1. NK_UT

    NK_UT Active Member

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    Norcom Union

    Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by NK_UT, Feb 6, 2020.

    I've looked through a few people's progress journals, and it inspired me to try my own. I've never done anything like this. I tend to be an improviser in most things. It is just how my brain functions. Never been much of a note-taker or a journal-maker.

    One thing that I have a lot of trouble with is consistent effort over a long period of time; ESPECIALLY with social-media/forum related things. Perhaps this will help with that.

    I have a few things in the pipe. Three novels, a couple of mini-novellas/long short stories, and a few short stories. They are all part of a series. Most of the stories happen concurrently or near-concurrently with the main story-line of the series.

    Main Story: Destiny Outbound.
    Part 1: (working title) The Exclusion Zone.
    Progress:
    First draft 100%, second draft 100%, third draft 95%.
    Word Count: 52k

    Part 2: (Working Title) Return to NorCap.
    Progress:
    First draft 100%, second draft 60%.
    EST word count: 47k words.

    Part 3: The Outbound Center.
    Progress:
    First draft 30%.
    EST word count: 70k.

    Peripheral Stories.

    Xiao Mei.
    Progress:
    First draft 100%, second draft 100% third draft 70%.
    Word Count: 15k

    (Working Title) EZ-17 MediCorps.
    Progress:
    First Draft 20%.
    EST word count: 10k.

    (Working Title) The Wastelanders.
    Progress:
    First draft 15%.
    EST word count: 5k.

    (Working Title) The Old Republic.
    Progress:
    First Draft 5%.
    EST word count: 10k.

    (Working Title) NorCap Nightly News.
    Progress:
    First draft 2%.
    EST word count: 7-8k.
     
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  2. NK_UT

    NK_UT Active Member

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    Progress made editing Xiao Mei. 952 words tonight. Swapping out placeholder language with more descriptive language. I feel like there are more layers to peel back.

    Editing ruthlessly. Getting rid of redundant language that doesn't serve to do anything. Brought the total word count down, but that doesn't matter. I can see the story in there. I can understand the way a sculptor feels when he looks at a block of granite and can visualize the sculpture within.

    I need to hone my tools to cut more fine shapes from the blocks of text.
     
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  3. NK_UT

    NK_UT Active Member

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    Finished a third editing pass on Xiao Mei. 2,398 words tonight. Corrected mixed-up tenses. Started replacing standard English dialogue with the dialect used by wastelanders and refugees from the Exclusion Zone.

    New word count is at 10,274.
     
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  4. NK_UT

    NK_UT Active Member

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    Edited around 2000 words in Destiny Outbound Part 2 to be more in line with changes to the story made during editing of part 1 and Xiao Mei.
     
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  5. NK_UT

    NK_UT Active Member

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    Edited about 4000 words in Part 2 of Destiny Outbound for consistency in tone and changes of names. Aiming for more concise language in descriptions. Flavoring the text a little more to be consistent with the protagonist's voice in Part 1.
     
  6. NK_UT

    NK_UT Active Member

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    Xiao Mei.
    Progress: Third draft 100%.
    Word Count: 10,274

    Destiny Outbound Part 2: (Working Title) The Wall.

    Progress: Third Draft - 45%
    EST word count: 44k words.
     
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  7. NK_UT

    NK_UT Active Member

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    Been too busy to write recently. Basically working from before sunrise until late at night. These periods of downtime give me time to ponder NorCap and what has happened up until now in it. Getting back to writing after a short hiatus is always beneficial to getting clarity.
     
  8. NK_UT

    NK_UT Active Member

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    I thought that with Covid-19 I would have more time to write. I've not taken any notary assignments since mid-March, but nope. I've spent the last two months learning a slew of new skills with which I hope to be able to earn an income.

    I've learned:
    How to weld.
    How to repair lithium-ion batteries.
    How to harvest lithium-ion cells from scrap electronics and recycle them into new battery packs.
    Launched an online phonics course for children.
    I started a video series for projects I have been working on with my new skills, starting with building an offroad electric crossover motorcycle to match the cyberpunk theme of my Destiny Outbound series of stories. (check it out! Give it a like and a share!)

    And, yes, I have been writing as well!

    I have finished Xiao Mei, retitled as Touching the Void.
    I have finished The Exclusion Zone.
    I scrapped about a third of Return to NorCap and have been rewriting it.

    More to come.
     
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  9. NK_UT

    NK_UT Active Member

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    Hey all!

