So after logging 1011 on Sunday and a whopping 1920 on Monday, Tuesday ended up being a non-writing day. Which was fine. I have some of those built in after all. I had a seminar for the first half of the day that absolutely shut my brain down, and I don’t think I ever really woke up after that.
What I DID do was some worldbuilding, making notes on an alternative history for a future plot bunny. I realized this week that the post apocalyptic YA trilogy I thought of earlier this year would be far better suited to a western steampunk in an alternate history timeline than what I’d originally envisioned. It is, to my mind, a lot easier to create a whole other world and history than to figure out the legitimate science of why the electricity went out and stayed out–plus I got less interested in that side of things since Revolution came out. So yeah, my plot bunny got some goggles!
It’s a big world I’m creating, one with a lot of possibilities for conflicts. It’s kind of a new thing, this notion of starting with the world rather than characters. It’s not usually how my brain works. I mean, I do have a couple of characters, but changing things to steampunk slightly changes what I originally had sketched out as a plot, and I wasn’t so wedded to that notion that I couldn’t change. What I anticipate doing over the next few years (yeah, that’s right, I said years–that’s how many things are in the pipeline to be finished before I could touch this project–three other YA novels in addition to the one I’m writing now–AND some adult work) is some character sketches and perhaps some short stories and/or novellas to explore the world more fully. Because it’s a HUGE world. And I have to sort out alternative histories, how society developed with these different experiences, what kinds of social issues are going on, what kinds of political conflicts are going to arise, how the technology will have developed–and because I’m me, I have to figure out how the paranormal figures in to things.
I’m picking up a few reference books on life in the West and the 1800s. And of COURSE now that I decide I want to do this, I’ve already gotten rid of the behemoth tome The American West by Dee Alexander Brown that I had to read in my AP US History class. THIS! THIS is why I moved 40 boxes of books! Because I don’t ever like to get rid of them because you never know when you might need them! Of course I don’t remember actually LIKING The American West, but I figure that was largely because it was required reading and I hated almost everything I HAD to read. Anyway, if you have any suggestions for very readable, interesting books on the history of the American West, particularly the women of that era and location, let me know.
On the Operation G.I.T. front things have not been going awesome. I fell off the band wagon about a month ago and bought a box of Reduced Fat Cheese Nips. I know it doesn’t sound like much but I don’t USUALLY eat much in the way of processed foods and…it just started a chain of not good food decisions that culminated in a boatload of hormonal sweets noshing last week. So I’m trying to get back on the wagon and back to my veggies and fruits and whole foods. Because it is absolute truth that if you eat processed crap, you crave processed crap. And my body feels kind of ick.
Through all of this I’ve been exercising regularly, but the weather has kept me from running as consistently as I’d like. I don’t think I’ve had a 3 run week in over a month. Wish it would just rain at night. I’ve been sticking steadily with the 3 mile length. Did it in 13 minute miles this morning (avg), which doesn’t totally suck but I definitely felt like I’ve backslid a bit from not being able to get in all 3 runs a week. But I’m persevering!
I don’t think you’re EVER going to run out of ideas, Kait. LOL That’s always been my biggest fear. It’s funny that your world came into your mind before your characters. My latest book came about because I thought of the title first, which NEVER happens. I think as we grow as authors, our minds change, our way of thinking is different.
Why is it that health goals are the HARDEST to maintain? Is it because we make them last on our priorities? I’ve been working out faithfully, but getting in NO cardio. Like last night I came in and said, “I have to make supper, clean out the cat cage, pay bills, finished the edits on my book…I don’t have time for the treadmill.” I know I have to put exercise farther up on my list! Do you put exercise last?
No I actually put it first because it’s the first thing I do when I get out of bed. As I said, I’ve been exercising–boxing, lifting weights, using the recumbant bikes–I just haven’t been able to run as much because of the rain.
That’s why I have a treadmill. Stupid rain! LOL
Funny you speak of world-building. I have my people and their stories, & the world is developing around them. It’s like I’m discovering it through their eyes. Am I doing things backwards?
I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to do it. Most of the time I start with a character and go from there, so this is unusual for me.
I love that you’re going in a steampunk direction! Of course it’s going to be years, this writing gig takes a serious time commitment. My husband gave me a story idea yesterday, and I told him he could write it, to which he replied, “That sounds like a lot of work.” Uh, yeah. 🙂
I also have a steampunk storyline in the works, and I’ve added more steampunk to my reading list, picked up the Steampunk Bible, and started perusing Steampunk fashion and fantasy photos. It’s a fun new area to explore, and I think it will dovetail nicely with paranormal and sci-fi scenarios. I also agree there’s no “right” way to come up with a plot.
“THIS! THIS is why I moved 40 boxes of books! Because I don’t ever like to get rid of them because you never know when you might need them!”
I hear you. 🙂 That’s why I have twenty bookcases.
“Anyway, if you have any suggestions for very readable, interesting books on the history of the American West”
No specific suggestions myself, but Parhelion has written some Westerns set in the late 1800s and is a really thorough researcher (I can testify, because I’ve received some of the benefits of that research), so maybe that author would be worth e-mailing for suggestions? Parhelion has also written YA (under a different name) and historical fantasy.
I’ve never really got the whole steampunk thing, but then I’ve probably only three steampunk novels and didn’t like them much. Not BECAUSE they were steampunk either. I need a great steampunk novel to tea, to know if I actually like it. Can’t see why I wouldn’t but as a tea for reveiw blogger (and writer) I never get given them? I may have to reach out and actually buy a book? Shock! 😛
Great going on your writing and despite your feelings to the contrary, you rock those health goals when compared to most of us! 😀
I don’t have any American west reading suggestions, but as someone with a history degree, I prefer to get my hands on some source documents from the time period I’m studying. There is something about reading an actual letter written at the time or viewing a shopkeeper’s ledger or looking through a catalog from those days that gives one a better sense of the era. That’s my two cents (for what it’s worth).
I entertained a plot bunny last night while slightly bored at an event. I’m mid-edits on my YA novel and writing short stories in any spare time, but it was fun to write out a logline and outline a bare-bones plot. It’s exciting to think ahead to what future projects will be, even when you’re enjoying the current WIP.
Have a great week, Kait!
Love the mental image of the bunny in steampunk goggles. And, I totally sympathize with your struggle to stay on the good food wagon; the darn thing keeps going around sharp curves at high speed, and it’s not easy to keep your grip. Exercise is first thing or nothing for me. And, I have to do it nearly every day or I start finding excuses to skip it. *sigh*
Julie’s right about sources. If you can find the real thing, those first-hand accounts are gold. Keep up the good work!