The Rebel – Out to Save Civilization

Study the past and write about it.

The Romans had a problem with employment, and they came up with a solution.

We call it bread and circuses, I don’t know what the Romans called it. (today we call it the Internet and welfare). One of the reason they implemented this was another law that dictated that the son had to go into the business of the father. That was good if your father was a senator, but not so good if your father was a garbage collector.

I have not read if the Roman people rioted against the son must follow the father law. The law would provide stability. You knew your place. But you could not get out of your role in life. Born a shoemaker, always a shoemaker.

This would lock the society in the past, prevent change. People like that. Who could become the gun maker if everyone could only be what their father was and there had never been guns before?

If someone comes along with guns, the whole society would be in trouble.

That law would make entrepreneurs and innovators rebels and outlaws. The kind of characters I like to write about.

I don’t know if anyone saw anything wrong with it, at the time. But we know what happened to the Roman Empire.

The average person would think they were very smart and except the free bread. Why not, everyone else was doing it. Then she would go watch the Circus. It would take a driven person to start something new. A person that would not except sitting around doing nothing. A true rebel. Stubborn is the word that comes to mind.

This person or character would not look different than anyone else. Can you spot a innovator walking down the street? A used car salesman, maybe. Besides the innovator would be in her workshop innovating not wandering around the streets.

There is no stereotype look for an innovator. You don’t have to be a wild eyed genius, or a nut case to be an innovator. It’s the slow steady, hard-workers, that get things done.

We have become obsessed with the image of Albert Einstein. He maintained his look for a purpose.

Your book’s character may have an unusual look and a reason for that look, but the look would have to make the person money, or do something for the character. Otherwise the character would not keep the look. The reason for the look may be as silly as; that’s the way she’s always dressed (think Mortisa from the TV show Addams Family), but it has to cost the character something and may be a point of change for the character.

Your character may also be trying to save his civilization or it is her drive to make a better world is what makes her overcome the plot obstacles. But to do this, do they have to look or be flamboyant?

Stay strong, write on, and make your hero a rebel out to save civilization.

Professor Hyram Voltage

Mid year day, loneliness, disappointment, and change.

It’s the middle of the year and many authors are talking about the progress they’ve made towards their goals. You can’t get away from podcasts about how the successful authors are killing it this year. The ones that failed to meet their goals don’t brag about their failures, despite horrific reasons they were blocked from reaching their goals.

Last week, a friend had a stroke. I didn’t need that. Another good person impacted.

Side note, I like to take photographs. I’m don’t take very good photos. I want to get better. So I bought a couple of books (five old, used, Kodak books, two new ones and a course on photography). Then I went on the Internet. What a time sink. Good information if you can squeeze it out.

I started watching a podcasts. It’s an hour and a half time sink, but I get a couple of things I can use or that are at least interesting out of each broadcast. Well I did. Then the podcast degenerated into more and more rants. If I want rants the are several new programs I could watch or listen to.

Now there are accusations of misconduct by photographers towards models.

I’m not getting any educational value out of the podcasts that apply to photographing people at steampunk events. I have decided to cancel my Patreon subscriptions to the podcasts. They won’t miss my small contribution. I will have more time to write. It’s just my photography will not be getting better.

It’s lonely being a writer. To socialize I joined to a good sized photography club. Members of the club win awards for their pictures. Still, many of them are into landscape photos and other types that are not what I do. I may drop out of the club.

I’m down, but I will get over it. My friend will never be the same.

I’m writing, but my heart is not into it. It will get better. He will get better, but he will never be the same.

There was a 7.2 earthquake north of here. I felt it. It was strong here but didn’t knock anything off the shelves. I was in an 7.0 earthquake years ago. It was only 20 miles from my childhood home where I was living. Splashed water out of the bathtub. I know what it’s like to be in a big earthquake. Rock on, gets a whole new meaning when the house gets up and moves.

Stay strong, write on, and go with the flow. It hurts to give up. It hurts to admit that you made a wrong decision. Sometimes life hurts.

Professor Hyram Voltage

When a Sure Thing Isn’t

You’ve done it several times before. You read the instructions several times. You follows the instructions to the letter. You work hard, and do it right.

And it blows up. And it wasn’t suppose to.

That describes my weekend.

I need to get rid of a block of concrete. It’s 3 feet by 3 feet and extents 4 feet into the ground. A jack hammer is too noisy and a very expensive piece of equipment to rent. It also very hard on the body. So we used a compound called Dexpan (Expansive Demolition Grout for Concrete and Rock Breaking). You can buy the stuff at the big box hardware store.

All you have to do is drill a one and one half inch diameter hole in the concrete. Then mix the Dexpan powder with water and pour the slurry into the hole. We’ve done this several times.

A roto-hammer-drill with a one and one-half inch eighteen inch long drill is much cheaper to rent and a whole lot easier on the body than a double action jack hammer and the compressor to run it. An electric jack hammer isn’t that cheap either.

Five eighteen inch deep holes will hold a packet of Dexpan slurry. In the first set of holes we used an unused left over packet of Dexpan. After it expanded and cracked the concrete we drilled five new holes, mixed up a new packet of Dexpan to form a slurry and poured it in the new holes.

Approximately ten minutes later the Dexpan exploded out of one of the holes. Seconds later harden pieces of Dexpan fell on the roof. Every one tool shelter. The Dexpan kept exploding out of the five holes.

Thank goodness it is close to the Fourth of July. There are so many illegal fireworks going off that no one complained. Dexpan is not made to explode. It has never exploded before when we used it.

What does this have to do with writing steampunk. Everything. In real life things don’t always work like they’re suppose to. Your hero researches the books. Imagine a hero that doesn’t know everything, but has the smarts to look it up. Or he asks the experts. Then he does everything by the book and it doesn’t work. It’s the wrong time of year, the wrong phase of the moon, the wrong brand of stuff.

The hero hires a consultant. That doesn’t work so he hires an expert to do the job and it still doesn’t work. Been there, done that. These are ready made plot points. The consultant was a fake. The expert was on the take of the antagonist.

When the invention that is going to save the day it blow up and damages the town. The town folks run the hero out of town. They pursue the hero to stop him from doing it again, even when it’s their only hope to be saved.

The hero has to fail before he can succeed.

Stay strong, write on, and have a safe Fourth of July.

Professor Hyram Voltage.