Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Nightwalker Rises

Okay, it has been ten full days since I have blogged; how negligent of me! Nearly a fortnight has been filled with a vast assortment of activities and new knowledge as I continue my job training as a medical helicopter dispatcher. A tidy amount of what I am learning has been pertinent to steampunk airships, particularly the emphasis upon how weather can play havoc on any air-going vessel.

To wit, the Horizon flies by VFL (visual flight rules) meaning that she has no radar tracking equipment on board to help her navigate, seeing as I've chosen not to make radar part of my steampunk world. For a helicopter racing at an average 120 knots, VFL can be tricky way to fly because you can easily overlook objects in the sky until you are on top of them. The rule of thumb is if you run into thick fog, your life expectancy is about three seconds because you can't see anything. However, the Horizon's top speed is 35 knots which gives her a much wider room for error. Nevertheless, I am realizing that I have merrily sent my airship into all sorts of bad weather throughout Steam on the Horizon: blizzards, rainstorms, thick clouds, etc. and in effect she is blundering about in the aether essentially blind as a bat in many cases. Happily, through the omnipotent powers granted to me as an author, I will ensure that the Horizon avoids any fatal collision in the sky: otherwise this series would be laughably short.

Speaking of which, it is almost certain that Steam on the Horizon will be divided into three parts and sold as three different e-books. I had this word of advice from some writer friends, and it makes sense, so I am currently tackling it from that direction. So far, I have identified Part One, which currently clocks in at 72,389 words and am focusing my editing prowess on beating this into shape. Part One covers Gavin Roberts taking on the Horizon and ends when London grows too hot for our daring captain and his merry crew and they decide to beat feet to Gibraltar.       

However, as I revise, I am intently scrutinizing to see if all of Draft 2's 186,432 words truly deserve to remain or if significant eviscerating is forthcoming. It is possible I can prune Steam on the Horizon down to 150,000 words or less: in that case, I will offer it as a single e-book. However, I am almost positive that my writerly soul will not allow such mass extermination and that this will be a three-parter.

The editing process overall is going quite well, I...

He he, how did that get there? Just a little spat of authorial frustration - nothing to see here, folks. Move along.

No, truly, I finished reading Part One in more or less a towering rage at my own ineptitude and frustrated that a draft which had read so well only a few weeks ago seemed nothing more than pompous, stilted bile. The writing process is one of peaks and troughs, and the only way to get out of the ditch is to keep writing away until you work yourself past a spot of self-loathing.

Happily, I think I have my next steampunk series on the make. Starting Sunday, I will be switching to a night schedule, working 5:30pm-5:30am three to four times a week. Since I normally rouse myself around 5:00am, this will be a complete restructuring of my world. I am actually happy about this because I fully expect to complete an enormous amount of writing on my off days: after all, there will be little for me to do at 2:37am but write!

Today I was ruminating on this new incarnation as a nightwalker when a new steampunk character sprang to life: a young man who has xeroderma pigmentosum: essentially an allergy to sunlight. He is only able to go out at nighttime and thanks to the marvels of steampunk technology such as night-vision goggles, he is able to traverse the dark streets of London at night to solve crimes and root out mysteries. How does the name "Steampunk Nightwalker" sound for a series? Too cheesy?

Well, this young man will have to wait awhile before he comes to life - I have Captain Roberts' tale to tell and the good airship Horizon to sail, which I shall do now! Time to edit the stuffing out of Chapter Three!


  1. I've always thought a night job would be fantastic for writing. Like maybe being night-auditor at a hotel. (The plans I have when my kiddo is older! Wee!)

    You know what would be really cool? A tiny cameo by your Nightwalker. He doesn't have to be named or have any lines. Just a tiny scene with someone noticing him or some such. It's always one of my favorite things when characters make cameos in other books by an author. Connects the worlds a little.

  2. Ya, I'd say "Steampunk Nightwalker" is kind of cheesy. I feel like the word Steampunk should only appear in the title of a book that is an anthology of steampunk stories, or an examination of steampunk itself. If the protagonists name is interesting enough it could carry the series perhaps. I just finished "The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack" which is more properly fully called "Burton & Swinburne in: The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack" The following two books are prefaced the same way, and so it's basically the "Burton & Swinburne" series. Which has a classic old-time sort of convention about it I think. Plenty of other 'series hooks' though of course, that example is just my most recent read.

    1. Sounds like some good books - I'll have to check them out.