Using The Right Terms For Victorian Photography

Monday, April 23, 2012

This is easily the most random post I've ever written, but after messing around with the 'time machine' filters on Paint Shop Pro too much tonight I realized how much I hate when people just apply the terms 'daguerreotype' or 'tintype' to EVERY SINGLE PHOTO they see from the 19th century. There were a bunch of different photography techniques in use throughout the century, and many, if not most, of them overlapped. Let's talk about those now just so I can get this off my chest and fall asleep soundly.

To demonstrate the use of some of the more common ones, I took a drawing of Dustin, did some strange things with it in Paint Shop Pro, and then applied the time machine filters that were applicable to it.

Trashed Londinium Ideas: The Post

Monday, April 16, 2012

I don't quite know what inspired this post, but there have been quite a few trashed Londinium ideas over the years, and I can share them now since they won't appear in the books at all. I started this book as a sophomore in high school, when I was young and stupid. I'm older and slightly less stupid now, so my ideas are significantly better than they were seven years ago.

Seriously, Londinium is going to turn eight years old in December. That's kind of scary to think about.

Anyhow, I'm going to go through trashed ideas year by year, starting in December of 2004 when this project was first conceived. There are a lot of terrible ideas in my little green ledger. It's very pitiful.


  • Charlie was raised in an orphanage/workhouse, not the brothel his mother worked at. This was deemed too similar to Oliver Twist and was therefore dropped.
  • Basil is originally listed in my notes as being the "intern to a banker." Yeah. About that...
  • Dustin only cleaned chimneys - no mention of his musical talents. He also often longingly looked at a rich "lady in the window," with whose world he was fascinated and knew he'd never reach.
  • Annabell Simmons and Basil originally stopped dating due to another man. This changed within one day.
  • 'Guvmate,' the one thing retained from the earlier notes, dates back to 12/15/04, but it's been rewritten what feels like upwards of ten times. 
  • Monty Houghton first appears in my notes on 12/20/04 as a much more violent, angry person than he is now.
  • Dustin's original height was 5'8". He's now 5'2".
  • Sullivan, the man Dustin was apprenticed to when he was learning how to clean chimneys, was a jerkface, for lack of a better word. The only surviving image of him that is even slightly presentable is from my old deviantART account:

  • There are legitimate notes regarding something called "Londinium the Musical." There are even some song attempts in existence. I should probably light those on fire.
  • Robert Sheldon was actually diligent at work. Now he's a clock-watcher.
  • First mention of a poet on 1/10/05. Back then, the idea was supposed to be meaningful. This evolved into Kynaston Jordan, whose poetry was so bad that Basil and his friends used to do competitive readings of it at Eton. I like this better than the idea being meaningful.
  • Ironically, Sir Norwood Linsay and Gib Merton both appear in January 2005 and are essentially the same people, although their backstories are deeper now.
  • Monty was a sadist. He also spoke French, German and Russian and enjoyed saying "Au contraire, klavier!" which roughly translates to "On the contrary, piano!" 
  • Crispin Arlie existed. He was a crossing-sweeper that Gib semi-adopted. Once Gib's two little sisters entered the picture, Arlie was dropped.
  • Rescuing orphans - Dustin would save children impressed into being climbing boys and girls. He, Gib and Charlie also plucked an abandoned little girl named after an Enya song (Isobella) from the street and delivered her to an orphanage where Dustin brought all of his rescued children. At one point in the first draft, out of spite and anger Sullivan burned this orphanage down and the children and caretakers all ended up in Basil's parlor.
  • Kynaston Jordan was originally a traveling actor who wrote bad poetry.
  • Dustin ended up becoming a stage actor and went into performing Gilbert and Sullivan operas as he got older. Yeah, nope. He's better with the piano than his own voice now.
  • As late as 4/14/05, Basil was described as being "not very imaginative" and "a bit boring." Not exactly how you want to describe your lead character, that.
  • Rebecca Hillman. Basil was going to try courting her in the second book, but she never developed as a character.
Amazingly, there were no bad ideas in 2006, partially because other projects were taking up most of my time and my few notes from 2006 are research-based. The Cheese Beggar emerges as a character, as does Emily, Basil's former fiancee.

  • Basil and Dustin are finally themselves, at least. It's the little things like proper characterization that make going through all my bad ideas so worth it.
  • Except that Dustin was still 5'7.5". He had some shrinking to do.
  • Basil's family was originally low on money because a cousin of his had gambled it all away, which forced him into working in the bank. This was only recently changed because I had a more realistic and generally better idea.
  • Jasper Leggett, Philander Midgeley, Gifford Hoadley and Royden Stagg. Look at their names. Take their initials (JL, PM, GH, RS) and it makes it easier. They were an opera quartet of young men who toured Europe and America performing arias and the like, with young women swooning at their feet as if they were Franz Liszt. ...yeah, they were meant to be a Beatles parody. How did you ever figure that one out, I wonder?
Look at how darn clever I thought I was.
 Fortunately, since 2007 I've been in a massive rewriting process, and these bad ideas have generally been either changed into good ideas or removed from the plot entirely. This just goes to show you that writing is a process - your first draft won't necessarily be your final one, and your characters will grow and change as you write them and get to know them better. That being said, don't let this deter you from writing altogether, because sticking with it is how you actually get to that great story you're trying to tell. You'll have to sift through a lot of bad ideas before you hit upon the good ones, but in the end it's worth it.

To me, Londinium is definitely worth it, even with all of this horrible crap here. I'm glad I've stuck with these characters over the years and worked with them to tell their stories. I can guarantee you that if you stick with your cast and work together with them, you'll tell great stories, too.