News Elite Dangerous Writing Contest - November 2017

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One day i was playing elite and i was doing a mission, i jumped to the other system and delivered the stuff from the mission.
After this mission i was doing nothing and fly infront of the station.

Is this story good enough?
 
I've dropped a quick reply/confirmation to those that came in before today (there were quiiiiiite a few) so you should have a little confirmation with a totally-not-copy-pasted-response in it. :)

So, if you submitted your entry before today (Monday 20) then you should have an email from me. If not, poke me in PMs and drop me your email address you sent it from and I'll do another search. :)

Received :D Thanks man!
 
One day i was playing elite and i was doing a mission, i jumped to the other system and delivered the stuff from the mission.
After this mission i was doing nothing and fly infront of the station.

Is this story good enough?
It's a fine story, but below the 1000-word minimum. You'll need to pad it out a bit with a few adjectives and adverbs
 
Dale, do you plan to also send out confirmation notices to those of us who submit our entries in the coming week(s)?

I'm almost done with my entry, but I always like to let the things I write rest a while, so I can re-read them with fresh eyes and catch mistakes that were overlooked earlier. Especially now, since English is not my native language.

A confirmation that the entry has been received is always reassuring :)
 
Dale, do you plan to also send out confirmation notices to those of us who submit our entries in the coming week(s)?

I'm almost done with my entry, but I always like to let the things I write rest a while, so I can re-read them with fresh eyes and catch mistakes that were overlooked earlier. Especially now, since English is not my native language.

A confirmation that the entry has been received is always reassuring :)
Yes, but due to time and having other tasks to take care of this happens in waves. It won't be instant/auto, but I will be doing that at some point around the end of the week.
 
The beginning of my novel is below (already sent by e-mail). 1995 words, according to OpenOffice, was doing the best to avoid mistakes. English is not my native language indeed... And spoiler was joining words, due to this the end was cut.



The way to Colonia

Spaceship Anaconda is one of the hugest. But the enormous hull was quickly and nervously changing course with loud creaking - as a tiny sloop,caught by hurricane on the ancient Earth. Al was tightly gripping the spaceship controls, trying to move his ship away from blue whirlwind,rotating in front of him behind cabin glass. The jet from this neutron star was really large and very dangerous, however, busy Al managed to catch on an ironic thought between cautious, but quick and exactly measured movements. “Something like entering the hurricane by own free will to sail faster. Old skipper’s cry: “You,MADMAN!!!” is audible through centuries”... But the jump drive,overcharged by neutrons, may throw Al’s ship four times farther-128 light years fully loaded and nearly 200, when empty. “Now! -add more rotation and quick turn right!” Space, full of stars,appeared ahead. Al took a deep breath and exited hyperspace after minute of very quick flying away from the jet. “The ship needs repairing, and I should relax too…” Maintenance systems were launched and Al, as many times before in such situations, reminded the beginning of ancient Russian song. The song was nearly two millenniums old, slow and grim. Exact translating of poetry is nearly impossible, but Al thought, that his translation precisely describes not the original text, but the state of mind:


Black raven, your are flying
Over my….y head
Raver, raven, stop your waiting
Fly away, I’ll not be de...ead…


Al found himself singing aloud. Not loudly, of course – deep space is really silent. The situation is not so dark, as previously - in case of crash he will be alive in escape capsule. Insurance will nearly cover the ship cost. And he have enough money to purchase five new Anaconda ships without insurance. But loosing the cargo, unique cargo, collected by members of his faction… Al turned aside to maintenance monitor and thought about previous month, which really was the busiest in his life.

 
Last edited:
On the house

This story is based very closely on an expedition I made recently. I have wrapped it in a little fiction to aid the narrative - but the discovery I made, the events leading up to it, and how I eventually got there and back are all true.

---
On the house



“De Lacy Juliet Oscar November, welcome to Jaques Station. Submit a docking request if you wish to land.” I thought I would never hear that again. Touchdown. I triple check that the ship’s navigational logs have uploaded to Universal Cartographics and head for a well-earned drink.

“What’ll it be young man?” The grizzled barman’s voice cuts through the background noise.

“Lavian Brandy, 2991 special reserve.”

Every head in the room swivels to face me. You just didn't ask for that. The barman fixes me with a disapproving stare.

