Fall First Page Critique Blog Hop

I learned about this from Miss Alexandrina’s blog, and thought it an interesting and useful idea.  We offer up a first page for critique and in exchange, critique the five works above and below ours on the list in return.

So here’s mine:  It’s the first 250 words or so from my present NaNoWriMo work-in-progress, which has a working title of “The Secret Notebook of Michael Faraday”, a prequel to my recently published steampunk adventure novel.

It was unlike anything the boy had ever seen.

He had seen large buildings before, of course. Being from the City, he had grown up in the shadow of the great dome of St. Paul’s, and had even ventured inside once at the end of a morning service when the vergers would not notice a poorly dressed boy. The tall spaces of the great cathedral amazed him, but that building was made of stone, and sat squarely upon the ground. This building was made almost entirely of glass and seemed to soar.

“Come along, Nicodemus,” said Mr. Dalrymple, the boy’s master. “Let’s not dawdle. We have lots to see today.”

The boy, staring slack-jawed and wide-eyed at the wonders before him, could only manage, “Cor…”.


“Yes, sir,” said young Nicodemus, and followed along behind the man.

The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations was the wonder of London all through the summer of 1851. Since being officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen in May, almost 5 million people had visited and been marveled by its exhibits. Housing the Exhibition was, of course, the Crystal Palace, a enormous building almost a third of a mile long and over 120 feet high.

Nicodemus and his master stopped under the great dome at the center of the building. The space stretched as far as Nicodemus could see in either direction. “What’ll we see first, Mr. Dalrymple? It’s so big!” exclaimed Nicodemus, still straining his neck to look around at everything at once.


NaNoWriMo and the Accidental Novelist

I have participated in NaNoWriMo for the past two years, and will again this year, but more on that later.

To those unacquainted, NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is an event that takes place every November in which participants are encouraged to write 50,000 words of a novel. The philosophy is to just get the words down on paper (or computer screen). Don’t worry about editing; don’t worry about research. Sit your butt in your chair and pour out 50,000 words over the thirty days of November. We’ll deal with editing later. Continue reading

How to Build a World, (or at least how to keep track of it)

A reader entering the world you created.  (Source:Camille Flammarion's L'atmosphère: météorologie populaire (1888).)

A reader entering the world you created. (Source: Camille Flammarion’s L’atmosphère: météorologie populaire (1888).)

Many articles and blogs have been written on Worldbuilding by writers far more experienced than I, such as here and here. Still, some lessons that I have learned may be helpful.

When I began writing my first steampunk novel To Rule the Skies, I had no idea that I was starting in the middle of Professor Nicodemus Boffin’s saga, but at some point I realized that Boffin’s back story would make a fine story in itself. Now that I’m deep into writing another book (the aforementioned prequel), I think a lot about the world I’ve created for my characters to live in (which I call the “Boffin-verse”), and spend a lot of time making sure that it’s all consistent. Continue reading

Nigh comes the Anteprologue!

I am putting the finishing touches on a stand-alone Airship Flamel piece.  Chronologically, it comes immediately prior to the beginning of my upcoming novel To Rule the Skies.  Think of it in the same vein as the Doctor Who webisodes between seasons or the Marvel One-Shots that give more background to various characters in the Marvel Universe.  The problem is:  What to call it?

Even though it’s a prologue to the novel, I can’t title it “Prologue”, because the novel already has a Prologue.  There doesn’t seem to be a word that means “the chapter before the Prologue”.

So, I’m inventing one–Anteprologue.

It’s analogous to the ultimate, penultimate,antepenultimate, preantepenultimate series (I just discovered that last one).  And I like chewing through stacked prefixes (so long as they make sense like “hemidemisemiquaver”–a 64th note).

Which reminds me of two favorite and, I believe, useful words in German:  vorgestern and übermorgen which mean, respectively, “the day before yesterday” and “the day after tomorrow.”  I don’t know if any other languages have these useful words.  English apparently did at one point–ereyesterday and overmorrow–which are direct parallels of the German words.  They’re cited as being first used in the 1500s, and seem to have immediately not caught on.

So, watch for my Anteprologue on the overmorrow or so!