Writing_Process

My Process of Writing a Novel, Walkthrough

Advice for Authors

Keep working on it, good or bad. Construct a book like a castle, building on the foundation you put in place for the first draft. With more experience, the better it will become. Once you finish one thing, the more confidence you will have in seeing the finish line for another.

—-

Dream

The first thing is the idea. My base story ideas are usually from dreams, so I’ll go with the one I had recently.

Here’s what I can remember of the dream.

The captain of the ship had his brain altered by an advanced alien race. A white-haired older man, he apologized to the crew if he were to act more robotic as time passed.

Then this little pink and white flower spider creature, like an orchid mantis, slobbered slime or web fluid that glistened in the light.

A woman on the crew in the hydroponics lab backed up to a white and pink flower bigger than herself. A stamen hung out of the flower, and the tip glowed a light blue. A big, ugly, dull rusty-red, and wrinkled alien approached her. She backed up closer to the flower in fear of the alien.

That’s it for what I can recall. So let’s work with that.

Characters

The first thing will be the characters. Five seems to be a standard number for team-based stories. Create a Bio for each one.

1: So we have a Captain. I imagined him as older with white hair. I’ll keep that. He apologized, so I’ll base his personality around that.

We have a polite Captain who must be in touch with his emotions enough to realize they might be slipping away and he may behave in a less caring fashion as time passed. Obviously a concern for him.

His background could be from a nice home on Earth.

I would say, not a military Captain. (Not that Military Captains can’t be polite.)

Since there was at least one alien plant in the hydroponics lab, I’ll pick Scientist as his profession.

I’ll search on a name site, BehindTheName. I’ll type in Respect, switch to search meanings, and search. Erhard looks good to me, so I’ll go with that one.

Sometimes different sites give entirely different meanings for names. So be careful if that matters to you.

I’ll search Google for German surnames. I’ll click on the first thing that shows up Wikipedia, and I’ll go with Schreiber as in a scribe.

2: We have a woman in the hydroponics bay. I’m imagining her as a brunette. Can’t remember if she was in the dream. Maybe a little on the shorter side to contrast with the large flower.

Perhaps have her as a Botanist.

She wasn’t screaming or running from the alien who was bigger than her, but she was afraid of it. Will remember this for when writing her character.

I’ll search on a name site, 20000-names.

I’ll type in Botanist, scroll down to “Flower Names page 2,” CTRL-F to find Botanist, and pick Dahl as the surname.

I’ll go back, scroll down more, search through “Flower Names page 3” and pick Linn.

Because of the meaning of Linn, I will have her be a twin, and the other twin is not on the ship. It could lend itself to some emotional storytelling.

3: There were other crew members on the bridge for the Captain to be talking to. I’ll go with three more on the bridge to bring the character total to five. I’ll figure these out later if they’re needed for tutorial.

Spaceship

To start off the story, the first location is at least needed. In this case, the spaceship can be the primary location most or all the story takes place.

We have the bridge and hydroponics bay from the dream. Will have the bridge be fairly small. Seats for five people. The hydroponics bay will be fairly large. I’ll give it a higher ceiling than the bridge.

The ship will be two-story high, but wider than it is tall and longer than it is wide. The water recycling section will be under the hydroponics bay. I will put in a docking bay near the back and have it be two stories tall. Besides corridors, I’ll have two small engine rooms. So, main engines on the left and right side of the ship. Oh, retractable landing gear legs on the bottom of the ship and a ramp comes down from the docking bay to load the ship.

Will stop there an move on to assigning characters to types.

Character Types

I’ll mention how-to-write-a-book-now by Glen C. Strathy. External Link at the bottom of chapter. I found much of this parts information on there some time ago.

We’ll have Erhard Schreiber “Pursue the Goal” and set him as the Main Character.

Linn Dahl will “Help” him.

The ugly alien could be the Antagonist and avoid or reconsider. But I’ll go with “Uncontrolled.”

Sudden idea. I’ll have another crew member be the Antagonist. The crew member will “Avoid.” (The alien will be more “the mystery,” something happening in the story rather than the actual Antagonist.)

how-to-write-a-book-now

MindMap1

I use the mindmap outline as a general idea. Sometimes I find it more helpful to change the keyword to something more specific of how the character acts. In this case, I’d write it in the character’s bio. He avoids helping the Captain or other crew in any way in the hopes he can end up being the one in charge. Avoiding dying himself, hence avoiding dangerous situations.