“Son.” His fingers brush the ancient bottle’s original seal, “You had better have a pretty good reason for me to open this.” He plants his hands on the bar; my triple Elite insignia have no impact on eyes that have seen millions of light years. His silence speaks volumes. You have no business making that request, boy.

“When I left Shinrarta-”

“Big shot here gets to park at Founders’ World, everyone!” He leans in. “You and every other pilot here. Try again, kid.”

I lean in too. “Pull up a chair. When I left Shinrarta…”

…the marshal signals me clear to depart, the last person I’ll see for a long time. Sunlight catches the newly-painted Combat Elite emblem on the deck of Endurance as she eases out of Jameson Memorial. Finally the trio is complete - I can stop chasing ranks and start to create my own adventures. I steer the Anaconda’s bow toward the centre of the galaxy and jump away into the black.

Far below the galactic plane, I pass between binary stars so close it seems the whole sky is on fire. I fly around golden rings, shimmering in sunlight. Beautiful Earth-like worlds - marbles of emerald and azure - remind me of home. I near the depths and the view changes - a golden disc spreads out above me, whilst below only a smattering of stars punctuate the inky blackness. I push the ship to its limit, far beyond its normal jump range. I know I have the jumponium to get back, but this doesn't detract from the thrill. This is far more than scan-jumping to make a bit of money, or to curry favour with an Engineer. This is real exploration.


<tbody>
</tbody>

Three weeks into my expedition I pass over a lonely bookmark on the map - Kyli Flyuae AA-A h4. At 3381LY below the galactic plane, it's more than 80LY further down than the lowest system ever reached. I have a few isolated systems plotted - but no real hope of getting to any of them. I pause to give the map a quick scan anyway.

The Kyli Flyuae sector gets my undivided attention. YJ-Z e9 and ZE-A g15, two neutron star systems in a vertical line, lead straight to AA-A h4.

The distances between them look vast, but maybe just within my reach. I hurry down through the rapidly thinning stars to YJ-Z e9. It’s 245LY to ZE-A g15 - well within my maximum supercharged range of 265LY. I navigate the neutron jet, jump down, then select AA-A h4 - it is 274LY away.

Damn.

After flying halfway across the galaxy I'm a paltry 9LY short of a new record. But I know that a handful of ships with that jump range exist. I prepare to head all the way back to the bubble for further engineering. But maybe there is another way…I'll need a starport. The nearest is in Colonia, some 9000LY away. I set course immediately.

The bright, dense stars of the core make for a dramatic change after being out on the edge of the galaxy - I am so used to darkness filling half the sky. I dock at Jaques and offload my SRVs and shields, and replace my engineered distributor and surface scanner with lightweight stock items. My maximum supercharged jump range is now just over 276LY. I can make it!

But can I make it back?

The distance is right on the limit of my jump range - I will have to be very light on fuel. But the AA-A h4 primary star is Wolf-Rayet O-class. There is a normal O-class star in the system - somewhere. Will I run the tank empty before I can reach it? This is no time for fuel light bingo. I work through the detailed hyperspace fuel calculations. Ha! With precision scooping at the start of the route I can get to AA-A h4 with 4.28T in the tank. I could fly to Hutton Orbital and back with that much. I will have more than enough.



My smug grin vanishes as the real problem hits me. I won't have nearly enough.

If 4.28T is all I will have on arrival at AA-A h4, then 4.28T is all I will have once I jump back to ZE-A g15 - and that system has no scoopable stars. How far can that last 4.28T get me with a supercharge? 219LY - not enough to get back to YJ-Z e9. I will end up stranded in the depths of the galaxy, the record-breaking data in my computer and no way to get home and claim it. Not exactly The Right Stuff.

I could find a willing tanker. It would be a big ask to come all that way.

I could simply make the first jump and call the Fuel Rats, but intentional stranding is frowned upon. If I ask in advance maybe someone will come, but I am loath to reveal the location of my discovery.

I sleep on the problem, but I am restless.

Mild paranoia sets in. What if someone beats me to it? The galaxy is a big place, but others could be looking too. There will be no plaudits for getting there second. I stare at the galaxy map.

The solution has been there all along.

ZE-A g0 - an O-class star placed so perfectly it is almost divine providence. 185LY from ZE-A g15 - within the range of the last of my fuel - and close enough to other stars that I can use a synthesis boost to get back. I calculate the fuel remaining on arrival at only 1.5T - a tiny margin of error. But I'm pretty good with numbers. Fuel light bingo it is…

So I have the ship, and the route. They say it's better to be lucky than good; I'll need to be both.

