Process of writing novel. 5 Write story, Read through and edit.

Write first draft:

I might spend some time imagining things, particularly different ideas for the start of the story. At least a bit into the first few paragraphs before writing.

Chapter 1
Jack in the Box
Oct 31st 2101

On the bridge of the science vessel Euclidean, the helmsman looked back over his shoulder. “Captain Schreiber, there’s something lifepod size on an intersecting path.”

“No one but us where assigned to this sector. Hail it. See if we get a response,” said Schreiber.

A few minutes later the helmsman focused on his console. “No response, Sir.”

“Maybe they can’t respond… Hopefully not dead.”

“Autopilot AI would still respond Sir.”

“Well no way it just happens to be on course to cross our path. Alter our direction a bit.”

After a few minutes the helmsman looked back at Schreiber. “It did alter course. It will still intercept us in a few minutes Sir.”

“Understood. Maintain.”

The chief mate to Schreiber’s right stood up. “Not much we can do about it anyway.”

Schreiber glanced up at his chief mate. “No there isn’t. Though I’m curious.”

“Curiosity killed the cat.” The chief mate walked to a thick metal door, it split in half on sliding open.

Stopping the Euclidean, the helmsman stared out the ships large front window.

Schreiber stood and walked past the helmsman. In a blink the object was right in front of them, a few feet from the glass. They both stared at it.

“That ain’t no human lifepod.”

“What should we do?”

“Hopefully it’ll stay put. Back off a little and turn around. We’ll scoop it up in the docking bay.”

“Yes, Sir.”

The chief mate came onto the bridge carrying a gun. “Oh no. That’s not a life pod.”

Schreiber tapped an icon on a screen wrapped around his forearm. “ Linn, meet us at the docking bay. Do not enter.”

A reply came back. “Um, sure. What’s up?”

The chief mate interrupted. “No way. We don’t know if that’s a bomb. I don’t know what other crap the science crews are messing with out here. But that doesn’t look man made.”

“Oh,” said Linn through the com. “Sounds interesting.”

Schreiber put his hand on the chief mate’s should. “Come on. There’s no way I’m passing up the chance to be among the first humans to identify intelligent alien life. It could simply be a probe sent out from some far off planet.”

The first mate hurried off the bridge. “We don’t know that. Could be a lifepod like we thought. Just not our kind.”

Following, Schreiber caught up to the first mate at the doors to the docking bay waiting with Linn.

The first mate held up the gun. “K. Open it.”

Looking at Schreiber, Linn hesitated.

Schreiber nodded. “Let’s be careful, but don’t make a mess of things. Try not to shoot first.”

Linn pushed a button on the panel next to the extra wide docking bay entrance.

With a hiss, the door opened. The alien sphere sat unmoving near the middle of the wide docking bay floor. Five motor cycles lined up on one side of the bay and two huge mechs stood on the other side.

All three entered, eyeing the wavy, black and silver sphere with green light coming from its jagged lines.

Linn picked up a device and approached it, scanning it. “No detectable radiations.”

Clenching his gun, the chief mate moved it up a little then aimed it back down at the floor. “Shouldn’t you have figured that out before we opened the door?”

“The ships alarms would have sounded once it got close to us if it detected harmful levels,” said Linn.

Contemplating what the alien device might be, Schreiber leaned close looking at it. Some of the glowing green lines formed a jagged circle. Schreiber stood up, staring at the change. The device lashed out a section like liquid metal. It wrapped around Schreiber’s head.

The first mate fired at the device.

Linn yelled. “No! Stop shooting.”

Schreiber grabbed at his head, pulled and twisted frantically to break free.

“It’s hurting him, look at him,” said the first mate.

“Like you, reacting is what he’s doing. We do not know what it is doing or what shooting it will do.”

The alien device released Schreiber and it turned back to the way it was. Gasping, Schreiber stumbled back and fell, sitting hard on the metal floor. The first mate grabbed the back of his shirt and dragged him out of the docking bay with Linn hurrying along after them.

Hitting the button to close the door hard, the first mate let go of Schreiber.

Linn scanned Schreiber as he got up. “Can you walk to the med bay?”

“Yeah, yeah sure.” Holding his head, Schreiber stumbled forward.

Grabbing his arm, Linn helped him along.

“I’m ok now. I feel fine, catching my breath.”

Read through and edit:

(Writing a book check. Constructing a book like a castle, building on it till its a masterpiece…, working on it.)

