Voice and Editing

Voice and Editing

My first, introductory call with Paul (my editor) went great.  Total transparency here, I have never worked with an editor that would be taking a more technical look at my writing.  I have alpha readers, and I have greatly appreciated their feedback, but this feels like a whole other level for me.  In amongst geeking out on various things that we are, well… geeked about, we got to talking about writing and “voice.”

Before going any further – I have to say: I’m really excited about this project!  (bet you can’t tell)

One of the things we discussed was Voice and the use of colloquialisms. As an editor, this can make it hard for Paul to sort out whether I meant something to be grammatically incorrect as a colloquialism, or whether it’s just grammatically incorrect.

Stepping back for a second, its pretty cool looking at my writing through the eyes of someone else, an editor that is interested in preserving my writing style but also in cleaning up it and making it better.

We came up with a couple of basic rules (that I will also have to keep in mind as well!)
Grounders (lower social classes) generally walk on characters, will speak pretty heavily in slang and colloquialisms. Main characters, will be better spoken, but may slip into colloquialism when speaking with other grounders. Narrative voice will be the same. Highborn upper classes will be more formal.  I have read stories with slangy narrative voice and it just gets annoying pretty quickly.

Technical Plausibility

Technical Plausibility
One of the things I described to Paul (my editor) that I hope sets my writing apart from the usual steampunk is the plausibility of the technology.
The Brymlight stories rely on hydrogen as the source of energy – no crystals, alien substances, or other unexplainable magic. I tried to ground my writing in science and reality, if a bit stretched at times to make it work.
Hydrogen provides the lift that keeps the massive estates of the aristocracy afloat high above the plains of the American Colonies western frontier.  Ironically, those estates are both literally and figuratively tethered to the ground and their dependence on the lower classes that produces the hydrogen.
Production of the hydrogen is based on steam reforming, or steam methane reformation of natural gas.  One of the most common industrial approaches to manufacturing hydrogen and a number of other related products.  In the Brymlight world, the Whitley Hydro-Works is one of the largest producers of hydrogen, what our boffins are going to call “diprotium” and the more common term everyone else regularly uses: Brym.
Just for fun… steam reformation, in a deeper meaning, also refers to my break from the more traditional steampunk doctrine.

Tales from the Brymlight Observer

Tales from the Brymlight Observer

Official revival of my long neglected blog… because through happenstance, luck, karma, and long odds, I have stumbled into a small independent publisher who would like to publish my steampunk stories!!!

Where we stand right now:

  • We have settled on the “Tales from the Brymlight Observer” to be the umbrella name for the stories that are set in the steampunk world that you will see referenced through earlier blog posts as the setting for the West Wind and Due West.  The Brymlight Observer is an underground subversive newspaper that is proudly “Shining the Light on the Truth.”
  • Five short stories that are publish ready (they were originally submitted to various horror and other short story anthologies) are being edited by Paul.  My editor.  Paul.  Yes, my *editor* (sorry, still trying to get used to this!)  One of the five, Forgotten Memories, was previously published in a ghost hunting anthology the subject of other posts here.  A second was accepted, but the publisher ultimately did not release the anthology.  All of the short stories will be receiving new titles and cover art.
  • A kickstarter is in the works that will be publishing the five short stories in eBook format, a printed anthology, and some other goodies.  This is to help build awareness around publishing of the West Wind, which will also be receiving a new name and cover art.  A webpage has been setup that will be the home of the Brymlight Observer that includes an email sign-up if you want to keep up to date on the kickstarter and other goings ons: www.brymlight.com

Forgotten Memories – Anthology Cover Released

The cover to “Hunting Ghosts: Thrilling Tales of Paranormal Investigation” in which my story Forgotten Memories appears has been posted.  Ok – now I am getting excited.

Forgotten Memories is one of several stories I wrote as world building for “The West Wind.”  It is Weird West tale set in Johnson City, one of the main locations featured in the book, with Rachel and Clarence West playing walk-on parts.  Unlike the book, however, I get to have some fun with the paranormal – ghost hunting obviously.  The story centers around “Joe” who wakes up in the Marbury Sanitarium with no recollection of his past or how he arrived there.  As the story unfolds, he begins to suspect that his circumstance is somehow related to a recent horrific riverboat accident.  His journey of self (re)discovery nearly becomes a descent into madness as he struggles to uncover the truth about his past.

Here is the cover!  More info over at the Facebook page of “Hunting Ghosts: Thrilling Tales of Paranormal Investigation.”

 

Hunting Ghosts cover

Hunting Ghosts: Thrilling Tales of Paranormal Investigation

I am excited to announce that my short story: Forgotten Memories will be included in “Hunting Ghosts: Thrilling Tales of Paranormal Investigation!”

As the title of the anthology would imply, it is a ghost hunting story and it is set in the Steampunk Western world introduced in “The West Wind” and its sequel-in-progress “Due West.”

For all my Friends on Facebook – head over to Hunting Ghosts Facebook page and give it a “Like.”  You will also find the full table of contents and excerpts from the stories being posted.  More to come!

Moving Westward

Hello lonely blog follower, Facebook friends, and even Twitter account holders who made the ill advised action of following my never so frequent updates.  You can be thankful at least that I am not filling your mailboxes and feeds with endless posts.  Focused posting.  That’s good enough for me… when I get around to it that is.

Despite numerous heartfelt attempts, I have decided that I am completely incapable of generating any enthusiasm for rewriting “The West Wind ” (at least presently)  I am therefore pursuing what I believe to be the only sensible course of action… Start writing a new book!  If there is a rule that I need to finish rewriting the previous before starting anew, like some sort of literary lima beans before desert, I am afraid I am guilty of its violation.

“Due West” picks up roughly a year following the conclusion of “The West Wind.”  Rachel West returns as a principle POV character, as does my favorite troubled and unstable heir Eli Hardy.  For my third POV I am introducing a new character, the inimitable inspector Edward Percival Alford sent by the American Colonial government to investigate the extraordinary events of the previous story.  The setting remains the same – the Steampunk Western alternate world of the early 1900s.

Scrivener files created, timeline drawing template opened, let the plotting begin!

I am Officially a Writer

Even if only in a small way.  I am excited to announce that one of my short stories has been selected to be included in a forthcoming horror short story anthology.  My first of, hopefully, many more.

I have written and submitted several short stories recently, each taking place in and around the events of The West Wind.  Yes, I know, I should be working on the book but I can rationalize these side efforts in a couple of ways:

  • Short stories have word counts.  Writing with a word count forces me to write as tightly as I can.  A good discipline and habit that will benefit a longer work where there is no word count.
  • World building with a purpose.  I have heard of writers spending years on world building without eventually even writing the novel.   I am doing it the other way around.  I wrote my first draft and now I am world building through the short stories.  My rewrite will benefit.  I also can’t help but thinking that the short stories benefit by being set in a world where it is clear that there are other things going on outside of the perspective.
  • Editing.  I hate it but learning how to do it takes the edge off a bit.
At the very least, I must admit that a little short term gratification on the longer road of writing a full length work ain’t bad either!