The elephant in the room is that AA-A h4 has no neutron star to send me home.

The only way this doesn't become a one-way trip is for me to pull off the risky double neutron supercharge technique - engage hyperdrive within the neutron jet and hope that another boost is acquired in the 4 second countdown. I make for a nearby neutron star to practice. Sometimes I make a complete hash of the approach, but get lucky; other times, I execute the manoeuvre perfectly and nothing. I estimate my chance of success at less than half.

But I already know I’m going.

If I don't, someone else will claim the record for themselves. I couldn't live with the shame, knowing it could have been me except I wasn't brave enough to try.

I don't bother to scan anything on my way back down. I'm pretty sure I'm not coming back. At ZE-A g15 my jump range is exactly as predicted, so at least my fuel calculations look right. Maybe I’ll even get far enough for that to matter. The 20,000LS cruise to the neutron star gives me more contemplation time than I really want. On arrival I supercharge before coming around for the jump to AA-A h4, tucking in as close as I dare to the star’s exclusion zone right next to the root of the jet. I need to be inside it for the entire countdown to maximise my chance of getting that vital second supercharge.

Days of preparation, and an 18,000LY round trip have brought me to this moment. Now I have one chance. Everything will come down to those 4 seconds.

<Frame shift drive charging>

I crack the throttle open slightly - I have to enter the jet slowly or I will cross it too fast. The hum of the engines rises to a peak.

<Ready to engage>
<ready to="" engage="">
The HUD prompts me to throttle up. Not yet.

The steady drone of the engines and the whirling of the jet are almost hypnotic. My hand rests on the throttle - one twitch will send me hurtling into the abyss. Not yet.

The jet looms ever closer before me, sweeping a huge blue arc across the canopy and filling my view.

Not yet.

The suspense is shattered by the FSD safety alarm. I enter the jet cone and slam the throttle to the stops.<four>

<Four>

I am committed - there is no backing out. My eyes fix on the notifications panel, looking for acquisition of the second supercharge.
<three>
<Three>

Shards of light streak past as the hyperspace conduit forms in front of the ship. I ignore the safety warning glaring at me from the centre of the HUD. One way or another, it doesn't matter.
<two>
<Two>

Endurance accelerates across the jet cone and to starboard I see the haunting dark hollow at its centre. The notifications panel remains resolutely blank.
<one>
<One>

Still nothing. The countdown reaches zero; game over, I've had it. I see the conduit clearly against the blackness of the intergalactic void. Witchspace beckons to me.
<engage>
<Engage>

[video=youtube;gmBqCkxQW6o]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmBqCkxQW6o[/video]

I guess I won't be-

<Frame shift drive supercharged>

I punch the air in exaltation. Endurance launches herself across the vast interstellar distance, carrying the second boost needed for the homeward journey.

And then I am there.




The swirling lights of witchspace are replaced by the blue-purple hue of a Wolf-Rayet O-class star, and…nothing. Beyond here lies only emptiness. Manoeuvring clear, I scan the system and stare into the endless expanse, at once both serene and terrifying. Really the view is not so different from ZE-A g15, but my sense of solitude is so much greater. Here I am on the edge of infinity - the furthest from the galactic plane in either direction that anyone has ever been. Probably the most remote place visited as well at 274LY from anywhere. I drop from supercruise and gaze back at the Milky Way, relaxing for the first time since charting the system several days ago.



But the job is only half done. I visit both stars and the single planetary body, then leave with just as much fuel as I can carry. The binary stars vanish astern as I once more traverse the huge 274LY jump. I clear the black hole and hurry to the nearer of its two neutron stars. The trip is only 600LS, but still I’m watching my fuel gauge with trepidation. I supercharge and set course for ZE-A g0; I'm sure I don't have enough. Expecting nothing but an error message, I hit the hyperspace button one last time.

<Frame shift drive charging>



Turns out there is a tiny sliver of fuel remaining. Yeah, about 1.5T I reckon.




I skip the usual post-jump turn and plunge straight toward the fiery blue corona. I have never flown an Anaconda with as little fuel onboard as I have now.

Finally I hear the fuel scoop starting up.

