I find myself at a crossroad…

With nothing to sell.

Except my soul. But there’s always a catch with that. Not that, you know, I believe in the ‘devil’ as Christianity so lovingly portrays him, I’m just not keen on trading my soul away for something.

Again. There’s always a nasty catch.

Meet me at midnight.

Yes I watch Supernatural. No, they’re not the only ones that say you can sell your soul at the Crossroads and get something for it. Blues legend Bobby Johnson is rumoured to have done it and succeeded.

Anyway. Not the point. Well, it sort of is.

I find myself standing at a crossroads.  Before me lies the straight path where my original outline takes me. To the right is the path I’m currently on. To the left, well, we’re not going to worry about the left. That’s the rest of the Timepiece Tales.  Whole different blog entry.

Here’s my dilemma. And an insight to the plot of Blood on the Quarter (The Curious Case of the Quarter Killer and the Nightly Edition). Maybe you guys can help me out a little bit.

First, a history;

Steampunk is an art, an aesthetic, a fashion statement, and a way of writing. It takes the Edwardian/Victorian era and completely negates the discovery of oil. Steam is the mechanism of the day, baby, and that’s all she wrote. Technologies are re-imagined influenced heavily from the writings of Verne and Wells, among others. However, it isn’t just about adding gears and goggles to something and calling it Steampunk. Doesn’t work that way. You do that, and you’ll be called out not only by hardcore punkers, but by history nerds everywhere.

Tell me I’m historically inaccurate again…

Dieselpunk is the time *after* the Victorian age. In a timeline, it encompasses the 1920s through the 40s with the 50s entering the atom/nuclear-punk era. Dieselpunk, because of its time frame, relies heavily on the military from fashion to invention. And, like the name states, it’s the age of oil. However you can imagine it.

Who left the cage open?

With both subgenre’s an author/artist is only limited by his/her imagination. Which is awesome. Think about it, as long as you have a grasp of history and are able to explain your world in a rational/logical way, you’re golden.

Now for all intents and purposes of BOTQ, I’ve delayed the age of oil by quite a bit. For reasons that will be explained in the book, the Roaring 20s is in transition from steam to oil. Due to circumstances and government hedges against such a transition that are starting to be squished by money and ambition. Plot point #1 (for those of you keeping track).

Plot point #2: Prohibition.

Worst. Idea. Ever. But necessary for the story.

Plot Point #3: Timepieces.

Men and women who have metal appendages in place of real arms and legs. In some circles, a fashion statement. In others, not so much.  And maybe it’s the reason for murder.

Plot Point #3: Genetically altered humans.

Before anyone gets on their soapbox and decides to tell me what’s what; eugenics was a thing in the States before it crossed over into Nazi Germany. People have wanted to play God with humankind ever since they started breeding dogs. The States had a hand in it, the Germans turned it into something horrendous.

As far as my book goes; this is where things get hairy and why I’m having such a hard time with the story right now. As it stands I’m wandering into territory that I’m sketchy of diving into for fear of kitsch and general rolling of the monocoled eye.

Who hasn’t seen genetically altered humans before? Vampires that have something wrong with their blood and they need fresh blood to exist. Werewolves that are created rather than bitten. Zombies the product of medicine gone wrong.

Awesome games. Pass on the movies.

 Blah. Blah. Blah.

Been there, done that.

But, wait! No! It can still be done!

And thus my dilemma. As it stands in the original draft, I was only supposed to have humans altered in a way to make them (for lack of a better term) werewolves. They were supposed to fight in speakeasy-run ‘shifter fights’ as a way to make quick money and provide cheap entertainment for men who like blood but aren’t excited by prize boxers.

Now, with the direction the story *wants* to be pulled in, I have a whole other array of creatures lining up to populate my Louisiana. New creatures. Creepy creatures.

Maybe to them the Irish Famine was the beginning of the end. Altered food that was supposed to flourish despite bad soil and too much water. Good idea gone horribly, horribly wrong. Those that did escape were the lucky ones. And maybe WWI wasn’t the opportunity to get back on their feet. And maybe the British shouldn’t have funded the venture so heavily.  It’s not their fault scientists decided to play God and alter humans to suit the needs of the Empire.

Racism isn’t just about colour anymore. Have any metal on your body? Good luck with that.

So what if Louisiana’s ports are the hub of men who look more like Cthulhu then their mommas? And maybe Storyville (whose demolition has been delayed indefinitely-despite the history books clocking it in at around 1917) is the ghetto of men who resemble monsters, and women who rack up notches in their bedposts for sleeping with them. And take pride in it.

Maybe H.P. Lovecraft took a visit to New Orleans.

And, maybe I’m not at a crossroads after all. Maybe I’ll write the draft and see how it turns out. Maybe it won’t be kitschy after all.

Toodles!

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2 thoughts on “I find myself at a crossroad…

  1. Jessica says:

    Good luck with that draft!

    Personally, I’ve always felt kitschy had less to do with what you did than how you did it. And if you are willing to put in the time and world building effort to think it through the way it sounds like you are, you have a good chance of doing it right.

    1. rjkeith says:

      Thanks very much! I’m at peace with the kitsch now. I even like a little bit of it, and really, it’s going to make at least one of the books I’m writing so why not?

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