Full Disclosure

Yeah, I have a degree in journalism. In getting that degree I was taught that if there is any possible conflict of interest the writer must make a full disclosure statement. But now for the part that might seem weird to most, but maybe not my writer friends.

Full disclosure: I’m scared. And to be honest, as a writer, I’m not even sure of what. Rejection? Success?

I think it’s something unrelated, or maybe in between. All I know is this: For the last several months I’ve read through portions of my manuscript for Requiem for a Laborer. I’ve been able to make a few basic edits, correcting horrible sentenses, improper word choice, that sort of thing. But when it comes to making “flesh and bone” changes, I’ve been paralyzed.

Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way at all thinking that my work is beyond reproach. In fact, I think that like many writers (and musicians- I fancy myself a vocalist too. Blues, if you must know.) our own worst critics.

Every time I sit down to edit, I find myself thinking: Who would want to read this? Who would want to read a novel about a group of wannabe freedom fighters on a steam powered airship? Sure the aerial battle plays out super cool in my head but…      and the thoughts trail off…

At this point, I find myself thinking what right do I have to write a steampunk novel? Cheri Preist has it down with her Clockwork Century series but is there anything of real value that I can add to the genre? I feel like I have a different approach but  maybe it isn’t different enough?

And it is at this point that things get even more sticky for me. In college, (I graduated four years ago as a non-traditional student)  I was given very positive feedback from my professors, English professor Alayne Peterson,  about my writing. My thought? Oh, they’re just being kind. I’m really not that good.

Then again, maybe this is self-destructive thought. If I produce a story that a few people find entertaining I think that I have done my job. Maybe I could it evolve it into a series. Time and ability will tell.

So what brought me out of my writing funk? Well…

I was watching a #Joe_ Bonamassa Mountain Time video, awesome guitar work awesome musician. Beyond that, I don’t think I could really tell you.

I can tell you this, however, I am trying my damnedest to start moving forward with my writing.

Peace.

 

 

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So I Was Asking Myself “What If?”…

A funny thing happens when you ask “What if,,,?” And just let your mind wonder.

I was sitting at my computer thinking about my NaNoWriMo project. I am going to be writing a steampunk story about a laborer that rises up against the system. So I was researching steam power generation and what happened next was interesting to say the least.

steampunkpublicdomain2

What if I were to write a technologically heavy steampunk novel, sort of a Jules Verne meets Tom Clancy. Would this even be possible?

So I spent the next two hours looking up and downloading/ printing steam age technology articles and the more I read and found, the more I was interested in the possibility of this flight of fancy taking off!

Anyway, I know that a novel like this is going to get very complicated very quickly. And I am welcoming it.

I am beginning to see the possibilities of this and its many branches. Best of all none of them are any more or less correct than any others.

I know that I need to develop plot and story arcs, but I am thinking that the steam technology might be an interesting backdrop, if I can write it out well. It could also have the added bonus of a sort of credibility.

steampunkpublicdomain1

Bestest of best luck to my fellow NaNo writers!

T-minus 3 days and counting.

 

 

Tonight, I’m Setting Aside Writing For Reading.

That’s right, tonight I am taking a break from doing background work for my NaNoWriMo project to allow time for some reading. I’m at a point where I feel that I really should take a break so that I don’t start to force idea. After all, who wants to read a novel that reads like it’s been forced with story points and characters start to come across as contrived at best,

I think we’ve all read enough of those.

So the choice is between the next Cherie Priest novel in the Clockwork Century series of A Clockwork Orange. And if you are wondering, no, there is no intentional fixation on the word “clockwork”. They just happen to both be on my TBR shelf.

Those two and numerous others like, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, reread Dubliners (I even have a cat named James Joyce), Cherie Priest’s Maplecroft, Sirens of Titan, Breakfast of Champions (I’ve always loved Kurt Vonnegut‘s work), Warlord of the Air, The Alchemy of the Stone… OK, I think you’re probably getting the picture. My tastes range all over the map.

I guess I can thank, or blame, my dad for always encouraging me to read almost anything and everything.

What does anyone else have on their To Be Read list?

Meta-Writing

I’ve been asking myself, “Why do I write?” It’s not an easy exercise. It can take a lot of effort and time. Most people that see it will say, “So what?”

So I have been thinking about why I write, both here and the early stages of a novel that’s been knocking around my noggin.

And the simple answer is, ” I do it for me.” Yeah, that may seem like a cop-out but it really is a lot more complicated than that simple answer. I write as an outlet from my overly simplistic factory job. It’s mental exercise where I get none; a creative outlet when I have no chance to be creative.

Ok, before this starts to sound like self indulgent drivel, I love to write. Sometime I look back— What the hell was I thinking but for the most part I see my writing improving the more I do it.

Another thing that I find inspirational are the blogs of other writers, both accomplished and just starting. Blogs like, Cherie Priest (www.cheriepriest.com/), Adventures in Writing ( emilyramos.wordpress.com/) and Jodie Llewellyn (jodiellewellyn.wordpress.com/). These people are a great help to me and huge “Thank you” to them all.

Wishing everyone pleasant reading.

 

Cherie Priest’s “Clementine”

Just a quick post here: Cherie Priest didn’t disappoint with the second novel in the Clockwork Century series, Clementine. Not only is the book a great adventure story but I really enjoyed how Priest subtly handles the race relations. The gist is that an African-American airship captain is tracking down his stolen craft while at the same time being pursued by the former Confederate spy now Pinkerton detective, Maria “Belle” Boyd.  So Just as with  Boneshaker,  I completely enjoyed it.

Clementine jpeg

Now I’m moving on to the third installment, Dreadnaught, and completely looking forward to it.

 

Thank you, Cherie, for another great, fun read.

Going Steampunk

I was visiting my former English professor, Alayne Peterson, earlier this summer and we were talking about what we had been reading and it suddenly struck me that for months I had been reading mostly heavy Victorian lit. I asked her for some suggestions of something lighter and well… Fun!

Her idea was that I pick up Cherie Priest’s Clockwork Century series.

Brilliant suggestion, Alayne, Brilliant.

Cherie Priest

Cheri Priest

Priest’s steampunk series is set in America in the 1800’s where the Civil War is grinding on into its second decade. airships are a more common form of transport than trains, and zombies have taken over areas of some cities. Now to be honest, I wasn’t too big on the idea of zombies. I feel that the whole zombie thing is a meme that has been so overdone that in most cases it’s worthy of ridicule. Most but not all, and Boneshaker, the first of the series, is one of those “not all’s”.

Set in Seattle, the novel spins the story of a mother, Briar Wilkes, determined to shield her son, Zeke, from the family history and Zeke just as determined to uncover it and set the story straight if necessary. The zombies in this book are used extremely well as a plot device and not as the central theme. Well done, Cherie! A fantastic read and I am looking forward to reading Clementine,  the second book in the series.

As a Side Note…

Bookshelf

Why has much of society given up on reading? Is it because most people have become intellectually lazy? Is video on demand that much easier than lifting up a book or e-reader? I, myself love starting and finishing my day by enjoying at least for a few minutes… at very least. Don’t get me wrong, I am not anti-TV, but personally I feel like I have missed something when I haven’t read for the pleasure of reading.