Never any doubt…

The barkeep leans back to reach his terminal. I place my wallet on the counter. He pulls up Universal Cartographics, still regarding me suspiciously. Slowly he turns to look at me for a few seconds, before his gaze moves on to the dusty old bottle. He places it on the bar and breaks open the seal. “On the house, Commander.”



---

Further references:

EDSM entry: https://www.edsm.net/en/system/id/15852997/name/Kyli+Flyuae+AA-A+h4

Forum discussion: https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php/375930-New-record-lowest-system-visited?highlight=record+lowest+system

</engage></one></two></three></four></ready>
 
This story is based very closely on an expedition I made recently. I have wrapped it in a little fiction to aid the narrative - but the discovery I made, the events leading up to it, and how I eventually got there and back are all true.<ready to="" engage=""><four><three><two><one><engage>
</engage></one></two></three></four></ready>
Superb! You may or may not win the storywriting contest but you've earned a place in the "Epic tales of derring-do" section of my sticky "Best of forum" thread!

Alec-s-best-of-the-forum-(and-elsewhere)-thread
 
This story is based very closely on an expedition I made recently. I have wrapped it in a little fiction to aid the narrative - but the discovery I made, the events leading up to it, and how I eventually got there and back are all true.

---
On the house

https://i.imgur.com/gb2ABMU.png

“De Lacy Juliet Oscar November, welcome to Jaques Station. Submit a docking request if you wish to land.” I thought I would never hear that again. Touchdown. I triple check that the ship’s navigational logs have uploaded to Universal Cartographics and head for a well-earned drink.

“What’ll it be young man?” The grizzled barman’s voice cuts through the background noise.

“Lavian Brandy, 2991 special reserve.”

Every head in the room swivels to face me. You just didn't ask for that. The barman fixes me with a disapproving stare.

“Son.” His fingers brush the ancient bottle’s original seal, “You had better have a pretty good reason for me to open this.” He plants his hands on the bar; my triple Elite insignia have no impact on eyes that have seen millions of light years. His silence speaks volumes. You have no business making that request, boy.

“When I left Shinrarta-”

“Big shot here gets to park at Founders’ World, everyone!” He leans in. “You and every other pilot here. Try again, kid.”

I lean in too. “Pull up a chair. When I left Shinrarta…”

…the marshal signals me clear to depart, the last person I’ll see for a long time. Sunlight catches the newly-painted Combat Elite emblem on the deck of Endurance as she eases out of Jameson Memorial. Finally the trio is complete - I can stop chasing ranks and start to create my own adventures. I steer the Anaconda’s bow toward the centre of the galaxy and jump away into the black.

Far below the galactic plane, I pass between binary stars so close it seems the whole sky is on fire. I fly around golden rings, shimmering in sunlight. Beautiful Earth-like worlds - marbles of emerald and azure - remind me of home. I near the depths and the view changes - a golden disc spreads out above me, whilst below only a smattering of stars punctuate the inky blackness. I push the ship to its limit, far beyond its normal jump range. I know I have the jumponium to get back, but this doesn't detract from the thrill. This is far more than scan-jumping to make a bit of money, or to curry favour with an Engineer. This is real exploration.


Three weeks into my expedition I pass over a lonely bookmark on the map - Kyli Flyuae AA-A h4. At 3381LY below the galactic plane, it's more than 80LY further down than the lowest system ever reached. I have a few isolated systems plotted - but no real hope of getting to any of them. I pause to give the map a quick scan anyway.

The Kyli Flyuae sector gets my undivided attention. YJ-Z e9 and ZE-A g15, two neutron star systems in a vertical line, lead straight to AA-A h4.

The distances between them look vast, but maybe just within my reach. I hurry down through the rapidly thinning stars to YJ-Z e9. It’s 245LY to ZE-A g15 - well within my maximum supercharged range of 265LY. I navigate the neutron jet, jump down, then select AA-A h4 - it is 274LY away.

Damn.

After flying halfway across the galaxy I'm a paltry 9LY short of a new record. But I know that a handful of ships with that jump range exist. I prepare to head all the way back to the bubble for further engineering. But maybe there is another way…I'll need a starport. The nearest is in Colonia, some 9000LY away. I set course immediately.

