared when you first loaded the game, and that you could delete to input your own name.
In Robert Holstock's - "The Dark Wheel", we were introduced to Alex Ryder, Rafe Zetter and Elyssia Fields. We learned of Raxxla, a mysterious term believed to be associated with the Dark Wheel order. In the Elite game manuals, we were given maps and detailed charts informing us of just how good our Cobra Mark III was by comparison to other ships we would meet in the game. There were data charts for each star system, giving us information on the planetary inhabitants living out their lives below us as we docked and traded at the space station.
In the subsequent games, Frontier Elite 2, and Frontier: First Encounters, more information was revealed, but some was also taken away. The game premise shifted, no longer were we a species among many alien Spacefarers. Mankind found this shifted fictional universe much lonelier and darker, despite its blue skies. Nevertheless, more names appeared: Hengist Duval, Meredith Argent and Cmdr J. Saunders to name but a few.
Now as we work towards the publication of Elite: Dangerous, those fictional jigsaw pieces become a foundation for us to create something larger. The stand-alone fictional work to be published alongside the computer game, including my own, is exponentially more detail in word count alone. The myriad of projects and associated design work connected to this new computer game will provide a detailed picture of a fictional universe with more clarity than was managed in the games before.
However, amidst this hive of creativity, it would be disastrous to throw out all that has been previously written. The previous games, fiction and design work has to be evaluated, weighed and measured to see what should be retained and what should be cast aside. Most of the writers and designers of the past likely never thought their work would be held to such scrutiny twenty to thirty years after it was written, but such is the esteem in which it is held. In places, this work cannot hold up, particularly when compared to a fresh vision, but in other respects it provides a guide to where we will go next.
My part in this process has been an industrious one. At the beginning, I collated linked and added to the body of writing already amassed for this fiction. Now, having completed the initial draft of my story, my eye turns to enriching the environment around it. The planet I saw when I launched my ship from Lave station was no more than a coloured circle against a black background, but in my mind, it was more than that. It was a world where people lived and my choice to write a story set their was made to bring a glimpse of some of those lives to those who elect to read my book.
I wouldn't have this chance if people hadn't put their faith in me. From all the people at Frontier to the pledgers to the enthusiastic posters on the Frontier Forums and the listeners on Lave Radio.
My corner of this Galaxy is tiny, it's time small and fleeting. Whilst we wait for Elite: Dangerous, what transpired on Lave between 3250AD and 3300AD is known only to a few. It is in this time that I can do most in shaping a vision and I do that with a respectful awareness of the special place this imagined world holds in the hearts of others.
Keep the faith Commanders, you'll be docking soon.