I Need to Write a Story About Some Dames

I’ve noticed several recent Demotivational posters which featured 1940’s-50’s book art, and I have to admit it makes me want to write a story that would feature such a cover. (I love how the strapless dresses are glued on. No wardrobe malfunctions here!)

I need a heroine in high heels, full skirt, and a bullet bra. I need a hero in a three-piece suit, fedora, and shoes so shiny, he can see his face in them.

The thing is, I don’t know how interested I’d actually be in setting the story in the 40’s or 50’s. I have some interest in WWII history, but none at all in 1950’s history. Maybe I just need an alternate universe where those things are still common. Maybe a futuristic world as people in the 50’s imagined it, with flying cars, robots, and silver lamé space suits. And maybe the robots will become sentient and start plotting to take over. And only Wallace and Priscilla–thrown together by circumstance–can save humanity’s moon-colony.

It’d be like steampunk, except with rocket-everything instead of steam-everything. And you’d be left wondering if it’s actually supposed to be taken seriously as a warning against modern technology, or if it’s an Austin Powers-like spoof on old sci-fi.

Hmm, that has potential. I’ll have to add it to my list of things to write. I might also have to do some reading up on period science fiction. Can’t spoof it if I don’t know what it is.

3 comments on “I Need to Write a Story About Some Dames

  1. Wallace says:

    I like your pictures, they look very period, tho the period could be anywhere from the ’30s to the ’50s since clothes didn’t change that much in those thirty or so years. I watch a lot of Turner Classic Movies from the ’30 to the ’50s, so I know the genre pretty well. There are lots of sci-fi stories from the period, but you might find a better and faster way of getting research by just watching some movies from the period. That way you’d not only get the feel for the technology, but also an ear for the dialog.

    Steampunk is big right now, but that’s usually set in the 1880s or 1890s, you’d be writing a form of retro-futurism about ’40s or ’50s if the sci-fi writers of the ’30s had been right about what the world in 20 years would look like. Sort of a Rocket Man reality or maybe the world as envisioned by the 1939 Worlds Fair.

    And as far as saving the moon colony, I’d be happy to, tho Priscilla lives in Atlanta and I’d have to borrow her from her husband for a while.

    The only thing I’d mention about alternate reality stories is that they require a lot of setup and background to establish just exactly where history diverged and how your new reality is different from the normal reality we all know, and maybe love. If you wanted to just try something out, such as a short story, it’d take a lot of background work before you could write the first word. Plus you’d have to bring all the changes in history into the story, which would make it a very long short story or even a novel.

    You could shortcut the process by setting it in some other author’s world, but it would have to be so well know that you could set up your story by only making a few references to that author’s world. Sort of if you wanted to do a Discworld story so you just mention the town they’re in is Ank-Morpork and everybody would know exactly the settings and rules of the reality. But I think you had in mind creating your own reality, so your story would be at least novella sized or bigger.

    I do like the idea of your Rocketpunk story (see, I’ve just coined a word there) and I’d be interested in reading it. Especially if it involved gumshoes chasing hot dames across the sky in jet packs while blasting away with .45s, all the while keeping their fedoras firmly in place.

    Oh, and one small point, the formatting on your page put just the word “I’ve” between the top two pictures. Not bad, but sort of distracting since I had to play a “where’s Waldo” to find the start of the sentence since I didn’t notice it at first and thought your first sentence started with “noticed several…” Might just be my browser tho…

    • Keri Peardon says:

      Different browsers and different screen sizes/resolutions dictate where pictures and text go. I always make my blog post look good on my computer screen, but it can (and will) look totally different on everyone else’s. Afraid I can’t help that.

      Stuart said he liked my idea, too. Maybe I’ll try writing it for NaNoWriMo this year. I do need to read some books, though, because there’s a tone that books have that movies don’t (movies have their own tone). I think I want it to be a short novel (50,000-75,000 words), in keeping with the pulp fiction of the time.

      I did find some sci-fi books (“space opera”) from 1934 which are free on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=E.%20E.%20%28Edward%20Elmer%29%20Smith&search-alias=digital-text.

      I really like the idea of writing across multiple genres. Maybe before I’m dead, I’ll have written something in every genre. That’s a good life-goal for a writer, isn’t it?

      • Wallace says:

        I read the E. E. “Doc” Smith books as a kid many years ago. They are certainly considered “space opera” now, but at the time they were considered a prime example of the “super science” movement where the authors actually tried to write stories based on real science as it was know at the time and not just merely made up physics that suited the story line.

        He was called Doc. Smith because he had a Ph. D. and used his knowledge of physics to make his stories not only believable, but even possible. Of course, he extrapolated from know science into completely unknown extensions of it, but at least he tried to keep the science real instead of just inventing things that never did or could exist just to set up his plot.

        His best and most well know work is the Skylark series. It consisted of four books: Skylark of Space, Skylark III, Skylark of Valeron, and the later sequel Skylark DuQuesne. It’s best to read them in that order since that’s the way they were written and meant to be read.

        I think the idea of writing a story in as many genres as possible is a great idea. Of course, it’s unlikely you’ll be great or even good at every one of them, but it’s certainly worth a try, if nothing else than to get a feel for how a story of that genre works. You might even find you are better at a new genre you’ve never tried than your more familiar one you’re writing in now. Who knows, you might become the next Agatha Christie or Barbara Cartland.

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