The bright, dense stars of the core make for a dramatic change after being out on the edge of the galaxy - I am so used to darkness filling half the sky. I dock at Jaques and offload my SRVs and shields, and replace my engineered distributor and surface scanner with lightweight stock items. My maximum supercharged jump range is now just over 276LY. I can make it!

But can I make it back?

The distance is right on the limit of my jump range - I will have to be very light on fuel. But the AA-A h4 primary star is Wolf-Rayet O-class. There is a normal O-class star in the system - somewhere. Will I run the tank empty before I can reach it? This is no time for fuel light bingo. I work through the detailed hyperspace fuel calculations. Ha! With precision scooping at the start of the route I can get to AA-A h4 with 4.28T in the tank. I could fly to Hutton Orbital and back with that much. I will have more than enough.

https://i.imgur.com/eZYrpFSh.jpg

My smug grin vanishes as the real problem hits me. I won't have nearly enough.

If 4.28T is all I will have on arrival at AA-A h4, then 4.28T is all I will have once I jump back to ZE-A g15 - and that system has no scoopable stars. How far can that last 4.28T get me with a supercharge? 219LY - not enough to get back to YJ-Z e9. I will end up stranded in the depths of the galaxy, the record-breaking data in my computer and no way to get home and claim it. Not exactly The Right Stuff.

I could find a willing tanker. It would be a big ask to come all that way.

I could simply make the first jump and call the Fuel Rats, but intentional stranding is frowned upon. If I ask in advance maybe someone will come, but I am loath to reveal the location of my discovery.

I sleep on the problem, but I am restless.

Mild paranoia sets in. What if someone beats me to it? The galaxy is a big place, but others could be looking too. There will be no plaudits for getting there second. I stare at the galaxy map.

The solution has been there all along.

ZE-A g0 - an O-class star placed so perfectly it is almost divine providence. 185LY from ZE-A g15 - within the range of the last of my fuel - and close enough to other stars that I can use a synthesis boost to get back. I calculate the fuel remaining on arrival at only 1.5T - a tiny margin of error. But I'm pretty good with numbers. Fuel light bingo it is…

So I have the ship, and the route. They say it's better to be lucky than good; I'll need to be both.

The elephant in the room is that AA-A h4 has no neutron star to send me home.

The only way this doesn't become a one-way trip is for me to pull off the risky double neutron supercharge technique - engage hyperdrive within the neutron jet and hope that another boost is acquired in the 4 second countdown. I make for a nearby neutron star to practice. Sometimes I make a complete hash of the approach, but get lucky; other times, I execute the manoeuvre perfectly and nothing. I estimate my chance of success at less than half.

But I already know I’m going.

If I don't, someone else will claim the record for themselves. I couldn't live with the shame, knowing it could have been me except I wasn't brave enough to try.

I don't bother to scan anything on my way back down. I'm pretty sure I'm not coming back. At ZE-A g15 my jump range is exactly as predicted, so at least my fuel calculations look right. Maybe I’ll even get far enough for that to matter. The 20,000LS cruise to the neutron star gives me more contemplation time than I really want. On arrival I supercharge before coming around for the jump to AA-A h4, tucking in as close as I dare to the star’s exclusion zone right next to the root of the jet. I need to be inside it for the entire countdown to maximise my chance of getting that vital second supercharge.

Days of preparation, and an 18,000LY round trip have brought me to this moment. Now I have one chance. Everything will come down to those 4 seconds.

<Frame shift drive charging>

I crack the throttle open slightly - I have to enter the jet slowly or I will cross it too fast. The hum of the engines rises to a peak.

<Ready to engage>
<ready engage="" to="">
The HUD prompts me to throttle up. Not yet.

The steady drone of the engines and the whirling of the jet are almost hypnotic. My hand rests on the throttle - one twitch will send me hurtling into the abyss. Not yet.

The jet looms ever closer before me, sweeping a huge blue arc across the canopy and filling my view.

Not yet.

The suspense is shattered by the FSD safety alarm. I enter the jet cone and slam the throttle to the stops.<four>

<Four>

I am committed - there is no backing out. My eyes fix on the notifications panel, looking for acquisition of the second supercharge.
<three>
<Three>

Shards of light streak past as the hyperspace conduit forms in front of the ship. I ignore the safety warning glaring at me from the centre of the HUD. One way or another, it doesn't matter.
<two>
<Two>

Endurance accelerates across the jet cone and to starboard I see the haunting dark hollow at its centre. The notifications panel remains resolutely blank.
<one>
<One>

Still nothing. The countdown reaches zero; game over, I've had it. I see the conduit clearly against the blackness of the intergalactic void. Witchspace beckons to me.
<engage>
<Engage>

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmBqCkxQW6o

I guess I won't be-

<Frame shift drive supercharged>

I punch the air in exaltation. Endurance launches herself across the vast interstellar distance, carrying the second boost needed for the homeward journey.

