As my multitude of faithful readers may remember from last week's post, I've started devoting most of my attention to a new work tentatively entitled The Kricket's Song. This is going to be a stand-alone novel of about 90,000 words, with aspects of the fantasy, science-fiction, and steampunk genres. You may have noticed that my little counter on the right hand side of the blog hasn't been going up for the past week. That's because I've started - yes, already - a rewrite of the three and a half chapters I've written so far. I posted the opening chapter for review and critique on Absolute Write, and got some very good feedback. Since I didn't want the entire novel to have the same errors I'd made in the first chapter, I decided to rewrite the first chapter, and go from there. The new version ended up being very different from the original. I posted the new version for critique just last evening. So far, it appears to be earning much higher marks than the original, so I'm pleased. I'm hoping to get into Chapter Two tonight for what will also be an almost complete rewrite. Once I get these three and a half chapters rewritten, I will continue with the rest of the novel.
In the meantime, I thought I would share a little bit more about what The Kricket's Song is really about. Today I'll just share basic setting and plot, and next week, I'll probably start sharing a bit about the characters. Hopefully this will give you some idea about what this project really is, aside from requiring me sitting at my computer for many hours.
The Kricket's Song is set in a rather eclectic world. Much of it is fantasy-based, with such elements as floating cities, magical (or unexplained) forces, flying ships, etc. There are also science-fiction elements, primarily among the type of weaponry used. Characters and their airships will be sporting anything from Gatling guns, mass drivers, rail guns and more "modern day" gunpowder-based kinetic weapons. There may be a few swords, all the same. So where does the steampunk come in? Well, most of the airships derive their power from burning coal to generate steam. There are also a variety of other machines and gadgets that are powered by steam, including some rather fearsome weapons. The airships themselves are hard to classify, because although they derived their movement from steam power, they are able to fly because of a magical element that is commonly found throughout the world. Some ships have highly dangerous and unstable magnetic "boosters" that somehow interact with the world's magnetic field to give the ship a short-lived boost - think of it as NOS for a car. Other ships, usually ships belong to the Guv Navy (the Guv being the world-wide central authority or government) are being outfitted with the new "repulse-tech" which is a new, more efficient way of getting ships around faster. Repulse-tech also works with magnets, but in a much more refined and stable way than the magnetic boosters.
As you can see, it's pretty hard to fit this work into any one genre. At this point, I'm thinking it will largely be classified as fantasy, with various characters and organizations utilizing different technologies (whether more advanced or less advanced) to suit their particular needs or based on their budget.
The story will be told from the 3rd person point of view but focused on the main character, Jonah. Jonah's fiancee, Katerina, has gone missing. She's the daughter of the Guv's Vice Minister of Defense, and she caught wind of some secret operation the Guv was undertaking. When she started investigating, she vanished. The story starts with Jonah stealing an artifact known as "The Professor's Journal" from the Guv's Royal Librarium, because he believes it has clues as to where Katerina may have gone. Aided by his friend Mouse, a fellow student at the University, Jonah flees the city with the Guvvie Arbiters hot on his tail. They secure passage on a small airship called Kricket and they team up with the ship's eclectic crew to figure out what the Guv is up to.
As they follow the journal's clues from city to city - pursued by the Guv Navy and harassed by extremists known as Grounders who are loyal to the eccentric "Professor" himself - Jonah, Mouse, and Kricket's crew begin to realize that more is at stake than Katerina's disappearance. The Guv wants Jonah dead because of what they're afraid he might find in the journal. Unfortunately for him, the last few pages are missing - because Katerina took them before she vanished.
As Kricket sails just out of reach of the Guv and the Grounders, her crew is rushing headlong into massive government operation that the world doesn't know about. Somehow, it involves a hidden floating city called Borealis and the mysterious, possibly alien, technology that it protects. Technology the Guv wants - at any cost.
If you want a taste of the story, head on over to Absolute Write and check out Chapter One in the Share Your Work forum under Science Fiction/Fantasy. Next week, look for some brief character bios on the main characters.