Everything You Wanted To Know About Pike’s Novel…

…but were afraid to ask. Or, more likely, asked anyway.

So, here’s the deal. I’m going to be presumptuous and assume that if you’re reading this blog, then you either a.) like my writing, or b.) like me. (d’aww <3 by the way.) Otherwise, you probably would've stopped reading when I dropped Aspect of the Hare. And I'm further going to assume that if you fall into either (or both) of those categories, you're probably at least a little bit interested in this novel that I've been hinting around at since November. So, I figured I would address a few novel-related questions that I get asked from time to time. A sort of FAQ, if you will. (If you're really not all that interested in my book, that's fine, you can skip this entry =P)
So what is this whole novel thing?

I was challenged by several Twitterites to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), so I did. It turned into a full fledged novel at some point. It’d be nice to get it published someday, so I’ve been working toward that goal.

Oooh! So what’s your book about?

I always waver a bit on this question because the answer is just so friggin’ out there. Usually I tell people “Well, it has dragons, airships, and giant robots in it.”

This phrase tends to confuse people, though, and they ask whether it’s a fantasy or a science fiction. Which causes me to hem and haw and waffle before I tell people it’s an “alternate-universe-ish historical science fiction”, which generally just causes more confusion.


Short answer: It’s steampunk. (my possibly bizarre interpretation of it, anyway.)

Longer Answer: It’s an adventure story about anthropomorphic animals in an alternate universe that roughly– though not entirely– corresponds to our late 19th century. A few mythical creatures (in this case, dragons) are involved, although magic really isn’t. I was going for a sort of “His Dark Materials” feel, I think. Some fantastic elements, but not really fantasy per se.

Think of Jules Verne but with fuzzy animals instead of people and you’ll be pretty close to the mark.

Why fuzzy animals?

Lots of reasons.
1.) Easier to draw, and I like drawing my characters to help me in the character creation process
2.) Kind of gives the story a mystical/fable-like quality that I like
3.) Thematic elements (no, really. I’d like to think a classroom of AP English kids could pick up on this, but who knows if I wrote it that well?)
4.) I kind of wrote the book as a tribute to classic Disney animation and the effect it’s had on me and my artistic inclinations.

So it’s a kids/young adult book then?

I wasn’t really aiming at any particular age group when I was writing the book. If anything I think I wanted it to be a book with a wide age range appeal, like Harry Potter or something.

The interesting thing is that since then I’ve had five or six people read the early draft in its entirety and give me feedback on it. Almost everyone has told me it sort of “feels” like a young adult novel, with one problem: my choice of vocabulary is… very not-young-adult-novel. As in, “read it with a dictionary close at hand.”

This puts me in a bit of a dilemma. I’m fine with marketing my book as “young adult”, but I’m really wary about the idea of toning down the big-boy-vocab words. That’s just how I write. Besides, I don’t talk down to kids. I remember being a kid; I didn’t like being talked down to. Ya know?

So I’m just gonna say “it’s for all ages” and call it good.

You’re talking about stuff like feedback… are you done writing?

Yes and no.

“Yes”: The story has a beginning, middle, and end. There is a prologue and there is… well, not an epilogue. But the words “The End” are there.

However, I have a big ol’ list of “things to add and/or fix” that I have been whittling away at for a couple of months now. So, in that sense… “No.”

Can I read the draft?

Maybe. Not now, though, as it’s not ready yet. If I decide later to get “beta readers” outside of my family/close friends circle, I’ll probably post about it on the blog and ask for volunteers, so fear not.

The prologue has been up on my LJ for a month or so now and anyone is welcome to read that if they wish.

When are you going to be done?

Not sure. I’ve given myself a goal of “by the end of the month” but that may be pushing it. Editing is hard. >.>

And you want to get this published eventually, right?

Yep! Well, it would be nice. I’m not going to beat myself up over it if it doesn’t happen. And while I know… pretty much nothing about the whole “publishing process”, I sort of get the inkling that it might take a while. All the rejection letters and what not. But yeah, “eventually”. Let’s hope!

Okay then. Oh! One last thing. What’s it called?

“Windshifter”! ^_^

And if you’ve got any other questions, you’re free to ask me in the comments/on Twitter/what-have-you. I appreciate all the interest and support you guys have shown in my book thus far! <3

23 thoughts on “Everything You Wanted To Know About Pike’s Novel…”

  1. I can attest to the fact that the novel is made of awesome. Something about it that makes me DO wish it was adapted into a disney movie. somehow i imagine zach effron would do the voice of windshifter for some reason. DONT ASK ME WHY I WOULD THINK THIS WAY.

  2. @ Krizzlybear – ILU

    Also, OMG NEW AWESOME PROJECT. We need to “cast” our respective NaNos. (For yours, I vote Tomo from AzuDaioh for Hanako.)

