Friday, January 22, 2010

Steampunk and Linkage

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.


writtenwyrdd said...

Hey, Sabrina, thanks for the linky love! Glad you liked the post, and you make me sound way smarter than I deserve, lol. But truly, the worst thing that we do to ourselves is chip away at our self-confidence. We do ALL THE WORK much of time, too. If you were in a relationship that had someone emotionally abuse you, you would feel okay to walk away (once you realized what as going on WAS abuse, which is another issue entirely.) but when we do that to ourselves, well, we never think of it as abuse, do we?

And it is. So keep on writing. I hope the critiques and edits get your story shaped up soon.

Also, the steampunk gadgetry like your birds are so cool! I've fallen in love with the design of steampunk, even though I'm not particularly fond of the genre. (I honestly haven't read but one, so I don't have any real attachment or understanding of it.)

Sabrina said...

I agree 100%, even about abusing ourselves. It was serendipity that I read that post on that day.

I, too, love the design of steampunk, so much so I'm attempting to write it when I haven't read much of it, either. :P Mostly, I'm going off the steampunky films and tv shows I've watched in the past, and now looking for stories to read.

writtenwyrdd said...

I'm considering an attempt at some steampunk art in the near future. I have the digital tablet and just got Painter my fingers are itching to use it.

JenniferWriter said...

Thanks for sharing this! What a great post. It's so helpful to know that all writers share the same fears of failure. The same fears of everyone laughing at our shortcomings and having no friends and no place to live and on and on an on.

I hope the steampunk is going well. You don't have to read the whole genre before you try it out--you might bring something totally knew to the table!

JenniferWriter said...


(I couldn't help but edit. Shouldn't be commenting when I'm sick...)

Sabrina said...

Writtenwyrdd--I'd love to see the art when you're done.

Jennifer--It definitely helps to see someone else has the same insecurities. I try not to harp on my neuroses here (since it's my "professional" blog), but I created it with the intent of talking about my process into publication, and the anxieties of being penniless, alone and more than slightly mad are a part of it. I've actually made a goal for myself with "Clockwork Seams," 1,000 words a day for 4 days, starting this past Wednesday. I've made a little progress already.

Words make me happy.

Sabrina said...

Ack, I meant 40. For some reason, my 0 button sticks if I don't hit it exactly in the middle. Bleh. Yeah, instead of giving something up for Lent (which I used to uild up better eating habits, usually), I'm going to write 1,000 on my steampunk ghost story. That's what I meant.

"4 days," goodness gracious. ~shakes head at self~