Airships and More Airships

Airship over a bridge.

Antique postcard showing an airship over a bridge.

Today I’m working on finishing up the slide presentation part of my airship talk that I’ll be giving on Sunday.

I will be presenting¬† Airships in Literature: Floating into the Future on Sunday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. It’s not going to be an academic discussion, and the slideshow isn’t going to be a bunch of bullet points that you’ll have to memorize. I hope to introduce some of you to the kinds of literature out there that features airships.

My focus for the talk is on writers of the Victorian era and the early 20th century, so I won’t be discussing airships in modern Steampunk literature. There’s plenty of material there for another talk (or several), so maybe that could be a topic for next year’s Steampunk World’s Fair.



Thursday Writing Prompt No. 80

photo of stairwell

Stairwell at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

This time next week I will be in New Jersey for the Steampunk World’s Fair, which starts on Friday and runs through Sunday. I am going to be giving a presentation on airships in literature, which I have barely started putting together. Good thing I have a deadline looming over my head to make me get it done!

In honor of all things Steampunk and deadlines, this week’s Thursday Writing Prompt offers you five Victorian-era objects that you must work into a story. I’ll make it easy by giving you common objects instead of mystery items, and in some cases, Victorian things weren’t really so much different from the stuff we find in our homes or stores today. Except it wasn’t plastic, of course. Or polyester.

And you have a deadline, too: 30 minutes. That’s right, no cheating, set your timer for 1800 seconds and get writing. You must use all five of the Victorian objects in your story, which will be a Steampunk story, right? Okay, you can write whatever you want, but you get bonus points if you set the story in a Steampunk setting. If you don’t know what that is, do a little research before you start writing, not while you’re in the middle of crafting the perfect opening sentence.

Now, here are the five objects: a rug beater, a shilling, a candelabra, a stereoscope viewer, and a pocket watch.

Writing and more writing…

This crocheted flower is made from ribbon yarn.

This crocheted flower is made from ribbon yarn.

I’ve just finished editing a nonfiction article I’ve been working on for awhile, but instead of feeling like I’ve accomplished something, I just feel overwhelmed. Or underwhelmed, I don’t know which. I’m blaming the weather but I think I’m burning out. It doesn’t help that I keep getting massive doctor and dental bills to deal with. It hasn’t escaped my attention that this year has a 13 in it. Triskadekaphobia,* anyone?

So anyway, I have a whole laundry list of things that I still need to write. I shouldn’t gripe; after all, I do bring this on myself. It’s just that I seem to be pretty much out of ideas right now. Last night I gave up on revising the article and put it off until this morning. Instead, I made a crocheted flower just so I could have a small project that I could finish and feel better. I think it helped me relax a little bit, too.

It’s less than three weeks away from the Steampunk World’s Fair, and I need to work on my airship presentation, a biography for a class, and a book proposal. But the toughest assignment is to revamp my resume and create a curriculum vitae. It’s not just the word count that makes a writing project tough!

*Fear of the number thirteen.

Thursday Writing Prompt No. 78

photo of stairwell

Stairwell at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

Happy Thursday, everyone! It’s time for the next installment of the Thursday Writing Prompt. Today’s prompt is going to include some items to include in your story as well as a timed element. Nothing drives the ability to write like a judiciously used deadline!

I’m battling several deadlines myself for the encyclopedia articles I’m writing as well as graduate school writing assignments. I’ve also given myself a deadline to finish editing/rewriting my NaNo 2011 novel. And I’ve picked up a new project: I’m going to be giving a presentation at this year’s Steampunk World’s Fair on airships in literature, so I’m researching and writing that as well as looking for interesting images for an accompanying slide show. (I refrain from calling it a Powerpoint presentation because there will be no bullet points!)

So, set aside fifteen minutes for this week’s writing prompt. That’s your deadline: fifteen minutes from whenever you start. If you have a stopwatch or stopwatch app, use it — and don’t look at it while you’re writing! Keep your eyes on your page, whether you’re writing by hand or typing. This is not going to be about word count, although you should try to get at least 100 words written. If you’re just going to sit for fifteen minutes and write a sentence there’s little point in challenging yourself!

Here are the items to use in your story: a backpack, a rolled-up newspaper, a white feather, and a four-leafed clover.