A Life Of Fiction LXXIV

For those of you new to this WordPress site, this site is about me and my writing – and a little about my role-playing, as well. It gives readers a chance to sample my work before purchasing it on the Kindle store; and gives me the chance to say a little about the genesis of each novel, or about the process of writing in general.


Keep A Glossary: For all budding writers of steampunk and similar fictions I strongly suggest that you keep a glossary if the world which you create. Believe me, in the long run it will benefit you.

Put in this glossary, or whatever you want to call it, all of the characters from your novels, presuming that your novels are all set in the same milieu. Keep this glossary on your computer, in a Word file or the equivalent, so that you can easily search through it for a specific term or person. But try to keep it alphabetical, anyway.

It is possible that your glossary may not run to more than a few pages. That’s fine. It is only an aid, after all. But if you write a lot of stories set in the same world, then it may grow to become a small encyclopaedia of your oeuvre. I have done such a glossary for my Briggs and Prenderghast stories, and the glossary, so far, runs to some 140,000 words.

It is important to do this glossary, in order to keep track of the characters of your world, its inventions, and any major changes. It should prevent you from having any errors, hopefully, in the timelines of your works.

In addition, if you are working in the fields of steampunk or gaslamp fantasy, such a glossary will allow you to list any major changes to (the science of) your world.

Don’t just list only your characters, but all changes to your world, the way that it differs from the vanilla, non-steampunk one. List any new inventions, especially those which would not be found in a normal Victorian timeline. If one of your steampunk inventors has come up with a steam-powered machine gun, then note down as much in the way of detail as you can. That way, should the deadly device make a reappearance in some later tale, you will be able to make sure that the second description tallies with its first appearance.

In the long run this should make it a lot easier for you. And, at the end, when you decide not to write any more stories set in this wonderful world of yours, you could also publish your glossary-cum-encyclopaedia, should it ever grow to the size of a regular book. Or you could do what a lot of fantasy authors do (as I myself have done) and have a few pages of glossary appear at the back of your book. Hey, if it is alright for the likes of Stephen Donaldson then it should be alright for you.

Here, from the Lexicon of the world of Briggs and Prenderghast, is a page of articles relating to one of my main protagonists, to show you what I mean:

   Prenderghast, Sarah: Sarah Prenderghast was the mother of William Prenderghast. Briggs knows little about her, except that she had a talent for magic which she never developed, but which she did pass on to her son. Prenderghast does not talk that much about his mother, and Briggs does not like to pry.

Prenderghast’s Gadget’s: Prenderghast, during his adventures with John Briggs, has used an assortment of gadgets and devices, many of them magical in nature. These include:

An ever-lasting taper, which burns with an eerie green light.

A Magick Oscillator (see Magick Oscillator)

A Mythometer (see Mythometer)

Prenderghast’s Clockwork Key (see Clockwork Key, Prenderghast’s)

Prenderghast’s Flash Bombs (see Flash Bombs, Prenderghast’s)

Prenderghast’s Monocle (see Prenderghast’s Monocle)

Prenderghast’s silver-headed walking stick (see Prenderghast’s Walking Stick)

Sleep Sand (see Sleep Sand)

Prenderghast’s Languages: William Prenderghast is one of those people who has a natural facility with languages, which can be very annoying for people who have difficulties learning a new tongue. Prenderghast can sometimes learn the basics of a new language in just a few days in the country where the language is spoken; in the realm of the Greater Apes (see Greater Apes) he taught himself enough to begin communications in less than a day. Interestingly, though, Prenderghast has never bothered learning German. In his later life, Prenderghast mastered Russian, probably as a result of a friendship with Peter Seraphim. In fact, Prenderghast was to eventually become so good at Russian that on a visit to Estonia he was mistaken for a native Russian speaker.

These languages, after English, are those in which Prenderghast has shown a good command:

French                         Mandarin Chinese                    Tibetan

Italian                          Hindi                                       Kikongo

Latin                            Lingala                                     Coptic


Prenderghast’s Monocle: Prenderghast is in possession of a monocle which appears to have been fitted with plain green glass. The monocle is enchanted, though, and by looking through it Prenderghast can effect a similar ability to that granted by the light of the police’s Magick Lanterns (see Magick Lantern) – the person using it can sense whether there is some deception in front of him. Prenderghast is careful not to let people see him using the monocle as, according to the strict letter of the law, the use of such a device could be construed as being illegal, falling into the area of crime known as Magickal Assault.

It is possible that this monocle may have been crafted, in the past, by Aaron Goldberg.

Prenderghast’s Patents: Prenderghast, though a wizard, is by trade a wizard. Although left a reasonable estate by his father, Thomas Prenderghast (see Prenderghast, Thomas), Prenderghast has added to his wealth through patents for a series of inventions, not all of them entirely successful. But the ones which have been successful have brought Prenderghast considerable wealth.

It appears that Prenderghast may have done the bulk of his inventing before he first met with Briggs. Two of the inventions which he came up with, and patented, during the time of his adventures with John Briggs were Prenderghast’s Wonderful Autochronometer Adjuster and a Clockwork Can Opener.


That was the glossary. Back in a week or so with a new post, all going well.


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