And then I am there.

https://i.imgur.com/dx1Dzflh.png


The swirling lights of witchspace are replaced by the blue-purple hue of a Wolf-Rayet O-class star, and…nothing. Beyond here lies only emptiness. Manoeuvring clear, I scan the system and stare into the endless expanse, at once both serene and terrifying. Really the view is not so different from ZE-A g15, but my sense of solitude is so much greater. Here I am on the edge of infinity - the furthest from the galactic plane in either direction that anyone has ever been. Probably the most remote place visited as well at 274LY from anywhere. I drop from supercruise and gaze back at the Milky Way, relaxing for the first time since charting the system several days ago.

https://i.imgur.com/LQjh7Yuh.png

But the job is only half done. I visit both stars and the single planetary body, then leave with just as much fuel as I can carry. The binary stars vanish astern as I once more traverse the huge 274LY jump. I clear the black hole and hurry to the nearer of its two neutron stars. The trip is only 600LS, but still I’m watching my fuel gauge with trepidation. I supercharge and set course for ZE-A g0; I'm sure I don't have enough. Expecting nothing but an error message, I hit the hyperspace button one last time.

<Frame shift drive charging>

https://i.imgur.com/8MctNrUh.png

Turns out there is a tiny sliver of fuel remaining. Yeah, about 1.5T I reckon.

https://i.imgur.com/A3pJTP6h.png


I skip the usual post-jump turn and plunge straight toward the fiery blue corona. I have never flown an Anaconda with as little fuel onboard as I have now.

Finally I hear the fuel scoop starting up.

Never any doubt…

The barkeep leans back to reach his terminal. I place my wallet on the counter. He pulls up Universal Cartographics, still regarding me suspiciously. Slowly he turns to look at me for a few seconds, before his gaze moves on to the dusty old bottle. He places it on the bar and breaks open the seal. “On the house, Commander.”

https://i.imgur.com/SNszWtdh.png

---

Further references:

EDSM entry: https://www.edsm.net/en/system/id/15852997/name/Kyli+Flyuae+AA-A+h4

Forum discussion: https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php/375930-New-record-lowest-system-visited?highlight=record+lowest+system

</engage></one></two></three></four></ready>
That is certainly some fine flying and even finer story telling. +1
 
Many thanks for the feedback, it's much appreciated!

I didn't have time to finish the map yesterday so here it is. Distances look a little distorted as it was the only way I could get all the stars in the shot.

The voyage of the Endurance, 9 September 3303


I would say that you could try and repeat the journey, except that post-2.4 it seems that double neutron boosting has been nerfed. So I'd like to implore Frontier to restore it to the game somehow! Perhaps there could be a new module that enables it, or an engineering experimental effect for FSD upgrades. I know it wasn't 'working as intended', but it was hardly a terrible exploit - it didn't give an unfair advantage in combat, or yield a ridiculous sum of credits in a very short space of time. What it did do was allow for some epic adventures - I know many other Commanders used it to reach some special places from which there would otherwise have been no return.

Clearly I am biased here as without it my voyage would have been impossible. But I feel it is a shame that future explorers can't experience the thrill of pushing the boundaries in that way - being able to risk everything for the chance to get to somewhere amazing, tag it and come back with their own great story to tell.
 
Thanks!

Folks,

Not wanting to teach anyone to suck eggs, but a few tips to make sure you have the best chance with your stories. :) No hard and fast rules, so choose to use or not, but might be helpful for those who don't have too much experience writing a story.

