Since I haven’t read any new fiction lately (shame on me), I have no book review to post (double shame on me). I do have four books on their way to me that I desperately want to read, so we’ll be stocked up on book reviews for a while after this week.
I’ve wanted to address this for a while, but I was never really certain on how to go about it. With my steampunk project, I finally found the words to do so.
When I write, I immerse myself in the world of the story, not just in the words, but in the things. Last year (and part of this year), I worked on a middle grade fantasy novel set in a world similar to ancient India. I collected images of Hindu gods and goddesses. I downloaded Hindu mantras and music to listen to as I wrote. I devoured the Hindu language and read article after article of Hindu culture and history. At least one-third of the time I spent on my novel was spent doing research. I searched Hobby Lobby for things that reminded me of objects in my story. I watched films and read books set in ancient India, about ancient India, and about Hinduism. Ancient Indian history has been one of my favorite topics since the first time I picked up a world history textbook, and so all the research was fascinating rather than daunting and dull. I enjoyed it. The things I learned inspired me and kept me writing. I felt I could give authenticity to the story.
For a short time, I worked on a novel set in a pseudo-Norse culture. I did a bit of research into the Norse pantheon and culture, but especially language. I created a set of runes using the Elder Futhark. I began learning Icelandic. I downloaded Icelandic music, watched films about Vikings, hopped around as a Nord in Bruma (and so, with geeky wonder, I can't wait for Skyrim). I was more fascinated with the Nordic language and culture than the story I had originally planned to write. My enthusiasm for the story quickly wavered, so my venture into Norse culture did not last long. I’ll return to it someday. Though, I am still strangely obsessed with runes. Add that to my list of quirks.
I have always been obsessed with clocks and mechanical science ever since I was a child, so it makes sense that steampunk piques my interest. This week, I started writing the steampunk project. I actually started writing. I finished plotting Tuesday morning, and my fingers couldn’t resist the keyboard any longer. While plotting, I purchased a few things: a sweet pocket watch (as seen to the right), several clock gears, and I’m still trying to get a hold of some glasses. I read through some books of mine, tabbing important inventions that might be used in my steampunk world, mainly mechanisms. I decorated my blog with gears. I searched for steampunk novels without vampires, werewolves, zombies, or demons, and have so far been unsuccessful (do tell me if you know of any other than the Leviathan series). I have rewatched any steampunk-esque films I own, and I’ve scoured Zune Pass for steampunk-esque music, only somewhat successful. I’m immersing myself the best I can.
When I write, I want to feel what my characters feel, smell what they smell, see what they see, hear what they hear. I want to be a part of the world they live in so that I can adequately describe it, so that I can give it that ring of authenticity. I noticed how deeply I immersed myself in my Indian inspired novel, but I thought it might be because I loved the subject matter so much. I think that immersion is my way of getting in the mood for a story. The more I soak in, the easier it is to create that world, to give it that ring of authenticity.
So, my question for you is… how do you get into a story? Do you immerse yourself in the things, the sounds, the smells? Do you research your setting? Do you dress in costume?
I want to know! What crazy things have you done in the name of fiction?
Also, don’t forget about the Hogglepot contest!