I've been calling my newest idea a steampunk (well, clockwork) ghost story. I have never written steampunk before, have (hanging my head in shame) not read much, but I see the images and watch the shows and films, and fall in love every time. So I wanted to try my hand at it.
First off, I wanted to try a different approach compared to my write-by-the-seats-of-my-pants leanings. I wanted to be more organized before I started writing the story itself (as I've mentioned in recent blogs). Some writers, like me, start with a single image or idea and just fly as far as they can. Eventually we (read: I) have to take a bit of time to figure where the story should actually end up, but the detailing pre-thought of specific scenes, not so much. Other writers outline a lot before writing a word, some to the point of detailing every scene.
Every new story I begin, I try to move forward, learn something new, try a new technique or method. And every writer works differently, but I'm a believer in playing around with what you think works for you. Sometimes you find a habit that works even better.
For this clockwork story, I wanted to know where I was going in a more structured way. I knew I'd have to do a lot of resarch into the Victorian Era and the steampunk genre. But then the story just grabbed me and refused to let go. So I started writing, rambling a bit as I'm wont to do. Long story short(ish), the past few days I've been a bit discouraged after receiving some very early critiques. They were right, but it was too much, too early--I'm still finding the story.
It was a really nice then to stubble onto this post of Writtenwyrdd's, reposted today (originally from 2006): "The Inner Critic as Muse." It starts off talking about writers falling prey to their own self-doubts, not only the unpubbed noobs like myself, but even the pre-publication jitters of authors like Lillith Saint Crow--"Ah, the Scylla of insecurity and the Charybdis of self-hatred. Iwish I could lash myself to the mast and sail throughthese rocks." Writtenwyrrd goes to offer the advice that whenever the fear looms, turn it around. Stretch as far out into the realm of the fantasic as it will go, and you may find yourself wondering about this person who is no longer, being dragged through a mysterious doorway, a hand clamped over your mouth.
The whole post is really interesting, and I found it helpful. I was already clawing my way out of the gaping hole of discouragement, but this gave me that last boost to propel me out and back into the story. With a few more steampunk images to inspire me, and some Abney Park playing near at hand, I'm ready to get back to work.
Happy writing everyone,
*The photo is from Jim Mullan, genked from Google Images. I just love the details and color. Looks like he's made a whole series of them, and the crows were originally hunting decoys. Lovely.