Autumn and Catching Up

I left the apartment this morning, and the chill in the air told me that without a doubt, fall has finally arrived. After a sweltering summer, it is nice to finally have that crisp fall air hit me as I go out each morning. Between work and apartment hunting, my late summer and early fall look to be keeping me on my toes. As I put my laptop in the back and hustled into the front seat, I sat back and planned my day. I knew that more than anything today, I wanted to get in some solid writing time. First on my agenda is a blog post; then I will get back to Victorian times and deal with a certain captain and her loyal, if not completely law-abiding crew.

I intended to get some blogging done last week, as I spent three days in Rochester and Buffalo New York for the yearly manager’s meeting that my manager sets up. Although we were in meetings all day, my evenings were free, without my other job. My original goal was to post a bit each evening after the day’s work was done. Well, that did not pan out. I was so exhausted when I got back to my hotel room that I promptly passed out. So three days, and no new blog posts.

That said, I was able to sit down and do a little work on my various projects when there was some downtime. I didn’t make a ton of progress during that time, but I had a few ideas, and was able to get them down on paper, and into my computer before they flew completely out of my head. Thankfully.

The ongoing theme in my life is trying to complete that which I have started. To that end, I have branched out a little bit. I gave myself a little birthday present in the form of the iOS version of Scrivener, which is now downloaded onto my iPad. Between that and my sorely underused Dropbox account, I am now completely mobile with my writing!  I played around with it a little bit over the course of those three days, and after a little bit of a learning curve, I think I have the syncing down pat.

This last weekend I was able to close out three chapters that have been bugging me on a couple of my projects. I am now just past the half-way point in Mademoiselle Durand and the Dead Man’s Map. While I enjoy the project, it has been causing me grief since I first typed the sentence “The falcon circled the mast of the Morning Star, keeping a watchful eye on the deck below.” I also spent some time working on my untitled science fiction project. That one is fun to write, but I am having a few issues getting my characters to where they need to be for the climax of the story.

So now I leave you, readers, so that I may continue with my creative writing pursuits. Until next time!

 

A Short Update

I can’t fall asleep. In the morning I am traveling from central Massachusetts to upstate New York. Rochester, to be precise. It is a 295 mile, 5.5 hour trip, according to my GPS. The reason is the yearly meeting held at main job’s headquarters. It is a three day affair.

I get to learn how the other side of operations…operate. It sounds like it will be interesting, and for the most part I’m looking forward to it. The only thing I’m not crazy about, aside from the driving, is that it is business dress. So I have to dress up.  So I get to dress like a grownup and have grownup meetings over the next several days. On the bright side, I will be off from Jon number two until Friday. So that will give me some solid writing time in the evenings.

As I attempt to rest my weary head this evening, I am also considering some topics for the next several days.  Steampunk tropes, both good and bad; steampunk aesthetic vs. steampunk as a genre; and possibly an exploration of one of my many favorite writers. Until tomorrow, I wish everyone a wonderful evening.

Writing Setbacks: It’s Been Done Before

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I sit at my laptop, typing merrily away. The story is humming along, characters are positioned and playing their roles. Everything is just where I want it to be.  Then the little voice appears. It whispers, taunting. “That bit you just wrote – yeah, the part where she is fighting valiantly when the sword is knocked from her hands – yeah, that part right there? It’s been done before. A lot. Oh how I hate that little voice. The voice of self-doubt.

I reread the chapter I just wrote. The voice is right. It has been done before. Much more eloquently by better authors. It isn’t identical, but it is familiar. Contrived.  Granted, the little voice is really all in my head, I know that. But it is so damned smug. So satisfied with itself for taking me down a peg or three. I scroll through what I’ve written and consider my options. If I was the same Jason of about five years ago, one of two things would have happened.

Option 1:  I would have read the passage again, shrugged my shoulders and continued on. There was a time when I didn’t care if something was cliché. Then, when I was finished with the writing project, I would have begun to edit, seen all of the same old, same old elements in the story, throw my hands in the air, and tossed the manuscript in a drawer, never to see the light of day again. I have packing box filled with these types of manuscripts, a source of great shame to me.

Option 2:  About two years ago, I would have panicked. It is too common. Every story about pirates has that moment in the story where the hero or heroine is overpowered or outsmarted, and momentarily all appears to be lost. Again, I would probably try, in futility, to salvage the moment, try to make it different, new, and exciting. I would inevitably fail, and frustrated, the manuscript would end up in my box of shame.  Either way, the result would be the same.

