Hellooo, my freaky darlings. After some discussion with Ben (and after having come to the conclusion that he shouldn’t be the one having all the fun) we decided that a writer’s blog would go over pretty well along with his perspective on the directorial aspect of putting together a steampunk world. I’m always one to talk someone’s ear off, so I wholeheartedly agreed.
So, with that in mind, an introduction. My name’s Joe, and I’m the lead creative writer for Steamworks & Shadows. Back in the Before Time, I’d gotten my start writing from looking at books, movies, and videogames I’d never been allowed to play or just hadn’t been able to play at the time, and going from what the little snippet on the back of the VHS (geez, I’m old) or game case would say, I’d try and write the story myself. This turned into me writing comic books to show my friends at school, short stories for my parents to show to their friends at work, and the occasional dumb thing for my brother and I to read and laugh at until we got brain damage. It was a good time. It wasn’t until I first participated in NaNoWriMo – and actually finished – when I was seventeen that I started really considering writing as something I did than something that was fun every now and again. I would come to have work published in The Escapist, the podcast for the University of Missouri’s Maneater Student Newspaper, and the crime noir online magazine Shotgun Honey, which I would eventually become an editor for.
Before Airship Vindus had become a genuine “thing”, all of the members of the group had separately come up with their own various characters of dubious origin, motive, and ability with the intent of doing precisely little to nothing with them. Sure, a few of us had written a couple of sentences or paragraphs, maybe even a short story or two, but back then, these things were just a hobby. A fun thing to do when it was raining out. Yes, we all loved steampunk, and yes, we all had a lot of “Wouldn’t if be cool if” moments, but there was no real plan to do much with the characters, at least as far as I know. So, when Ben first told me about the plan to take the Airship Vindus out from the realm of stories around the campfire (or in our case, gaming table) and make a web series and world from our separate yarns, he discussed the idea of me helping to write the story. My first instinct was, “Holy crap, yes.” My second instinct was, “Wait, what? How?”
Understand, my background in writing is not science fiction. It’s not alternate history. Heck, it’s not even military grade ass-kickery. Most of my work up to that point had been crime fiction, horror, and comics. Often times, a combination of all three, if I could manage it. I’d never written science fiction before, much less steampunk. When it came to science fiction, most of that came from me watching old Star Trek reruns with my mom and old The Twilight Zone reruns with my dad. (We were big into reruns. This was before Netflix, kids.) The closest I’d ever gotten to steampunk was the old pulp fictions like the Shadow, Doc Savage, and such, and that was a good forty, fifty years after the Victorian era. To be honest, most of what I’d been exposed to of steampunk at the time was people with goggles, tophats, and confusing names such as Professor Wilmot Reginald Zipperdripper the Third or somesuch nonsense like that. Ray guns had been thrown in there by that point as well. I had no idea what the crap I was getting myself into.
I think a lot of us were stumbling around in the steam-laden dark at that time, but Ben and Kevin seemed to have faith in my abilities and in the capacity for people to really connect and be invested in the characters we created. So, with that in mind, we sat down and started writing our character bibles.
What’s a character bible, you ask? C’mon, gotta leave you waiting for next week, right? Right. See you then.