What is historical fantasy? Well, in my mind, historical fantasy is just what it sounds like: historical fiction with a fantastical twist. Just like contemporary fantasy or urban fantasy has a present-day setting but features magic, monsters, and other elements of fantasy – historical fantasy is the same, but just using a time and place from history as the setting.
Right now I am writing historical fantasy – specifically I’m writing dieselpunk or decopunk, stories set in the 1920s, but with magic and some advanced technology. I’m doing a lot of research, but I’m also doing a lot of world-building from scratch.
Here are some tips that I am applying to my own work, and that I think are important to consider if you want to start writing historical fantasy: Continue reading
I recently wrote a post about seeing the details. Details add richness and flavor to stories and to life.
Along those same lines, seeing the big picture is just as important. Where I’m living now in north Idaho, everything is big: the trees, the mountains, and especially the sky.
Many people ask me where I get my ideas. That’s always a tough question to answer, but today I’ll share some tips on where I get ideas for worldbuilding. I hope these help you to create alien creatures, futuristic technology, magic spells, new cultures, and all the trappings of building a world.
Build on Common Tropes
I wrote this post a while back about being unoriginal when creating fantasy creatures. There’s a reason that so many fantasy stories feature dragons and dwarves and goblins. And yet, the dragons and dwarves and goblins are different in every story, every world, every sub-genre. There are as many ways to add unique elements to the old standby of “large fire-breathing dragon” as there are people to write the stories. Don’t discount the old traditional classics as a great jumping-off point for original ideas.
Build on Real Things
In this post, I discuss two examples of stories that use real animals as fantasy races. Like the previous point, there’s a lot of value in starting with something familiar and then adding your own creativity to it. Whether you’re creating a race of armor-wearing polar bears, or a dystopian sci-fi world where dolphin and whales have advanced beyond humans, there’s a ton of inspiration in the real world all around. Continue reading
This week I was stumped for a blog post idea, due in part to being focused on lots of other writerly things besides blogging. I love blogging and I’ve kept at it for years, so don’t worry – I won’t be going anywhere. In the coming weeks I’ll be back to sharing writerly quotes and giving tips about writing and storytelling. But in the meantime, here’s what I’ve been up to.
I’m working on putting my sci-fi novella Blueshift on Nook and iBooks. So if you have a Nook or an Apple device, you’ll soon be able to read it! Continue reading
Stories are important! Let me know how this quote inspires you this week!
So I’ve written and published a fantasy book, a science fiction book, and now I’m on to a new genre that combines elements of both fantasy and sci-fi, with some historical thrown in. Welcome to Dieselpunk!
What is dieselpunk, you ask? Well, if you’re familiar with steampunk, then it’s similar, except it’s set in the age of the internal combustion engine instead of the steam era. Wikipedia’s definition of dieselpunk is accurate, if a bit dry: “Dieselpunk…combines the aesthetics of the diesel-based technology of the interwar period through to the 1950s with retro-futuristic technology and postmodern sensibilities.” Continue reading