(Normally I would finish this chapter or the whole book before doing the rest of this stuff.)

On the bridge of the science vessel Euclidean, the helmsman looked back over his shoulder. “Captain Schreiber, there’s something lifepod size on an intersecting path.”

(I’m not liking the sound of lifepod size.)

On the bridge of the science vessel Euclidean, the helmsman looked back over his shoulder. “Captain Schreiber, there’s a lifepod or something on an intersecting path.”

“No one but us where assigned to this sector. Hail it. See if we get a response,” said Schreiber.

(Let’s see if we can get rid of, said Schreiber.)

Schreiber straightened in his command chair and raised his eyebrows a bit. “No one but us where assigned to this sector. Hail it. See if we get a response.”

A few minutes later the helmsman focused on his console. “No response, Sir.”

“Maybe they can’t respond… Hopefully not dead.”

“Autopilot AI would still respond Sir.”

“Well no way it just happens to be on course to cross our path. Alter our direction a bit.”

After a few minutes the helmsman looked back at Schreiber. “It did alter course. It will still intercept us in a few minutes Sir.”

“Understood. Maintain.”

(Going over what I wrote, it seems to me there would be a protocol to alert the whole crew, those not on the bridge, to an incoming vessel, missile, or so on. Let’s change that aspect of the story.

Ok, I have to do some research for warning codes. This should be good enough https://www.defconwarningsystem.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?t=4588 without checking multiple sources.)

“Understood. Maintain. Announce green alert, incoming.”

The chief mate to Schreiber’s right stood up. “Not much we can do about it anyway.”

Schreiber glanced up at his chief mate. “No there isn’t. Though I’m curious.”

“Curiosity killed the cat.” The chief mate walked to a thick metal door, it split in half on sliding open.

(“Curiosity killed the cat.” Let’s see if we can get rid of cliché. Also have a problem with chief mate not actually seen leaving. I rewrote with stomped and walked, looked at “250 ways to say went” chart. http://blog.writeathome.com/index.php/2012/11/250-ways-to-say-went/ Looked up definition of barged.)

“Curiosity’ll get us killed.” The chief mate stomped over to a thick metal door, it split in half on sliding open and he barged off the bridge.

Stopping the Euclidean, the helmsman stared out the ships large front window.

Schreiber stood and walked past the helmsman. In a blink the object was right in front of them, a few feet from the glass. They both stared at it.

(Feel like rewriting this part.)

Schreiber stood and walked past the helmsman. In a blink the object sped right in front of them, stopping abruptly a few feet from the glass. They both stared at it.

“That ain’t no human lifepod.”

“What should we do?”

“Hopefully it’ll stay put. Back off a little and turn around. We’ll scoop it up in the docking bay.”

“Yes, Sir.”

(Going to add more to sentence. Flesh out the story better.)

“Yes, Sir.” The helmsman took a deep breath and let it out. “Glad it wasn’t a missile.”

The chief mate came onto the bridge carrying a gun. “Oh no. That’s not a life pod.”

(Not using cuss words in tutorial, so may as well erase “Oh no” since it sounds flat.)

The chief mate came onto the bridge carrying a gun. “That’s not a life pod.”

Schreiber tapped an icon on a screen wrapped around his forearm. “ Linn, meet us at the docking bay. Do not enter.”

(Going to add more to show Schreiber caring so it will contrast with his behavior later in the story. Oh, and fix extra space before Linn.)

Schreiber tapped an icon on a screen wrapped around his forearm. “Linn, meet us at the docking bay. Be careful. Don’t enter till we get there.”

A reply came back. “Um, sure. What’s up?”

The chief mate interrupted. “No way. We don’t know if that’s a bomb. I don’t know what other crap the science crews are messing with out here. But that doesn’t look man made.”

“Oh,” said Linn through the com. “Sounds interesting.”

Schreiber put his hand on the chief mate’s should. “Come on. There’s no way I’m passing up the chance to be among the first humans to identify intelligent alien life. It could simply be a probe sent out from some far off planet.”

(Going to rewrite “It could simply be a probe.”)

Schreiber put his hand on the chief mate’s should. “Come on. There’s no way I’m passing up the chance to be among the first humans to identify intelligent alien life. It’s probably a probe sent out from some far off planet.”

The first mate hurried off the bridge. “We don’t know that. Could be a lifepod like we thought. Just not our kind.”