But here’s the thing. I am older, and (marginally) wiser. Humans have been telling stories for as long as we have had the ability to speak. There are nearly no truly original moments left to tell. Everything is a variation on, or a twisting of other ideas, other stories. We have our ideas, we put them down on paper or disk, and give the old stories our own spin. Whether it is the hero’s journey, the haunted house, the thrilling tale of adventure, journeying across a distant land, The bones of the story have been laid bare hundreds of thousands of times. It is up to the teller of the story to make it new and exciting for the person listening to or reading the story. I have begun to realize this, and now I can look at my projects and decide if the element should stay in my story.

I kept that element once (Or, more accurately, a similar moment). It gave me the desired effect. Alright, it was a little clichéd, but I weighed the pros and cons and decided for the story I wanted to tell, the moment of pseudo-danger the heroine was in kept my interest, and I was pleased with the ultimate resolution.  In my new project, The “knocked-away sword” moment was a little too much. It didn’t advance the plot quite the way I needed it to, and my main character was not supposed to be in quite the same type of danger. Ultimately, I feel my story is better for the excision. I lost about two days worth of work, but the passage works now, where before I was not at all confident.

Writing setbacks happen. I have found that during my writing journey over the last several years, I have begun to deal with them in a more productive fashion. It is easy to lock the project away and tell yourself it was no good, or that it has been done a million times before. It is so much better to think about your project. If you really want to tell the story, there is a way to make it work. Your story will be so much better for it. Plus, the feeling of accomplishment when you write the closing words of your story is truly amazing. Then you take a breath and smile. Then you realize that only about half the work is done. Now comes the proof reading, editing, and rewrites. But I find that I am still smiling. One step closer to publication.

One step closer.

 

 

 

Sunday Musings: Outlining, Productivity

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Planning or pulling it out of my...

Scenario: I am sitting at my desk at work,  and the system has crashed. I am contemplating all of the things I could be doing. There are still taxes to be done (I know,  I am awful.  But it’s hard to get anything done when you work two jobs). I could be putting my hours and expenses together for my other job, but I left that information at home. Or I could be sitting at home,  staring at my computer monitor –  or as I like to call it,  writing.

So I am sitting here with my small notebook,  scribbling down ideas for my WIP.  I am not much of an outline,  but I am resigning myself to the reality of my situation.  I am dangerously close to writing myself into a corner. So now I am carefully going through the entire plot and actually outlining and plotting!  And I am finding that I don’t totally hate it.

I have been an improviser when it comes to writing. Most of the time my best laid plans get thrown to the curb the second I start writing.  My characters have this nasty habit of taking on a life of their own.  I want Character A to keep watch while Character B breaks into the villain’s office to hack into his Computer. Character A decides she doesn’t want to miss out on the action,  so now no one is keeping with,  and both protagonists are investigating.

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I am no outlining master

However,  there are merits to a basic outline.  Which is where I am now. Not specific actions,  but ideas for goals for each scene, and of course,  the end goal for the entire story.  It is allowing my characters the freedom to do as they please,  as long as they follow the bread crumbs to the final outcome that I want to occur. Because sometimes you have to show your characters who is the boss. Who knows, maybe they’ll do what I want this time.

I’m also revisiting ways to remain productive and motivated.  I was researching some apps to help me set,  and keep writing goals. There seem to be a lot out there,  and I am at a bit of a loss as to which ones are any good. I have downloaded a couple,  but none of them have really been too helpful.  For the writers out there,  do you use any software for keeping track of your Writing goals (writing time, word count goals,  etc.)? Which ones do you recommend?

My final thought of the day is, thank God I brought my Kindle today.  At least I can catch up on my backlog of reading. Maybe I can finish something and write up a review. That should make the day a little more interesting.

World Building – Rules Part 2: Characters You Love to Hate, or Hate to Love?

I’m glancing back and forth between this post, and my WIP. It is the long, long, LONG in process sequel to Mademoiselle Durand and the Pirates. Just when I think I’m making progress, something inevitably gets in my way, and I set my writing down for far too long. Pfft. No more. Well, at least until the next crisis comes up.

I am reacquainting myself with the world I have created. The rules of how the technology works seems to be firm in my mind. The introduction of some paranormal, or magical elements seems to be developing nicely (although I think some more research on traditional magical beliefs of the time may still be in order. I want there to be at least a minimum amount of believability to exist. So now, I am examining my characters. Are they likeable? Are they horrible, easily hated? Are they even interesting?

