Steampunk

I’ve finally thought of something else to blog about!

I was asked a while ago to write a short steampunk story, with a 10,000 word limit, for an anthology. It was very nice to be asked – especially when I saw some of the other writers who’d be doing it. But I’d never read steampunk before in my life.

When I said that to a friend, he wisely said ‘How hard can it be?’ and told me it’s the same as sci fi, but with more steam. Unfortunately he was serious. Anyway, it’s a little more than that, so I scoured the internet and found (or rather was linked to by someone else after complaining that I could find nothing) a website with lots of steampunk shorts.

I gave some of them a read and decided that it was probably something I could do. I have the other writers and the editor and so on to tell me if I’ve insulted the name of steampunk, after all. So I got started.

I should say, that last sentence rather alluded to this being an interesting anecdote. It isn’t.

It turned out to be quite a lot easier to get into than I expected. As someone pointed out, I did manage to mention just about every item of steampunk clothing within the first few paragraphs; but then the character was taking in her own appearance after a fight. Would anyone pick up on that in any other genre? If she was wearing jeans and a t-shirt would anyone complain about me describing that? There’s not really a way to describe her appearance without mentioning the leather corset, the top hat, the goggles, etc, because that’s what she’s wearing! So I’ll have to see what the consensus is I suppose.

Anyway, this was not the first time I’d written a short story. It was, however, the first time I’ve managed to finish a short story. Usually, I can’t write them – I just keep going and going until it’s not short any more. I once tried to write one for a mock exam at school, and ended up not answering any other part of the exam, AND not finishing the story. This one I finished with 27 words to spare.

As usual, it pretty much wrote itself. I had several ideas that simply wouldn’t fit into a short story, so there’s a good chance I’ll someday write a full-length version. For now, I just need to do my final edit on it, and then send it off to be ripped apart by the other writers and the editor.

At the moment, the title is ‘After The Last War’, and tells of a day and a bit in the life of Kira, a Wastelander trying to stop her town from launching an attack which will get them all killed. Fun. I’m not sure what I’m allowed to say, but the plan is to publish the anthology within – let’s keep it vague – the next 6 months. I’m looking forward to reading what everyone else has written!

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