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Four Rejected Titles, This Was All I Came Up With

February 15, 2012

I launched into writing my newest story Friday night. Even with near constant distractions I managed to squeeze out 1000+ words in about an hour and a half. They may not be the best words, nor the final words. But there are now words committed to hard drive. And so begins ‘The Phlogiston Precariousness’. I did not managed to work on it any more in the past five days as a cold has rampaged through my system. I thought dialog, I thought placement of scenes and reorganized items in my mind. Yet I committed nothing to index card, software or notebook.

This is one of the things that I battle near constantly when it comes to writing. Carving out the time to do so. Home is busy with homework, cooking, chores, and every other little bit of normal life. This is not me complaining. I am fortunate to have a house that contains a loving family in the middle of living life. However, time for writing is not easy to come by. I have yet to start waking up earlier to do a little writing in the morning before leaving for work. I think I really need to get started with that.

I used Scrivener for the first time on Friday night. It was pleasant. Getting the project started offered a number of choices including a Novel with parts. Parts are subdivided by Chapters, which in turn are broken down into Scenes. All in All, a great way to organize this particular project of mine. The notecard/corkboard function is pretty sweet for organizing my thoughts. Haven’t figured it all out yet. The other stand out feature is the research branch. You can paste URLs from web pages in and it will display the content fairly true to the actual webpage. Very handy in keeping everything in one place for easy reference.

The actual editor is decent. I am unsure about the default formatting (though it is manuscript standard) since it isn’t what I am used to. A change is always good, shakes things up. No grammar highlighting like MS-Word, so I’d better be careful!

A little treat today, a character outline for Johnathan Fawkes (from Tears of An Automaton.

Name: Johnathan E. Fawkes

Place of Birth: Poughkeepsie, New York. DOB: April 17, 1848

History:

Born and raised in the Hudson Valley, Johnathan exhibited interest in the mechanical from an early age. His father worked on steam engines for the great river boats of the Hudson river, and would often bring young Johnathan with him during upgrades, retrofits or other major engine work. 

Johnathan left the area in 1868 to attend school in Chicago. He studied engineering with the notion of building new machines to help improve commercial prospects. As a hobby he started fiddling with a Babbage device the college campus had. In his junior year he managed to shrink the size of the Difference Engine by nearly three quarters. In his senior year, he developed a simple Automaton that could perform simple menial tasks, with the assistance of an onboard Babbage engine which Johnathan had shrunk further still (to about the size of a cantaloupe.)

 One issue with the device was self-sustaining power. Internal coils and springs delivered power, limited though and requiring frequent windings Fawkes considered it a step in the right direction. Frustrated by the slow progress he was making on increasing the longevity of the automata’s stored power he started researching other means. Rumors reached him concerning a new power source: Natural Gas. A very unconfirmed tale told of an engineer in Pennsylvania working in secret on natural gas as a propellent (under pressure) or fuel for a heat source (again under pressure).

The benefits are that the gas burns cleanly, unlike coal. Also a small physical volume of the gas can provide more BTUs than coal. Intrigued by this new, yet unreported discovery, Johnathan set off to Pennsylvania with a cargo hold full of his Automata hoping to find the reclusive engineer and marry the automata to the new gas via a miniature gas heated steam engine. During the crossing of Pennsylvania via airship (U.S.D.F. Stalwart) Fawkes perished in what is widely regarded as a combination of chance storm and poor piloting of the airship.

Johnathan’s legacy was prematurely cut short by this accident. Strange tales have cropped up in Somerset county and migrated east towards Harrisburg about strange metal men shambling through the countryside. Most sightings are dismissed as fanciful tales, with little or no factual evidence. Missing from the crash site though are about four automata, Johnathan’s notebook and his glasses.

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