There are some benefits as well as some drawbacks to stepping away from a writing project for a little while. It always makes me see what I have written in a slightly different way. I can sit here and say, “I really like that line,” or (which is more often the case) “Good lord, what were you thinking, Jason?” I seem to be saying that to myself quite a bit with this story.

The first story in this series was short. about 8,000 words or so. This story will be a tad longer. So far I am at a little over 16,000 words. There was not a lot of time to develop characters too much. So everyone in the story became a sort of archetype. Mercier was the wise older mentor; Bertrand was the naive young protegé; Drayton was the evil pirate; and Dette turned out to be a little more ‘Mary Sue’ than I would have liked.

I have a difficult time with characters. I either make them too good, and there is never any question as to whether they will succeed, or I make them too unlikable, so you actively want them to meet their maker. But, with the length of Mademoiselle Durand and the Pirates, that didn’t seem like too big of a problem. The shorter the story is, it seems to make more sense to distill the characters into certain archetypal roles.

When I came up with the idea for Mademoiselle Durand and the Dead Man’s Map, I knew that it would be a longer story. Knowing this, I set out to flesh out the characters that I had written about in the first story, and to expand the cast, at least a little bit, so that there would be more going on in the story.

My rules for my characters in longer projects are simple, but help me stay away from creating characters that I cannot stand:

  1. No perfection is allowed – I bent that rule beyond recognition in the first story. Dette was a little too ‘good’ for my taste. So I am trying to rectify that within this story, without making her unrecognizable to those who might have read the first story.
  2. Make characters that are unlikable – Now, that doesn’t mean I want a story full of detestable jerks, but even the good guys should have unlikable qualities. Dette, for example, is developing a strong disregard for authority as I go in the new story. So, some of her less ‘ethical’ actions throughout make sense.
  3. Give everyone their moment to shine – I tried to do this in the first story. The third person story telling style gives an author opportunities to explore the world they have created. I do not stick with just one character. I enjoy telling different parts of my stories through different points of view. It feels less stagnant that way.
  4. Expand existing characters – This was both easy and insanely difficult to do. In the first story there were five characters that played a significant role in the story. Two died by the end. I knew immediately that there would be many new characters this time. There were a couple of background characters that get their chance to shine this time around. and one of them is definitely not the most likeable character in the story (See #2).
  5. Every character should serve some sort of purpose – As a reader, this one has always felt like a no-brainer. Why create a character, bring them to life for several pages, and then do nothing more with the character. I have read far too many stories recently where a character is introduced, described in detail, then wanders off the page, never to be seen again through the rest of the book.

So that is my list; the short version, at least. If I don’t follow these rules, then my characters end up being too obnoxious to write for. Aside for a few small factual changes, I think I have avoided creating truly obnoxious characters.

Writers – What are your rules for characters while you are working on your projects? Or do you let your characters develop themselves as you write? I’d love to hear about your processes

World Building – Rules part 1: Magic

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Magic can have a place in many genres. Does it have place in yours?

The pitcher of lemonade hovered in mid-air, rotating Ina a lazy circle a foot above the table. Mademoiselle Bernadette Durand stared,  her eyes wide,  as the woman before her stared placid at the pitcher. If it were not for the light sheen of sweat on her forehead and the tiny circular movement of her index finger,  it would have appeared as though she was staring intently at the proceedings.  But she was not just a bystander.  She was a witch.  And the hovering pitcher was her doing.

She was younger than Dette had expected.  The image of a witch that filled her head was that of an old crone,  bent and twisted with age and corruption,  sitting at a cauldron brewing a vile potion.  But the woman was far from old.

She was no more than 10 years Dette’s senior.  Her long hair was still a lovely honey color, piled high upon her head.  Only a few strands showed signs of gray, only the faintest of lines crinkled the corners of her lips when she gave one of her ready smiles. More than once Dette’s had been tempted to return one of Lady Nathalie’s smiles –  only to remember her mother’s warning; never smile at a witch.  To do so is to invite them to take your immortal soul.

“You must forgive me Mademoiselle Durand,” the witch said, placing a hand to her forehead.  A display of my talents  often leaves me a bit thirsty.” She lifted the pitcher,  this time with her hands,  and poured a large glass of lemonade, taking three large,  and undignified sips. “For any exertion  of magical force,  there is a cost.”

Dette kept her icy blue eyes on the older  woman. ” And what,  Lady Nathalie, is the price you pay? “

Lady Nathalie Bingham smiled, a sad curvature of her lips. ” Only my life, Mademoiselle,” She responded,  “nothing important at all.”