    @ Tora – I’M ON IT *cheesy pose*

  3. Good luck, dearie. What I’ve read of your NaNo is pretty awesome and definitely more original than most things I’ve seen hit the shelves lately. If you ever need any advice on how to go about seeking publication, I’ve been in the game for a while.

    The *best* thing I could recommend is that you read the Query Shark blog, because if you want to publish a novel, well, first you have to perfect the fine art of the query letter, and she’ll give you all of the basics.

  4. i REALLY want to read it, but, i’m not good at that critiquing etc thing, i just wanna read a finished product. ๐Ÿ˜›

  5. Pike, I’ve been enjoying your writing, and I love your slightly skewed viewpoint. I’m gonna start saving my pennies now!

  6. Yay! I’m so glad you posted this, I was actually wondering some of this (though I gathered a lot from the twitter conversations).

    May I give unsolicited “how to sum up your novel” writer advice? (“No” is ALWAYS an acceptable response. <3 )

  7. Pike, don’t dumb down the language in Windshifter!
    Like you, I read plenty. I read books for college level readers in elementary school. Kids can read with dictionaries they way they are supposed to.
    If an editor wants you to, then try it, but otherwise leave it as is.

    Ever notice how kids that play dungeons and dragons (well, back in the day) have
    a large vocabulary, read a lot, and can actually speak English properly? It’s from reading good books written well and not by reading dumbed down kids books.


  8. I think the most important thing wit new vocabulary is to make sure that the big, unknown words are always used in context. That way a reader who doesn’t know what they mean can pick them up without being confused.

  9. @ Jennifer – thanks for the recommendation and advice! You’re definitely on my “go to” list for needing help on the whole writing/publishing thingy.

    @ Tami – I appreciate any and all writer advice! <3

    @ Azaleth and Bamos - Thanks for the tips ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Thanks for putting up the link the prologue of your novel. It was great and left me wanting more. I’ve been a long time reader of Aspect of the Hare and now Clockwork Hare and just wanted to thank for for sharing your stories with all of us and keeping me entertained.

  11. Keep the big words. When I was a “young adult” I loved reading that expanded my vocabulary. To this day, people think I’m smarter than I am because I use “big words.”

  12. Oh. My. God!

    I just read the prologue! I want more! It’s like Girl Genius (http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php) mixed with wonderful fantasy, a touch of “His Dark Materials”, and green skin! I love it! I am so buying this book when it comes out! It’s on my to read list already! I might even read this before I finish The Wheel of Time, if it becomes available within the year.

    Love! <3

  13. As someone that used to be one of the people in the group of “young adult readers” I can attest to the way we read- if there is a word we don’t understand we simply take the context and simply come to understand the meaning being conveyed without ever having to know what the word meant…in most situations anyway- the key to this is you cannot let the meaning of the idea you convey be hinged entirely on the difficult word in question. So based on this and having read a little of what you have and assuming the rest of it follows a similar style of writing you should be fine marketing it to the young adult crowd. Also something of interest you might want to consider: most people don’t read novels anymore at all (sadly) but the majority of book sales are to people who are profuse readers who can get through difficult words here or there as long as it isn’t as difficult a read as the first edition of Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde (sure I know alot of avid readers love that one but I HATED it- if you are going to write in a way that you can convey anything to a target audience it should be made so that they can keep track of wth is happening without having to keep a notebook and write an outline of the plotline actions) I have read the original Dracula and Frankenstein- both are moderately difficult reads due to vocabulary and grammar usage but neither goes overboard- they are both still readable and both are read by “young adult readers” regularly.

  14. “Fuzzy animals” FTW.

    Redwall, anyone?

    Besides, what about that race in Marrowind/Oblivion that’s lizard or cat like? See! Mainstream!

  15. Pike, I followed you on aspect of the Hare and your blog helped keep me interested in WOW, especially my hunters. I have never however, taken the time to thank you. So, very late thanks. I am posting now to join the others in asking you not to dumb down your vocabulary in you novel The best books I read as a kid made me learn new words while providing hours of entertainment. My 8 year old daughter is on that same path now, I will make sure she gets your book when it is published. Thanks again, and keep up the good work.
    by the way my NE hunter has all the mechnostriders ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. I really quite enjoyed reading that prologue, I like the use of vocabulary so I have to add to the already abundant amount of comments imploring you to not dumb down the novel!
    I could see my self buying and reading your book, granted I find the time to do so (raiding with school and homework can be such a time hog, rarely have any time to read for entertainment any more).

    Good luck with the editing! ๐Ÿ˜€

  17. Hey, I followed you from AotH cuz I think you’re a blast. As a fellow writer, I recently stumbled across this website: http://www.pw.org, go to magazines then classifieds in the toolbar thingy up top and it gives you a list of entities currently looking for submissions. They have everything from poetry to novels and give websites so you can get further information than the blurb on pw.

    You answered a question for me once, thought I’d return the favor. Loving it, keep blogging ๐Ÿ˜€


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