Weekend Steampanku – It Begins!

It all starts at page 1.  And it will end, hopefully at a page number larger than the 241 that I have now.  It’s bare-bones, it has a lot of detail that could be fleshed out, but most importantly, it’s a work-in-progress.

I started out with a NaNoWriMo project that miraculously shaped itself into a 54,445-word beast, and it’s up to me to shape it into a beauty.  With a little help from my writing books, I have a literary framework in mind to help me continue throughout the writing process.

Having read the first chapter alone in The Weekend Novelist, I’ve come to a realization that books that teach you how to edit are pretty much the same as books that teach you how to write.  If you’re already sold on a storytelling format or system that you’ve read about prior, there’s no helping you from trying to get advice from other sources without abandoning the original beliefs that you once had.

Thus, out with TWN, back in with Truby’s The Anatomy of Story.

And forget about weekend editing – I’m unemployed, I should be doing this sort of thing whenever I humanly can, if I want to become successful (productive, even) as a writer.  It’s not going to be fun, but it’s one of those things that you can’t really help.  You either have it, or you don’t.

I’ve gone so far now, there’s really no point in turning back.  Once again, wish me luck!


Weekend Steampanku: Introduction

Despite my aspiration to become a published novelist, I’ve come to admit publicly (i.e., through my blog) that I am absolutely terrified by the Editing and Revising process.  Completing a novel in a month, despite the praise it initally deserves for the feat itself, can and will be hindered further down the process by an intimidation of editing similar to that of “page fright,” where one simply does not know where to begin, and gives up finishing his or her project completely.

I have several blogger friends who are in the midst of revising their stories, with help from such programs as Holly Lisle’s How To Revise Your Novel.  Due to my lack of current funds, and a straight-up preference for an all-in-one package of the paperback format, I’ve selected Robert J. Ray’s Weekend Novelist Rewrites the Novel as the reference to help me tackle my manuscript in a sequential and logical order.

Ray’s Weekend Novelist is a popular series of how-to books for aspiring writers who operate on a limited timeframe due to commitments outside of their writing, which may include family, jobs, and in my case, looking for a job, gym excursions, as well as playing video games such as World of Warcraft and the Starcraft 2 Beta.  He incorporates techniques such as organizing info into grids, timed writing exercises, and charting plot features into diagrams and timelines.  All of these tools are used in the novel revision process within the span of a single, focused weekend.

As a means to hold myself accountable to revising my novel on the weekend, I hope to add Weekend Steampanku as an additional feature to this blog, as a reflection of my Novel’s progress.  Also, it makes for great post fodder to help me get back on track to providing more consistent content. In fact, The Weekend Novelist has a nice feature where a fictional character named X undergoes the process of editing and re-writing his own novel.  In this case, X will be me.

That being said, I do not plan on disclosing too much detail about my novel, other than general information such as character names, traits, settings.  I will try to keep my plot development general, as to not spoil the actual events of the story.  As such, I will most likely attribute archetypal elements to identify plot points.

Steampanku is still an up-and-coming blog of mine, and I want to give it the legs to develop into the backbone for my writing, as well as interactions with the writing community to which I belong.  I want Guardian to be a part of that blog, as it is my first true attempt at novel-writing, as well as getting a novel published at all.  Wish me luck on both the novel, and the blog!

Back in Business

When looking at this blog after several months of sheer inactivity, I’ve had several options come to mind.  The first was to stay inactive, wallowing in my improbable return due to a lack of content to write about.  I love talking about steampunk found in books, television, and movies, and I also love reading about historical Japan.

But combining the two together and use that marriage to provide enough content to maintain a seemingly regular post schedule has proven quite difficult.  By staying inactive and not being able to follow-up on my NaNo victory, I have squandered a very good start to what appears to be a very .  But I don’t plan on giving up.

The second option was to simply provide filler update posts, which to me seemed like a huge waste of time on my part as well as the readers.  Weekly installments of “Still not doing much.  Been playing too much warcraft. I promise to read/write more. Etc.” are no fun to write or read, so i didn’t even try to bother here.

At the root of it, I decided to take the time off to truly consider what I wanted to do with this blog.  I still want to do stuff with it, but I have found out that writing japanese steampunk just as fun as writing about it.  Hence, I would like to take on a new approach with this blog, as it reaches one of possibly many turning points in its lifespan, by building a web serial from scratch, and writing “behind the scenes” posts in between describing the steampunk and japanese elements behind them, and a little bit of literary speak to fill them out.

One of the fundamental rules in writing effective fiction is to find the balance between showing and telling.  With this blog, I intend to tell you guys my vision of what Japanese Steampunk can be through informative posts, but also show you guys what it ought to be about by incorporating my writing through a web serial.  I for one am quite excited, and I hope you can come along for the ride!

Learning From the Pros

With a month of nothing but writing under my belt, I feel now is the time for me to start reading once again.  In the few months it took me to get Steampanku on its feet, I’ve assembled myself a neat little library of books in the genre.  Here is a list of books that are on qeue to be read or critically re-read:

The Difference Engine, by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling
The Court of the Air, by Stephen Hunt
Mainspring, by Jay Lake
Iron Angel, by Alan Campbell
The Light Ages, by Ian R. Macleod
All the Windwracked Stars, by Elizabeth Baer
Havemercy, by Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett
Boneshaker, by Cherie Priest

I am quite certain that my library of steampunk will grow larger in time.  I fathom that I will read through my collection with an eye for prose, world-building, and character depth and development.  First on the docket is Boneshaker, by Cherie Priest, the author of the website Clockwork Century, featured on my blogroll.  I chose to read this one first, as the author seems to aim to create an alternate-history world set in a land far away from Victorian England.  While the aesthetic here is Pacific Northwest, the intentions behind the novel coincide with my own writing interests.  So let’s see how we’ll go from here.

Expect to see a monthly or bi-monthly feature posts reviewing the literature from the perspective of an aspiring steampunk writer, as well as a fan of the genre.  If you are familiar with the titles listed above, then you could see that stories set in the genre can span a wide variety of settings and subgeneres.  By reading and learning from those who have succeeded in publishing their steampunk novels, I can get an idea of what passes off as acceptable prose, characterization, and fanservice.

As for Guardian itself, I’m shelving it for the rest of the year, so I can edit it with fresher mind.  Under other circumstances, I would be more gung-ho about editing, and starting in December, but considering the nature by which the novel was written, it is understandable to give a bit more breathing room than usual.  Hopefully by then, I’d have read enough books to have a good idea of what to critically look for, outside of grammar and spelling.

A Flashy Finish

On top of the monthly book review, I wish to do a weekly feature on top of my regular posting schedule, one based on flash fiction.  Flash fiction is a category of short story that usually defined by around 300-1000 words.  While my writing projects remain somewhat hush-hush in hopes of publication, I still want a creative outlet where I can share the steampanku universe with the reader.  Serialized flash fiction would possibly be the best way to do that.

As it stands, I have lots of content planned for this blog, so that I won’t have to resort to posting snippets of my novel.  With NaNoWriMo behind me, I am looking forward to what the future holds for my reading and writing interests.