Building a World

Mechanical Man Art

I am the first to admit that world-building is not my forte. I skim over a lot of detail. In the case of the Chronicles…I am torn.

I got an email today from one of my intrepid beta-readers (Who I am SOOO grateful for!) listing several things that are anachronistic to the 1870’s.

I do fudge things. I know that. I try not to suggest anything available that couldn’t have been extrapolated from things that existed by a genius like Alistair or have been brought into existence just a little ahead of its time.

I don’t always explain these things. Should I? I suppose I should. But how far do I go?

Phaeton’s animation is never explained. Perhaps Alistair could give us the reason why putting the…well, I don’t want to give things away.

But would JO know all the details? Would she care enough to ask, or just take it as a given? Does she understand everything going on around her, or brush it off as the way things are? This is her story, after all.

Of course, as the author, I am supposed to know more than she does. I realize this. How much of it do I need to put into the text?

Electric lights existed by 1874, they just weren’t commercially viable or actually in use.

New York (as New Amsterdam) began regulating food from push carts in 1691. So the carts Jo buys from aren’t impossible.

Yeah…Alistair needs to work on his welding. 😦

And Jo should wear blouses with her skirts.

But where do I draw the lines?

The groundwork needs to be set in the first book. How much do I actually write into the description? And how much do I let the readers fill in?

All advice welcome. I want to do this right, but I don’t want to completely destroy the rather happy-go-lucky feel of Jo’s narration. It’s a fine balance. How do I strike it?

And don’t forget to vote on the Kitten Naming contest. I’ve only had one person give their opinion so far!

About RieSheridanRose

Rie Sheridan Rose multitasks. A lot. Her short stories appear in numerous anthologies, including Nightmare Stalkers and Dream Walkers Vols. 1 and 2,  and Killing It Softly. She has authored twelve novels, six poetry chapbooks, and lyrics for dozens of songs. She tweets as @RieSheridanRose.
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3 Responses to Building a World

  1. wyndie Deaver says:

    For me, I know it’s an alternate history of sorts. All steam punk is, tho. The most amazing part, Jo’s spunk and drive, would have played very differently in real life. As a reader who has been lucky enough to read all 3, I’d say most is covered by willing suspension of disbelief.


    • Rie Sheridan Rose says:

      That’s how I see it, Wyndie. I try to stick fairly close to factual time, but dodge a little when it suits the story…


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