In Search of Setting

16 Jun

I’ve finished the first two chapters of Residue (working title). Not bad for a week, eh?

However, I am giving my setting some second thoughts. Dru Pagliasotti has graciously sent me a link to an article he wrote on Steampunk and it entailed some of the clichés in the genre.

I am guilty of one: setting the story in Victorian London. What can I say? I love England and since I am a great Jane Austen fan, I imagine it as the epitome of elegance for my characters to go there and immerse themselves in the Season.

So, should I change it? I can. I’ve only written a few pages. But then what should I change it to?

Right now, I am considering Paris. That place where fashion was born, the courtesans were powerful and painters gather on the Montmartre. It has a little something, doesn’t it?

I ran it by my Mum and she also had a few suggestions: Dublin, Vienna and Prague. Obviously, having lived in Dublin, I could easily transport the story to that place. It will always have a special place in my heart. Vienna and Prague I have never visited and know little about.

What do you guys think? Steampunk Egyptians? Highlander air pirates?

Or should I stick to London?

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12 Responses to “In Search of Setting”

  1. Rose June 16, 2011 at 8:40 pm #

    You could possibly balance your love of England with a resistance to cliches by setting it in more than one city. Plus, you might be able to travel to a city you want to use, or use a city you've traveled to.

  2. ~Renate June 16, 2011 at 8:46 pm #

    Thanks for the suggestion, Rose. I considered that as well. Might have some action take place in Bath, for instance and travel to Scotland later on. I'd love to see how steampunk can be done in the mountains by kilted warriors.

  3. Jenna June 17, 2011 at 1:53 am #

    For a radically different suggestion, what about New Orleans? It might require more research for you, if you're not familiar with the city, but I think incorporating elements of superstition and Louisiana Voodoo would really work well since your plot involves demons and the devil.Also, if you're in Twitter, 9pm US Eastern time every Friday there's a steampunk chat. There's a topic for each week's chat, and I have no idea what it is this week, but you might be interested. Look for the hashtag #steampunkchat, and use it yourself if you want to participate. Also, http://steampunkchat.com/

  4. ~Renate June 17, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    When it's 9 pm Eastern time it is 2 am over here so I don't think I can make it (Zzzzz after a long work week). Thanks for the suggestion, Jenna. I like the idea of using voodoo. Very interesting. Might just write a book on witcraft sometime so I can give it the coverage it deserves.Not sure if this steampunk version of the book will have the demons/Devil plotline.

  5. Jenna June 17, 2011 at 5:52 pm #

    Even if you can't participate in the actual chat, that link has the transcripts. There are a good number of steampunk fans/writers on Twitter. Also, your book isn't on Smashwords anymore? I was gonna try buying it again, using a different card. Are you selling it anywhere besides Amazon?If you'd like, I can give you a critique of the novel as well. I'm trying to get some experience with editing, and I'd love to be able to help you out with this project.

  6. ~Renate June 17, 2011 at 6:06 pm #

    Thanks, Jenna. I'll make sure to check it out, then. :)I removed my book from Smashwords and Amazon. After I received a manuscript assessment from a literary agency, I initially just wanted to change the time period (they said it would suit my style better and that the story had an old-fashioned feel) but then I had to make so many changes to make it feel period, I decided to start over instead.But so far, the plot of the new novel is very different, though it might still feature demons and the like. I really appreciate your offer, though. I'm actually considering getting a beta reader for this one so that might work as well. Let me know what you think.

  7. Jenna June 17, 2011 at 6:16 pm #

    I'd love to be a beta reader when you're ready. I look forward to reading it!

  8. Chippy June 17, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

    With Steampunk the world is your oyster! You could set it anywhere you want. You could make up a place that is a a mixture of more than one city.

  9. Jenna June 17, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

    Something just occurred to me with regards to your setting. In your excerpt, Siobhan is a member of an alliance that is trying to stop mermaid hunters. Of the cities you mentioned in your post, only Dublin is coastal.

  10. ~Renate June 17, 2011 at 9:25 pm #

    Yes, that's something I was thinking about as well, Jenna. Dublin could work as a setting. I know it better than London obviously but I'd have to research what the city was like during the Victorian age (if there were any important events). I will have to make a definite decision soon. I'll give it some more thought tomorrow.

  11. Jenna June 17, 2011 at 9:33 pm #

    Well, as far as important events go, there was the Great Famine.

  12. ~Renate June 17, 2011 at 9:42 pm #

    True, but I had a slightly later period in mind. More around the 1880's. Unless you think it would be interesting for the Great Famine to become a part of the story. I am planning to include some characters from the ''underworld'' ie ratcatchers, pickpockets, prostitutes, etc. The Victorian period is often romanticised in novels and I think the lower classes have stories to tell as well. That's why my main char is a mere clergyman's daughter. I'm bored with upper-class heroines who have it all.I'll read up a bit more on the Great Famine to see if it could serve a purpose. I do like the idea of using a historical backdrop.

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