The Long Walk – Autumn 2016

This is not going to be a happy update. Please stick with it and read it to the end.

Sorry it has been so long since the last update. There have been several reasons for this, and the main one will become clear during the course of this post. As you know, the first draft of the RPG was submitted in June. This was passed back to me with the instruction to remove 100,000 words from the total word count (reducing it to approximately 150,000) and to remove any and all background lore information that did not originate from Frontier themselves or the background documentation that was generated during the first few months of the Elite Dangerous development process.

I was given until September 1st to achieve this goal, meaning that I had three months to rewrite the content. This proved not to be possible due primarily to the difficulty in untangling my own content from the canon content. This content was the first content created for the book back in 2014, and took the best part of 9 months to complete – during which I had a few personal issues to contend with. As such, after some weeks struggling to untangle the spaghetti, I realised it would be easier to start again. This process proved to be much easier but still not a simple or quick job. Trying to recreate the background information from the source material without simply parroting it back out, trying to find my own voice and tone to the content, was frustrating. 

It became clear in late August that I was not going to meet the deadline. I therefore asked Frontier if it would be possible to extend the deadline in order to complete the rewrite and the other aspects of the book that needed to be dealt with for the second submission. I took the time to explain the “real life” aspects of the delays as well, covering the entirety of the reasons that the book was taking so long to get to completion. These reasons are not new ones, and have been a matter of public record in these updates and in my entire online presence from my Twitch streams to my Facebook presence.

The reaction to this was somewhat of a surprise. To cut a long story short, Frontier’s management decided to refuse the extension and try to relieve the pressure on me and my family by releasing me from the writer’s pack license, refunding the fee and offering a resubmission under a different license in July 2017 should the book meet their requirements for publication. This means that the book will not be released under the original license terms (100% profits to me and assistance with the marketing and sales of the book). It will instead be considered in 2017 for acceptance under a deal the terms of which are still not finalised but I would assume would be a profitshare agreement similar to a traditional publishing deal.

It has taken me a couple of weeks to get my head around this, and how it affects the book and the related Kickstarter issues. Frontier have said that they are not willing to answer any questions at this stage (presumably because they are busy with some sort of release thing) so the questions I myself have will have to wait. There are several issues in my head that need to be sorted, but for the time being I have had to shelve them until a better time. I am sure you also have some questions about the future of your purchases. In relation to that I have the following statements:

  • The terms of the publication is still the same as it was: the terms of publication in both the writer’s pack pledge and any new licenses specify that Frontier must approve the content. All that has changed is that there is a set submission date in July 2017.
  • The delay in publication is not due to any issues on my own part, other than the request to extend the deadline by two months. The response by Frontier was a big surprise, and I attempted to reach a compromise that would bring the book out earlier. All my attempts at negotiation were met with refusals. The date of submission is most likely due to Frontier’s schedule of publication for any future license deals (but that’s supposition).
  • I will specify this very clearly now – this is NOT a negative step. Yes, the news was not received well, as I had a clear goal to get this book out in July THIS year or at the very latest by the end of 2016. The forced delay is a negative thing for you guys who have been waiting for this book for far too long, but I’m choosing to see this as an opportunity.

That last point is the side of this that I want to focus on. The six months or so period between now and July 2017 give me the opportunity to include some additional scope into the book. There are some things going on in the latest update to the Elite Dangerous game that are very significant in terms of gameplay and in terms of storytelling. I very strongly suspect that a significant area of Elite canon will be expanded in the coming weeks and I’m hoping that the RPG content can reflect that by July. Another positive aspect is that the July date will be one that Frontier are expecting and should have the resources available to focus on the RPG’s submission. This could also mean that the RPG’s proposed size may not be as much of an issue and that some of the content I have had to cull from the book during the second draft massacre could be reinstated under a new license. I have a strong feeling that the writer’s packs were expected to come in as novel sizes, and trying to submit a 250,000 book under a novel license (usually up to about 150,000) may have been unexpected. Be sure that I will be asking some serious questions about this between now and July.

Believe me, no-one is more upset or disappointed at this turn of events as I am. At one stage I was questioning the future of the project, and for the first time the possibility entered my head that this book might never be published. Time has given me some perspective (which is the reason why I have waited a couple of weeks to announce this) and the future isn’t as bleak as all that (unless Frontier aren’t telling me something…). The book will still be written and Frontier have been kind enough to offer a set date for the second draft review. It’s on me now to get this done and do everything I can to make this the best book I can write.

I’d like to thank the Elite community members who have offered their support and kind words during this time and have kept me from throwing myself under an Anaconda. The last few weeks have been very very hard, and not just in terms of the RPG, and if it wasn’t for the support of the close friends I have in that community (some of whom I am proud to call backers of the Kickstarter) I would have been in a far worse place than I am right now. 

If you have any comments or questions then please ask. As you already know positivity is a very important thing to me, but I understand this is a difficult post. If you have any issues then please make them known, but I would ask that you maintain a polite and constructive attitude so that I can objectively address your issues as best I can.

Thanks for your continued support. We’ll get there. All sights set on July 2017’s submission.