Basic Plot Outline on Mindmap

Starting the plot outline at “Story Goal.” how-to-write-a-book-now It can be simple, like defeat alien. I’ll try and think of something more original sounding. Erhard Schreiber is the MC so he will try to find out what’s going on as the goal and to remedy the situation. Not just kill the alien and be done with the rest of the story that is possible.

Now on to the “Consequences.” how-to-write-a-book-now What will happen if the MC can’t figure out what is going on? I will do the consequence from the MC’s point of view. His concern is that the same thing will keep happening if it is not figured out and remedied. To make it clear in the story, it would have to be pointed out more aliens will show up and board the ship or other ships, whatever the mystery ends up being.

“Requirements.” Communicate with the alien.

“Forewarnings.” The alien can figure out their ship’s systems, but they can’t figure out the alien.

“Costs.” This one will be more involved. He has the concern of behaving less caring. I’ll make the cost, he has to get tough on his crew to get to the bottom of what is going on. Giving in and being more logical could be the key he figures.

“Dividends.” I’ll put this as a less muddled brain in accepting the alteration the alien’s made. After figuring out this part, I have decided to go with two alien races. One altered his mind and a different one boarded the ship after that part.

“Prerequisites.” The requirement is to communicate with the alien. The prerequisite could be to get it talking, so they have something to work with their computer AI translator.

“Preconditions.” Linn Dahl will only do a specific dangerous task the Captain wants after she makes a recording to transmit home to her twin.

MindMap2

Define the Story’s Setting and Type

I’m not going to start where the dream began. Seems to me, starting before the Captain gets his brain altered might be better. So we need to figure if we’ll start with a bang or start off slow and build up tension.

I’ll start the story with build up since there’s a mystery for the MC to solve.

There will not be lots of gore since this is something everyone can read for a helpful idea. No bad language, sex, and so on.

The MC’s brain will be altered. Ideas: Maybe an energy scan and blast. Maybe nanites. Maybe a god-like alien materializing in front of him.

After thinking about it, I’ll go with a nanite approach. I might not mention nanites specifically in the story.

Some Star Trek Borg-like visuals for certain scenes. The rest could be more like Aliens the movie with a more simple Earth-based tech for the human-made spaceship. Ladders and close quarters like a submarine and not elevators and well-lit interiors.

The little flower spider will be a mostly harmless creature picked up along with the plants from some alien world.

The big, ugly, dull rusty-red, and wrinkled alien will be hell-bent on getting to the captain. He’ll have a lot of tech on like the Predator because he will need the tech to make his way past the ship’s security. I’d add some of that to the character’s Bio.

The ship is nowhere near Earth or other human help. No warping straight to a space station or planet to escape the situation.

I want the MC to win. But whether the Ugly alien is the enemy or the aliens who altered his brain are the enemies I haven’t decided yet.

Perhaps both aliens have their side of the story, and the ship’s crew got caught in the middle with no one being evil. That’s how I usually tend to write.

I think that will be good enough to start on the outline.

Research

If a story has some things needing to be researched, I do that. Doing so can help with new ideas. I’ll search Google and Youtube usually. For this story, researching hydroponics a little first might be a good idea. If I come across anything interesting, I will note it in the outline.

Ok. I noticed special, odd color lighting for the plants in hydroponics. Would make sense the alien plants would need their own lighting based on what they got on their planet. We’ll mark this in the outline later to help set the scene where required.

Outline

We’ll write out the outline going off the earlier work done.

Mindmap, Plot Outline: You can arrange these in any order you want. I usually write the outline adding these to the chapters I think they work best in as I go. Maybe after I’m finished the first draft of the outline, I would go back and add the ones I missed.

Chapter 1

Chapter 2 Prerequisites.

Chapter 3 Requirements.

Chapter 4 Forewarnings.

Chapter 5 Costs.

Chapter 6 Consequences.

Chapter 7 Dividends.

Chapter 8 Preconditions.

Chapter 9 Finds out what is going on.

There can be more than one of each that would be placed in different scenes. The “Finds out what is going on” would be more like Chapter 24+ for me usually.

