The year is almost over! This should be my last update for 2017 so I wanted to wish you all a happy holiday period and New Year.
Things have been hectic in the world of Blood Capital. Inkshares and I are pushing hard to get the book ready for print, and it’s been all hands on deck. I’m still in edits, but things are getting pointy — the last week has seen long hours devoted to getting a sample of the book ready for sales reps from the major bookstore chains. There’s also been more progress on development of a final cover. As soon as I have that, I’ll be sending out a special update.
Everyone always asks how the book is going, and I love that people haven’t lost interest yet. I’m really excited by the way the story is developing with support from the Inkshares team and putting as much time and love into the project as I can. To keep me honest, and to keep you all in the loop, I’ve upped my game for tracking work on the novel. I’ve created a Tableau Public Dashboard which I update at the end of each writing session. Tracking of my hours is new, so there’s only three weeks of data for that, but hopefully it shows I haven’t been slacking. With a toddler and a demanding day job, it’s sometimes difficult to find the time. Thankfully, I love writing, so I’ve upped my coffee intake and am putting in the hours to get this done. Below is are some static screenshots of the dashboards, but if you follow this link you’ll get an interactive version.
PS: When I started the major rewrites as part of this developmental edit, I pulled most of the samples of the novel from the Inkshares website, as too many details were changing. Over the next month I plan to put a few new samples back up, so keep an eye out for a taste as to how the story as developed from those early days.
As always, thank you.
Good morning everyone!
I know it hasn’t been long since my last supporter email, but this one is a special announcement. You all know my novel by its name Human Resources. What I haven’t told you previously is that the title is changing. There are various reasons for needing to change the title. Human Resources was a great title in some respects: it was understated and linked back to the corporate dystopia, as well as the way humans are treated in the novel. However, despite that, there were signs it would make the book harder to sell. Some of the issues were:
So, without further ado, the new title is Blood Capital. This title isn’t as subtle, but ties it firmly in the genre. It also links back to the corporate dystopia, the treatment of humans in the world, and (bonus) the city the novel is set in. Work is underway on the final cover image, and I can’t wait to share the outcome of that. In the meantime, Inkshares have posted a (short) video of Matt Harry (Head of Story Development at Inkshares) talking about Blood Capital.
Matt Harry of Inkshares Discussing Blood Capital (July 2018) by Robbie Batten: https://vimeo.com/240758751
I didn’t provide an update on Human Resources last month, so some of you may be wondering what I’ve been up to. Never fear — I’m still working on the book!
September and October were intense. In addition to the book, I had some critical deadlines in my “day job” and an overseas holiday with my family, which is just ending now. The good news is my laptop travelled with me and I continued work on the manuscript whenever time would allow. My dreams of ten hours typing like a maniac on international flights were thwarted by our toddler (who has decided planes require constant Daddy Cuddles), but I did manage to sit down in hotel lobbies and make some solid progress on the rewrite.
Now I’m back in Australia, I’m aiming to buckle down and finish the rewrite ASAP. Act One is looking solid as I implement some polish using my editor’s notes. Act Two is done, but needs a lot more work before it is “ready” and Act Three is sitting in my cross-hairs.
You’ve all been amazingly supportive and patient and I thank you for that. Stick with me a little longer :).
It’s September, Spring has begun in my neck of the world, and the percentage complete on my rewrite tracking continues to climb!
I’m now halfway through the developmental edit rewrite of the second act of Human Resources, and it’s going well. I recently received detailed notes back from my editor for act one, and it was very encouraging; there were a lot of notes, but they were almost entirely at a very low level, suggesting we now have the structure and flow of act one working nicely. My current plan is to power through the rest of act two, hand it over, implement the fixes to act one while they read it, the jump into act three.
It’s time I addressed the elephant lurking in the corner; I know you’re all wondering, “why is this update so late?” Rest assured I still care. The truth, one which totally sounds like a line, but it isn’t (I promise), is that I’ve been so caught up in the rewrite I almost forgot about the update.
Welcome to those who have recently pre-ordered, thank you for joining the team that is helping make this book a reality. For everyone else, thank you for sticking with me — your patience will be rewarded.
Monthly update time for Human Resources!
Last month I mentioned the focus of the developmental edit had been on expanding the world-building and firming up some of the science behind the novel. I’m pleased to report that is now complete, I have new beat sheets and scene outlines, and am officially writing pages again!
Speaking of science, the _MIT Technology Review_ just published a very interesting article on CRISPR being used to edit the DNA of human embryos. Why is this interesting? Because this application of CRISPR is a key trigger for the creation of the world in my novel. I’ve uploaded a special new excerpt to the Inkshares site telling the history of the world, from today to when my novel starts. You can read it here.
In other news, I took advantage of receipt trip to Sydney (the setting for the book), to further explore some of the relevant locations for scenes. I use the apple maps 3D city render, along with google street view extensively, but there’s nothing better than standing on-site. A couple highlights below.
That’s all for now — I need to get back to the manuscript and finish writing it so you can all read it.
Six letters ended the world. We didn’t realize it at the time — swept away by the excitement of advancing technology and endless possibilities. We failed to predict the chain of events which would follow, but in hindsight they appear inevitable. Sooner or later, someone was bound to be tempted as we were. Perhaps they wouldn’t have made the same mistakes. Perhaps they would have been more cautious. Perhaps not. History cares not for your regrets, pays no heed to your guilt. It will not change regardless how often or fervently you pray. History’s purpose is not the past, but the future. If we are lucky, we learn, move on, and build a better tomorrow. If we don’t, I fear we are all doomed...
The developmental edit for Human Resources continues. During the last month I completed Act One of the rewrite, handing it over to Inkshares and my editor to review and "course correct" before pushing on. I’m lucky to be working with such an engaged team who are working tirelessly to help me transform my rough-cut stone into a sparkling gem (of dark adventure). After reviewing the updated Act One, we have more changes to implement as we focus in on the core themes of the novel. That means a slight pause on the rewrite itself while the outline is tweaked further, then back into it with gusto. I think it’s been a few updates since I thanked you all. I have this opportunity because of your generosity, and I won’t forget it. Thank you — for your belief, support, and patience. This process is a marathon, but I’m continuing to drive through it and each day brings us closer to physical books rolling off the production line. BTW: If you haven’t seen it, Inkshares have a sci-fi themed competition running right now in partnership with Nerdist (https://www.inkshares.com/contests/nerdist-sci-fi-contest). There’s some great novels being pitched, so it’s worth checking out. I hope you all had an amazing Month — I’ll be back with another update at the end of June. Robert