From the outset,  I knew that I wanted to include some more magical elements in my books.  Monsters are a staple of many steampunk stories,  so I figured  could magic.  But like monsters,  magic needs to have an in-universe logic.

Even in stories where anything is possible with magic (such as the Harry Potter series),  there is a logic that was put into place to not only explain and display its possibilities,  but also to make clear its limits.

Some stories make magic a type of exertion on the part of the user.  Energy is used each time a spell is cast.  Some magic drains so much that the practitioner must rest after they complete their task. Others are drained of their life force as they use their magic,  rapidly aging as they grow more powerful,  ultimately facing the difficult choice of quitting magic,  or finding some way to prolong their life.

I chose a hybrid option.  The magic in the world of Mademoiselle Durand is draining on the user in both energy and a bit of their life energy. It will not make you older,  but it will make you more vulnerable to physical attack and illness.  Both remedied by more magic,  but equally risky to the well-being of the magic user.

I toyed with the idea of the use of some sort of charmed item,  like a wand or staff,  but with Lady Nathalie in particular,  I felt a physical item would be too distracting for me as the writer. 

I like the idea of setting these rules into place early on.  Lady Nathalie makes it clear that there is a limit to what she can do. She knows that every time she uses her magic,  she loses another piece of herself.  So parlor tricks are not something she enjoys. But to convince poor Dexter,  she chose to make an exception.

For the writers out there,  do you use magic in your writing? If so,  do you have hard and fast rules,  or do you let your characters wield greater control and power.  I’d love to hear what people think.

Happy New Year!

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I want to start by saying Happy New Year to all of you reading this post.  2015 is actually over (although it seems like it only started a few weeks ago).As I sit here writing this, I am reflecting on where the last year has taken me,  and where I want to be as we enter a new year.

I made some decent progress on not one,  but three writing projects.  One is basically done,  the other two are well under way.  My goal is to finish up the first drafts and start editing at least one of them by mid January. Then hoping further changes and edits on the most complete story will be done by February; then I can get it published and focus on marketing,  which I freely admit,  I’m terrible at.

So,  if I was one to make resolutions,  I would say that I want to go from just writing occasionally to getting these projects completed and out there for people to hopefully read. But,  I am not good at staying with my resolutions,  so all I will say is the I am going to keep writing,  but hopefully with more consistency than I managed last year. 

To that end I am going to sit down tonight and write up a writing schedule.  Everything else gets scheduled in my life,  why should writing have to be fit in around my brief breaks in my day?

I have a couple ideas for topics to use for the blog as well.  I think a couple are kind of neat,  so I need to do a little research into the lose topics and put together some ideas.  I’m looking forward to 2016 in a way I haven’t in the past.  There is a lot to do,  and only 364 days left in the year.

For the other writers out there I want to wish you all a productive and successful new year! 

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Steampunk Weapons

     One of the many things that sets the steampunk genre apart from straight Victorian novels or from the average Science Fiction novel is the creativity required to place advanced technologies in the hands of people who historically had limited access to anything more advanced than a shotgun.
     Science Fiction allows for advancements based on Technology we have, and is usually set far enough in the future that one does not need to suspend too much disbelief in order to appreciate the technologies that are available.
with Steampunk, a little more effort may be required. You need a pistol for your hero to protect himself from an attacker? No problem, pistols and revolvers were available in the Victorian age? You need a laser blaster for your pirate to protect cut down a group of automatons? it is 1824? No problem, you just need to invent it, and make it feel believable within the reality you are creating.

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This, and a few other photos of steampunk pistols inspired me to create Zeus, an energy weapon used by one of the main characters in my Adventures of Mademoiselle Durand series.

     That is the beauty of the genre – you can make nearly anything you want happen in your story. The only thing that is truly necessary is to justify the existence of each outlandish item.
     I have been a bit obsessed with the weapons as of late, mostly because in Mademoiselle Durand and the Pirates, the main characters are under attack throughout the story, so weapons are necessary. Given the time period, pistols are more prevalent than other weapons, but I must admit I like swordplay as well.   

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   A combination gun/sword for fighting close range or from afar. An interesting idea that I’ve seen mentioned in a few different works.

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     A dagger that could easily be concealed, and looks sufficiently “steampunk”.

