Tag Archives: steampunk

Space travel and cyberpunk update

Recent reading lists have included both cyberpunk and space travel, which is interesting because I normally don’t have much interest in space travel, but I generally do have an interest in cyber-dystopian lifestyle. 

I was surprised that I liked the novel “The Martian” by Andy Weir enough to rate it five stars on Goodreads.com it is not usually a subject I would love enough to rate highly and I am actually surprised at the quality of writing from the author which self-published this book originally – as I don’t have a high opinion of those who self-publish, generally because I spent a lot of money a few years ago on downloads of promising blurbs in fantasy and horror on my kindle to find it was mostly all a bunch of rubbish that was poorly edited and way too corny.  But then again, I chose books that were cheap and never heard of outside of the kindle shop, so I guess I got what I paid for!

But to me Andy Weir’s “The Martian” was excellent and on par with one of my favourite authors Max Brooks, which is actually one of my top three favorite horror authors at the moment.

I have no personal interest in writing anything regarding space travel or anything that talks in depth about technology, despite my reading interest recently; I am just taking advice from a friend who said that I really should read more broadly outside of my normal chosen genres in order to get a feel about what’s out there and finding different styles that I could maybe work with in my own writing.

I usually stick with comedy, comics, graphic novels, fantasy and horror – but I have an interest occasionally in mystery and crime fiction too – but they said I need to broaden my scope further – I won’t pick up romance though, I had enough of Mills and Boon bedtime stories growing up from my mother!

I may pick up a couple more space novels by the end of the year as I have heard some good reviews and blurbs from a couple of them recently.

I think my interest in Cyberpunk was started because of the trilogy “arc of a scythe” by Neal Shusterman, after I read those I read 1984 and then started looking around for more and found recommendations on YouTube namely by YouTubers FIT 2B READ and TheShadesOfOrange, though generally I don’t usually let YouTubers influence what I read, they just sometimes help me research areas of interest better.

I personally started my interest in Cyberpunk because of a story idea I have around a dystopian world where technology really starts to save the day for my characters, with their new inventions and survival innovations, this idea was started Spring of 2021 but I hadn’t really thought about it too much until Christmas time and it is starting to dominate my ideas entirely recently. 

I have to admit though, this story was originally thought to be steampunk, but the more I learned about cyberpunk the more I realised I would have categorised the book wrong entirely. 

It was almost like a push from the universe when I decided that my story wasn’t going to be steampunk but cyberpunk when my favorite YouTube channel FIT 2B READ started cyberpunk week – I just had to believe that it was the universe telling me I was absolutely right about my hunches – too much of a coincidence otherwise!

This is when I decided to make summer of this year a cyberpunk reading bonanza – if I am going to write this as a cyberpunk, I had better get to know what the fans of that genre expect!

You know looking back I find it rather amusing I thought it was originally steampunk but with a few additional neon lights and tubing, it seems foolish now to think that!  But we live and we learn, don’t we?

Happy reading everyone!

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Cyberpunk surprise

There are times where I can’t seem to switch my mind off of working on novels or art and it can get tiring. 

Times like the 21st of May 2022, when I decided to take a break for just an hour and forty five minutes to watch a Lord of the Dance movie with my son, just to get me off of Sims 4 and thinking about my novels. 

Unfortunately I didn’t realise in this new movie that it would contain cyberpunk elements to it, the movie was “Michael Flatley: Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games.  I needed a break from thinking about the cyberpunk world, because I was getting new ideas for different stories and I am already struggling to focus on my current pieces of work – this worsened it, the movie was riveting, I loved it!

To make matters worse I am doing a cyberpunk reading summer – but it was just to broaden my scope of understanding the sci-fi genre, not to really engage in it too much in my works… but Henry has always had a deep love for robotics and he has always tried to influence me into writing a series of books where robots are doing something unique and I had always pushed against that.

I am finding it increasingly hard with Henry’s influence to do this nowadays and it seems Henry might be getting his way soon – and for me, the ideas I am getting are a little too oddball, I am unsure really how the publishing world will regard it – even I am struggling to think of how to present it, if I do.

I accept I write steampunk with dystopian themes, I accept that I have to present them as one or another, but what happens with the more unpopular cyberpunk?  I might be wrong about cyberpunk being generally unpopular, but I am reading the genre in order to understand it more… I don’t often hear in regular bookworm conversations anything about cyberpunk, this is why I am having a cyberpunk summer!

