Monday, August 17, 2009

Putting Some Steam in Your Punk

Maybe I'm just a hopeless romantic, but I love reading stories that have a bit of romance woven through them. Indeed, I can never resist heating things up between my characters, and there's nothing better than a steamy bit of steampunk.

In my own novel, I've freed my main character, Phoebe, from the puritanical constraints and ideologies of the time, thus allowing her to explore her sexuality. Not to say her forward thinking doesn't cause its share of problems.

Steampunk as a genre seems to lend itself not only to a romantic element, but the more erotic. And yet it seems as though there are very few full length steampunk novels that have included any romantic plot or subplot (if you know of any, please share).

With the demand for steampunk romance increasing, I can't help but be excited. So do you plan on heating things up in your own steampunk work to meet the demand? Does your writing already have romantic leanings?

I wonder if the addition of romance will be the thing that catapults steampunk into the mainstream. It certainly seems as though its time has come.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing But The Truth

The truth is sometimes a difficult pill to swallow, especially when it comes to something so personal as our writing. We've devoted time and energy to getting our words on paper, and have spilled our hearts and souls into our story. Now, unless you've written your masterpiece for your eyes only, there will come a time when you will turn it out into the world.

And with that, often comes the truth. If you are lucky.

Don't get me wrong. It is often devestating to find that your labor of love may fall a tad short of perfection, and when you receive the first honest critiques of your work, it can truly feel like a knife to the heart; a personal attack. These people must be mistaken, right? They must not know what they're talking about. After all, all your friends and family loved it!

And so we come back to the importance of truth. For the truth will set you free.

If you are lucky enough to be part of a good critique group, then you will often be confronted with opinions that may differ from the praise your friends and family lavished on your story. Now, granted, these are just opinions (I guarantee they are not personal attacks). However, in my experience, the honest opinion of fellow writers is an important tool in improving your writing. That's not to say you should follow every suggestion. After all, no one knows your story like you do, but a fresh set of eyes will often see what you are too close to notice, and what friends and family are either too nice or inexperienced to point out.

With that said, I feel critiquer's also need to deliver their opinions with a bit of tact, especially if they know a writer is new to critiques. Critiques I receive now without batting an eye, would have probably crushed me when I was first starting-- hell, some did. But I'm a far better writer as a result of those honest words, so it was well worth the pain.

Being open to other writers' opinions of your work can be an invaluable tool. So I recommend you don your thick skin, and listen to what others have to say, finding the truth in their opinions, so that your story will still be your own. Only better.


Monday, August 3, 2009

And the Winner is...

I wanted to thank everyone that participated in the first short story contest. Every single entry was imaginative, well written and thought out. I also wanted to thank everyone who voted.

Without further ado, I'd like to congratulate Stewart Hemingson for his entry Construct. Honorable mentions go to Brian Hook for his entry Difference Between Moments. And again, a huge thanks to all that participated. I'm hoping to make the contests a regular part of the blog, so please make sure to check in.

Stewart, please contact me at with your details so I can mail you your pin.