Great Internet Radio and More Steampunky Thoughts

Gracious.  Yesterday was totally one of those catch up days at the office.  Every time I thought I was going to have five minutes to post on…anything, something else came up, so I didn’t post.  Still have much to do today, but nothing like yesterday.  My social calendar has exploded and I had several visits to the chiropractor for that pulled nerve, so for the last few weeks I have largely not been home at lunch, which means I haven’t had a chance to do any of my lunch workouts or writing and I feel kind of behind.  A lot of that is because I’ve had too much going on at work to keep my brain in the story.  Last night I didn’t have an opportunity to even think about it until I sat down to write at 5:45 after walking the dogs.  I’m ready for things to slow down again!

I’m listening to my Downton Abbey station on Spotify this morning.  Courtesy of Sarah Wendell’s tweet yesterday that it made a fabulous seed for a Pandora station, I had to try it.  Duuuuude.  If you like moody strings and piano, this is THE STATION for you.

During my workout this morning, I was mulling again over my steampunk plot bunny.  Not in an obsessive MUST WRITE THIS kind of way but just contemplating what age my characters are.  Because it’s this pseudo historical setting, about twenty years after the end of the Civil War (which in my alternative universe had a very different outcome), where teenagers did not exist in the sense they do today.  They were adults in their world, many of them married (how nuts is THAT to contemplate) and dealing with grown up kinds of issues and problems.

I’m reading Cassandra Clare’s The Clockwork Prince, which I’ve had since it came out and haven’t read yet because, well, it’s not Jace and Clary and that’s what I was wanting when I picked up The Infernal Devices books in the first place.  I didn’t give The Clockwork Angel as fair as shot as I should have because of that, but whatever.  Here you have a story with teenagers that feels very adult.  I’ve forgotten how old Will and Jem and Tessa are supposed to be.  17? 18?  It’s almost as if, in more historical settings, though the characters are technically teens, the story feels much more new adult in content.  Which makes things hard to classify.

I had pretty well decided I would read a chunk more steampunk of both adult and YA and let that inform my plotting decisions.  I have six characters in mind, and so far they really haven’t given me any indication one way or the other where they fall.  One of them is a very young widow, but she could be 17 or 18 and have been married off to some old creaky dude at 16 or younger (it happened back then).  And as I don’t actually know the STORY yet, there’s nothing on THAT level to narrow the age any (still trying to figure out what situation throws these six VERY different people together for a common purpose).  I will write the story that begs to be told (when I know what it is), and they’ll be whatever age they will be.  It would just be nice to know.

What are your thoughts on this?  What makes a YA in a historical setting different from a YA in modern times?  ARE they different in your mind?  I mean, traditionally one of the markers of YA fiction is that they are dealing with uniquely YA issues like coming of age and identity–what happens when those issues are different because of historical setting?

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3 comments

  1. I’m just excited that there is a Downton soundtrack – I had no idea! I’ll have to see if I can figure out the radio station thing. I’ve actually never tried it!

    I don’t really know what I think about the YA question. It’s fascinating to compare what we see as normal for that age group in modern times to what would have been norm at other times in history. I love coming of age and finding identity stories specifically about those few years before 18. But I also find the same themes really interesting at other points in life. (I feel like you come of age in different ways throughout life.) And when you blur all those lines and mix them together, I’m usually hooked. Like a 17 year old widow – that’s really intriguing. I can’t wait to see what you do with the steampunk story :D

  2. I have no idea what Downton Abbey is, but I must find out. :) I DO like moody strings and piano.

    I don’t usually read steampunk, so I’m not that qualified to give an opinion. However, I do know that people married younger in days past…my grandma was married at 16, her sister at 13. So even farther back than that, I would think teenagers were much more mature. You know, because they actually WORKED at that age. LOL And if they were in an area where times were hard, they would have had to mature much faster. Just my opinion.

  3. The first thing that comes to mind is the social mores that might be different, depending on which historical setting. For instance, my MC couldn’t travel alone from Spain to Constantinople to find her parents. She ended up meeting a monk who had a secret desire to leave the monastery, and he became her unofficial chaperone.

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