A great Twitter buddy, @NatRusso, just posted a blog tour post about his writing process. I figured I’d crash it, sort of an unscheduled stop, both as a preview for my book, “Air Pirate Captain Albion Clemens and the FUTURE THAT NEVER WAS,” and as an interesting exercise. I also want to move this blog further over from just food to more writing.
Here are the Four Questions from the Blog Tour:
What Am I Working On?
Everything. I mean, literally everything. I have one of those ADD brains on a strict leash, and every day it poops out another idea I just file away in my notebook or start typing in my laptop. It gets so people start commenting on how I’m inseparable from the tech, and they don’t believe I’ve turned the wifi off so I can just write in it.
To be specific, I’m mostly working on the sequel to FUTURE, which is in the lengthy process of cover creation. FUTURE is an alternate-world steampunk novel, focused on the anachronism between the benefits of high technology and the values of yesteryear. My protagonist is an air pirate Captain, Albion Clemens, who embodies this theme as an Oriental living with Western cultures, in a world of cultures rapidly melding and combining because of increased dirigible activity. As he tries to resolve a personal pathos, he realizes he must also address the anachronism of weighing the greater good with his own selfish needs.
In the sequel, I’m writing about one of the pirate crew, an Inspector for Scotland Yard and secret agent for Victoria III. Vanessa Hargreaves fascinates me as a character with intense moral values and classic British prudishness, recently loosened up by her encounter with Clemens. There’s robots, and burlesque, and espionage, oh my.
I’m also squeezing in time for my serial shorts, but I think I’m blocked in that area from lack of encouragement and limited time due to work. I’ve had my stuff evaluated by an English teacher, and its at a high vocabulary level, past college level. Most of the people reading serials are not used to it, and I haven’t been getting traction.
How Does My Work Differ From Others Of Its Genre?
I don’t think anybody’s ever done a lot of the ideas I’ve put in my steampunk. So many people like to write about historical elements, Victorian times, bustles and cogs and proper behavior. The Victorian era wasn’t just a romantic backdrop for vampires, it was a dark time in history when inequality and imperialism had its day. I try to point out the unsung masses, the common people, and the outcasts. What were the pirates like? The frontiersmen? The common constable, what are their backgrounds? The thieves, the slaves, the workmen? I pull a lot from Orwell, as an account of the British before the idea of a welfare state.
There are also structural experiments I’m pulling out of a hat. My novel is told through many perspectives, and through vignettes which seem unrelated to the plot, but help flesh out ideas and eventually coalesce in the end. They’re a lot of fun, and I’m sharing them with anyone who will ask.
Why Do I Write What I Do?
Because I love to read it.
Okay, its a bit more complicated than that.
One of my many disciplines is philosophy, and the turning point between 19th and 20th centuries was also a turning point in attitudes, how we viewed the world. You can’t unite a world with ships, or telegraph, or internet, without expecting a radical, revolutionary change. Steampunk is the best vessel for reflecting what is happening in 2014, a clash of technology, new frontiers, new hopes, and horrific inequality. Despite all of its failings, literature is still the best way of moving people to change.
Like Marx says, “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.”
How Does My Writing Process Work?
I have a vision, a sort of idea of what the story or novel will look like, and I start picking up the pieces from my unconscious to build the book. Sometimes I start with an image, or an idea, click a few words to it, realize I don’t have the pieces, and put it down for months. Other times my fingers move like Barry Allen, assembling the story so fast it hurts when I look away from the screen. Sometimes it works, other times I have to use a technique to trigger my unconscious, sort of like buying extra pieces. Some of these include: summarizing, outlining, reading someone else, procrastinating, eating, cleaning, having a tea party with my characters.