Having just found an opportunity to get a steampunk short story published, I’ve started working on a story to fit that requirement. I’ve got all manner of fun things in it so far: Brain-cleansed clockwork zombies, steam-gunners, two-faced ladies, shotgun-wielding butlers.
Instead of trying to build a certain kind of story or situation, I want to just have fun with this story. I figure if I just have fun with things, I’ll be able to make a story that’s lively and exciting.
Thinking about it, I wonder if that’s the real appeal of steampunk. The idea of a polite society where everything fits into its proper role and title, it has an appeal. The notion of a simpler life, be it a wonder of the imagination or the simplicity of knowing what’s needed and worrying little over anything else. Maybe people like the idea of blimps and gears and some emerging form of innovation that our modern scientific techniques don’t allow. People want things to be simple, yet amazing and incredible.
Look at Star Wars. It started simple and people loved it. When Lucas started trying to explain things (midichlorians), people liked it less.
My challenge then is to write something simple, fun, and just plain exciting. I can do it.