Jan 13 2013

Best Laid Plans

As with all things, sometimes when you make a plan, things don’t turn out that way you thought they would.  Full Speed Ahead is no different, and the big multi-season plan has changed pretty significantly as to warrant whole episodes being rewritten wholesale.  In this post, I’ll talk about what happened, and what happening now.

The original second eBook cover.

The original second eBook cover.

For those of you who already know, I had designed a seven-season plan for producing FSA.  There were a few rules involved in putting the story together: Each episode had to maintain a word count guideline (not limit) of ten thousand words, there would be thirteen episodes per season, and it would be put together in a fashion that anyone could pick up the story and run with it.  In my head, I had put together a dream that a fanfic series could be run much like a TV show would; you put together a show bible, and you solicit authors/writers to come in and take a story, or perhaps pitch one.

As time went on, I was pretty much shouldering the full burden of putting FSA stories together.  In 2012, I had written seven full episodes including a collaborative novel with Sam Redfeather.  After that, though, I hadn’t really considered that another author would even want to write this with me.  After A.J. worked with me on To Triumph and Not to Mourn, which was finished in two months, she offered to help me put together some stories for the main timeline, and this is where the change comes in.

I’ve worked with a number of authors, and there are some who feel that there needs to be utter and complete control over collaborative works.  I’ve heard some horror stories, too.  Some authors just don’t work well with others and that’s why writing can be a blissfully solitary effort.  I like to think of myself as a people person, meaning that I prefer the interaction and bouncing ideas off of people.  I like to explore the What-Ifs and listen to the pros and cons of execution or where it might lead to.  Some of those conversations have led to story ideas and some have led to dead ends, but they’re always fun to engage others with.

Let me move from the abstract to the actual, so I can illustrate some of the changes that have been executed since A.J. offered her assistance and time.  The original season one plan was as follows:

  1. Damn the Torpedoes!
  2. Damn the Torpedoes! Part II
  3. Damn the Torpedoes! Part III
  4. Milk Run
  5. Eternal Midnight
  6. The Better Part of Valor
  7. Eight the Hard Way
  8. Fever Five
  9. Ace Deuce
  10. Snake Eyes
  11. A Piece of Their Action
  12. A Piece of Our Action
  13. What Kind of Day Has it Been
The new cover, with the new third story, "A Great Perhaps."

The new cover, with the new third story, “A Great Perhaps.”

One of my sticking points was that I had written myself into a corner with Fever Five.  And on reading it through the eyes of another, it was clearly understood that the story was going nowhere.  Also, to further complicate matters, FSA had “signed” with TrekUnited to start publishing a formatted eBook for our readers and in doing so, had agreed to a particular publishing schedule.  I’m not complaining about this at all, if anything, it’s put a bit of professional pressure on an amateur venture.  I’ve been far more into writing now than I was before, so I look at this as a impetus for another awesome and highly productive run of writing.

The “Craps” titles were immediately thrown out, along with the story that went with it.  When I wrote Eight the Hard Way, I was very into a show called “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” and I thought it would be funny to place outsiders on a ship to cause some trouble.  The problem was that it was too early in the FSA timeline to be mucking around with characters that my audience may not know well enough to understand their actions.  A.J. and I decided to delete the stories wholesale and rewrite the content to fit the new ones.  So, here’s the new season episode schedule:

  1. Damn the Torpedoes!
  2. Damn the Torpedoes! Part II
  3. Damn the Torpedoes! Part III
  4. Milk Run
  5. Eternal Midnight
  6. A Great Perhaps
  7. The Unreturned Prodigal
  8. Timing, Degree, and Conviction
  9. Turbulence
  10. Bitter Pills
  11. A Piece of Their Action
  12. A Piece of Our Action
  13. Sacrifice Fly
  14. Make and Mend
  15. What Kind of Day Has it Been

You’ll noticed we’re going from thirteen episodes this season to fifteen.  The avid FSA reader will most likely rejoice (I hope).  You might also notice that “The Better Part of Valor” has been removed.  I realize that many people enjoyed this episode, but in that I ended the plot arc from “Milk Run” and “Eternal Midnight” too soon, we decided to add more of Greg’s emotional turmoil with Tommy’s fate and created a third episode to handle and deal with that, specifically.  Other episode summaries:

  • “The Unreturned Prodigal” deals with the news that Commander Kincaid might have a son that he didn’t know about before.  This also deals with the notion of carrying families aboard starships and why some ships do it and why others don’t.  LT Victoria Waltham from “Eight the Hard Way” is still introduced in this episode, but her position/role will change to suit the story.
  • “Timing, Degree, and Conviction” introduces the underbelly of Starfleet in the small/petty crimes that crewmembers commit while on duty and the consequences of a Captain’s Mast.  An Ariel/Wilson episode.
  • “Turbulence” takes us to Betazed, where Isiria’s brother is reported dead by her mother.  Obviously the focus will be on Isira and her family.
  • “Bitter Pills” has a classified plotline, one which will be revealed in time.  This is intended to close the Victoria Waltham arc with a bang and focuses on Greg and Abbie.
  • “Sacrifice Fly” will focus on the softball saga that we had intended to begin in the original “Fever Five,” and the softball league that will be a major part of the second season (planned).
  • “Make and Mend” is also classified for now, but rest assured we have something awesome planned for our characters.

Within the ebooks, the plan is to separate the stories into books of three episodes:

  • Damn the Torpedoes! (ebook anthology #1), which has already been published by TrekUnited Publishing, contains “Damn the Torpedoes!,” “Damn the Torpedoes! Part II,” “Damn the Torpedoes! Part Three.”
  • Eternal Midnight (ebook anthology #2) will contain “Milk Run,” “Eternal Midnight,” and “A Great Perhaps.”
  • Turbulence (ebook anthology #3) will contain “The Unreturned Prodigal,” “Timing, Degree, and Conviction,” and “Turbulence.”
  • Bitter Pills (ebook anthology #4) will contain “Bitter Pills,” “A Piece of Their Action,” and “A Piece of Our Action.”
  • What Kind of Day Has it Been (ebook anthology #5) will contain “Sacrifice Fly,” “Make and Mend,” and “What Kind of Day Has it Been.”

I would also like to do a Season One collection for those who’re using the Issuu.com print service or perhaps would rather have them in a collection format for their favorite eReader.

Though the plan has been changed dramatically, we’re very happy with the result and we’re also looking forward to writing these stories.