Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Gaslampery, Or, Fooling Around In a Steampunk World

So, it's no secret I am in love with all that is Steampunk. I think it's the word...steampunk. It seems to encompass all the weird corners of imagination. Nothing is off limits. Pirate air-ships? Yes! Difference machines? Yes! Cool smart chicks with spectacles? Yes! Vampire Physicists? Yes! Technology with social graces? Yes! You get the idea.

I worry I might be taking things too far, at least with my characters. I have a Gas lit world with cool/old/new technology, my characters are teens and more than human, a la League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, they attend school together in an old mansion.  Now, here's where I may be in trouble: I started making these characters more than one weird thing, like, a demi-god/Valkyrie or a werewolf/angel.

Can you say monster mash?

I wasn't sure if it was wicked cool or totally lame. And then the thing happened, you know the thing. You think you have this idea that nooooo one has ever done, like a werewolf/angel, and then you find out an author -- whom you admire -- is coming out with a series of books...and some of the characters are...fallen angels and lycan. Seriously.

Can you even imagine how many times I said "D'oh!" Alright, perhaps it was a different expletive. So, I guess it's probably wicked cool.

The question  is: Do I continue with this idea? Because, clearly, my book will not be her book. And if I do -- will I still feel as if I somehow cheated?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

To Dream, Perchance to Come Up With a Plausible Flippin' Conflict!

I thought I was set: cool premise, interesting characters, a heroine, a couple of heroes, a villain. Bwahahahaha! I have a story! Then I read Kristen Lamb's post: Little Darlings &; Why They Must Die...For Real. http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2011/05/13/little-darlings-why-they-must-die-for-real-2/

My bright bulb of a brain dimmed a bit. I had lots of cool things, sure, sure I did, but no flipping conflict! Oh, yeah, maybe: gee-I like him-but I also-like him, conflict. Which isn't conflict at all, it's being conflicted, and sure won't carry a story and especially not written like that. I was just like one of the people who, when asked what their story's about, goes on and on about mythology and she knows this but doesn't know that and he thinks this but is really a werewolf and an angel -- see, see how cool that is? No.

So, I went back to the beginning. Of creation. Seriously. The mythology that I'm using for my premise and basing my characters on has many, many conflicts. Reading through the myths, I thought about how I could keep their core, yet turn them on their side. I started asking what-ifs.

I love what-ifs.

What if heroine's attracted to hero (also another guy).
What if they both attend the same extraordinary boarding school -- proximity.
And, what if she finds out he's the one responsible for her parents' death AND the only way to possibly avenge her parents' death, is with a weapon -- an ancient artifact, that only she can wield.
And what if said artifact has been stolen by a Mad Genius.
And what if she has to work with hero to retrieve artifact in order to save the world.

Here you are Madame, your bucket of conflict coming right up.
I don't know that I've ever come up with the conflict before I was finished with the first chapter -- I know! I would write not knowing what would happen. I've left lots open, so I'll still have the freshness as I write -- like how in the hell am I going to get the hero out of this mess.

Thank you muses. And thank you Kristen Lamb.

Have you serendipitously read or saw something that shifted your view point?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hot Rock


Every once in a while my life becomes crazy. Busy crazy. I'll have three books I'm reading -- usually two in print and one audio -- one book I'm brainstorming, and one I'm editing. And did I mention baseball? Traveling baseball. And a full time job. And a husband. So, sometimes, I want a beginning, a middle, and a/n (happy) ending with less of a time commitment.

I want it now. All now. And, by golly, I got it with this fantastic gem of a novella by Sela Carsen, "Carolina Pearl." Werewolves, ghosts, legends, and a bastard son. Yes, please and thank you!

I started to write out a synopsis of this delightful book, but realized, I hate writing synopsis and the one attached to the link is great.

Sela Carsen's, Carolina Pearl is an interactive book, seriously. I was either laughing out loud, or fanning myself. Everything plays out perfectly, nothing's rushed -- hard thing to do in under 60 pages -- The sexual tension (and release) between Blair and Conn is spot on. And on. Sorry. Sela packs a full story in this compact container and it lacks nothing.

Read this novella -- and then read her other ones too. Really.