Canadian publishing laws are kinda cool. We don't have to buy ISBNs, so if we want to self publish, we can apply to the gov'ment for ISBN numbers and they will, after a few days to review the application, give 'em too ya.
That has a number of implications, but one is that I can put my work in epub format all on my oddy-knocky, with an ISBN, and, assuming I magically attain marketing skills, sell it for 100% of the profit.
Or I could be struck by lightning, but anyway. I was approved. I have ISBNs. Ta-dah!
"The Country of the Blind" is one of H.G. Wells' short stories, probably his most famous. I read it in the early 80s and thought I remembered what the story was about. But I re-read it recently and realized I was wrong.
The story is about a community, isolated in a valley, where a disease blinds all the babies. Everyone in the community is blind, and they've adapted their town life accordingly.
A sighted man accidentally comes upon the community and believes that, "in the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king" (which inspired another short story in Asimov's magazine, about a Babbage machine and a time travel paradox, but damn if I can remember who wrote it or what it was called....). He's soon proved wrong and leaves the valley to perish because he can see a rock slide about to happen and no one believes that sight is actually a thing.
I remembered the story as an illustration of how a disability is only a disability because of how society is structured. But H.G. had a different message in mind. I appreciate where he was coming from (more of a none so blind as those who will not see kind of place), but still. I was disappointed.
One day I will write the story I remember. I will sit down and imagine what a town might be like where everyone is blind, and how they might do their science, and prove or disprove things like how high the sky is. And a sighted visitor shall come, and believe that he can be king. And he shall be the disabled one in, the Country of the Blind.
When I think of Steampunk, I think of science fiction written with a 19th century understanding of science. Just as mid twentieth century sci-fi imagined a future with massive computer rooms and really shitty graphics.
Steampunk isn't necessarily set in the 19th century but it's in a future as imagined by a mind shaped by the 19th century; if that makes sense.
So to write The Mechanism, I need to think like a nineteenth century person... it's a process, okay. The summary I wrote says the story is set in 1887, or what I imagine is Nicholas Blake's "present day". The mechanism in question is sought by a lively adventuress from the 1920s, who claims that the device itself is also from there. Now the nifty part about writing the 1920s from an 1887 perspective is that, in 1887 some of the more obvious (at least in hindsight) events precipitating the Great War wouldn't have been obvious, so I, writing as Blake, don't need to worry about making the 1920s accurate as to what really happened, but a free to write them as Blake might imagine them from his current (time travel is a bitch on tense) time frame.
In other words, steam was already the greatest motive power they knew, so who could seriously imagine it changing?
I will have to do some in-depth research into the state of technology in the 1880s, and what was considered cutting edge (in 1887, Tesla was inventing his induction motor, for example). Many people believed that humanity had discovered just about everything that could be discovered.
*Note- H.G. Wells Time Machine wasn't published until 1895....
But I have a deadline to meet for Diamonds, so back to work!
"He looked at me with his blue orbs"
Lets take this apart slowly, just for fun. The first offender we extract from this sentence is orbs. No, boys and girls, we do not need another word for eyes. We do not use another word for mouth, or lips, or nose, or hands, or feet. The only thing looking at you with orbs is either non-organic, or a crystal gazer (who is probably only looking at you with one orb)
So now we have:
"He looked at me with his blue eyes."
...because his green eyes were at the cleaners?
So we take away that unnecessary word and are left with:
"He looked at me with his eyes."
What else is he going to look at you with??
"He looked at me."
Not very interesting, but at least it makes sense. To make it interesting, don't add a bunch of nonsense. Describe how he looked - was it a stare? a glare? Was his expression angry? passionate? yearning? confused? Adding a useless phrase like "with blue orbs" tells the reader about the writer, not the character. And what it says isn't favourable.