Home > My Fiction, Star Trek > A bit more time for DTI

A bit more time for DTI

To my relief, I’ve been granted an extra week to finish the manuscript for DTI: Watching the Clock.  I think I could’ve managed to meet the original deadline if I’d really pushed it, but this gives me some breathing room to get it right and give the whole thing a polish.  It’s still going along well; yesterday was my single most productive day yet in terms of word count, and I crossed the 90,000-word mark.  But I’m not sure how long it’s going to turn out to be.  Certainly over the 100,000-word target by a fair margin.  Hopefully not as long as The Buried Age, which was 132,000 words.  But probably over 110K, which should be sufficient to put me over a million words of published fiction!

What comes next?  Well, it’s time to ramp the major plots up toward their respective climaxes.  Things are about to start coming to a head.  Judging by past experience, the writing should go pretty quickly at this point as the momentum of the story pulls me forward.  On the other hand, one of the plots gets pretty complicated in its climax, so I still have a lot of details to figure out and that could slow me down.  Good thing I have more time now, so I don’t have to rush things.

A preliminary cover for the novel has been posted online:

This is probably just a placeholder until the actual artwork is done.  It’s a lot more generic than what my editor and I discussed a while back.  Pretty, though.

I’d been wondering how they’d handle the DTI subtitle.   Apparently it’s being referred to in the catalog as Star Trek: DTI: Watching the Clock, with two colons rather than the one I’ve been using (Star Trek DTI: Watching the Clock).  However, the (tentative?) cover logo spells out “Department of Temporal Investigations” and doesn’t use the acronym at all.  (Well, strictly speaking, the initialism; an acronym is an initialism that spells a pronounceable word.)  That could be confusing.

The publisher’s solicitation text has also been posted, and it’s edited down somewhat from the version I submitted, but here’s the bulk of it:

In a universe where history could be wiped out at any moment by time warriors from the future, misused relics of ancient races, or accident-prone starships, unflappable Agents Lucsly and Dulmur are the Federation’s unsung anchors in a chaotic universe. But when a series of escalating temporal incursions threatens to open a new front of the history-spanning Temporal Cold War in the twenty-fourth century – Lucsly and Dulmur will need all their investigative skill and unbending determination to keep the present and the future from falling into the kind of chaos they really, really hate.

What they cut out is the fact that the book isn’t just about Lucsly & Dulmur, but about their colleagues in the Department.  The focus of the book is more expansive than the blurb suggests.

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  1. Trey
    August 19, 2010 at 12:53 am

    Really looking forward to this being done! Best of luck!!!

  2. Sci
    August 19, 2010 at 3:01 am

    Honestly, I don’t understand why you don’t just simplify the issue by re-titling it Star Trek: Watching the Clock. It sounds a lot less awkward, it’s still thematically-relevant, and there’s really no need to give it a sort of “series title” unless it gets its own sequel. To make a comparison, I think that adding “Department of Temporal Investigations” or “DTI” into the title would be like KRAD calling it Star Trek: Palais: Articles of the Federation instead of just calling it Star Trek: Articles of the Federation.

    • August 19, 2010 at 8:03 am

      What I was aiming for with Star Trek DTI was something analogous to CSI or The FBI or a show like that. I want to convey the sense that this isn’t a standard Trek novel about time travel — it’s more like a law-enforcement procedural tale. Treating it as if it were its own series, even if it isn’t, helps to sell that.

      And my original working title, the title it was originally announced under, was just Star Trek DTI: Department of Temporal Investigations. Somewhere along the line I proposed the Watching the Clock subtitle, but wasn’t sure of the best way to integrate it with the rest of the title, so I left it to my editor to decide whether and how to do that.

      There is some precedent for titling a standalone book this way, namely Star Trek: Excelsior: Forged in Fire, which to date remains the only book with the Excelsior subtitle, though it was intended as a “pilot” for a possible series.

  3. Barrie Suddery
    August 19, 2010 at 3:41 am

    I think the concept of a Department of Temporal Investigations is one of the most interesting in the Star Trek universe, especially since time travel itself is frowned upon by the Federation.

    Looking forward to seeing how the DTI manages to keep things on the straight and narrow when confronted by beings who have no qualms anbout altering events to suit their needs and especially when it’s someone who’s trying to undo a disaster or prevent one through altering the time line.

    How they manage to deal with causality issues is another thing that I’m looking forward to reading about.

  4. August 19, 2010 at 8:09 am

    As for the back-cover blurb, there’s a simple fix that I suspect has already occurred to you:

    “Lucsly and Dulmur are among the Federation’s many unsung anchors in a chaotic universe.”

    I suspect that I understand why they went with what they did: character recognition value more than anything else.

    • August 19, 2010 at 8:19 am

      Well, that’s not the back-cover blurb, just the preliminary promotional copy. And if they do use a version of that for the cover blurb, it would probably be a less-edited form of the original text I wrote, and would thus be more accurate.

  5. August 19, 2010 at 8:13 am

    And as for pilot novels that went nowhere but shouldn’t have? To this day, affection continues for Articles of the Federation and Case of the Colonist’s Corpse, in different ways that have already been discussed at considerable length.

  6. August 20, 2010 at 11:32 am

    Even if not a big fan of time travel in Star Trek i can’t wait to see what you’ll do with it !
    The cover (even if not final) is really nice and it’s a plus !
    I agree with Dwight on this one : “Lucsly and Dulmur are among the Federation’s many unsung anchors in a chaotic universe.” is, i believe, better for the reasons mentionned by both of you…
    DTI is a stand alone, i get it, but if it’s working do you believe they will ask for a continuation ?

    • August 20, 2010 at 11:59 am

      I’d be very surprised if it sold well enough to spawn a sequel. If they asked for one, it’d be a challenge to come up with something pertaining to Trek time travel that I haven’t already covered in this one. But it would be interesting to try. And I wouldn’t mind revisiting these characters.

  7. Charlie
    August 21, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    I cant wait to read this book! it sound pretty exciting and has lots of possibilities!

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