Revisiting My Alternate Histories

Apologies must be made. It has been far too long since my last post. But as with this time of year, too much was happening all at once. Life and work got in the way, and my writing took a back seat, unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on who you ask).

But now it appears that work has calmed down, we are fully staffed for now, and I received a little promotion for the effort. Now that the holliday season is behind us, i can get back to doing what I love – writing.

I have taken the last couple of days to go through my myriad of works in progress to look at them with a fresh eye. It feels like I’m reading another person’s work. From a distance of a month’s time, I can safely say, past me is a hack.

Perhaps the sentiment is a bit strong. I am my own harshest critic (as far as I know. no one has personally informed me that my writing sucks, so I have that going for me). But one thing I did notice, was that despite my first draft mistakes – telling rather than showing, a little too much purple prose – there are elements in each of my WIPs that I do enjoy.

I have been trying to create a world that feels real in each of my stories. I suppose that is one of the reasons that I have only one finished project out there for people to read. It was a short story, and a challenge to myself to finish something. The result is okay, but I know that I can do better. So, for each of my projects, I am trying to improve upon the mistakes I made with my first project to make it onto Amazon.

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I’m starting, once again with the worlds in each story. Revisiting the worlds in each of my projects was eye opening. I was able to see things a little differently now, than when I was first putting the words to the page. For example, in my sequel to Mademoiselle Durand and the Pirates, I have begun to ask myself how the history I created for my world resulted in the settings for my stories. Did the Industrial Revolution lead in a different direction because the United States did not have a civil war, never becoming a major world power; Europe and the United States embrace steam power, while the Confederacy tries finding its way with the power of oil (yet cannot seem to harness the power in a meaningful way).

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In my sci-fi story, years in the making, the galaxy that serves as the setting is in a state of turmoil. An aging, failing hegemony slowly collapses in on itself as its sheer size makes it impossible to sustain, economically. Several smaller powers see it as an opportunity to overthrow the outmoded government. But is it even possible to overthrow a regime that massive, regardless of bloat, if they have soldiers everywhere? And what about the little people? Wage earners, day laborers; the average citizen with no real money or power to speak of. Can a nobody (or nobodies) living like that rise to become a hero in a space opera? Well, yes, I suppose they could. It is a space opera, so there are certain expectations to be met.

In each situation, the world building has begun weighing on my mind. I started each of these stories as a novice, never really believing that I would ever let anyone read my work. So, now, I am going back and trying to fill in the blanks a little  bit, in the hopes that I can make the realities I’m creating make sense to those reading.

As far as my newest project, I have covered that before I ever even put word to paper…or, fingers to keyboard. This was my NaNoWriMo project for my first participation. A nice little dieselpunk world where the American Revolution resulted in a U.S. monarchy. King George I, leading through to the setting of my first story, which takes place in the mid 1920s. I spent some time on the history and back story for this project, and I feel a lot more at ease with this one, than with my other projects.

I am moving closer to a place of peace with each of my WIPs.  By early 2016, I think most of my worries will be addressed. Then of course, will come the editing. And the rewrites. And the obsessive rereads of those rewrites. And then some day, before I die, I will publish another story. I hope.

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