Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Steam Punk Alice in Wonderland Prompt

I've listened to a few of the Writing Excuses podcasts and decided to try writing the prompt from the episode Pigeon Holes.
Today his prompt for you is to write the opening scene of a steampunk version of Alice in Wonderland.
Which seemed like a fine prompt, but in all honesty, I've never read the book Alice in Wonderland, so I wasn't sure how it began. So I went ahead and read the whole book, which was actually quite short and then thought about it and wrote the following in 15 minutes.

Alice starred at the sky, watching the near silent airship float by on the breath of the wind as she listened to the ticker-tack of her sisters portable computation device. There were beeps and whirrs as her sister typed away at the keys producing a long ribbon of paper spilling out one side. She looked at that strip filled with numbers, letters and symbols but saw no pictures. She sighed, how boring, she'd much rather look at an automated picture book. She laid there and pondered if she could make a paper necklace as a white rabbit whizzed by. Nothing seemed particularly odd about a rabbit rushing by but this rabbit rode on a miniature steam bike, dressed in a fine vest. The thing that caught Alice's eye was the pocket watch he took out of his vest, looking worried about some appointment. 

Alice was on her feet in a flash racing after, just in time to see the rabbit and contraption roll into a large pipe. She was forced on to her knees to follow after, and crawling along in the dark feeling her way along the cool metal tube, she didn't quite notice the ground give out under her until she was falling, turning and tumbling. She fell for to great deep depths, or perhaps she fell very slowly, giving her a chance to look around at the walls as she fell. They were covered in all manner of cupboards and gears, filled with springs and sprockets gleaming metal and brass. She picked up a particularly beautiful set of binoculars, hoping to look through them and see the bottom of the hole she was falling in to. But when she put them to her eyes she found the lens to be cracked. Sadly she set them on a slowly rotating propeller mindful of her fingers as she passed. 

After a good long while, she finally felt the ground beneath her feet and looking around she found herself in a great hall lined with doors of all shapes and sizes, some big, some small, some wood and others metal but all locked. She tried the handle of each going along until she found a beautiful glass door. She looked through the glass and could see the gears and mechanisms that worked the lock and just down the hallway past the door she saw a beautiful garden. She thought to herself, '"Oh what a lovely garden. If only I had the key." 

Feel free to comment, but please take things with a grain of salt since I really haven't read any steam punk either. In the end, I think it was a fair go, but the thing that makes steam punk fun from my perspective is the fantastical machines, but Alice in Wonderland is already such a fantastical story that it seems difficult to one-up what's already there, and to top it off there isn't a lot of plot to speak of, it's the peculiar situations and dream like world that give the book it's feel.

Also if you feel like reading a hard copy you can buy it from Amazon.com or read get the text from Project Gutenburg.