Short Stories, Submissions, and Steampunk!

I've told many of my friends in the writing community that I'm a short story writer who tried her hand at a novel for the first time last year.  It turned out better than I expected.  Meanwhile, I'm about 4000 words into two other novels, and 11000 words into a third. While those are waiting for my motivation, I'm back to writing short stories.

Some of you know that my short story "Sanctuary" was published at Fear and Trembling. At the same time, another short, "Teacher's Log" won CCW's Short Story Contest. Meanwhile, I have a short story serial at Avenir Eclectia about Zana Black, cyborg bounty hunter.  Recently I wrote an Urban Elf Fantasy that was accepted for an anthology. This weekend, I submitted four more short stories to different markets, not to mention the one vampire short story that is waiting on an editor's desk until May.

What does it take to write short stories? (this list is far from complete, but it's a start)
1. Emotion - if you don't evoke an emotion in your piece, your reader will not care about your characters. If you can touch on one of the primal emotions, even better - fear, hunger, and love are the prime motivators for a good short story.

2. Concise writing - you don't have the time to be verbose. Going on and on about the color of your character's hair will not move the story along fast enough to make it short and keep the reader's attention.

3. Action - something needs to be happening. If there is no problem for the characters to conquer, the story will feel incomplete when its finished.

4. Research - yes, research. To write my Urban Elf Fantasy, I studied Elfish lore. To write my dragon sacrifice piece, I studied true dragon lore.  To make your story ring true (especially if it's genre fiction) you must research your subject.

So next on my agenda - I'm writing Steampunk.  I've never done it before, so again, I'm researching.  I watched several podcasts, rented movies, and now diving into other stories (Christian and non).  Searched Amazon for some free steampunk reads and here's what I found:

I've already made about 1400 words of this story happen, but need more authenticity, so hoping to gain some. If anyone has any advice for me, please leave a comment. Otherwise, wish me luck!

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