The Steampunk Challenge


20100216writingchallengeblog The writing challenges continue to hum along. Last time, we had each author slay a dragon in a method of their choosing. This time, we're going down a different path. We're trading our reptile scales for iron gears, our wings for airship sails, and our cold-blooded hearts for boiling oil. Behold:

The Steampunk Challenge!

In short: Authors are to write a short scene (max 500 words) that incorporates one or more key elements of the Steampunk genre. 

In long:  We know what you're thinking, "What in the name of Mark Twain's ring finger is Steampunk, and how do I incorporate it into my scene?" Don't blow a gasket, we'll explain.

In its most basic sense, Steampunk fiction presents a world where technology has advanced based upon steam mechanics rather than electricity (read: gears and cogs, not wires and circuits). This is, however, a gross simplification of this rich and expanding sub-genre of speculative fiction. For a more in-depth exploration of Steampunk's definition, please read and absorb Matthew Delman's perspective at Doctor Fantastique's Show of Wonders. Seriously, go read it right now so we're all on the same page. Then hurry back.

Thanks, hope that sparked some steam-spiration in your writer's mind. We know it got us quite excited about the possibilities abound in this challenge. Now, a few quick suggestions (that you can ignore) from WEbook:

1.) Steampunk is massive, so don't try and pack everything into your short scene. Pick some metallic tidbits you find interesting and make them shine.

2.) Don't forget to create compelling characters. This challenge isn't all about cogs and airships, make us feel something for someone (yes, that someone can be a steam robot).

3.) We know it can be fun when whistles and valves are involved, but use onomatopoeia sparingly. Please.

WEbook will pick our six favorite submissions and award them free entry to PageToFame, our flagship writing contest/feedback steam-machine (see how we slipped "steam" in there? You're welcome). As in the last challenge, we will also highlight the aspects of each entry that lead them to victory.

Steampunk The mysterious Doctor Fantastique will choose his favorite submission from the pool of finalists and send him or her a steampunk compass. Moreover, the big DF will answer any Steampunk related questions you may have during the contest via twitter @docfantastique. Use him, he is both noble and wise in all things related to the 'punk.

The deadline to submit is 10pm on April 30, 2011. To submit your entry, start a new chapter in the Steampunk Challenge writing project. Read through the official description before starting your submission, as there is some extra information about the challenge. 

Lastly, we leave you with a Steampunk Alphabet. For inspiration, and for fun.

Airship, Buckle, Cog, Derringer, Engine, Factory, Goggles, Harpoon, Industry, Jules (Verne), Kinetic, Lordly, Mechanical, Nightmare, Oil, Pirates, Queen, Rivets, Smuggler, Turbine, Ultimate, Victorian, Whistle, Xenomorphic (yes we used a dictionary), Yearning, and Zebra...the mechanical kind.

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