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     This combination axe/pistol is a new one for me. I actually like the design. I could easily see a wood cutter fighting off hordes of the undead with one of these. Or, your character can chop down a tree AND participate in a shootout!
     A common theme to many of the steampunk weapons you can see online is combining long range and close range into one item that could, in theory be equally efficient in both situations. While I question how effective they would be in a real fighting scenario, the creators all get an A for effort. Especially the creator of the Axegun.
     Not being much of a physical builder, I find these pieces to be quite inspiring. I wish I had the physical coordination to make some items like these. But I can admire them, and use them as inspiration for weapons in my stories.
     Sometimes, the weapons are more realistic, simply invented in the reality you are creating before they were actually invented in reality. Steampunk machine guns for the war effort, in an American Civil War entering its tenth year would be a bit fantastical, but entirely possible in an arms race to end a war that has torn a country apart. Or maybe a rocket launcher to bring those pesky Union airships out of the sky.

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     So, writers, do you have any fantastic weapons (Steampunk or not), that you like to include in your stories? I’m attempting to become more knowledgeable on the subject, myself. My search history must look awfully strange to the outsider. But, that is the life of a writer.

Steampunk and Monsters Part 6: Cthulhu

     For my Halloween  post,  I wanted to finish up my look at monsters in the Steampunk genre with just one more.  Having read up on zombies,  vampires, werewolves,  mummies,  and ghosts,  I sat down and tried to figure out what else I could include.  It struck me that one of the more influential creatures on Steampunk as a whole is one of the newest,  comparatively.  The face of the Great Old Ones, himself.  Cthulhu.
     Lovecraft’s octopus-headed god was never the most powerful of of his creations,  but given the description of his appearance, he became the Lovecraftian monster. And for good reason:

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     Mankind’s fear of the unknown,  coupled with our general lack of knowledge about what lies at the greatest depths of our oceans has long fuelled our love-hate relationship with them.  In some ways we know more about what is going on in outer space than we do about what is going on beneath the waves.
     Lovecraft,  as a writer of horror,  or weird tales,  knew this, and exploited that knowledge to create one of the more memorable monsters in modern horror. A giant creature, with a head resembling an octopus, tentacles flowing about the area of his face where a mouth would be; a massive, scaly body with deadly claws at the end of each limb.  Reptilian and cephalopod combined

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There is something unnerving about the octopus. Especially knowing it can survive outside of the water for brief periods of time.

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     Though many authors tried to expand on Lovecraft’s mythos, not many were able to match his style. His stories were rarely about meeting the monsters. More often than not,  it is the sense of dread, the foreboding feeling that no matter what you do,  no matter how hard you try,  when the Great Old Ones rise again,  there will be no stopping it,  there will be no salvation.
     Steampunk authors,  especially those dealing with more dystopian settings,  frequently reference Lovecraft’s work. It may be in the form of extreme dread and hopelessness,  or more direct use of locations and creatures. Perhaps your hard working police officer is investigating a series of strange disappearances,  and comes to discover the existence of a cult that worships an ancient sea God. 
     A young student from a prominent New England university has discovered an old book in the archives. Upon touching said book,  he sees visions of someone,  something on the ocean floor,  trapped in a sunken city,  waiting. He researches the book,  uncovering it’s use. An ancient holy book,  dedicated to the worship of something called  The Great Old Ones.  His hunt for the truth leads him to the Pacific Ocean,  an airship dropping him on a rickety old trawler.  It is here he learns the ultimate truth,  before losing his mind.
     A young woman is haunted by strange dreams,  of voices in her head, telling her that his slumber will soon be over.  She does not know what it means,  but she knows that it is important, that the world might just end if he wakes up. Her efforts to warn the King of the American Union are in vain.  She goes into hiding,  posing as a boy and working as a Porter aboard a giant luxury airship. During her time in hiding,  her visions become clearer,  more real. Finally,  the high priest of the Great Old Ones arises from the sea during a climactic storm.  As he unleashes the first of his terrible judgements upon the human race, the young woman hears in her head, I am awake. Serve me,  and live forever. I am life. I am death. Come with me,  my child.
    

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I'm coming for YOU!

     What is everyone’s favorite Lovecraftian work? Do you enjoy the aesthetic when combined with steampunk?  As always,  I’d love to hear what you think.

Steampunk and Monsters Part 4: Mummies

   Because it is the Halloween  season,  I am only too happy to continue with my posts about monsters and how they could be used In a steampunk setting.

