While Heart of Bronze (now known as The Clockwork Mirror) is billed primarily as a Steampunk novel, I have to confess that I never actually read any Steampunk prior to writing it. I've always been a fan of gears and brass, old trains, Zeppelins, Tesla's theories and crazy gadgets. I just wanted to throw them all together into something else I love: a good psychological urban fantasy historical mystery war thriller sci-fi, erhm, thing.
But I just picked up the anthology STEAMPUNK! and have been combing through the awesome stories. And... oh boy ...did I get it wrong?
I've read through five stories so far and they all have one thing in common (beyond the gears, brass, Tesla, blah blah blah). They all feature a language Heart of Bronze doesn't. Each story, regardless of its suggested "time" or "history" features characters and exposition right out of the Victorian or Wild West age.
My novel contains modern language, with the odd "y'all" thrown in for good measure, and a glimpse here and there of Maggie's Scottish brogue.
So... Did I write it wrong?
Maybe not. For starters, The Clockwork Mirror is just a story (or will be when it's published). The language, characters and setting are its own. I don't have to stick labels on it to make it real, do I? After all, I'm not looking to compete or even share shelf space with the Steampunk Greats, nor will I refer to them as my "counterparts" or "peers."
Unless, of course, they want me.
No, when Mirror hits the virtual shelves this holiday season, I'll tag it with what's closest. Whether you like it or not is entirely up to you.
For now... I need to get back to it.