    I'm really excited to be progressing through Return to NorCap. With new motivations and a tighter sequence of events, the story is flowing a lot better now. Sometimes it helps to sit on a manuscript for a short time and come back to it with a fresh perspective and having had time to ponder on the direction your story was leading you in.

    In addition to that, I know this isn't writing, but it is progress nonetheless. So, I hope you will indulge me sharing my progress on the electric offroader I've been building. It's styled after what I envision something a wastelander or a Recovery Ops officer might ride to travel quickly through the Exclusion Zone.

    Meet Cyberpunk v0.1!
    [​IMG] [​IMG][​IMG] [​IMG]
     
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  10. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    That's super cool!
     
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  11. NK_UT

    NK_UT Active Member

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    I have finished my first novella to the ponit of being ready to publish it. I haven't hired and editor to go through it. I can't afford it now after Covid 19. But I believe it's more or less ready.
    I set up an Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing account and now I'm getting things ready to publish.

    This is the description that I decided to go with for the series I am working on. A number of short stories, novellas, and full-length novels all happening in the setting of NorCap and the Exclusion Zone that surrounds it.

    I would very much appreciate feedback on it before I put it up.

    Norcom Union #1: Touching the Void.

    For the past month, Xiao Mei had fallen further and further into the waking dream of being augmented. Social status, the love and adulation of her peers, and most importantly - full admission into the ranks of the Citizenry are all hers. All it took was a pound of flesh and an uplink to the Ether. Her desire to become one with the Grandfather's Harmony and his Citizens has now come true but at a cost far higher than she could have anticipated.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Decades after Northeast Asia collapsed under the crushing pressure of a cataclysm long-since erased from the memories of its survivors, a new society has arisen. Inch by inch, meter by meter, it is reclaiming the wasteland and holding it together with a fist made of blood and data; all for the everlasting glory of the Grandfather and his Citizens - Or so they would have their people believe.

    The Norcom Union is built atop the dried and desiccated carcass of the Old Republic; a civilization erased from history and purged from the minds of survivors by the near-omnipotent leadership reigning from the central archologies of its capitol, NorCap.

    These tales follow the lives of survivors and those born into this new world of oppression and terror.

    The citizens of NorCap live their lives under the ever-watchful gaze of the Grandfather. They struggle every second of every hour of every day to maintain Social Credit scores high enough to escape being reprogrammed, dissected for parts, or sent to newly-established off-world research outposts as test subjects.

    Wasteland survivors scratch out an existence high above the ceaseless pollution storms of the Exclusion Zone in the skeletal remains of tower blocks and among the limitless expanse of underground passages and infrastructure tunnels known collectively as The Crypt.

    Infrastructure Security Agents traverse the farthest reaches of the Exclusion Zone on an unending mission to enforce the Grandfather’s Harmony against the diseased and barbaric tribes that threaten the delicate Social Harmony imposed on the hundreds of millions of citizens of the Norcom Union.

    Recovery Ops Personnel pick and crawl through the ruins of the Old Republic, searching for forgotten technologies that NorCap requires to fulfill its ultimate goal of delivering faithful adherents of the Grandfather’s Morality away from the blasted hellscape they call home to a new destiny among the stars.

    But buried beneath the frozen and and scorched surface of the Exclusion Zone, something is taking form. A force from before modern history. It bides its time watching, learning, assimilating into it all that it can until the day that it emerges to fulfill the purpose for which it was created.

    Any feedback welcome!
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2020
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  12. Steve Rivers

    Steve Rivers Contributor Contributor

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    You dont necessarily have to buy an editor. You can always collaborate and edit someone else's book in exchange for doing yours. It wont be professional grade, obviously, but if you both do it in revision form, neither of you have to take the other's suggested edits as red, and you can discard what you think they got wrong. It's cheaper (free) and if it ups the quality of your final product by just even 5%, that's still 5% more polished than it was before :)
    Not saying you should, NT, just saying it might be worth thinking about.
     
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  13. NK_UT

    NK_UT Active Member

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    Added around 1000 words to Touching the Void. Added a chapter to The Exclusion Zone. Designed covers for each. Doing another editing pass on each. Looking into copyrights on them and learning to use Amazon's KDP.
     
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  14. NK_UT

    NK_UT Active Member

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    I actually did want to find people here to beta read and share editing. I was informed by site admins that I needed to have at least 100 posts before trying to ask for such things on the forums, though. I think that's what they told me. Can't remember, now, though. Slowly working towards 100 posts.
     
