Hi,I'm writing a steampunky modern fantasy novel but I don't have any ideas of how to write steampunk even though I love it. Any ideas?
I’m going to be honest here: I know very little about steampunk other than the basic definition of what it is. I think it’s very cool though, and I’ve seen some steampunk art that inspires and haunts me at the same time, so I have much respect and appreciation for the genre. Having said that, my advice would be ill informed.
So I will quickly link you to a Writer’s Digest article that covers many aspects of writing steampunk fiction:
But a general recommendation I like to give to someone that is passionate about a genre/sub genre or a basic story concept is to choose one you absolutely love and try to replicate it using your own characters, as a means of practice. And don’t get me wrong, even though I’m calling it practice, it doesn’t mean it can’t someday become a legitimate project that you could one day publish. Stories change and evolve as we work on them, so it might become something completely different.
For example, if I love Harry Potter, and I find the magical education sub genre fascinating, I might start out by creating a school where kids go to learn about magic. I’d write about the professors, the classes, and I might even split the students into four groups, who live together and attend classes together.
Yes, this sounds like plagiarism, and if I tried to publish it, it would definitely be met with a lot of criticism and potentially legal action (depending on how close to HP it was). But I’m not publishing this. I’m writing it because the setup inspires me, and I’m just trying to have some fun here. It’s helping me understand the genre on an intimate level.
But maybe as I’m writing, I come up with the idea for some higher power to close the school. “Magical education is dangerous, and it’s no longer feasible to fund a school where magic is taught.” So then you start thinking about what these practitioners of magic have to do to learn their craft. Secret societies? Homeschooling? Or does magic ultimately disappear?
This concept starts to move away from Harry Potter, especially if your characters grew up with magic, and none of them lost their parents as a baby to a dark evil wizard.
So it’s worth your time to replicate stories that inspire you. Too many times we struggle with trying to make something original that we stop having fun creating it, and we stop. You could spend 6 months trying to plot out an original story, or you could spend 6 months working on an unoriginal story that you’re passionate about. With the latter, you end up with a lot of material to work with, and as I mentioned earlier, the unoriginal idea could evolve into something original as you’re writing it.
Write what you want. The writing process is not cut and dry - it’s abstract, and it’s subjective to each individual writer, and it can be long. If you don’t know what to write, choose a story you love, and write it your way with your own characters.
Just have fun and keep writing!