I took some pictures of a few opening notes I made while beginning to outline No Way to Start a War. If you look at the pictures, sorry about my handwriting; it’s awful. Also, these are preliminary notes, and some of the information/concepts weren’t used or were changed. Don’t let that confuse you where the details differ from the novel.
The first picture is the first page of my notes. It was actually written before the final editing of This Corner of the Universe (Book 1). You can see I am going through all the possible names for BRS Kite. I did a Google search for names of shields and looked for a name I liked. Originally, Heskan was going to captain Aspis; however, I figured Aspis was a little too close to Anelace and I ended up choosing Kite. I still liked Aspis though, and Lt. Gary got that one. By the way, Kelly Gary is a very respectful homage to author Jack Campbell’s The Lost Fleet series’ “Blackjack” Gary. I love that series. In the picture, you can also see my crude “To Do” list.
The second picture is the actual Task Group’s organization. I knew the story would focus on it and it was one of the first things I created. As you can see, originally I thought about having three carriers. However, in the end I realized that adding the additional crew and carrier could be confusing since there were already enough characters in the story. Plus, it contradicted the story that the Brevics were very short-handed during this book and playing “catch-up.” You can also see that I broke down the CortRon into divisions (which was written into the story but later taken out because it was only mentioned peripherally and again ended up possibly just being confusing).
The third picture is figuring out the weapons each ship in the TG would have as well as the fighter squadrons. I am an Air Force guy so I bastardized Avenger’s/Eagle’s fighter squadrons into a Navy/Air Force kind of organization. You can see each fighter originally could only carry two missiles but that wasn’t effective enough and I ended up I doubled it. You can also see that the CVA Avenger is a “Yorktown” class heavy carrier (that was later changed to Vindicator class) and Eagle was going to be a “Ranger” class (whereas it is Raptor class in the final book). Both Yorktown and Ranger were meant to be homages to WW II carriers, and the class names were changed to remain consistent with my convention that each ship of a class is named similarly to the lead ship in the class. Bulwark–> Bastion, Chariot/Coach –> Carriage, Curator/Sentinel –> Champion. Ship speeds were totally reworked.
Anyway, that’s some insight to the very beginning of the creation process for No Way to Start a War.