Research for Fantasy Stories: Dieselpunk Research

Yes, you can – and should – do research for your writing, even if you’re writing fantasy. Especially if you’re writing historical fantasy. 

The dieselpunk short story series I’m working on is just that – historical fiction with elements of fantasy. While dieselpunk traditionally involves retro-futuristic technology (think the flying jetpack from The Rocketeer), it can also include elements of the paranormal or the fantastical. And to write any or all of these nuances well requires a bit of research.

Here are some of the things that I’m currently researching for my historical fantasy/dieselpunk series:

Jazz-Age Fashion and Aesthetics

The stories I’m writing take place during the Roaring 20s, and my protagonist, Cornelia Jones, is a wealthy socialite. While Cornelia’s adventures don’t really focus on the details of day-to-day life, I do want to give the readers an accurate feeling for the setting and the time period. The clothes that an upper-class woman in the mid-twenties would have worn, the kind of car she owns, other details like the use of telegrams and iceboxes and gramophones all help to build the world. Continue reading

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When You’re Hit with a Shiny New Idea

Most of us creative types are often working on at least two projects at any given time.

So what do you do when you’re going along as planned, making headway (or not) on your current creative projects, and a Shiny New Idea hits you out of the blue?

The way I see it, you can handle this one of three ways:

File it away for later

Whether your Shiny New Idea is just the vaguest form of a concept or a full-blown Idea, write it down. You’ll never bring your Idea to fruition – now or later – if you don’t first write it down. And no, you won’t remember it later. Writing it down and filing it away is a good way to a) remember the Idea when the first Shininess has worn off, and b) let it cool before you interrupt all your current projects to work on it. Continue reading

Blogging Topics for 2018: What Do You Want?

Well, here it is – my first blog post of 2018! Whee!

I’ve been a disciplined blogger for years – I’ve posted at least one blog post a week for several years now, missing only a few weeks here and there in all that time. However, I’ve never been a particularly organized blogger; that is, I’ve never had blog topics and outlines planned out for weeks or months in advance. I count myself productive if I have even one post written ahead of time.

And in all my new year’s resolutions and goals, becoming an organized blogger is not one of them. Sorry, but there it is. Perhaps that makes me less of a professional writer; but I have enough trouble outlining and keeping up with the books I’m writing. Continue reading

How to Wish Writers a Merry Christmas

If you’re not a writer (or even if you are), you probably know a writer – or at least follow a few on social media. So while you’re putting the finishing touches on your holiday gift-buying (or if you’re one of those ones who hasn’t started yet), I’m here to offer you a few tips on how to give the best gifts to those writers in your life. And some of these gifts won’t even cost you any money! Here are some ideas:

Buy their Books

Okay, this one might cost you a little money. But it’s money well spent. For sometimes less money than you just spent on your peppermint mocha drink, you can download an ebook and get hours of entertainment. It’s not a big deal for you, but trust me, for us writers, selling a book and providing information or enjoyment to one person is a big deal. Continue reading

Writing Prompt: Celebrate your Character’s Favorite Holiday

Winter is my favorite season, and Christmas is my favorite holiday, and so at this time of year I invariably find myself wanting to write wintry and Christmas-themed scenarios, even if my current WIP has nothing to do with either one.

I think it’s a valid writing exercise, though. Writing about a holiday that may or may not actually figure into your story is a great way to develop more details about your characters and world. Does your character hate Christmas and everything festive? Does your character celebrate Hanukkah but always wanted to put up a Christmas tree? How does the time period, nationality, and culture of your character affect their winter-time celebrations? Does your character live in a fantasy world with a holiday of your own creation?

Try writing a scene or a vignette about your main character(s) celebrating – or avoiding – their traditional winter holiday. It doesn’t have to fit into your current story – just write a scene and see where it goes! You might learn a lot about your characters and your story’s world!