Questions for Mr. Bennett and Mr.Mack

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Dsven43, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. Dimesdan

    Dimesdan "Down with this sort of thing!" Premium Member

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    huh hum!

    This be the link that Chris posted second time around, it really isn't IMDB.
     
  2. Annorax

    Annorax Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    If you came up with something suitable, would you consider pitching a standalone DTI novel or ebook novella? DTI seems like the sort of thing that could easily fill the void left by the end of the monthly Corps of Engineer ebook releases.
     
  3. trampledamage

    trampledamage Clone Moderator

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    That one isn't, no - that's why it works. The first one was. IMDb do not allow direct linking to their images, I've come across this problem before.
     
  4. Reanok

    Reanok Commodore Commodore

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    I want to ask Mr. Mack How long did it take for you to come up with the story ideas for the Cold Equations book trilogy and the return of a favorite TNG character?I really enjoyed reading this miniseries .I recently listened to Trek.fm's podcast interview with you about these books and wondered how long did it take you to write these novels.
     
  5. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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    I started brainstorming story ideas for the trilogy with the editor in December of 2010, even before we had a contract. For a variety of reasons, I ended up using none of the ideas from that first round of pitches.

    I started work on the trilogy in March of 2011. I had first drafts of story outlines by May of 2011. In its original incarnation, the working title of the trilogy was Star Trek Kindred. The theme for the trilogy was "family." Book one was an early version of The Persistence of Memory, but without the Soong story, and the resurrected character was revealed near the start of the story. Book Two was about the death of Picard, and Book Three was about the ascendance of Worf to control of the Klingon Empire.

    As one might imagine, there were a lot of plot and continuity problems with the first-pass outlines.

    My second proposal for the trilogy (still under the banner title of Kindred) was submitted on August 15, 2011.

    I'd added the Soong story arc to the middle of The Peristence of Memory, which was very close to its eventual final version. (One big difference: this intermediate version involved the return of Rhea McAdams; in retrospect, maybe I should have kept that, to set her up better before book three. Oh, well.)

    Book Two was changed to a story about Worf and his adult son, Alexander. It was plotted as a sequel to Keith R.A. DeCandido's novel Diplomatic Implausibility.

    Book Three was the tale of elderly Jean-Luc Picard battling his own deteriorating mind and the cruel schemes of the time-and-space-hopping Devidians (TNG: "Time's Arrow," Pts. 1 & 2). It would have ended with the death of Picard, and served as a swansong for Pocket's line of Star Trek books. (At that time, S&S was considering letting go of the Trek license.) It would have been a bittersweet and deeply personal novel, and it's the only one of the scrapped ideas that I'm sad I won't get to write.

    The next curve ball in the process was the decision by S&S to renew its Star Trek license. By late August, my mandate to "turn off the universe on my way out" was changed to "deliver a trilogy that keeps the story going and sets up a new status quo." So, in fall of 2011, I had to go back to the drawing board.

    My next round of proposals, which were pretty much near-final versions of all three stories, was submitted on October 28, 2011. After parsing the notes from the editor and fellow authors, I revised the outlines for books one and two and resubmitted them on November 11, 2011. The final version of book three's story outline was turned in on November 29, 2011.

    I got the green light to proceed with book one on December 13, 2011. The stories for books two and three were approved on January 18, 2012.

    I started writing book one, The Persistence of Memory, in December 2011. I delivered the manuscript on February 1, 2012.

    Started writing Silent Weapons on February 3, 2012. Turned in the manuscript on April 14, 2012.

    Started writing The Body Electric on April 17, 2012. Turned in the manuscript on June 30, 2012.

    So, from first brainstorm to final manuscripts: approximately 18 months.
     
  6. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    S&S was seriously considering letting go of its Trek license? Wow. This is a huge piece of news -- I don't think I'd ever heard that before. Do you have any more information on this that you can share?

