New Theme! New Banner! New Draft!

*beams*  A short post this week, but a sweet one!

Firstly, at 54,445 words, I finally finished the first draft of the first installment of my Steampanku Trilogy, Guardian.  I look forward to editing it and rewriting in January.  I’ve gotten a lot of people interested in what I have to show, so I will try my best to get it out there as soon as possible.

Secondly, I created a new banner for the site, since I have yet to make one up until now.  This was a bit of an oversight on my part, since I was quite busy with getting everything else on the blog organized.  Regarding the Banner itself, I created it in MS Paint, and it took me relatively little time to make.  Essentially, I took the Rising Sun flag, and drew a solid white line cutting off parts of the rays from the sun.  Next, I whited out part of the middle, so that the sun would look like a cog.  Finally, I put the title of the blog in the middle, using a font called Shogun’s Clan, designed by Chris Hansen.  The result?  Steampanku, at it’s finest.

Thirdly, due to the colour scheme of the banner, I have changed the wordpress theme to Neo-Sapien, which I feel compliments the banner amazingly well.  I hope you enjoy your stay in the newly upgraded Steampanku!

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NaNoWriMo – Week 2

I won. I hit 50,011 on Friday evening, and up until now, I’m yet to add any words to that total. The story is still wrapping up, and will take a few more chapters to resolve the plot arc. Overall, I certainly enjoyed the experience; the best part of it all is that I have a workable project to edit and rewrite come December. And even though NaNoEdMo (National Novel Editing Month) doesn’t come until March, I will try to take it upon myself to personally put in those 50 hours of editing, minimum. Besides, having written a novel in only 2 weeks, there are sure to be some aspects of the novel that will require rewriting or complete exclusion from the Novel.

On top of crossing the finish line, I have settled on a title for my novel.  The way the plot wraps up, it can certainly stand alone as its own novel, but it leaves the ending somewhat open, allowing for serialization via a trilogy or something else.  Considering the focus of the novel primarily on the three characters, I feel that having a novel’s title focus on each of the main characters is a good way to thematically tie them together through the trilogy.

Plans For The Future

I want to take it a bit easier this week, since I have to worry about JET applications.  Having finished this project well ahead of the due date, I certainly have the time available to finely tune this application so that I can maximize my chances of acceptance.  As for the novel itself, I will finish the rest of the book by the end of the week, and begin preparations for editing and second drafts.

The nice guy that I am, I will probably post the raw draft online on this blog.  There are a number of sections in it, so I’m not sure how I will split up the posts without spamming the entire blog with nothing but the novel.  I really want to talk about other things pertaining to Japanese Steampunk, and I don’t want those posts to get lost in a sea of nothing but Steampanku novel posts.  Perhaps I will put it up on fictionpress or something.  Not sure.

As for the editing process itself, I have downloaded ywriter and plan to use it for the editing process.  This software will allow me to flesh out all the details of the novel in an organizable format, and will allow me to make my content-based decisions from there.  For sure, there are continuity errors that I will remove, and entire chapters will be deleted.  It will be my first go at editing a novel, and it will be something I look forward to doing.

As I’ve said before, I don’t want to spoil the plot for everyone, but it would appear that while all the characters are involved in their own storylines, I would like to think that Hanako has been given the spotlight in terms of action and screen time.  In fact, she is the common thread between the other two characters, even though they themselves have interactions with each other that lead to important plot points.  This is the reason why I settled on naming the title based on Hanako’s specialty with guardians.

Closing Thoughts for Week 2

Considering that I’ve already won, I am quite convinced that this is the last time I will refer to NaNoWriMo.  From this point on, I will let the novel exist in its own right as an individual work in progress.  Either way, I’m glad to have experienced the rigors of novel writing.  I have an appreciation for the novel-writing profession and all the rewards and pitfalls that come with the lifestyle.

As an unemployed science graduate, I can see myself doing pursuing this profession in the meantime until the job market opens up for work opportunities.  Or at least until after I find out my fate regarding the JET programme.  Until next time, see you later!

Steampanku, Wordled!

As you can see from the widget that I put on the side, I’m already at 44k words for NaNoWriMo.  I’m on the home stretch of my novel, and it’s shaping up really nicely, for a first draft at least.  Amidst the continuity problems from the first few chapters of the story, as well as certain names that I’m considering changing, I was intrigued by the prospect of wordle-ing my novel.  Here’s what we have so far.

Wordle: Steampanku

Pretty cool! I’ll see you on Monday! Hopefully, the novel will be done by then, and I can discuss where I can go from there, whether it be editing/rewriting and sending it out to an editor/agent/publisher/etc. There’s also the possibility of sharing draft with you guys to see what the general shape of the story is about!

NaNoWriMo – Week 1

I’m already at 30,000 words.  See the graph for yourself.  Even I’m amazed at the progress.  Check out the graph below:

dailycount

Today’s the 9th, so the orange bar on the far right will be higher at the end of the day, but check it out!  I started off quite modestly, getting ahead of the daily word goal of 1,667.  However, with the story world and characters so vivid in my head, the plot just seemed to write itself for a good amount of the time.

