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

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

Retrofuturism, Historical Fantasy, and Dieselpunk Tech

 As you may know, I’m currently writing a historical fantasy series. It’s set in the 1920s, and the title character Mrs. Jones has assorted adventures; magic, a touch of the paranormal, and a lot of “futuristic” retro-technology are key elements in her world.

I wrote a post last year giving some tips on how to write convincing technobabble for science fiction stories. This blog post is in a similar vein – but it’s for writing “historical technobabble.”

“Retro-futurism” is technology or other sci-fi elements that might have existed in the past, but didn’t. And so, to offer some tips on how to write retro-futurism or historical sci-fi, I’m sending you over to a guest post I wrote on The Old Shelter blog.

Read on to find out all about Retrofuturism and Dieselpunk: How they Work in a 1920s Setting!

What to Do if You’re not doing NaNoWriMo

What is NaNoWriMo? In case you didn’t know, it’s National Novel Writing Month. Every November, thousands of crazy eager folks decide to crank out an entire novel in just one month. The goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

It’s a fun challenge, and gets people excited about writing. Even if you don’t “win” it by hitting the 50,000 word mark, it’s still worthwhile to participate to challenge yourself, team up with accountability partners, meet other writers, and try something new.

But what if you’ve decided not to participate? Believe it or not, there are a lot of writers out there who don’t do NaNoWriMo – or at least don’t do it every year. So what can you do this November if you’re not trying to crank out a NaNoWriMo novel? Continue reading

5 Types of Books to Make You a Better Writer

This is a re-blogging of a post I wrote a couple of years ago, but I believe the content continues to be valid. It’s said that writers should be readers – which is true – but just what exactly are we supposed to be reading? Here’s my take on books for writers:

A Craft of Writing Book

This is one category that I need to work on more. I’ve read a few books on the craft of writing, but it’s something that even the best authors can always get better at. If you want to get better at writing, then constantly writing is important – but a how-to writing book can help you strengthen your writing strengths, adjust your weaknesses, and point out mistakes you didn’t even realize you were making. Continue reading