  15. NK_UT

    NK_UT Active Member

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    Decided to tighten up some of the dialogue in The Exclusion Zone. Done around 2000 words of dialogue rewriting. Looked into copyrighting for the books I'm ready to publish and decided to finish off a final editing pass on both The Exclusion Zone and Touching the Void before submitting them for copyright and publishing. Designed covers for both.
     
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  16. NK_UT

    NK_UT Active Member

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    Decided before submitting the two stories I'll be publishing first for copyright, I'd give them another once-over to tighten up the prose and check for redundant language. Glad I did.

    Started work on a new book: Letters from the Old Republic.
    A housewife's diary is recovered from the ruins of an apartment building by a PubSec officer during a follow-up investigation at the site of FN-528s discovery of the wasteland tech cult responsible for the citizen disappearances. The revelations held within of what happened prior to the founding of the Norcom Union threaten to shatter his previously unshakable faith in the Union.
     
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  17. NK_UT

    NK_UT Active Member

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    I have read through the manuscript for The Exclusion Zone twice this week. Been trying to get the dialogue scenes down to a certain number of pages. Had to get rid of the scalpel and whip out the machete on parts of it. I'm glad I did. Some of the redundant parts that were left in before to help emphasize certain points that didn't need emphasis have been chopped. Still having a hard time getting the first-person narration down in the FN-528s own voice. I think if I were able to do that, then I could cut out more of the dialogue and still have the same progression.
     
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  18. NK_UT

    NK_UT Active Member

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    5200 words done today on a new short story "Fading Light".
     
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  19. NK_UT

    NK_UT Active Member

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    Spent the last week reading and re-reading The Exclusion Zone to get it ready for copyright and upload to KDP. Every time I reread it, I always find little niggling bits to clean up. Maybe every writer experiences this.

    This time around, I ended up adding around 4k words to the overall length of the story. Every dialogue sequence was rewritten so that the action beats that break up each dialogue event are less mean-spirited than they were previously and the dialogue itself is tighter and leads to clearer revelations for 528. I also took the opportunity to flesh out both 528 and each of the antagonists he deals with. I feel much more confident now sending it out into the wide world.

    I am not very social media savvy, though, and I'm not really sure what to do as far as marketing my releases go.

    I had my first "sprint" while writing Fading Light. I re-read it a couple of times since posting the first third of the story for critique in the crit section. I feel like I could add it to the copyright that I will put The Exclusion Zone and Touching the Void on.

    Speaking of which, my publishing schedule looks something like this:

    8/22/2020 - Publish Touching the Void as a free ebook to get some action going on Amazon.
    8/29/2020 - Switch Touching the Void to a paid-purchase download on Amazon and publish Fading Light as a free ebook.
    9/5/2020 - Publish The Exclusion Zone on KDP.

    Now I just need to learn how to use social media and learn how books are marketed.

    Marketing in the US really baffles me, sometimes. But, I need to get my head around it.
     
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  20. Steve Rivers

    Steve Rivers Contributor Contributor

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    "Art is never finished, only abandoned." - Leonardo DaVinci.

    You realize how true this quote is when you publish. Mine's online and I still notice things to improve. I can well imagine that if i keep looking at it over and over again forever, I will always find something I believe could be improved.

    You understand folks like George Lucas for wanting to re-do the Star Wars movies with things like that. But he also highlights the dangers of continually fiddling with a completed work...

    ...Han shot first.
     
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  21. NK_UT

    NK_UT Active Member

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    Very succinct example of knowing when to stop dicking around with one's own work. This is probably one of the things I struggle with most in most areas of life; knowing when good enough is good enough and keeping in mind that done today is better than perfect tomorrow.

    Thanks for popping in!
     
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  22. NK_UT

    NK_UT Active Member

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    Finished the last editing pass on Touching the Void before uploading it for copyright. Added a scene to develop Zhang Jun's character and humanize him a little more. He's a villain, but one-dimensional villains are boring.
     
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  23. NK_UT

    NK_UT Active Member

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    Front matter for Touching the Void and The Exclusion Zone. I made them myself using (can you believe it?) PowerPoint. Don't have enough time to pick photoshop up again and don't have the budget to hire a cover designer. Probably not the best designs, but they will serve for the time being at least. Can always get more interesting designs done later on if need be.
     

    Attached Files:

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  24. NK_UT

    NK_UT Active Member

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    First editing pass on Fading Light. Posted it to the short stories Sci-Fi board for critique.
     
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  25. NK_UT

    NK_UT Active Member

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    Went to get my ISBN from Bowker, but their system is down until Monday. Gotta wait on publishing. Taking the opportunity to do another SPAG pass on Touching the Void.
     
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