Navigating the skies of Steam Punk

Last November I announced my NaNoWriMo novel. I may have mentioned that it was a steampunk story world. Some of you are probably wondering what that means. (Apparently there are many ways to define steampunk.)

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I used to think you can just type Airship and instantly turn any story into a steampunk one. No each steampunk story is unique. Some even have intricate magic systems.

Though it isn’t really steam punk without at least one airship, and Goggles. Goggles are a must. My personal philosophy is the three Gs of steampunk: Gears, Goggles and Grit. Yes Grit, because burning coal tends to make everything dirty.

As a fiction genre steampunk comes across as the mutant offspring of: Historical fiction, Science fiction and Fantasy.

Some advocate for the strict adherence to historical technology. (Do not have your Victorian dandy fire a ray gun.) One author said that steampunk must be an alternate version of our history. ( That means no made up worlds.) Another camp seems to see steampunk as only dealing with Steam power. (Makes sense, but very limiting.) The last camp is an anything goes super-genre mash-up that only requires a pair of goggles and a jolly good time to tell a story. That’s my camp.

 

This visual aesthetic, made up of vintage Victorian designs with industrial embellishments. (Keys, coins, gears, and gauges, to name a few.) Is what I love about steampunk.

This aesthetic is part of what I want to capture in my world building.

As soon as I realized that the rules didn’t matter a new world of ideas opened up to me. I saw a world with gears sown on in place of buttons and where teenagers wore goggles on their heads. I knew that airships were the only way to travel and that keys could be used to accent a hat. The entire story world formed in my head because I figured out the only way this aesthetic could evolve naturally from a culture starting from a Victorian baseline.

See it had to feel authentic to the world otherwise I was just riffing off the current trend.

How would you incorporate such a design choice?

I’m a NaNo loser

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Yes NaNoWriMo is over. That grand challenge that drives writers to double their work load during the busiest time of year. Amidst the hustle and bustle of black Friday frenzies, three thanksgiving meals over the course of four day weekend, and 48 hour work weeks, we are expected to churn out an entire novel of 50,000 words.

So how did I do you ask. I got down on paper, 35,124 words. I averaged 1,170 words per day. I never had a day where I broke 3,000 words though I often wrote less. And even though MS word counts ### as a word. Nano word counter does not.

So yes I am a loser. But a NaNo loser is a nano loser which is only a little bit of a loser.

Am I done? Does losing the challenge mean my novel is abandoned?

No but I am taking a break to regain some sanity, pay some sleep debt and work on some short stories that need polishing. I also have to work on finishing my Goodreads reading challenge for the year. 7 books to read before new years still.

The good news: I will pick it up again for JaNoWriMo. You may guess that means: January novel writing month. You are right. The Realm Makers Consortium group on facebook is hosting this more convenient challenge. The challenge is even more manageable because the goal is only to write 40,000 words instead of 50,000. My personal goal is to add to my current novel and hopefully to finish. I am aiming for a 90,000 word novel. There is the ending to write and a subplot that still want to go back and add. Hopefully the more convenient timing will allow me to finish it up.

So yes I lost NaNoWriMo, but as the Beatles sang, “I’m a loser, but I’m not what I appear to be.”

I appear to be some one with less than half a full length novel, but I’m 35,000 words into a novel. That’s only 45,000 words away from being a Paperback Writer.

NaNo Anouncment

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It is official. This year I am writing a novel for the month of November. I even registered, and have a Nano profile. If you Nano too, you can follow my progress at Nanowrimo.org.

I am writing under the user name dolphin18cb, naturally.

I have had this story brewing in my head for a few months now and I told my self I wouldn’t commit to it unless I have a solid ending, a decent villain, and a hero with realistic flaws. I think I have all of those so I took the leap and the rest is with God.

Right now it is untitled, but it will be a steampunk story.

The Hero: Jay Becket isn’t concerned with the underground resistance movement. He just wants to keep his younger brother Myles safe. He has absolutely no interest in claiming the throne that could have been his.

The Villain: His great uncle, Robert Nuklare is not so sure. Ever since he led the coup that deposed his niece, Robert Nuklare has not stopped looking for the missing boy that could bring it all crashing down around him.

I won’t tell you how it will end, because honestly it could change while I write the rest of it.

But here’s some back cover copy to get you interested.

The blurb:

Jay Becket longs to be an airship pilot. He would love nothing more than to soar above the mountain ranges that surround the kingdom of Victorica and leave it all behind. The only problem is, a royal can not leave the kingdom.
As the illegitimate son of the deposed Queen, Jay certainly doesn’t qualify as a prince. With his adopted brother, Myles, to watch out for Jay also has little interest in the resistance movement trying to reinstate the queen to her throne.

Rumors start circulating that the queen is close to winning and that she is looking for her lost son. Followed closely by rumors that his Great Uncle Robert Nuklare is close to wiping out the royal line for good. But the rumor that Jay is most interested in is the one about a cure for the genetic curse that keeps him trapped within the kingdom’s boarders.