The basics, get these right:

  • Spell Check.
  • Grammar Check.
  • Look for repetitions of words across consecutive sentences.
  • Remove adverbs (mostly words ending in ly) you almost certainly don't need any of them.
  • Use punctuation properly. Don't use more than one ! per 1000 words. Use commas and fullstops.
  • Dialogue needs a new line whenever someone speaks. Don't leave it inside the rest of the text.
  • Break paragraphs up. Avoid "Wall of text". If your story looks hard to read you've already lowered your chances.
  • When you have finished your first draft you are almost precisely 50% of the way through the task. Now go back and edit. Every. Word.
Things to watch for:

  • Said is fine in dialogue. Don't whisper, expectorate, opin, remark, comment, yell, shout etc. unless you really need to. Make the dialogue the focus. If there are only two people you can get away without 'said' at all as long as you're clear who started talking first.
  • Choose a tense and stick to it. I advise the past tense unless you know what you're doing.
  • Viewpoint. Decide who is telling your story - Omniscient narrator? Character? First Person? If it's a character/first person make sure you don't describe something they can't see/feel/hear. Don't swap viewpoints without a good reason.
  • "Show don't Tell" - An old chestnut, but a good one. There's a massive difference between telling the reader somebody is scared and describing their physiological reaction to fear. Let the reader decide what the character is experiencing - don't tell them.
  • Don't explain the tech. Whatever cool stuff they have in 3304, it's just the tools of the day. Characters will just use it without thinking about it.
  • Don't over do the description. You haven't got the word count anyway, and we all know what Elite Dangerous is like. Set the scene and move on to the action.
Things to do:

  • Story telling is all about catching attention, maybe putting in a twist, having interesting characters and situations. Whatever you're planning... cut to the chase.
  • If you write dialogue, read it out loud. If it sounds crass, it is.
  • Read your work out loud in total. If you run out of breath, you don't have enough punctuation.
  • Get someone else who isn't related to you to give it a read. Listen to what they say about it.
  • Write it, edit it, leave it alone for a bit and then re-read it and edit it again. Keep tweaking it. When you're utterly fed up with the thing, you're done.
Examples:

Good - "Raise the damn shields!"
Bad - "Raise the shields!" he yelled, loudly.

Good - Larry felt his stomach clench as the magnitude of what he'd done became clear.
Bad - Larry was feeling quite upset about what he'd just done.

Good - Laser fire struck the beleaguered vessel, shattering its hull.
Bad - The pulsed field emitter charged and emitted a stream of coherent radiation that spread through the void of space before irradiating the ship's hull and exceeded its thermal dissipation capability.

Good luck! :)

Cheers,

Drew.
Excellent advice. I'm saving this for general writing use as I'm not sure I'm going to make the deadline. Real world shizzle sucks!
 
Excuse the off-topic nature of this but ...

Many thanks for the feedback, it's much appreciated!

I didn't have time to finish the map yesterday so here it is. Distances look a little distorted as it was the only way I could get all the stars in the shot.

The voyage of the Endurance, 9 September 3303
https://i.imgur.com/0MqJB9x.png

I would say that you could try and repeat the journey, except that post-2.4 it seems that double neutron boosting has been nerfed. So I'd like to implore Frontier to restore it to the game somehow! Perhaps there could be a new module that enables it, or an engineering experimental effect for FSD upgrades. I know it wasn't 'working as intended', but it was hardly a terrible exploit - it didn't give an unfair advantage in combat, or yield a ridiculous sum of credits in a very short space of time. What it did do was allow for some epic adventures - I know many other Commanders used it to reach some special places from which there would otherwise have been no return.

Clearly I am biased here as without it my voyage would have been impossible. But I feel it is a shame that future explorers can't experience the thrill of pushing the boundaries in that way - being able to risk everything for the chance to get to somewhere amazing, tag it and come back with their own great story to tell.
When did 2.4 drop?

The reason I ask is that we did a Buckyball Race in July called "Double Action Jackson" which made heavy use of Neutron jumps and several of the competitors succesfully used double boosting during the race to improve their times.

https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php/359595-Buckyball-Racing-Club-presents-Double-Action-Jackson-(01-07-3303-09-07-3303)
 
I feel it is a shame that future explorers can't experience the thrill of pushing the boundaries in that way - being able to risk everything for the chance to get to somewhere amazing, tag it and come back with their own great story to tell.
Not to mention that all-or-nothing, do-or-die feeling. It was the ultimate risk an explorer can face.

Great story. Even though I knew you made it (or there'd be no story) my heart was in my mouth, both reading it, and again watching the video.
 
Just submitted mine, just a shade under 2k words if you exclude the chorus of "Donald where's your Remlock" which was tacked on beneath the story and forgot the delete before I posted it.
 
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