What are you currently working on? Steampunk, Dieselpunk, Gaslight Mystery/Romance, NeoVictorian, Paranormal, alternative history?

Are you creating a world only flavored with Victorian mores and manners, or working closely with Victorian history, but subverting it?

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Oh man yeah, you can do it! Middles are super annoying!

Wow, an interesting question. I keep calling my book steam punk, but I'm not absolutely sure.

The steam punk aspect comes from a lost subterranean city beneath London, dating back to 1666 when the Great Fire of London made 63,000 people homeless. Still in existence today, it has Steam driven technology with inventions like rail boards, which are basically skate boards that travels on rails, and boats propelled with steam. There are characters and costumes, which are Victorian derivatives mingled with steam punk jewelery and adornments.

But above ground it is real time London with nothing steam punk whatsoever, except for a computer geek called ICE who professes to love steam punk. That was my way of explaining to my readers what steam punk was, seeing as not many people have heard of it.

I should add that I began writing the book before I knew what steam punk was and someone pointed it  out to me when they read the first few chapters.

So, what is it? Is it steam punk in your opinion? I'd love to know your thoughts.

Best wishes


Steampunk is quite a broad and forgiving field. I would say you certainly qualify.

Some would argue that Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy is Steampunk (though I disagree). Stephen Hunt's retro-distant-future books are also considered Steampunk although they take place thousands of years from now and only have some of the traditional Steampunk elements. Likewise most consider Westerfield's Leviathan series Steampunk although it is set at the beginning of WW I and doesn't really involve steam technology at all.

Thank you, Mark. That makes sense.

I may try and demonstrate a half and half genre in that case. It has to be named so that it would be recognizable and accepted by agents/publishers for what it is

The trouble with urban fantasy, the urban bit isn't actually fantasy, it's just fiction, whereas the steam punk (underground) part is fantasy.

I have the same issue with young adult. I named my last novel  YA, but it was also for the older set too. I don't even know if there's a name for that. lol.

I must stop living between two worlds and find a genre that describes what i do. The last one was like this book: urban real time and fantasy. That was underground too, but it was set in somerset. (not steam punk).

Thanks for your help

Best wishes

Wendy xx

If the novel is aimed at an older crowd then it's just Adult.

Young Adult is not just literature that's about young adults. It has to involve some of the problems and complications encountered by young adults as they pass those final barriers into adulthood. As such it CAN be about people somewhat older, so long as they are experiencing those events and feelings that go with that stage of maturing. Usually younger readers like to read about characters who are a few years older than themselves, so you can make a Young Adult novel about people in their twenties, so long as the tone, voice and maturing aspects are there.

I think YA is a very interesting field to write in because there is a lot more room for character development. It's an inherent feature of young adults that they're not done developing their 'adult' characteristics so it leaves a lot of room for swing in attitudes and nature.

I'm feeling pretty angry at myself here.

What you've just said makes perfect sense. I pitched my last novel as YA but on refection, I do believe I got that wrong.

Okay, not so angry, because at least I have learned that I shouldn't take genres or categories for granted and that it's vitally important to get it right. Grrr!

Thank you for the advice.  Much appreciated.

Wendy xx

I've pretty much decided I'm going to remove the steam punk declaration from my M.S. I'm going for Adult Urban Fantasy and then I'll allow the steam punk element to speak for itself.

Thank you, Mark for your help and advice.

What am I writing?


Well right now Im 200+ pages deep into a Planetary Romance/Space Opera Steampunk novel.. it is divided into 3 acts. the first one is Set on the Amercan old West and Mexico, with train robberies and espionage, the second act deals with planetary discovery and explorarion while the third act indroduces a galactic empire.

the year is 1899/1900 and there is a lot of stampunk technology (from the spaceships to wristwatches), historical references and character storylines. ^^

I try to keep every detail as most accurate as possible via research, while also trying to keep a sense of uncanny and awe.

I am still working on the prequel to "The Light Rises" which will be titled "Rending the Seal". I am working on the final sections and I'm starting to worry it'll be too long. (Though I know that's what editing is for) It's around page 175 before chapters and formatting and I am fairly certain I have more than 30 pages before the end. I keep getting mixed signals from people regarding length, so I tend to be kind of conflicted.

At work I handwrite and I have "finished" one story and have moved onto the next. It seems like the second one is going significantly faster than the first, and I'm finding that a little odd. Both are set in modern day New York, and while not overtly steampunk, they have omages and connections to "The Light Rises" and the books that are/will be set along with it. The first focused on a woman who learns she's descended from Loki, and seems like it took forever and a day to write. The one I'm working on now has her and the compaions she made trying to solve a murder than will end with her having to travel to the underworld to save the victim. I've been working on the second one for just over a month now and will be into the 70s for pages this week.

So...that was a bit long. Sorry about that XD

Kelly,  if you're talking about a novel, and you're writing it double-spaced, 12 point Courier (as you should), then an average page should be roughly 250 words.  A 320 page novel would be roughly 80,000 words in length, which is about the minimum length most trade publishers will consider these days. One trade editor that I've sold to in the past told me she prefers novels more in the 90,000 to 100,000 word range.  The fantasy novel I sold her awhile back was about 400 typewritten pages.  If you're talking short stories or novelettes for magazines or anthologies, that's another matter.  If you're planning on self-publishing as an eBook or paperback, you can pretty much make up your own rules, although staying close to standard format will still be helpful. If you have doubts about the right length, look up the websites for the publishers and click on submission guidelines.  Most will state their preferred lengths.  Hope this helps!  Best wishes--!

Here's a post on manuscript length.


It is important and it's always measured in words, not pages. Querytracker is also a great site for helping you find publishers and agents, there's lots of info there about query letters and such as well. Well worth browsing around the site if you want to publish.

What I'm working on, and what I plan to work on.

Steampunk, alternate reality/world, Splatterpunk, Mechpunk, Mythospunk (just coined it, relating to Lovecraft), Greasepunk (another one, dirty and grimy world).

And I will be subverting whereever I can



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