There are stories creeping into my mind, mixing up with some of the stuff that was already there and the mix is a cocktail that I am unsure agents and publishers would like to drink.

Thanks for reading!

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Project – Steampunk 1

Steampunk 1

This project contains the following scenes, tropes and types of characters;

Travelling companions

A lost love

A ghost

Debunked scientific theories

Debunked superstitions

A search for truth

New found freedom

Comedy elements

Hot air Balloon

Space travel

Trio of main characters, primarily an early twenties female, late twenties male and a recent widower

Eccentric inventor

And a mystery solved

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Oh to Hell with it…

Even though I have said I am not doing NaNoWriMo this year, I have joined it anyway for the community spirit; I have joined the UK, Leicester region there, let me know if you are in that region and maybe we can say hi to each other?

My personal goal is to finish six novels by 1st November 2022 to be sent for the first time ever to a literary agent – this is a goal and it may very well be unrealistic, but I am hoping it can be achieved!  The writing of six books is very realistic for me, because I tend to always be in writing mode anyway – the writing I have shared with my blog, or at least my word counts are not accurate according to Paul, who realised that I have not been sharing my handwritten notes in those word counts and I write more by hand than by computer!

What I meant about being unrealistic was my idea that an agent would take on all six projects in such short notice!

I understand no literary agent will take six books at once, I am not dense, they will be sent with reasonable gaps between each book!

I am a perfectionist and my own worst enemy regarding my writing – I was often told by tutors in my past that I overwork things and rewrite when it is not necessary, this is something I have never really learned to stop doing!

I do have OCD in many things in my life; this is another difficulty I am trying to overcome.  The OCD with my novel writing has got a lot worse since seven years ago it was suggested to me that I need to redraft some work, a notion that was alien to me at the time and now I redraft each novel at least three times a year and when you think I have over ten near complete works, this is nightmarish to some people – who may even find what I say unbelievable!

Paul has told me this is why it is important to send my work out there, so people know just how manically I do write and how it is part of the fibre of who I am!  I am never not thinking about writing, I am constantly in creative mode!

My brain cannot switch off from work of any creative type! 

When I am not writing, I am thinking about writing.

When I am not doing that I am drawing pictures or painting or planning art projects; then when I am not doing any of those things I am crocheting or knitting!  My mind is constantly creating something – it is not work for me, I don’t regard this as work and Paul finds that irritating, because to me, this is a lifestyle!  I can’t feel pressured doing any of this, because it is a lifestyle for me!  What I do feel pressured about is other people’s expectations of me when they know that I am working on something!

I don’t fear the blank page because of lack of ideas; I fear the blank page because my brain will fill it up with unplanned stuff before I can write down what I wanted to in the first place!

I don’t struggle with ideas for new projects, I am drowning in them!

So with that said,  I am now going to get back to my novel which is a steampunk adventure with an adult female main character – a novel of which has caused me to only have fourteen hours sleep in four days!

Happy reading!

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Lost Notes Found

I have found the lost pages to my steampunk project!

Lo and behold they were hiding not in any file, ring binder or envelope, but were in fact in one of my myriads of decorative notebooks instead!

They are plans I have had that were scribbled down in a notebook waiting to be typed out and printed so it could then be filed away – I thought I did do that, but evidently not!

This is actually quite common for me, I should know better really – I am very organised once I have dedicated a project to print – but usually my new ideas are written by hand first and then they wait around a while in notebooks until I remember them.  This was one of those times!

So this is what I call a surviving idea then!

Now I can get on with practising the artworks of the eleven other characters I have totally forgotten about!

Happy reading all!

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Lost notes

I have lost six pages to the steampunk project, I am furious.  I haven’t the clue where it has gone! 

I wrote the first idea of it around two years ago and I have box files, decorative envelopes and ring binders all in three different places around the house for the sake of space – but those notes aren’t in any of them!

To top it all, it is extremely painful to go searching for them all, because my spleen is having one of its bad swollen days so any movement is torture!

I have forgotten many of the planned characters for the comic, their names, I remember one was a capuchin monkey and I knew it was a girl, but I have completely forgotten the name I gave her, which was part of the fun and pun of the comic as she was a sidekick’s beleaguering girlfriend!

I hope I find it soon – thankfully it wasn’t something I wanted to write towards immediately, but it was something I wanted to find to help me practise some artwork for it.  I can only remember around eight main characters of the series.

