Author Topic: Story Help Opinions - Steampunk - To steam or not to steam?  (Read 316 times)  

Offline KD Ritchie

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So I'm going through edits on my draft, and I always had a kind of alternative 1920's alternative universe with magical realism. I'm wondering if with a few EASY tweaks and punching it up, I can create a setting inspired by steampunk. (One of the main plot points was a highly mechanical locking device with gears and honestly, fits with steampunk super well!).

Quick synopsis of my alternative time periods:
- Old-fashioned gender expectations "Girls wear dresses from proper families" - which I can easily make into tossing on a corset ;)
- The most "advanced" tech is a radio and dial phone in the homes along with electric lighting
- The second book involves pirates a little, or at least a ghost ship
- focus on locks, tunnels, secret pathways
- huge clashing of Natural vs. Manmade (there are Princess Mononoke vibes)
- Pigs that breath fire and hunt for gold
- Alchemy (light, might be beefing this up more)

I'm really new to knowing a lot about Steampunk, but I do know if from various films (I adore Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle too). I'd really love to have a more 'grounded' world, and this might be great for it! Let me know what you think or should watch out for when thinking of this stuff.

Thank you so much for your feedback :)

Offline MissingAlaska

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Re: Story Help Opinions - Steampunk - To steam or not to steam?
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2018, 10:02:03 AM »
Steampunk is normally set in the Victorian Age -- but I think you might have fun pushing it into the 1920s.  Thematically, you could use that time period to your advantage. The last vestiges of stuffy Victoriana gave way to the Jazz Age. Women fought for the right to vote and dared to uncover their ankles. The arts turned from Classicism and Romanticism to modernism (Picasso, Art Deco, etc).  At the same time, what was once wondrous became common. The technological marvel of electricity went from powering a few bulbs in the homes of the rich to kitchen appliances and radios in many houses. Horses and buggies had mostly been replaced by automobiles.  Thematically, this worked for J.K. Rowling in Fantastic Beasts (the English 'stuffiness' of the original Potter universe contrasted wonderfully with the vibrancy of NYS in that period). You might have your Steampunk hero lament that his inventions aren't quite as cutting edge as they used to be -- or have that prim assistant dare to show her knees. It would still be Steampunk - but with an interesting twist.

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Offline Kal241

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Re: Story Help Opinions - Steampunk - To steam or not to steam?
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2018, 10:22:57 AM »
Steampunk is just one of many "punk" subgenres out there. There's everything from dieselpunk to solarpunk as well. Each one of them incorporates tech that is based on the genre name.

For example, dieselpunk often has heavily modified variants of war vehicles that run on diesel engines, such as walking Mobile Suit-style tanks that are basically Shermans with legs. Solarpunk has solar panels and other "green" tech everywhere.

Steampunk is a little different since it tends to overlap with teslapunk and other genres, resulting in tesla coil-powered weaponry and such when most of the tech is steam-powered. Lots of room for modifications of existing equipment that ran on steam at that time, like trains and some cars. Machine horses, robot arms and legs, you name it; as long as steam powers it, it fits.

You can fit it into the time period you specified pretty easily, I think, but remember the rules of the genre. And I'd heavily research both existing and experimental innovations of that time to see where you could add some "steamy" changes.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2018, 10:26:34 AM by Kal241 »

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Online Dennis Chekalov

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Re: Story Help Opinions - Steampunk - To steam or not to steam?
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2018, 10:45:25 AM »
You may find this useful: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SteamPunk

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFCuE5rHbPA" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFCuE5rHbPA</a>
« Last Edit: June 13, 2018, 10:47:19 AM by Dennis Chekalov »
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Offline Lorri Moulton

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Re: Story Help Opinions - Steampunk - To steam or not to steam?
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2018, 10:48:45 AM »
The MC in my mystery book owns a nightclub in downtown Seattle that caters to Steampunk fans.  It's been a very popular part of the book. :)

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Offline munboy

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Re: Story Help Opinions - Steampunk - To steam or not to steam?
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2018, 10:55:16 AM »
So I'm going through edits on my draft, and I always had a kind of alternative 1920's alternative universe with magical realism. I'm wondering if with a few EASY tweaks and punching it up, I can create a setting inspired by steampunk. (One of the main plot points was a highly mechanical locking device with gears and honestly, fits with steampunk super well!).

Quick synopsis of my alternative time periods:
- Old-fashioned gender expectations "Girls wear dresses from proper families" - which I can easily make into tossing on a corset ;)
- The most "advanced" tech is a radio and dial phone in the homes along with electric lighting
- The second book involves pirates a little, or at least a ghost ship
- focus on locks, tunnels, secret pathways
- huge clashing of Natural vs. Manmade (there are Princess Mononoke vibes)
- Pigs that breath fire and hunt for gold
- Alchemy (light, might be beefing this up more)

I'm really new to knowing a lot about Steampunk, but I do know if from various films (I adore Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle too). I'd really love to have a more 'grounded' world, and this might be great for it! Let me know what you think or should watch out for when thinking of this stuff.

Thank you so much for your feedback :)

Why switch to all steampunk? Why not combine the magic with steam? I do enjoy those stories quite a bit.

Online Dennis Chekalov

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Re: Story Help Opinions - Steampunk - To steam or not to steam?
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2018, 10:59:00 AM »
Why not combine the magic with steam?

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Offline OnlyTheGrotesqueKnow

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Re: Story Help Opinions - Steampunk - To steam or not to steam?
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2018, 06:00:54 PM »
I'd really love to have a more 'grounded' world, and this might be great for it! Let me know what you think or should watch out for when thinking of this stuff.

Your world is as important as your characters. People don't just want to fall in love with the people in the story, they want to be transported to a place that feels real. The world should be a character as important as you MC. If this feels like something that can get you there then I'd say go for it. Imagine Harry Potter without Hogwarts, or Lord of the Rings without Middle Earth. Lots of books are set in generic worlds that are easily forgotten but the most loved books are those that are in worlds as lovingly detailed and fleshed out as the characters. Chase your passion as that's where the best writing comes from.
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Online Kathy Dee

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Re: Story Help Opinions - Steampunk - To steam or not to steam?
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2018, 02:16:43 AM »
The last vestiges of stuffy Victoriana gave way to the Jazz Age.

What a great opening line that would make!