    ETA: Hopefully the fact that three Star Trek novels this year have made it to the New York Times Best Seller List has convinced S&S of the wisdom of its decision to keep the license....
     
  7. Paris

    Paris Commodore Commodore

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    WOW. Thanks for the indepth look into that whole process. The death of Picard would have definitely been bittersweet. S&S was thinking of not renewing the license? Wild. I wonder what changed their minds? I wonder if it was sales? You'd think that if the books were selling well, that they never would have considered dropping the license. curious...
     
  8. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Interesting to learn that those rumours about S&S perhaps losing their license were true. And it's both a shame that we'll never get that story about Picard's death and good to know that when S&S and Trek finally part ways, we might get something extra special as a last hurrah.
     
  9. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That is shocking indeed!

    Now that I've experienced the depth and arc-welding novelverse, the actual TV episodes seem shallow and raw. It would be a shame to see it gone, Imho. There's too much unfinished business yet and the remainder of the 24th century with stories to fill.
     
  10. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'd get a kick out of seeing a MU
    Department of Temporal Incursions
    story. :p
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The impression I had was that the license was up for renewal and they just weren't entirely certain it would be renewed, so they were hedging their bets. I hadn't heard before that they were actually thinking of dropping it.

    Anyway, a lot of the schedule for 2012 was affected by the possibility of the license ending. Vanguard came to an end, and both The Eternal Tide and Plagues of Night/Raise the Dawn told stories that wrapped up old threads while establishing a new status quo, so that they could serve as either finales or new beginnings, depending on what happened with the license.

    I thought it might also have been the reason The Romulan War was trimmed from a trilogy to a duology, but that actually wrapped up in late 2011, so I'm not sure.
     
  12. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Off-topic: At least in the German release The Romulan War receives an expansion to its justly deserved trilogy status. ;)
     
  13. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I've been around long enough that I should probably understand this, but I don't. I thought S&S was owned by the company that owned Trek in general, so this was in-house and there wasn't a specific licensing period like Star Wars. I seem to be way off base on that.

    Does this work like Star Wars, where S&S is contracted for x number of books over y number of years, or is it more general than that?

    It seems weird to me that the whole TrekLit line that I love so much would've maybe ended without any indication that was happening, since Star Wars is so transparent about the process. But I'm probably overthinking it.
     
  14. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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    S&S is required to bid upon and negotiate the Star Trek books license with the copyright holder, regardless of their mutual connection to a corporate parent. If they didn't, the copyright holder would be subject to lawsuits for failing to maximize the profit of the Star Trek license. (This was the basis of Chris Carter's lawsuit regarding the sweetheart licensing deal the corporate owner of The X-Files granted to one of its corporate affiliate networks, thereby undercutting his share of the show's syndication profits.) The contracts specify a duration, the number of titles, and which incarnations of the property they can base works upon.
     
  15. ryan123450

    ryan123450 Commodore Commodore

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    Wow this is all very interesting David. Thanks for all the behind the scenes info!

    I would have been ok if the licence had ended and we had gottten alot of the Trek Universe storylines wrapped up. It would have been a great jumping off point, because as it is as long as good Trek books keep coming out, I'm gonna have to keep reading them.
     
  16. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Wow, I can't believe Pocket almost didn't renew the license. It would have been interesting to see exactly how the last book would have ended.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    If Pocket had let the license lapse, it's likely some other publisher would've picked it up, although in that case they might've started a new continuity, as each of the comics publishers has done when they've obtained the license.
     
  18. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, personally I rather like how the novelverse has progressed and would have been rather upset if someone had pushed the Reset Button.
     
  19. Paris

    Paris Commodore Commodore

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    I feel the same way. Good thing they renewed it :)
     
  20. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Thanks for explaining, I appreciate it. That's really interesting and I didn't know that at all. I can certainly see Carter's perspective.

    I'm probably pushing it at this point, but do you know the duration or number of titles of the current contract, slash can you share it?