With Morrow Stone and Reaper's Flight completed and online, one last hurdle in my Trilogy plan remains: book 3. Throughout all the writing over the past two years, things like "marketing" and "promotion" and "submissions" have been essentially set by the wayside as I focused on the elements of writing which most appeal to me: namely, writing. Now, though, I have to consider that in a few months as production on book 3 comes to a head, I'll need to dust off that businessman hat and get ready to actually try and pitch myself. But it's only just occurred to me that this not only isn't such a bad thing, but that I'm actually rather looking forward to certain aspects of it.
Went and had coffee yesterday with another local writer, and we just sort of gabbed on about the state of the biz and specifically about the Steampunk genre, which appears to be having a few growing pains as it struggles for self-definition. I'll be honest about something while I'm on the topic - I don't really see myself as a "Steampunk Author", as it were. Yes, the current trilogy does employ various elements common to Steampunk as a setting - pseudo-Victorianism, steam-engine-based technology, pipes, gears, pocketwatches, and even a clever little pair of goggles.
I personally love the flair and sensibility of the setting inherent to the sub-genre, but I don't plan on writing all my books in this genre. My next series - the next one I plan to write, so it remains to be seen what I actually end up writing next - is looking to be more of a contemporary supernatural horror genre, taking place in Portland, Oregon. Not really a steampunk environment, that.
The books I have on track beyond that include genres like deep science fiction, an anthology of children's stories, and so forth. Although I already have plans to continue the books in the current world-setting, as well, so I'm nowhere near done with the steampunk yet, nor do I believe that Steampunk is done with me. There's an elegance and anachronology to it which has always appealed to me, and though I fear for its present overindulgence in pop culture, it looks to be around for a long while to come. So, basically, no worries.
I've been thinking about my affection for Steampunkery a good deal in anticipation of starting up this third book in the present series - how much embellishment of pipes and steam do I permit to have root in the book - is it requisite for story or setting; or does it strive to become its own character in the book, elbowing out narrative in an effort to steal the show?
I struggle with a lot of "Steampunk" books in much the same way as I struggle with books on new age philosophy or vampires. I love both as themes, but all too often the themes themselves take over the narrative. Too many vampire books feel like photocopies of photocopies - - with each author claiming to really "get" how a vampire might feel; when its clear that they're really just writing about how they think they might feel as a vampire. Are they correct? Are they accurate? Who knows, but then that's part of what lures me into a book - my belief that the writer a) knows what they're talking about, and b) isn't hitting me over the head with their brilliant observations.
Clearly, hitting one over the head with "brilliance" is best left for blogs.
Yes, that was sarcasm. And yes, I was indicting myself.
Anyway, sorry, before I went off on a preachy tangent, let me just cap that whole idea off with the realization that what "is" anything is a perception and a personal observation. Do I write "true Steampunk"? No, probably not. My books have a careful (and deliberate) balance of retro-tech and faith-based magic to at best classify my books as "Steampunk Sci-Fi" or "Steampunk Fantasy". But really, at their core, they are books about finding out what you're best at, and trying to do that as well as you can; and the acceptance that everyone finds their own path through their lives, and no one path is perfect for anyone but you.
So, armed with that recollection, I put the finishing touches on my synopsis/outline and prepare to start writing at the end of this week. My goal this year for NaNoWriMo is going to be 2k words/day, every day. Hell or high water.
I'll be posting daily updates on Facebook and Twitter - not because I expect you to care, but because it's harder to let myself slack if I'm trying to keep up a habit in public.
And to all my other NaNo friends, feel free to NaNo-buddy me.
Have a great month, peeps! Let's write novels!