Writer Wednesday: that junk in your trunk is Steampunk @goblinWriter

Prelude Ramble by thea

Sometimes you find someone on Twitter that a the most intriguing handle (@goblinwriter) (mine is the very boring @theaatkinson) , and then you discover they have mentioned you on their blog, and THEN you realize they write Steampunk. You have no idea what Steampunk is.

You don’t want to say so, because well, you’d look ignorant and uneducated and so you sully forth, chatting and Rting, and reading blog posts and then you realize: Hey! Not everyone knows what SP is! I’m not alone.

What a great guest post that would make. Even better: what an awesome writing exercise it would make. So I asked this goblinwriter if she would guest post on my blog for Writer Exercise Wednesday and I’m delighted to say, she said yes. Here’s what you’ve all been waiting for:

Purchase for your Kindle

Writing Exercise: Escape the Dungeon!

By Lindsay Buroker

Thea asked me to talk a bit about steampunk and offer up a writing exercise for you good folks.

I’m not sure I qualify as an expert on steampunk, but I am an indie fantasy author with a fondness for filling my characters’ world with steam-powered machines and industrial-revolution-era gadgets that might have been but never were. Airships, steam-powered dog sleds, mechanical attack butterflies… You get the picture.

I also have a fondness for characters who can use their brains to get themselves out of trouble. Hey, my childhood idols were Spock and MacGyver. What can I say?

Thus, for today’s writing exercise, I’m going to challenge you to come up with a creative way to get your characters out of a dungeon cell, police interrogation room, serial killer’s basement, a garden shed, etc. The setting is up to you, and you needn’t be a fantasy author to give this a try.

Here are the rules:

  • The door is locked, there are no breakable windows, and brute force won’t work.
  • You cannot trick the guards by having your character’s sidekick pretend to be sick (sorry, but Hollywood has used that one to death!).
  • You can place up to three items in the prison for your characters to use, but they must be logical finds, such as a water heater in a basement, roadside flares in the trunk of a car, fertilizer (MacGyver’s favorite bomb-creation material!) in a garden shed.

That’s it! Have fun with this.

Oh, and while you’re thinking of your brilliant escape scenario, I invite you to check out some of my fantasy books. My goblins are particularly known for thinking their way out of situations with their inventions and schemes (hey, when you’re three feet tall, brute force isn’t much of an option!), and, Kali, the young heroine in my Flash Gold novellas is a self-taught tinkerer who’s been known to bring down a pirate-infested airship with nothing but the supplies on her steam-powered dog sled….

You can also visit my e-publishing blog if you’re looking for tips on ebook creation, book promotion, or social media. Thanks for reading!


If you don’t like this exercise, The Writing Network (twitter ID @theladywrites) has a different

one you can try. It’s just about getting creative and feeling inspired. Doesn’t matter to me whose exercise you do, just exercise.

BTW: by Thea

Free short story by Thea Atkinson

God in the Machine is free. totally free

I don’t write Steampunk and I doubt I’d be good at it, but I do think the cover of God in the Machine is reminiscent of what I would think SP conveys. It’s free at feedbooks and Smashwords. Go on and download it.


Thea Atkinson is a writer of character driven fiction.

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Posted in writerwednesday exercises
9 comments on “Writer Wednesday: that junk in your trunk is Steampunk @goblinWriter
  1. Crimson Overcoat says:

    Alrighty. @IronTippedQuill here, with a delightful blog post and short story to boot. Thanks for the inspiration for some post novel writing, by the way.
    Here is the link to the blog post, (if anyone cares):http://wp.me/p1Hiqv-h
    And here is the direct link to the story, Don’t Mess with the PTA:


    I would be thrilled to get some feedback. I heart feedback.

  2. Andrew King says:

    Okay, I’ll play. Added a short story that I wrote tonight here – http://fit4aking.livejournal.com/ I do like writing even though I’m not very good at it. Always open to criticism but it was fun practice.

    • Awesome. I’m going over to that link to see how it worked out for you. thanks for visiting.

    • Andrew:

      I visited your site, but I don’t have live journal. Had to post my comments to your story here.

      hmmm. not so sure I like the ad popping out and scaring the bejebus out of me when i try to comment. grin.

      Very inventive escape! You mentioned you would love critique, but the only thin I can see that would immediately improve the flow would be to cut down on the number of times your protag’s name is used. you can refer to him as ‘he’ or ‘him’ quite a good number of times. Also, I wouldn’t recommend shift between names. If it starts out as Elijah, it’s easier to stay as Elijah. I prefer Eli, though.

      neat little piece. So glad you came to my blog and worked on Lindsay’s exercise.

      • Andrew King says:

        I signed into Live Journal to be able to comment and decided to try it out. Not my favorite but I haven’t tried any other sites. I like your layout here and my give WordPress a peak.

        Thanks for the feedback. I’m always afraid to use the same words over and over and over again 😉 so I shy away from he and him only to end up filling in the space with something else. That is also why I shifted between Eli and Elijah. Perhaps a rewrite of the exercise with no name changes and less actual name usage would be beneficial. (at least to me)

        Thanks for hosting Lindsay’s exercise and perhaps I will find more interesting stuff on you blog now that I added it to my list of things to check in on.

      • a wise writer once told me that some words don’t register to a reader the way most words to–if at all. things like say/said don’t even get picked up and make the writing seem almost invisible. same thing with he/she. The reader will just register the character and not flounder over the name if it’s mentioned too often. helps the flow seem authentic and less…clunky? in your face?

        good luck and I do hope you return.


  3. Thanks for having me here, Thea! 🙂

I'd love to have your feedback

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