Update 11.11.2022

I have reached another milestone in writing Robot Dawn. This morning I rolled over to 1,500 pages (511,060 words). Quite an endeavor. I am gettin closer to the end of the second draft, which is a more complete rendering of all the chapters. After I complete this, I will get into the more intricate details of editing. Then will come the polishing of the text. Still a couple of years before completion. Then I’ll have to make a decision of whether to self-publish or turn it over to an agent. I am not very fond of agents having been lied to and screwed over multiple times in the past by several agents. Plus, I’m getting along in years and may not have enough time left to see where all this leads.

Midjourney Image Generated From Text

I have had an additional complication with the writing of Robot Dawn. It’s a good-news bad-news scenario. Through a bit of serendipity, I found an AI bot to assist me in visualizing some of the more difficult-to-imagine scenes and characters. This tool is called Midjourney. It isn’t free, and I have been reluctantly forking over $50/month for its assistance. But the results have been amazing. I have documented my initial struggles with this software on my Story Alchemy website here. That also demonstrates the quality and inventiveness of Midjourney.

But further difficulties have unfolded. At first I was overwhelmed by the gorgeous images and the assistance in imagining the settings for my story as well as it triggering a slew of connections that tightened the plotline and produce a fuller, more intricately woven novel. But it also became a distraction. I had difficulty staying away from generating spectacular images and getting on with the business of putting words on the page.

Within the last couple of days I have come to a realization. Working with Midjourney is now a part of my writing process. And I will use the images generated by it as illustrations for my story. Not only am I writing my novel, I am also illustrating it as I go. I will also work with a professional illustrator to ensure the best results. Never did I think that I would become the illustrator of my own novel. But here I am. I also believe that this may be the beginning of a revolution in novelwriting. The author can now include his/her own Midjourney generated images that assisted in writing the novel. In digital format, this won’t be a problem, but in either hardback or paperback, it would cost a ton of money, particularly if the images appeared in color. Plus, they would need to be placed within the text to allow the reader to visualize the story much as did the author. It could build a tighter bond between reader and author.

My next draft will include embedded Midjourney images within the text. The struggle will be to limit the number to only those that augment the story and provide an improved reader experience. I believe a watershed moment is upon us. This could be a twofold approach that will take storytelling to another level. Time will tell.

Now back to getting it done.

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Update — 05.12.2022

Writing Robot Dawn seems to go on forever. I now have 1,352 pages (465,118 words). As of now, it appears to be a 5-book series concerning an odyssey about the Solar System. I completed the first rough draft last year and launched immediately into the second draft. Although much longer than I initially intended, it is now bounded, and all I have to do is work out the details of how things happen. Should take another two years. More updates to come if and when warranted. 

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It’s been a little over three years since my first post on this website, and I thought it was long past time for an update. So here’s where this project stands as of October 2019.

I am well over 700 pages into Robot Dawn with the end nowhere in sight. Authorship can be an iterative process, and in the case of this novel, the story continues to build laterally as well as longitudinally. As you know if you have read my Novelsmithing and/or Story Alchemy, I always work from a basic plot outline that defines, if vaguely, all plot points up to and including the end of the story. The novel balloon may swell, but the basic shape remains the same.

Novels are in many ways a discovery for the author as well as the reader, and that has been particularly true with Robot Dawn. These authorial discoveries frequently necessitate returning to the beginning to update the narrative and the waterfall effect of the change as it propagates downstream. The discovery of the Argus at the Shackleton colony on the Moon is an example. The Argus was simply the result of another discovery, that of an astrology-like nature of the Helionet. I realize that this is ambiguous but necessarily so, and it has been an exciting revelation for me. Rarely does a discovery of this magnitude present itself this late in the writing of a novel. I’m still uncovering ramifications.

So there you have it. An ambiguous update for sure but a long overdue one. Hopefully the next will be not so long in coming and will have more to say about light at the end of the tunnel.

Hang loose. Be assured I’m making good progress.

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Welcome to Robot Dawn

Robot Dawn is the title of a new novel by me, David Sheppard. I’m not that sure of the full plot as of yet, but I hope to pin that down in the coming days, weeks and months. However, I’ll not be giving away  plot details here. I’ll keep them secret until Robot Dawn is published. If you are interested in my methods of plotting and world building, checkout two of my non-fiction books on craft: Novelsmithing and Story Alchemy.

On this blog, I do expect to get into some of the more interesting philosophical issues concerning robot intelligence and consciousness as I encounter them in my research.

Who is Mazzy Nova? You’ll have to read the novel to get the full picture, but you can also drop by her website (http://MazzyNova.com) although she doesn’t have much there yet.

When I post here, I’ll announce it on twitter. Follow me there if you wish to keep up to date: @SheppardDavid

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