I said I’d start the story with build up before where the dream came in at. I have to get to the point where the Captain’s brain is altered, so I’ll put that in outline first at 10 in Chapter 1 for now. Next, I have to figure out the steps to get to that part.

Chapter 1

name of chapter

Date #

1 Ship detects something moving along an intercepting path to them.

2 The captain is thrilled it could be humanities first interaction with a sentient life form.

They have been finding life on planets, but not intelligent life with civilizations.

3 The object stops in front of them and does nothing.

4 They scoop it up into the docking bay, and it just sits there.

They can’t detect it doing anything. No radiation.

5 The Captain wants to study it with his own eyes.

Linn suggests since he is the Captain, that he does not. (Pay attention to mindmap for how a character should be. Avoids, helpful, hinders, etc.)

Crew member 1 backs away, he does not want to risk getting close to it.

6 The Captain insists on going into the docking bay.

Linn goes with him.

7 Try to build up tension, then nanites shoot out or something to infect Captain but not Linn.

8

9 (Might need to add end results of encounter in this Chapter, like rushing the Captain to medical bay. (Note: Add medical bay to spaceships description.)) (Forgot name for the ship.)

10 Nanites infect Captain. (Erase this place holder.)

Chapter 2

name of chapter

Date #

1 Temp Note: Have to come up with why Linn ends up in hydroponics bay.

Odd color lighting for the plants in bay.

2 Ugly alien shows up in hydroponics.

3 (Maybe add something here.)

4 Get Ugly alien talking so they have something to work with a computer AI translator.

5 Blah, blah, blah.

I name chapters. Sometimes I do it first, sometimes I do it after I see what the chapter will be about.

Chapter 1

Jack in the Box

Oct 31st 2101

Normally, I would complete the entire outline for a novel I planned to finish. Otherwise, I wouldn’t actually succeed.

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

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

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.”

(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. Usually I’d check multiple sources if I was serious about getting it right.)

“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 wentchart. 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. I looked up synonyms for it thesaurus, and 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.)

Read out Loud

(Bold underlined words are outright mistakes, deleted and changed weak words I caught on rereading, flow doesn’t feel right when read aloud, or consistency changes. Fixed section immediately after bold underlined parts.)

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 a lifepod or something on an intersecting path.”

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 (Use of the word, minute too often too soon. Delete or change.) Sir.”

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

The chief mate came hustled back 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. 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 man-made.”

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

Schreiber put his hand on the chief mate’s should shoulder. “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 chief mate hurried off the bridge. “We don’t know that. Could be a lifepod like we thought. Just not our kind.”

Schreiber followed. “That could be amazing.”

Catching up to the chief mate at the doors to the docking bay waiting with Linn, Catching up to the chief mate waiting with Linn at the doors to the docking bay, 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 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 the sphere, scanning it. “No detectable radiations.”

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

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

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

The chief mate fired at the device alien machine.

Linn jolted back. “No! Stop shooting.”

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 machine 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 Striking the button to close the door hard (delete), the chief mate let go of Schreiber.

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.

Clutching his arm, Linn helped him along.

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

Grammarly

(I use Grammarly. You can check out “My take on Grammarly.”)

(Added commas will bold whole word before it. Missing space (space added) An extra space, words under lined, underlined.)

(Not all of Grammarly’s suggestions are used. Dialogue for certain people is not always going to be grammatically correct.)

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 a lifepod or something on an intersecting path.”

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, Sir.”

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

The chief mate hustled back 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. 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, (space added) but that doesn’t look man-made.”

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

Schreiber put his hand on the chief mate’s shoulder. “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 chief mate hurried off the bridge. “We don’t know that. Could be a lifepod like we thought. Just not our kind.”

Schreiber followed. “That could be amazing.”

Catching up to the chief mate waiting with Linn at the doors to the docking bay, 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 on the floor of the wide docking bay. Five motorcycles 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 the sphere, scanning it. “No detectable radiations.”

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

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

Contemplating what the alien machine might be, Schreiber leaned close inspecting it. Some of the glowing green lines transformed into a jagged ring. Schreiber stood up, staring at the change. It lashed out; (delete ; ) a section, morphing in one smooth motion and wrapping around Schreiber’s head.

