Hello Stonecoast Blog Train buddies! So glad of you to join this lovely trail of awesomeness through the net-o-sphere. If this is your first stop, welcome, and please keep along with the train to the other blogs until you've found your way back to me! If this is not your first stop, thanks for stopping by!
THIS MONTH'S BLOG TRAIN TOPIC
There was not much debate as to what our topic would be this time around. I think we all really wanted to talk about what we were passionate about. So we are discussing our chosen genre and our WIP (or Work in Progress).
MY GENRE: ALTERNATE HISTORY (AND STEAMPUNK)
I write a lot of things. I don't like to say, "This is what I write and this is all that I write." I'm a trained playwright, because that's what my BFA is in. I've had my scripts produced, and I grew up in the theatre. So the world of musicals, straight plays, existential Sam Shepard crap, it's all the roots that I grew up from.
I love history. I love American history. I love fantasy. I love science fiction. I just love.
But for the sake of not being one of those "I write whatever I write" people, I'll focus in on what my WIP is. My WIP is a Steampunk adventure, and it's also alternate history.
There are two separate brains from which I pick when I go to write. There is the brain that is full of everything mine is: modern-day references, music from this era, everything that has ever happened up to this point that I am writing this entry on November 1st, 2015.
The second brain has a big blockade on it, at whatever year I am writing in. For example, if I'm writing a play in 1968 (Shiloh), then I have to make sure I can only use language, references, comparisons, etc., that exist 1968 and before. Alternate history lies here. And for the last couple of years, I've been living in 1888.
But then it gets tricky. Because it's alternate history. This means that I have to know, in this brain, how things are different. In my world, the Civil War kept going until 1888. That's the difference between something like historical fiction (Shiloh) and what I'm doing right now (Clockmaker). I did extensive research for both, but I got to do a little world-creation with Clockmaker, where there was no wiggle-room on Shiloh.
History is hard to write. I have to work harder. In contemporary fic, I can just make a reference to Nickelodeon to get my feelings across. But in the warped world of 1888, I have to either build a reference or find a reference that isn't so dead that people will still get it. It is difficult and frustrating.
But, as our panel proposal states, there are a lot of wonderful things you can do with alternate history. You can reflect the present through the past. You can re-examine the past's bloody secrets by bringing them up in a creative way.
I tried to write a dystopian once. It ended up being alternate history.
I think I'm hooked.
UP NEXT: MARIAN ROSARUM
Marian's website is beautiful. Please move along to this link to continue on the blog train.
What is this?
Dawson is an editor and writer and MFA student at Stonecoast. She writes stuff.