Magic versus Technology: Setting the Rules for Your Fictional World

Today the terms “fantasy” and “science fiction” are becoming broad, catch-all terms that encompass a wide range of sub-genres. Most people don’t just write fantasy, they write urban paranormal romance or YA epic fantasy. The same with science fiction: there’s everything from space fantasy to steampunk to retro-futurism. This is a good thing, because the person who likes fairytale retellings with a dark urban flair may not be a fan of epic high fantasy. There’s room for all of the sci-fi, fantasy, and speculative sub-genres, and all their mash-ups and cross-overs, too.

But even with all of the genre-crossing, I believe it’s still important to define whether your world is magic-based or technology-based.

This does not mean that anything with magic is automatically fantasy, nor does it mean that anything with technology more advanced than the steam engine is science-fiction. I believe the distinction lies is how the world of the story is governed. More to the point, it’s how you as the writer establish the rules of your world. A magic-based versus technology-based world has more to do with the culture of the characters and how they interact with world around them, and less to do with whether the characters wave magic wands or fly around in space ships. Continue reading

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New Dieselpunk Story!

After several (mostly self-imposed) delays, my first dieselpunk short story is now available! You can find it here!

This story launches a new series of short stories, starring the enigmatic Roaring 20s heroine Cornelia Jones. If you like historical fiction, historical fantasy, pulp adventure, or even steampunk, then I think you’ll like the adventures of Mrs. Jones!

 

Cover Reveal for a New Dieselpunk Story!

I’m excited to introduce to you my newest character and her world!

The character is Mrs. John G. Jones – Cornelia to her friends. The world is Los Angeles during the Roaring 20s – with a little magic thrown in. Cornelia Jones will be the headliner for a new series of dieselpunk short stories.

So what’s dieselpunk? Here’s a post I wrote where I give a few different common definitions of this fast-growing genre. Think historical fantasy, retro-futurism, steampunk set in the 1920s, or classic pulp adventure stories. The Mrs. Jones adventures will encompass a little bit of all of that. Continue reading

Writing Historical Fantasy

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

Adventures in a New Genre: Dieselpunk

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