(Says first mate now instead of chief mate. Find and replace for rest of story. Also, before final story, since the chief mate is getting a lot of story time, we’ll need to give him an actual name.)

The chief mate hurried off the bridge. “We don’t know that. Could be a lifepod like we thought. Just not our kind.”

Following, Schreiber caught up to the chief mate at the doors to the docking bay waiting with Linn.

(Going to flesh out the story a little bit by changing sentence, adding more to it.)

Schreiber followed. “That could be amazing.”

Catching up to the chief mate at the doors to the docking bay waiting with Linn, Schreiber gasped in and out. “Ok. Let’s see what we got.”

The chief mate held up the gun. “K. Open it.”

Looking at Schreiber, Linn hesitated.

Schreiber nodded. “Let’s be careful, but don’t make a mess of things. Try not to shoot first.”

Linn pushed a button on the panel next to the extra wide docking bay entrance.

With a hiss, the door opened. The alien sphere sat unmoving near the middle of the wide docking bay floor. Five motor cycles lined up on one side of the bay and two huge mechs stood on the other side.

(A little edit with, floor. Erase unnecessary, near the middle. And the final, side.)

With a hiss, the door opened. The alien sphere sat unmoving on the floor of the wide docking bay. Five motor cycles lined up on one side of the bay and two huge mechs stood on the other.

All three entered, eyeing the wavy, black and silver sphere with green light coming from its jagged lines.

Linn picked up a device and approached it, scanning it. “No detectable radiations.”

Clenching his gun, the chief mate moved it up a little then aimed it back down at the floor. “Shouldn’t you have figured that out before we opened the door?”

“The ships alarms would have sounded once it got close to us if it detected harmful levels,” said Linn.

(Think this might be too wordy. Get rid of, said Linn.)

Linn gave him a sideways look. “The ships alarms would have sounded if it detected harmful levels.”

Contemplating what the alien device might be, Schreiber leaned close looking at it. Some of the glowing green lines formed a jagged circle. Schreiber stood up, staring at the change. The device lashed out a section like liquid metal. It wrapped around Schreiber’s head.

(Debating if the word circle would be better as ring. Changing last sentence for the better.)

Contemplating what the alien device might be, Schreiber leaned close looking at it. Some of the glowing green lines formed a jagged ring. Schreiber stood up, staring at the change. The device lashed out; a section morphing in one smooth motion and wrapping around Schreiber’s head.

The chief mate fired at the device.

Linn yelled. “No! Stop shooting.”

(Rewrite to get rid of simple statement telling not showing, Linn yelled.)

Linn jolted back. “No! Stop shooting.”

Schreiber grabbed at his head, pulled and twisted frantically to break free.

(Rewriting so each next sentence in a row doesn’t start with name. He fired, she yelled, he grabbed.

Get rid of unnecessary adverbs. Looked up definition of “frantically.” The word “distraught” in the definition made me think of “desperate.”)

Desperate to break free, Schreiber pulled and twisted his body as he tried to remove the alien material wrapped around his head.

“It’s hurting him, look at him,” said the chief mate.

“Like you, reacting is what he’s doing. We do not know what it is doing or what shooting it will do.”

The alien device released Schreiber and it turned back to the way it was. Gasping, Schreiber stumbled back and fell, sitting hard on the metal floor. The chief mate grabbed the back of his shirt and dragged him out of the docking bay with Linn hurrying along after them.

(Shorten, Can get rid of words, it turned back, and use one, returned. Change second Schreiber to he.)

The alien device released Schreiber and returned to the way it was. Gasping, he stumbled back and fell, sitting hard on the metal floor. The chief mate grabbed the back of his shirt and dragged him out of the docking bay with Linn hurrying along after them.

Hitting the button to close the door hard, the chief mate let go of Schreiber.

Linn scanned Schreiber as he got up. “Can you walk to the med bay?”

(Will spice this up.)

Linn scanned Schreiber as he struggled to get up. “Can you walk to the med bay?”

“Yeah, yeah sure.” Holding his head, Schreiber stumbled forward.

Grabbing his arm, Linn helped him along.

(I don’t like the word, grabbing. Look up synonyms for it. https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/grab I decided on, clutching.)

Clutching his arm, Linn helped him along.

“I’m ok now. I feel fine, catching my breath.”

(There would be one other crew member, and maybe they all would have gone to the docking bay to see what was up.)

Next we will be reading the second draft aloud.

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