The chief mate fired at the alien machine.

Linn jolted back. “No! Stop shooting.”

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 machine 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.

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

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.

Clutching his arm, Linn helped him along.

“I’m ok now. I feel fine; (change comma, to semicolon;) catching my breath.”

Bonus Material

My take on Passive Voice:

I use passive voice in dialogue all the time. It’s how people talk. Narrating the story however, it depends.

I wrote, 1: “Later, Gero and Dr. Tabib discussed what could be done for his control implants.” The keywords here are, (be done.)

It’s introducing a conversation at the beginning of a scene, and I think it is okay for it to be in passive voice.

I wrote, 1: “Seeing the ship being identified as the Rook #36, the Polis knew right away who’s ship it was.” Keywords, (being identified.) The word (was) is fine, though I did remove it to make a better sentence.

I rewrote it as, 2: “Identifying the ship as the Rook #36, the Polis knew right away who’s ship had come through.”

I see the second sentence as a better sentence.

Here are some standard examples.

1: was breathing.

Change (was) + ing word to one ending in ed.

2: breathed.

1: He was singing

2: He sang.

Words to keep an eye out for, (am, are, being, had been, has been, have been, is, was, were, will be, will have been).

1: Mom, who had been using her bow to shoot targets, tired out her arms. This one with (had been) does not flow so great.

2: Mom’s arms got tired shooting targets with her bow.

1: She had been gone a long time, and everyone worried for her safety.

I have no idea how to rewrite that sentence to improve it. It works perfectly well for me. It could be written out as a scene; show don’t tell if there was a point to showing it in the story. As in, people pacing about and checking the time, etc.

My take on Show Don’t Tell:

I admit when someone recites a saying it can be annoying. If someone says “Show Don’t Tell” without additional information, it is kind of thoughtless. However, if someone spells out the meaning or gives an example, then it is something I look forward to reading/hearing.

I wrote a sentence, 1: “Exploring around cautiously for a bit, she then smacked her fists down on the blankets of a bed, grumpy.” The keywords here are cautiously and grumpy. It is telling not showing.

On edit, I rewrote, 2: “Exploring, she peeked around corners, lifted blankets, and sniffed the air while looking up at the ceiling. Smacking her fists down on the blankets of a bed, she glared at Soren, then looked away and crossed her arms.”

I see the second sentences as much better. Some people react with, yeah but sometimes telling has its place. I do not deny that. This particular sentence though is one of the ones that should be rewritten to show not tell. If your response is, yeah but, then maybe you should consider if that’s a knee jerk reaction to hearing it all the time. Do you know what “Show Don’t Tell” means? Search it on Google or YouTube to find someone who explains it well to you if my article does not help.

1: “She accidentally spilled her coffee.” Sometimes you can spell the adverb (accidentally) out into more words.

2: “She leaned forward tilting her mug too much and spilling the coffee.”

1: “He planted himself in the seat and adamantly refused to budge.” Sometimes you can remove the adverb (adamantly) altogether.

2: “He planted himself in the seat and refused to budge.” If you are refusing to budge, then you are adamant about it the whole time you are refusing. At the point you do budge, you are no longer adamant about it.

3: “He planted himself in the seat, and no matter how much his sister pulled on him he would not budge.” You can decide which sentence is better. Hopefully, people will at least stop telling you to “Show Don’t Tell.”

The End

(Another thing one could do is get beta readers to help you with your novel.)

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 a lifepod or something on an intersecting path.”

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, Sir.”

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

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

Schreiber followed. “That could be amazing.”

Catching up to the chief mate waiting with Linn at the doors to the docking bay, 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 on the floor of the wide docking bay. Five motorcycles 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 the sphere, scanning it. “No detectable radiations.”

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

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

Contemplating what the alien machine might be, Schreiber leaned close inspecting it. Some of the glowing green lines transformed into a jagged ring. Schreiber stood up, staring at the change. It lashed out a section, morphing in one smooth motion and wrapping around Schreiber’s head.

The chief mate fired at the alien machine.

Linn jolted back. “No! Stop shooting.”

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 machine 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.

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

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.

Clutching his arm, Linn helped him along.

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

Criticism – Email: universalchaospaladin@gmail.com

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