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Philip and Doris padded down the long corridor toward the King’s chamber.  Philip held the torch, pointing it at the door.  It had been over an hour since they had heard from Eduardo and Gerald. Doris slipped her arms around Philip’s bicep. “Do you think they are inside?
     Philip’s face darkened. “Professor James told them to stay away until we were certain it was safe.” He moved faster,  every footstep taking him closer to the darkened King’s chamber.
     Except,  it wasn’t dark anymore.  There was a flickering light in the chamber,  a flame casting an orange glow. Doris took a sharp breath.  “They went in!”
     Philip groaned.  “Idiots!”  he turned,  gripping Doris’ shoulders. “Listen, Dee, I want you to go back up to camp. Find Professor James and tell him he might have been right after all.
     Doris wiggled free of her brawny protector and slapped him. ” Listen to me,  buster. There is no way I’m gonna wander of by myself and disappear like Rosie and Zeb.  Now Eddie and Garry are missing – have you flipped your lid?  I’m sticking with you.” Reluctantly, Philip nodded and offered her his arm.  She grasped it and moved closer.  As they approached the door,  he looked at his pretty companion.  Her expression was determined, shoulders squared; but he noticed Doris had a tighter grip on his bicep than before.
     Inside the King’s Chamber,  a torch illuminated the room. The two looked about for any sign of the four missing archaeologists,  but saw no one.  Philip felt Doris loosen her grip on his arm,  and step forward. Phil sighed.  Maybe the Professor was wrong.
     “Uhm, Philip?” Doris said,  pulling Philip away from his thoughts.
     “What’s wrong,  Dee?” He asked. Looking up,  he noticed that the young blonde was peering into the King’s sarcophagus.  She looked at him.  Her blue eyes were wide,  lips trembling. 
     “It’s not here,  Phil. The mummy is missing.”
     Philip ran to her side and peered inside the stone sarcophagus.  It was empty,  save for a small pile of linen wrappings.  He stumbled backward,  falling to the floor. 
     “Where did it go,  Dee?”  he whispered. “A mummy can’t just disappear.”  Doris’ answer was a scream.  She wasn’t looking at him.  She wasn’t paying him any attention.  Her gaze was focused behind him.  He turned his head.
     Standing in the doorway they had just entered was a figure.  It’s face was a picture of grotesque features. Partially wrapped in decaying ribbons, the face was desiccated, sunken in upon itself.  The eyes were closed, sewn in place.  The body was gaunt,  skin an unhealthy gray.  It opened its mouth,  but no words issued forth; all that came out was a dry exhalation, the ghost of a moan.  It shuffled forward,  it’s limbs stiff,  unyielding.  It was the mummy, and he looked angry.

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     It seems that mummies have been underutilized in the steampunk genre. Though I’ve only been reading steampunk books for three or so years,  I can only think of a couple of uses of mummies,  and the mummies had not been reanimated. Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series uses mummies in an inventive way,  but again,  they are still just dead bodies.
     I think part of the reason is that in appearance they are rather close to zombies. Older,  admittedly less gooey zombies. Of course,  in most ‘mummy’s curse’ stories,  the mummy’s are out to exact vengeance, not eat their victims. But mummies make an intriguing villain.  Their goal is single minded.  And sometimes,  as in the 1932 version of The Mummy, Boris Karloff’s Imhotep not only rises from the sarcophagus to exact revenge,  he infiltrates his victims’ group to do so.

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Freshly Risen

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Only slightly less terrifying.

    
     In a steampunk setting,  I could see this type of monster used in a few different ways. The Victorian Era saw a renewed interest in Egypt.  Victorian took the opportunity to exploit and destroy ancient artifacts.  Mummies were often found and used for such things as pigments for paint,  as well as unwrapping parties,  where the wealthy and trendiest would witness the unwrapping and examination of the mummy in question. 
     Considering the destruction and lack of respect for the deceased,  a story of revenge could easily be written as a mummy hunts down those that disturbed his tomb.
     Perhaps a well meaning scientists studying the embalming techniques of the ancient Egyptians,  or learning how the mummified body was wrapped and laid to rest.  Inadvertently,  the scientist raises the creature,  who then goes on a rampage, bringing all this that wronged him to justice. In order to sustain his own life,  the mummy could make use of steampunk technology.
    Perhaps,  a contraption strapped about the body,  hydrating it’s body.  Or a machine that helps rejuvenate the body,  giving the mummy a more human appearance.  The drawback is that the machine only restores a lifelike look for short periods of time,  forcing the mummy to return and use the machine again. All of the work making it difficult for the mummy to do much more than murder.  No matter how hard he tries,  the mummy will never be anything more than a vengeful monster.
     Had anyone read any good steampunk novel’s featuring Mummies? If so,  I’d love some suggestions.  And for the writers,  have you utilized this monster in your a story?