I had unique and wonderful experience yesterday that took me from slamming into mental walls to a myriad of options for my short story.
HCS Publishing will be releasing their first anthology of Steampunk short stories in January 2018! It will be a treat to see how each author, so different from the next in voice and plot choice, spins their engaging story for you. Keep an eye out for details.
I admit this is a challenge for me. Though I am no stranger to the form of short stories I have only just dipped my toes into the genre of steampunk. While I find the fluidity of the subject matter allows for a great deal of imagination and author interpretation, I am humbled by my realization that in order to do steampunk justice I must not be complacent in my ignorance. There is a difference between well-crafted writing that effortlessly makes the reader suspend their disbelief and under-researched writing that reveals the author is shoving a square peg into a round hole.
I reached out to a fellow author whose intriguing story is already complete. Having my plot nailed down and roughly 1,200 words already written, I thought all I needed was to ask him a few questions about armor. I am so glad I did, because he very kindly began to teach me his knowledge.
In a brief summation of the great time my family and I had yesterday, he graciously allowed us to see some training he conducts at his house for an organization. I entered a world of handsome horses, fencing, jousting, mounted archery, fair maidens, shining armor, and swords.
I could have listened all day to the gracious author’s experience and only touched the surface of his years of experience. Notebook in hand, I madly scribbled ideas, what the armor felt like, and what it meant for my story.
When I have a character place a helmet on for the very first time and provide no description of how heavy it is or how hard it is to see out of, I have not done any research. When my gracious friend first put padding on my head then shoved the helmet over the padding I had a very real grasp of how disorienting and heavy just ONE of many pieces of armor can be. What a difference hands-on experience can make!
I hope you will enjoy my short story when it is released in January. I am thankful I have time to re-write it. Yes, that’s right. While the story idea is the same, I am starting over. This time, I hope you will appreciate the fact that I allowed the author to take several swings at the helmet with a real sword…while I was wearing it.
Research, research, research; then go out and get some hands-on experience. You’d be amazed at what it can open up for you!