Secrets have become the glue that hold the fragile government of Victorica together. When the truth gets out, it all starts unraveling.

So would you read it? Let me know in the comments and send some encouragement my way.

NaNoWriMo

For the uninitiated, the really confusing title you just read stands for National Novel Writing Month. I have been contemplating whether I wanted to try this challenge to write a fifty thousand word novel in one month. I have never tried it before. But this might be the year.

Fifty thousand is a lot of words. I would need to write at least 1667 words a day. Almost a thousand words more than my current goal of whatever will fit on two double spaced pages a day. And with the holiday season officially started I will have to do it with forty hour work weeks on top of that. But I think I found a way to do it.

I am going to cheat.

You see I already think of myself as having written a novel. But in retrospect it might just be 300 pages of character development. The truth is I love reading, probably more than I love writing, and even I think my book is boring. So I want to use this challenge to rewrite my book. I want to tighten it up, add more action and define the plot better. And I want to do it in less than the year and a half it took me the first time around. The hardest part is behind me right?

Isn’t that why we have this huge fanfiction market? Because it’s easier to write with an established character than to make up your own. It is, it really is. I confess to being tempted by the siren call of Fan fiction. But I resisted because I realized that even if I had the best plot line ever I could never really know a character I didn’t create. As much as they tell you not to write yourself I think every author puts a piece of themselves into their characters.

So now I have all these characters that have a piece of me. I can write my own fan fiction with my characters and it should be awesome. That wasn’t the most narcissistic sentence ever right?

The best part is that if I get behind on the word count I can just cut and past from what I already have written. 300 pages it can’t all be bad writing, can it?

Anyway that’s the plan. Maybe I can count this post towards my first word count goal. If I can’t today’s word count is zero. Oh well I guess I have to decide what to keep from my current manuscript be cause at this rate I have a lot of cheating to do.

Feel free to leave a comment. Do you think this is a good strategy or is it as bad as cheating on a mid term?

Two Years In

It’s that time of year again. It’s my Blogaversary. Well it was anyway. The actual anniversary was on the twelfth but I missed it. Oh well Happy belated Blogaversary to me.

Two years ago I started typing out my random musings and giving them a home here on the web.

I may not have always been consistent with my posts but I do hope that they were all interesting.

The highlight of the year was probably serializing my story “The Feud Worth Forgetting.” Which can be found under the Short Stories category, subcategory “The feud worth forgetting.”   Don’t forget to scroll all the way down to get to part one.

The past year also featured two of my stories being published in the Cross and Cosmos: Year One anthology. Last year was also my first entry into a writing contest. The Family Fiction Create Romance short short story contest in which I became one of the top 200 entries.

Thank you to everyone who visited my blog. I got 8 followers this year, you know who you are. I hope you liked what you found, obviously you did or you wouldn’t have followed my blog. I am going to try to post more often this year.

Who am I kidding? I will post when I feel like it. These are random musings after all.

 

On the conservation of perpetual creative energy

Every fifth grader has heard of the conservation of energy, the principle that says energy can not be created or destroyed but only transformed. This is also partly true of creativity.

Creativity is the ability to store emotions, to capture feelings, to create things that inspire and perpetuate creativity in others.

Any artist can tell you how emotionally draining the act of creating can be. Whether it’s writing, painting, sculpting, acting or composing music.

But the beauty of the creative arts is that once you channel your energy into the task of creating the energy stays where it is no matter how many people draw inspiration from it.

Imagine how sad the world would be if creativity followed the same laws as physical energy. A world where after you finished a book the words were gone from the page until you used the stored energy to create a painting; which in turn vanished after someone became inspired from looking at it.

An actors craft carries the same amount of creativity whether his audience is a thousand or just one. A musician can inspire millions with one song out of just one night of furious composition, a few months with paper and pen can become a hundred years of literary enjoyment.

And these artists drained of emotion and low on energy can pick up someone else’s creative work and become inspired all over again.

“Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens.” — Carlos Ruiz Zafón – The Shadow of the Wind

Go now. I send you out into the world to create, inspire and dream.

Now, if only we could power our vehicles with creative energy. Ah . . . the power of imagination.

Family Fiction Create Romance Contest

Attention loyal readers (yes I mean both of you). I have submitted a short-short story (less than 1000 words) to FamilyFiction.com’s Create Romance contest.

What this means to me: I chance to be included in a Short fiction anthology of the top 200, or if I make the top 20 a $50 gift card to Christian books.com.

What this means to you: The opportunity to go to Familyfiction.com and vote for my story. you can find it here: http://www.familyfiction.com/short-stories/create-romance-2012/a-meeting-beneath-the-black-light/

Before you can vote you must first register your email address. The directions are at the top of the page.

My Story, “A Meeting Beneath the Black Light,” is very obvious from the title. Girl meets boy at a Halloween event where black lighting is being utilized. For those who require deeper themes in their fiction consider it the story of a lonely college student, who learns that being yourself is a little overrated and that maybe becoming something else is the easiest way to truly be yourself.

If you like it come back and leave a comment.

Cathrine


	

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