Hello, I’m Rob, the more adjective-prone Duellist, and this is just a post to introduce you to my novel so you know the kind of thing I’ll be writing and working on for the next year. Crikey, a whole year…seems long and yet not long enough. Still, no time to worry; on with the introduction…

“The history books will write that in the year of Our Lord Eighteen-Hundred and Sixty-Six, the Age of Victoria and her Empire ended, and the Second Age of Steam did begin.”

That’s my first line right there. The product of Day One of the Duel. And it pretty much sums up the whole plot of the novel I’m writing. It’s called ‘The Invention of Steam’ (a title that will likely change) and is half Victorian Crime Noir and half Rollicking Steampunk Adventure. Good word, rollicking; it rolls around the mouth. Actually, it sort of rollicks around the mouth. Anyway, enough of that, back to the story. It’s something I’ve been meaning to write for over a year now and talked to Chris about, but never got to putting anything more than notes down. So, with the characters already in my head and the story just about planned, I’ve started to put pen to paper. I feel I should admit that when I say the story is just about planned, I mean to say that I know where I want it to start and where I want it to end, but in between that anything can happen. Certain points have to stand and certain events must happen, but in between all that I just let the story go where it feels natural. I don’t write in a linear style either, but instead write bits or chapters here and there and out of order, stitching it all together when sections collide. It all sounds very haphazard doesn’t it? But it makes sense in my head, trust me.

I’ve always wanted to write a Steampunk novel. This is half of a one. It’s a Steampunk origins story, telling how history as we know it cascaded off-course and how a world of brass and clockwork and strange futuristic contraptions was born. The first half takes place in a very recognisable Dickensian landscape, and the second half occurs decades later in the strange new Steampunk Britain, where dirigibles float through the crowds, clockwork carriages run through the streets, and the ‘dynamic particle oscillator’ is weapon of choice. What causes such a dramatic shift? Time and text will tell. I’m not going to go too deeply into the plot as it’s liable to change and evolve over the year, but I can say for certain that I’m throwing everything at this story. There’ll be an aerial Zeppelin battle, the invention of the ray-gun, big game hunters, historical characters Count Von Zeppelin and Queen Victoria, a whole host of people with fanciful names like Josiah Nutbudget and Gershwin Choker, a clockwork man, and even a fight with Spring-Heeled Jack atop a racing locomotive! Plus, murder, magic, disguises, romance, and Omnibuses! It’s unashamedly big and bombastic, but don’t take that to mean brainless: you’ll need your wits about you to piece together the very personal mystery that drives the heart of this story… But more on that next time.

Right, well I can’t stand round here all day talking, I’ve got a novel to write and an opponent to do battle with. And I need to figure out how to kill a character with a Spinning Jenny…

-Rob

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