I didn’t think it would be easy to make artwork of various kinds of apes, but I am actually finding them easier than I assumed, in fact, far easier than humans, which is funny.

Happy reading!

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Junk Journals and steampunk collages

Experimenting with steampunk in my art is very difficult as there aren’t many references I can get my hands onto easily in this area, my main source is DeviantArt and Pinterest but I would rather have a paper source in my hand. 

I have however, decided that creating my own references via junk journaling may be the easiest way to find the kind of images I want.  For some reason or another sculpting and collaging is easier for me to do than drawing or painting.  But I want to be able to draw what I see in my mind’s eye!

Junk journaling is something I am venturing into a lot lately because I love that sort of thing, shabby chic and collaging pretty things together, with stitch work and crochet; but I had thought about bringing in charms and brass objects to create steampunk collages for myself, in order to create the characters and sceneries I see in my mind, so I have the visual references I want.

My money is limited, so it will be several weeks before my first collage will be done, but I think by and large, this is the easiest way for me to hone my steampunk art skills.

Happy reading everyone!

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Rewrites and steampunk animals

I am eager to get my desk up and stuff put into organised areas again, because I am desperate to get a start on writing towards six projects.

The idea of doing NaNoWriMo may go out of the window because I am working on remastering an old project to go into an entirely different direction altogether. 

My old project is known as Dragon 1 to some and Maud to others; so I will start calling it Maud here, because that’s the title I give it, even though I feel the title will change with the rewrite.

Why am I completely remastering the story? 

I have learned that my characters seem to lack soul, vibe, if you get what I mean?  They are bland in my opinion, well most of them, and only around six seem to have any real spirit for the storyline.  I learned that my main character is someone I do not know as well as her mentor.

Therefore the stance of the story is changing to not focus too much on her (Maud that is) but to concentrate on events unfolding and the mentor’s journey with Maud.  Because this story is about a teenager who is being mentored into understanding a certain culture and to prepare her for integration in that culture; this story is a fantasy setting where dragons and witches are a huge part of their cultural heritage.  I like to think of my story as a mix of Princess Diaries and Lord of the Rings, but the few people I have shared the old parts of the story with, believe I am not being fair to my story as in their opinion it is nothing like it, but certainly moreish!

The story has comedy elements which were slightly supressed, but now I am more confident in adding humour into my fantasy stories, the comedy scenes will be less choked as it were.

I never wrote the story from a first person narrative, which will make the rewrite easier; this story is written in a third person narrative – I rarely write in first person.

Originally the story was focused on what Maud could see and hear and what she immediately interacted with but within the confines of a third person narrative.  Now it is not like that, it is more chopped, flowing to and from characters, building atmosphere, tension and mysteries which weren’t present in the old manuscripts. 

I know it is an unpopular idea, but it is crucial to the plot that there will be two chapters or large scenes of flash-backs, because there was a murder in the plot – so, saying that, it is understandable, especially as the murder does not happen in the story, but is part of the past of the story, if that makes sense?

So this is the project I am writing towards as soon as my desktop computer is set up on my new desk.  This story has nearly been sent to publishers twice since starting it and I am so glad I held back until now; because I have put the story away for a year without reading it and went back to it with fresh eyes and saw zombie like characters and characters who personally should no longer exist in the rewrite because they did nothing but follow Maud around like lost puppies and the only exciting thing those characters did was sacrifice their lives to save the group!

“Kill your darlings” as Stephen King says, I think it was him anyway…

The second project is something I will be working on long-term and it has interest already from some comic fans I personally know.  This is going to be a long-winded project because I am trying to hone in on my art skills, which are still in the baby stages if I am honest.  So not only am I writing the series of stories this will become, I am trying my best to do anthropomorphic steam punk art that goes with it!

Yes you read right, anthropomorphic steam punk art – exciting stuff, eh?

In fact it is this second projects fault, that I have not published anywhere online at all any new inktober art for this year!  I am focusing too much on practising art for this project that I haven’t really practised much else.

Being the overprotective little creator that I am, I am scared to share my current artwork with anyone online, in case it gives too much away to the plot as a whole!

But there are steam punk anthropomorphic animals, running around a dystopian horror world, that’s all I am going to say!

Happy reading everyone, hope you are as excited to see what I am doing as I am!

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Simplifying my art makes me happier

Yesterday I discussed how I am struggling with what comes to me naturally and what I really wanted to do in my writing; How I wanted to be a serious writer of adult fantasy and horror, but instead I am naturally drawn to corny humour, vampires and comedy fantasy as a natural lean to in my actual first draft writings.

