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Robert Batten

Sci-Fi and Fantasy Author

Tag: Blood Capital

Blood Capital Progress Update

** This is a repost of my latest update to backers on Inkshares **

Hello everyone, welcome to 2018!

Work on Blood Capital has been progressing at pace since NYE and we are now close to completing the developmental edits (at last!). Check the progress chart below and you can see I’ve almost completed the rewrite, and that all of Acts One and Two have had my second pass. Once this is complete, it should just be a matter of getting the final development notes from my editors and incorporating them, then we move into copy editing (grammar and spelling).

Everyone has been wonderfully patient with me over the past year, and that has made this process so much easier. Thank you. I’m aware the journey has been long — I had no idea how long it would be when I entered the competition back in 2016. To provide an idea of the work behind the scenes, I’ve been averaging almost 18 hours a week on the novel, which multiplied out over nine months (roughly how long I’ve been working on edits), adds up to more than six hundred hours so far.

We are now on the home straight, and Blood Capital is set for release at the end of July. A marketing plan is coming together to support the launch, and I’ve now seen an early version of the cover art. As soon as the cover art is finalized, I’ll send out a special update, but for now, I can tell you it’s going to stand out on shelves.

Take care and thanks again for all the support!

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Title Announcement: Blood Capital

I have a special announcement. For sometime I've been posting on here about my science-fiction novel and the publishing process it is going through. Up until now, I've been referring to it by the working title Human Resources. Well, I'm finally ready to reveal the publication title — it's going to be released as Blood Capital next year!
Choosing to move away from the working title was a hard decision. I was (and still am) fond of the title Human Resources. 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:

  • Human Resources is not a unique title. There weren’t any other science-fiction books I could find with that title, but hundreds of business books. That meant searching for the book could be difficult.
  • It confused people. Right throughout my campaign I encountered people who thought I’d written a non-fiction business manual. This can be addressed to an extent with a good cover, but I still had people misunderstand after I started including a cover image of a person with a big sword.
  • It’s out of genre. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but by switching it to a title that is more recognizably from the genre of the book, it makes it stand out to people who read that genre.

It was for these reasons, in discussion with my publisher, that we decided to search for a new title. We settled on 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.

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Blood Capital monthly update

Updated 02/11/2017 to reflect the now announced final title. The previous version of this post named the book by its working title, Human Resources.

The Blight changed everything. Eighty years later, humanity is almost extinct. They survive only by the grace of the Melior, only so long as they are viable food.

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.
If you want to know more about the novel, check out the page here on my site, or its page on my publisher's site.
 

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May backer update

I've just sent out the May backer update for my novel Human Resources, you can view it here.
If you aren't receiving those emails directly, it means you aren't following the novel on Inkshares. You can do that (and pre-order, if you're inclined to help an author out) over here.

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April backer update

April has come to a close and I've sent out my monthly update for backers of Human Resources. You can read the update on the Inkshares site here.

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Blood Capital Developmental Edit Milestone

Updated 02/11/2017 to reflect the now announced final title. The previous version of this post named the book by its working title, Human Resources.
Over the past month I've been working through the developmental editing process for my sci-fi novel Blood Capital. This week I reached a milestone with my editor; he gave our updated outline the green light, freeing me to start work on rewriting pages!

What is a developmental edit?

Let me include a description of the process from the Inkshares blog:

The first round of notes is what we call “story architecture” and it’s the first part of the developmental process. It focuses on a series of high-level structural notes that discuss the: 1) the core of the story, 2) main arcs and characters, and 3) the unexplored, negative space of the story. Classical developmental editorial tends to focus on honing the present version of the story. By contrast, this architectural round asks not what the story is, but what it could be. It throws wrenches, offers zigs rather than zags, and explores the unwritten negative space to mine potential. Not every story goes through this process, but many do, and some of our most successful stories have changed significantly during this process. Depending on how extensive the notes are on this process, it can take three months or longer.

During this process, the developmental editor worked with me on testing the architecture of the draft novel. He challenged many aspects of the story, working collaboratively with me to address any issues identified.
To kick off the process, my editor read the draft manuscript in its entirety. They then put together a series of notes (thirteen pages of them) and line comments on the manuscript itself. This represented our starting point, and once I'd read through the feedback, we had a direct chat to discuss and make sure we were on the same page.
After the initial notes, the process shifted gears to an iterative cycle. I wrote a detailed outline for the novel — acts, chapters, scenes (with detailed scene notes). We then collaborated on this document — outline, feedback, discussion, new outline, feedback.... and so on.
The process was difficult at times, as it required me to challenge, and in some cases change, key aspects of the novel. My editor didn't let me off the hook with weak justifications, but neither did I feel like I lost control of the work. The process was collaborative, and the changes my own creation. In the end the book will be stronger than ever, and I'm thrilled.

What's changed?

Everything, and nothing. The changes we have agreed include a substantial restructure of events, primarily in the first and second acts. We've dropped several characters who weren't contributing to the story and removed plot points which were becoming a distraction. We've made sure as events culminate in the third act both the objectives and stakes are clearer, and that events converge on a more climactic point. The themes of the book have been tightened, and events more closely aligned to the core story. What hasn't changed, is the core premise and scenario. For those who have read my excerpts online and pre-ordered the novel, I'm confident you'll get the story you are expecting.

Next steps?

I've jumped into the rewrite process, starting with a revamped prologue. Once the updated draft is complete, it will get dissected by an editor again, but this time looking at a different layer of detail. The amount of work ahead is a little intimidating, but I'm excited to get started and looking forward to getting the finished product to you.

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