In this time, I also had the wonderful benefit of being linked by Seventh Sanctum and Brass Goggles, just a handful of my favourite sites.  I send them both my deepest thanks, for they have encouraged me to really stick with a genre that just seems so interesting.

What I Have So Far

Plotwise, I really don’t want to spoil anything, since I anticipate that either I will put the raw draft version out on the blog, or edit it later and try to get it published.  Seriously, I absolutely love my characters and the world that they live in, even though it’s stock full of corruption!

What I will give you though, is a taste of the characters themselves, and the setting too!

Nagasaki – Instead of basing the story in the heart of Japan in the ‘new’ capital city of Edo, I decided to centralize the action in Nagasaki in Kyushu island, far isolated from the main world.  This gave me freedom to really make Nagasaki its own city, unique from whatever I may have in mind for Edo, which will be absolutely ridiculous when it gets introduced later in the series.

Yes, I said series, meaning that I have novel ideas for this universe beyond the novel that I’m currently writing about.  In the absolute BEST case scenario, that this book gets published with a multi-part deal, I have freedom to create a far-out Edo that will blow expectations out of the water after being exposed to Nagasaki.  In the worst-case scenario, I will turn this universe into a serial fiction on this blog, and I have an awesome Edo idea if and when the main characters travel there, for whatever plot reasons.  In either case, the readers win!  *does a little jig*

Here are a few maps of Nagasaki from the Edo period that I’ve been using for reference and inspiration:

nagasaki1

nagasaki2

Shown above are two maps that were created in the late 19th century using woodblock printing, the first maps of its kind in Japan, done in a European style.  Circled in red is Dejima, the center of the Rangaku movement.  It is major location of importance, since one of the main characters, Hanako, lives there!

Hanako is the character in my main cast that embodies the essence of what I loved about anime and manga: fighting spirit, limitless energy, naivety, hope, idealism, and the hot-blooded temperament that seems to get her into all sorts of trouble.  She’s the Japanese interpretation of Genius Girl, but instead is given the moniker of Tensai-Onna, which is my best literal translation of the term.

The best part about her?  She pilots a steampunked version of a gundam called a guardian.  Guardians in the Steampanku universe are mechanical constructs that are powered by steam, and are capable of surreal hand-to-hand combat.  In a world without space travel and infinite ammo (and automatic machine guns for that matter!), guardians are the prototypical version of Japanese Mecha, and Hanako is a master of building and piloting them.

She is hoping that her guardian, Sakura-2, will win the guardian games, an annual competition that pits the best minds and hands against each other, in a guardian-versus-guardian battle that has now replaced sumo as the national spectator sport!

Closing Thoughts For Week 1

At 30k, I’m quite confident that I will be able to finish this novel long before the due date, but I will be slowing down this week, due to my priorities set on finishing my application to the JET programme, a teaching exchange program that may potentially net me a gig working as an assistant language teacher at a high school or elementary school in Japan.  I really hope I get accepted, and I hope the experience will give me a more profound appreciation for the culture and its ins and outs.

See you in week 2!

Steampanku! The NaNoWriMo Project

For those who are unfamiliar with the term, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month.  It takes place during the month of November, and during this period, participants aim to write a (minimum) 50,000 novel from scratch.  The challenge is very much a literary marathon of sorts, and the community is constantly getting larger every year.

This year, I am participating in NaNoWriMo, and will be making a Steampanku story.  For the month of November, I will be discussing on this blog several things about my characters, settings, and plot devices.  As of this post, I already have 2,761 words, and look to go all the way.  I have a general synopsis planned out, and the world building and character development will be discussed through this blog.

Synopsis

Quoted from my NaNoWriMo novel profile:

“In Edo, there are two rulers of the land: the Shogunate, who watches over the country with a literal iron fist, and the Yakuza gangs who vie for control of the individual territories. But a rapid ‘ Industrial Revolution in Japan makes it the forefront of power in the Eastern World, but its way of life is threatened from within and without. The seedy underbelly of the cities take advantage of this boom for their own personal gain. Steam-powered mechsuits replace traditional sumo; difference engines are used as gambling machines; even prostitutes in brothels are threatened to be replaced by lifelike automata.

Follow the lives of Takeshi, a ronin who works as a hired thug for the mob: Yuki, a geisha, struggling to pay off her father’s debt: and Hanako, a young girl who expresses herself through her inventions. All stories are woven together by a single incident, and fate will bring them back together.

An exotic romance of 19th century Japan combined with the social idealism of steampunk, “Steampanku” is the author’s self-coined term for Japan’s counterpart to the hugely popular Victorian aesthetic: Far East style with the spirit of Wild West.”

For those who are participating in NaNoWriMo, I wish you the best of luck.  As for me, I look forward to sharing my progress (and potentially the lack thereof) with you all.