Roland Pritchard has a POV and he isn’t afraid to use it…

Roland Pritchard is one of my POV characters in The West Wind.

I had some basic ideas of who I wanted him to be when I set out to work on this project.  As I wrote, I found Roland helping me discover him.

Roland worked his way up from the bottom, a true success story of Her Majesty’s American colonies having built an extensive railroad empire that is the backbone of industrial development in the western frontier.

Despite Roland’s success, the misfortune of being born a “grounder” prevents him from being accepted by the powerful industrial elite that exploit the land’s natural resources to increase their personal wealth and power.

The West Wind follows Roland as he launches a conspiracy of fraud, manipulation and collusion to finally prove his superiority over the greedy tycoons and gain their respect.

Roland Pritchard is aided by his daughter Margaret Pritchard and his brother-in-law Nathan Webber the alleged, though vigorously denied, former outlaw.

Maker Faire Detroit & Steampunk Hatter

Sore feet, a bit of dehydration and, I am afraid, a bit more sunburn than I would have preferred.  Despite that, Maker Faire was a hit for me this year.  I was a bit concerned at first because the show looked smaller than it did last year.  Surprise, the added space in The Henry Ford (Museum) was a perfect touch.  What a better place than a museum dedicated to the greatest makers of the past.

I think the highlight of the show for me was meeting the nice folks from Steampunk Hatter.  They had a decent sized tent and the most extraordinary hats that I have ever seen.  All leather with varying amounts of steampunk decoration to your taste.  Of course, I couldn’t pass up getting a hat.  Call it a celebratory gift for finishing the first draft (ok, still a bit pre-mature, but it is going to be done this before I head off to Gen Con blast it all!).  I passed on the top hats and went for the black stoker.  If you have the chance to get one of these hats online, or in person from the fine folks at Steampunk Hatter… you will not be disappointed!

I can’t believe I am doing this…

As I said in my opening of the blog, writing a book was something I had always wanted to do.  And I am doing it.  I have been printing chapters as I complete them, a tip I had picked up early on from Micheal Stackpole’s podcast, to help ensure you have a backup and to prevent co-mingling writing and editing.   Holding the fat binder also has the benefit of making you feel like you are accomplishing something.  Hard to deny when you see the stack of paper growing.

I took Stackpole’s seminar at Gen Con Indy last year.  I had decided to finally take my writing seriously.  Since then I have taken two writing classes, won NaNoWriMo and have over 106k words on the West Wind complete.  My hope is to wrap it up and head down to Gen Con this year with a sense of accomplishment.   No great expectations of course other than doing some networking.  But it does have a sense of bringing things full circle.

Just finished an Eli chapter, two more of his POV to go and only one more Rachel chapter until I am done.  Can I do it this long weekend?

Roland is in the Can!

After last week’s major milestone (well it was at least for me…) of crossing the 100k word count, this weekend’s milestone is equally exciting (well it is at least for me…).

Roland, one of my main POV characters, storyline is complete!

That leaves me with one more chapter of Rachel and three chapters, maybe only two and a half, of Eli until I am done.

I was hoping to have a re-write done by the end of July in time for Gen-Con Indy.  I started my writing there last year by attending several writing track seminars.  This year I was planning on taking cards and synopsis to do a little networking.

Not finished yet but…

Nope.  Haven’t finished the first draft but have reached what I believe to be a meaningful milestone.

I crossed the 100,000 word mark!

When I finish the current scene I will be completely finished with Roland’s story line.  That leaves me only one more Rachel chapter and a couple more for Eli.  I think I have to be in the right (or wrong) mood to write Eli.  He just has so many problems…

Not much longer now.

Writing on Weekends

It looks like I have fallen into a habit of writing almost exclusively on the weekends.  Heading down to my favorite bookshop and bistro has also become part of my habit (see ‘appearances’ in the side bar).  I have heard that writing is a solitary activity, and I think there is truth in that.  I find myself in the world of my own creation.  That doesn’t mean that I need to isolate myself.  Whether it is sitting at the bookstore or at home, I can write while in the middle of others and the hubbub of activity.

Proof being – over 7,500 words this weekend.  A little more than 5 chapters to finish my first draft.  Too bad I cannot find one of those status bar widgets.

Alpha Steam!

My first true alpha reader (my early teen daughter’s best friend) read up to chapter 16 and is a bit mad at me that I left her with a Rachel and Clarence cliff hanger.  Good news is that I know what happens next, bad news I haven’t written it yet.  She really enjoyed what I have completed though it is only a first rough draft.  Perhaps I should soften some of the edges and make it a YA novel….  Regardless, now I am getting pressured to finish the manuscript by my new audience.  Oh the pressure!

These are the sketches of Rachel and Clarence that she did while reading the manuscript.  They are made of awesome and I just had to share:

Rachel West

Rachel West

Clarence West

Clarence West

The West Wind

Here’s the blurb for The West Wind:

Rachel West and half brother Clarence emigrate from Post-Victorian London to the American West and are swept up in intrigues fueled by greed, resentment, and the need for revenge in this steam/hydrogen-punk tale dominated by plots and power struggles between rich and powerful industrialists.  It is a world of massive floating mansions, horses, stagecoaches, airships, private railroad cars, dusty western towns, flying machines, and marvelous traveling mechanical freak shows.

NaNoWriMo Afterglow…

I did it.  I survived NaNoWriMo and won!

Life starting to get back to normal as I figure out where my story goes next.  Being through this once now I definitely appreciated all of the preparation time I put in prior to the event.  I also found myself falling into a writing process of working from an overall set of diagrammed plotlines as the source for outlining several scenes at at time – usually in groups of three: a setup scene, and action scene, and a resolution scene.  My mental model being these three scenes represent a short story structure that is integrated and moves the overall story arc forward.  This may be a completely bogus and wrong way to write, but so far it is working for me.

The bottom line – I have a half of a first draft completed and too much time invested to give up now!