Writing Process

The holidays have made it a little difficult to get around to writing a blog. I’m currently writing this on one of my off days, where I stayed home from work due to a bloody nose that kept coming back. Kind of dangerous in a work environment that has food. And since I didn’t want to chance getting my beautiful white dress ruined that I need to work on, and there is nothing else I can work on right now, this will do.

It’s been hard to come up with ideas on things to write about in a blog, thankfully my boyfriend keeps shooting ideas my way to help with getting the inspiration flowing.

What am I working on?

rob-thurman-calseriespatricia-briggs-mercyseriesMy current project is The Leviathan Mysteries books. As it is right now, nothing is being written, because I’m between steps. My first novel, Bloody Notes, is completed but in need of a cover. That white dress mentioned above? That is going to be on the cover. I’m hoping to recreate part of one of my favorite scenes from the book and use it for a cover image for the book. Originally, I had a very simple design idea set up, but with continuing the series, it was difficult to think of other designs that would work that looked similar. I like when book series have a continuous similar look on the covers. These are two of my favorite series and I love how the covers blend from one to the next.

So I got the idea that maybe one of the main characters, Vanessa, should be on each of the covers. I have one of her outfits already finished from years ago, but needs to be remade slightly in order to fit me again. However, the outfit doesn’t make an appearance in the first book, that’s why I decided to go with this other outfit. The inspiration for this particular dress came from a Fashion History book that I got ages ago from the bargain bin at the bookstore in order to research dresses for my book. One dress I loved so much that I had to use its design for Vanessa’s Christmas dress.

It’s been a challenge, as I’ve had to make three different prototypes to make sure the dress is shaped and fitting right before I go to the final fabric. I’m on the final steps finally, but with holidays hitting us, it’s been hard to work on. My work space has been completely taken over by holiday decoration tubs so there is no room for me to work on anything until I can figure out a different area to store the tubs in until after the holidays. I really was hoping I could get this dress done and get the book finalized for publishing before the end of the year.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Steampunk is slowly starting to become a bigger known genre in the literary world as of late. It used to be something that could only be found in old classics, such as The Time Machine or Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. But now that steampunk is starting to pop up everywhere in the media, the want and need for more of it is starting to grow. Most adventures are completely unique, and can range in different degrees of steampunk influence. One book I remember starting to read a couple years ago was a man who worked in an office building and was the only person there that was a nerd for steampunk, and would constantly be wearing t-shirts of a certain steampunk pirate band [though the name of the band was never released because of copyright, any reader who was familiar with steampunk music knew it was Abney Park]. During a glitch in the computer system one day after work, he’s suddenly transported to another world. It’s the same date and time, however it’s completely steampunk, and he finds himself on an airship with a beautiful woman who is the captain of said ship. Others are set slightly more Victorian times, or in a parallel world completely that barely even is recognized as Earth.

My story takes an actual event from history as a kind of branching off point into alternative history. Though it still parallels our world to a point even before that, steampunk influences are the key to the difference of our world and this world. Steam powered air ships of so many different varieties is the biggest key difference. There are zeppelins like the famous Hindenburg, but there are also sailing ships that have a hot air balloon attached.

airship

But it’s not just the ships that make an appearance to make it so much different than our world. It’s automatons and robots and other creatures and machines powered by steam. The fun part about coming up with this story, and how exactly it branches off from history at this particular point that I picked, was trying to figure out HOW it does that. Jack the Ripper is one of the most famous unsolved murder cases in history. So many suspects and no real clues to tell us who could have done the horrible deeds. Some people believe that recently the man who was Jack the Ripper was finally found due to DNA evidence, but I still doubt the validity of it all, considering the sample was only obtained from one of the victims, and over time, how many things have gone missing or taken as trophies from the case by the officers involved… but I’m going off on a tangent. Forgive me, I really enjoyed learning about Jack the Ripper. Anyway, the difficulty was coming up with a completely steampunk way to change the story. There have been so many renditions over time about who Jack was, but in my case, it was more than just a who, but a what.

Why do I write what I write?

I believe I may have touched base on this question some time ago, but it might have also been on my previous old blog space. I used to always write fantasy, but would have a hard time fully developing a story, because everything is up to you. I would focus on the characters, and that was it. My world itself suffered in development because of that. Writing steampunk became a little easier because there is a basic world to work with, your own. Your everyday familiar world around you is your base, and then you can make tweaks to your individual steampunk world as you want it. As I mentioned above, some make Earth almost completely recognizable [in one book, Mainspring, the world was wrapped by a giant gear at the equator and ran along an even larger gear that wrapped around the sun].

Though, that doesn’t explain why I write. I’ve always written to get the stories out of my head. If anyone ever wanted to read them in the future, then it was there for them to enjoy as well. But mostly it was because I wanted to know how the story would end. I wanted to know what kinds of things these people would go through to get to their happy ending [or in some cases, fight for a happy ending, and what they would do when they didn’t receive it]. Several of my stories in the past never included happy endings, even in the ones that I never got to finish. And almost all included romance in some very obvious way that I felt ruined the story. The Leviathan Mysteries is going to be completely different than anything I’ve ever written. There will be a happy ending, though a lot of hardships along the way. Romance will be a thing, but it won’t be in your face, the main focus of the whole series, at least that’s what I hope. And it’s going to be long. I’ve written long before, but never finished it, and it was only ever meant to be one book, though with several short adventures inside it. This is one adventure per book that gets to be focused on and actually fully developed. As the series moves along, we get to learn more about the world itself, not just where it starts out in London. Eventually, we will learn about how things work around the world. We’ll learn about militaries and darker forces that are thought to be myth.

How does my writing process work?

I start with a basic idea. When I was researching for Bloody Notes, I had no idea where to start. So I looked at the Victorian timeline in general to get some ideas. When I saw Jack the Ripper, I knew I wanted to play with that. I spent a month researching about Jack and what exactly makes steampunk, fashion, languages and slang. I had a basic idea of how I wanted Vanessa to be and how I wanted Leon to be. Other characters that popped up had very little development until actually writing the story.

Once I had an understanding of everything I wanted, I wrote a quick summary of events. Then I went back and expanded on each of the events. There would be a Christmas ball, but how exactly does the celebration unfold? That’s what I really needed to know. I had a notebook I kept every little idea in. Every note about the Victorian timeline, about Jack, about my own timeline took over several hand written pages. If I ever thought of a random snippet while I was coming up with my detailed summary, I wrote it down so that I had something to work with when I did get to that section of the story. This notebook was my life for a month as I worked on the actual book. I took it with me everywhere, even to work so that I could work on it on break. If I thought of something while actually working, I would steal some receipt paper to write on and then have that transferred to my notebook at break.

I took a month of National Novel Writing Month to work on my first draft, and it was a little over 51,000 words. After a couple of reviews from some anonymous people and friends, the edited version came up to over 53,000 words. I am finally happy with where the writing is, and now it’s just the cover that I’m waiting on. I never thought a cover would take so long! But then again, I’ve never thought I’d be making a dress for a cover either.

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