Today I am focusing on the fact that I wanted to be a realist artist, who paints mostly portraits of my characters and some impressionistic landscapes and watercolours, but instead, I am naturally drawn to creating cartoonish characters suitable for children illustration or satire comics.

Increasingly a few of my writing and art ideas are becoming more and more comic ideas, not just funny, but comic as a whole, including the art I do.

My colour palletes are specific and consistent, my doodles are too and I am finding that comedy is punching its way through my art too!

I am creating funny creatures and doodling faces into random splatters and blobs and creating unique characters; with Henry’s help, we have been deciding names and personalities for the beings and progressively Henry is encouraging me to make stories of them.

This is something I have fought against in a professional way and kept to only doing this as a hobby with Henry – but more and more, I am starting to become more inclined in doing art consistently, when I do this, than when I do what I feel I am supposed to be doing!

I have noticed also that I am simplifying my art increasingly instead of refining it to become more detailed and realistic, to such an extent that it is very suitable for many children’s novels.  My style is looking similar to artists such as Quentin Blake, Katie Risor, Dr Suess and the likes.

Yet my aim was to be more detailed and to eventually brave steampunk and to perhaps be of a similar style to, Brian Froud, H.R Giger and Colleen Doran eventually, though my colour palette is very different.  I tend to like pastel primaries or as I call them, candy colours, or my darker palette which concentrates mostly on black, purples, orange and gold.

As I am fighting against my natural inclinations to develop a wanted style, I am finding that I am burning myself out in both art and writing and therefore becoming grossly unproductive.

When I ignore what I really want to become and focus on who I really am, I tend to do more and feel happier in myself doing those things.

But I do worry a lot about how simplistic my art is – I mean, other than children who would really be interested in this kind of art?

Something I did for inktober a couple of years back! See the injected humour… couldn’t help myself!
Pictures originally made to cheer Henry up after a bad day, being bullied at school. But instead, Henry is trying to collaborate a series of stories with me, regarding them.
created via blobbing random water colour paint on paper and drawing details of what my mind saw in those blobs.

Maybe I am a snob – no definitely I know I am a snob, it must be true.  Why else do I fight against the grain?  I must be… up until now a snob in denial?

Happy reading!

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Tidying up ideas

There are lots of papers all around my house of various story ideas that have never been started yet; many of these papers contain less than one paragraph of what that story will be.

I have decided over the next few weeks to start writing in a new offline journal all of these ideas in more details, so that when I want to work on a new story, I am not sitting there flummoxed about the kinds of things I want in that story and forget them altogether for an entirely new idea.

I am surprised to find that I have 354 known ideas so far and not all of those papers are gathered yet!  If I had been asked how many ideas do you suppose you have lying around?  I’d suggest that maybe it were a little fewer than 90, but not 354+, that’s both tremendous and sad, because they’ve been neglected in some cases for as much as 25yrs!  Some of the ideas I had when I were only ten years of age! 

Thankfully a few of those ideas I delayed, because had I of written them all those years ago they would have been garbage in comparison to the fresher stances I have these days towards them.  Sometimes it is best to procrastinate as sometimes the ideas get better or more solid and real.

I was so sure back in 2006 how I wanted a dystopian tribal story to go, but had I of done it back then, it would have been boring and full of plot twist flaws; these days, the ideas have consumed me a lot and they are showing me better ways to form themselves and I find it very exciting and less flawed.  There is more drama, adventure and excitement in the story and more characters have a proper defined role whereas before they would have been better off not existing – basically, they’re starting to add to the plot now rather than act as a page filling distraction, which upon reflection I realised they were back then.

I am trying to prepare myself to put the vampire aside for a while and make a decision on which novel out of eight I’d like to start writing for NaNoWriMo July 2021.  I think there is only really two to decide from really, the steampunk fantasy series or the dystopian tribe.

It is very likely that I will not get any books published until late autumn of 2022, because of certain events going on in the family between now and then – it would make me a little too busy, with the sickness as well, to start a career until that moment.  Things should have calmed down family wise around then; in fact Paul is almost certain of it.  It is very likely we could be moving house you see, as well, not to mention, Paul has promised me that he knows someone with a pregnant bitch, who’ll give us a puppy just in time for my birthday!  It will be a border collie.

Also it’s my Henry’s 11th birthday today!

Anyway until next time, happy reading!

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