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Do I go Deco Punk with my novel?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Adela, Sep 25, 2019.

  1. Adela

    Adela Scribe

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    Thinking of making my already complete quasi-historical novel "Deco Punk" but I'm not really sure how to go about this. Also, not sure I'm in the right thread or place for this. Since I'm a fantasy writer and NOT a history major I've done about as much damage as I can do while researching the 30's. LOL

    I have characters globe trotting (for various reasons) from New York to Europe in what I've decided is 1936. They end up in Paris and eventually Scotland with a side trip to Spain (which I found out was already being bombed at that point *sigh*). There was no Transatlantic flight, but I went ahead and popped them on planes anyways. (An airship would be great.) This would be SO MUCH easier if I could make this fantasy because this is a story that WILL NOT leave me alone.

    What do I do? I don't want to make it another planet or to go full Steampunk or Diesel Punk. I haven't been able to really find any good resources besides small explanations of what Deco Punk is and I think I'm fairly close enough to make it work within the confines of my story.

    Thought you knowledgeable folks might be able to help.
     
  2. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

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    The two new World of Harry Potter movies are basically Deco Punk fantasies and they did some cool things with the settings. The beautiful thing about writing fantasy is you get to do you. If you're feeling Deco Punk (and the world needs more of that, imo) then do it.

    Do be prepared to do your homework if you're writing what amounts to historical fiction. Not everything can be handwaved, not if you want your setting to ring true with your readers. I recommend this: https://www.amazon.com/Medieval-Underpants-Other-Blunders-Anachronisms-ebook/dp/B00958628C/ It's both entertaining and educational in that it helps you zero in on what you might want to focus on researching and what you might miss. But, we're writers and we do homework for a living. Have fun!
     
  3. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    This is a bit early for your chosen time but I think it is a great -punk images and it was real...
    Shorpy - Aeronauts 1910s
     
  4. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Inkling

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    The main criteria for Deco Punk is that you add something that is fantastical. I could imagine your travelling group being in Paris and ordering some ailes de dragon à la sauce à l'ail [dragon wings with garlic sauce] or seeing a warning sign on a German autobahn screaming: ACHTUNG! Werwölfe bei Vollmond. Fahren Sie mit Vorsicht! [DANGER! Werewolves during full moon. Drive With Caution!]. In the Spanish Civil War your companions might see mages fighting with combat spells that sometimes go awry. Make the Loch Ness monster real and a lot more scary than what grainy photographs from that time period show. If it's late at night and everything's closed elsewhere in New York City they could go to Little Transylvania and order a bottle of a fine rare blood type with their ciorbă de burtă [sour tripe soup]. Maybe your travellers began their journey for different reasons but they meet a dying wizard descended directly from Merlin who tells them to find the original staff of Merlin and "return it to Camelot". There's all sorts of bad guys other than you-know-who to choose from in the Europe of the 1930s.

    Go crazy and see what you can come up with.
     
  5. Adela

    Adela Scribe

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    Not really into Harry Potter, but thanks for the link! I researched the 1930's pretty hard and it took some time to getting it as close as I could in some aspects. So I thought, might as well make it fantasy '30's? and just kept editing. It's a pretty old manuscript from the late 90's so I had to take out a lot of tech that didn't exist back then, so that was actually helpful. I'm sure I have anachronisms, but if it's fantasy I didn't think it would be that big a deal. More research will definitely be needed. Ugh. Never without homework. ;p

    Cool link! Thanks! I'm familiar with the looks of those things already from another work of mine with an airship I recently introduced. I watch a lot of silents and movies from the early '30's for inspiration, plus I'm just a movie buff anyways. So I'm fairly familiar with what I've seen described as Deco punk like The Rocketeer and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Unless I make a side character a spy or secret agent it's just a simple story with no major implications for the mains.

    Yikes! There's really no magic or vampires or anything going on. I'm just trying to avoid the Great Depression or WWII elements that might have to creep in. It's not that I wouldn't research those things (I have) I'd have to come up with reasons for the guys to not be soldiers and the girls to not be involved in the war effort or the war to be happening in Europe other than Dragons and any other myriad fantastical things.

    Plus I really don't want to sit through Fantastical Beasts or whatever those movies were called. *sigh*
     
  6. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Inkling

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    Adela:
    I was only tossing around a few random ideas but if your primary objective is to avoid the Great Depression and World War Two that is closer to alternate history. If you find a point of divergence from our history that prevents the Great Depression you automatically eliminate the rise of Hitler, the establishment of Nazi Germany and World War Two. Without the Great Depression the Nazis would've remained an obscure political party in the Reichstag and Hitler would've been little more than a footnote in the history books.

    The movie that practically defined decopunk is Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow. Check it out. It might give you some ideas.
     
  7. Adela

    Adela Scribe

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    Miles Lacey:
    I saw Sky Captain: it was...watchable. Had a very cool look, but very wooden characters.

    Figured I had something more akin to Alt-History on my hands. My other major concern is how do I get my characters across the ocean? Ocean travel, I suppose. There is a pretty major scene that happens in an airport terminal where several characters meet and/or are introduced. So... :cautious:

    I just keep tweaking and tweaking and tweaking the manuscript and it's getting tedious.

    Maybe I'll try to watch that movie again. Couldn't hurt. ;)
     
  8. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Inkling

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    Adela - Here's a passage I found when looking into Trans-Atlantic flights that might be of use to you.

    The North Atlantic presented major challenges for aviators due to unpredictable weather and the huge distances involved coupled with the lack of intermediate stopping points. Initial commercial forays into transatlantic services, therefore, focused more on the South Atlantic, where a number of French, German, and Italian airlines offered seaplane service for mail between South America and West Africa in the 1930s. German airlines, such as Deutsche Luft Hansa, experimented with a number of mail routes over the North Atlantic in the early 1930s, both with seaplanes and with dirigibles, but these were not regularly scheduled services and never led to commercial operations. There were, however, hundreds of transatlantic crossings with passengers made by zeppelins during the late 1920s and 1930s, including probably the most famous zeppelin of all, the luxurious Graf Zeppelin.

    Other airlines such as the British Imperial Airways and Pan American Airways began working toward experimental transatlantic flights only in 1936, partly because the British were unwilling to grant landing rights for American air carriers until then.
    Both airlines decided to use flying boats because concrete runways were rare at coastal airports on the Atlantic, and also because landplanes capable of flying such distances without refueling simply did not exist at the time. Both airlines carried mail rather than passengers in the early years. An average flight from coast to coast, using the Short S.23 Empire flying boats, took nearly a day.

    - From the https://www.centennialofflight.net site.
     
  9. Adela

    Adela Scribe

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    Thank you for looking into this, I appreciate the answer. I'd read about the mail planes and British Imperial, but figured the Zeppelins were tied to the war.
     
  10. Nirak

    Nirak Minstrel

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    If you are doing alternate history, have you looked at the impact of the Great Depression on aviation? If you have no Great Depression, no WWII, it's possible aviation may have advanced to the point of trans-Atlantic flight by the time your story is set. Or, the zeppelins are an awesome way to show that your setting isn't just normal history. I'm sure a lot of people don't know when trans-Atlantic flights would have been feasible for your characters or not. I know whenever I read a story with a zeppelin I am automatically put into an alternate history mindset and willing to have a greater suspension of disbelief for any historical differences.
     
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