If you missed this week’s other post by Leigh Statham, you can find it here. If you’re already up-to-date, you know that Leigh’s new book, The Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl has released. Today, Leigh’s joining us to talk about some of the particulars of writing steampunk. She’s got some great tips and insights, so check it out.
Steampunkish Type Research
Steampunk, in my not-so-humble opinion, is the best way to write historical fiction. I love history, I love reading true accounts and historical fiction, but when it comes to writing it, quite honestly, I get bored. Steampunk is a great way to be creative with history while still conveying some important facts.
The first thing you’ll want to do is find a solid place to start. Not all steampunk novels do this. Some just choose the Victorian era and then go! But I like to pick an actual person or event from history to anchor myself and my research. Scott Westerfield did a magnificent job of this in his Leviathan series. It’s set at the beginning of World War I, and follows those events closely, but with several key twists.
I like to read and watch a lot of non-fiction before I get into the fanciful elements of my story. Steampunk is only steampunk because it has key elements of realism from our past. If it didn’t, it would just be steamy scifi. Some questions you want to ask yourself might be: What did they wear? What did they eat? Who held the power? What were the social expectations? What was the most common means of travel? What were the strange medical beliefs of the times? These should lead you to other questions and hopefully some great fact nuggets for your story.
Once you have a firm grasp of your setting and how it really was, you can now make it better. This is where it gets fun! I love to read steampunk because no two worlds are alike. Some authors choose magic as a means of changing the timeline. Others use a different dimension or just hard core scientific discoveries. I am one of the latter. I like to keep it as real as possible through science, but I appreciate a bit of magical realism in the books I read as well. I think the important thing to remember at this point is to keep it simple. You don’t want too many amazing things going on at once or your world will dwarf your plot and characters. There are so many ingredients that go into the perfect steampunk story, you need to make sure they are balanced. A little history, a little fantasy, a really good plot, and amazing characters will get you there quite nicely.
ABOUT THE PERILOUS JOURNEY OF THE NOT-SO-INNOCUOUS GIRL
Title: THE PERILOUS JOURNEY OF
THE NOT-SO-INNOCUOUS GIRL
Publication date: March 17, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Leigh Statham
Lady Marguerite lives a life most 17th century French girls can only dream of: Money, designer dresses, suitors and a secure future. Except, she suspects her heart may be falling for her best friend Claude, a common smithie in the family’s steam forge. When Claude leaves for New France in search of a better life, Marguerite decides to follow him and test her suspicions of love. Only the trip proves to be more harrowing than she anticipated. Love, adventure and restitution await her, if she can survive the voyage.
Leigh Statham was raised in the wilds of rural Idaho, but found her heart in New York City. She worked as a waitress, maid, artist, math teacher, nurse, web designer, art director, thirty-foot inflatable pig and mule wrangler before she settled down in the semi-quiet role of wife, mother and writer. She resides in North Carolina with her husband, four children, five chickens and two suspected serial killer cats. If the air is cool and the sun is just coming up over the horizon, you can find her running the streets of her small town, plotting her next novel with the sort of intensity that will one day get her hit by a car.