So back on Day 6 of that 14 Day Writing Challenge, there was a challenge to write in a genre I hadn’t done before and C.B. Wentworth was kind enough to make a suggestion (steampunk) so I’ve spent the last week working on the beginnings of a story.
Before you read the story, there are a few things I wanted to share.
- I’m awful at coming up with titles and didn’t even think about needing one until I sat down to post this. Talk about embarrassing. I’ll come up with one soon… I hope… I’m sure it’ll arise once the characters show me where the story is headed.
- I’m going to do something I’ve never done and post a story as I write it. My goal is to post another part at least every other Friday. This is going to take the first draft process of pantsing my way through a story mayhem to a new level. It should be fun. (And hopefully not embarrassing, like the title conundrum.)
- Since steampunk is often based on Victorian society, this story sprouted out of a question: What would happen if Meet Samantha were set in a steampunk world instead? When I was 7, I got a Samantha American Girl doll for my birthday. She’s always been my favorite American Girl for that reason and I read the books about her over and over again. The premise has some loose similarities to Samantha’s story (orphan, lives with her grandmother, the servant turned friend next door) as a sort of homage. But that’s where the similarities end.
That’s it. So let’s see where this crazy story ends up. And since the idea was inspired by a fellow blogger, please feel free to post suggestions!
Savannah Farage packed her luggage, careful not to make a sound. This was not an easy thing to accomplish in Grandmother’s ancient house. The floorboards squeaked as she tiptoed from her canopy bed to the wardrobe, carefully gathering the things Minerva had told her that she would need for the journey. A pair of solid boots—ones without the high heels Savannah typically wore. Comfortable, light colored blouses that would reflect the harsh sun of the desert in the New Territories. The riding pants that Grandmother had been unwilling to allow her to own. And her mother’s compass. That one was Savannah’s idea. It was her good luck charm: the only remnant of her parents after the airship accident.
She carefully latched the suitcase and crept from her bedroom. The spiral staircase led straight to the front door. If she were quiet enough, she could escape the house without Grandmother noticing. It’s not that she didn’t want to say farewell to Grandmother. She just knew that she would never be able to leave if she did.
As she held the suitcase handle with both hands, hoping it wouldn’t bump against her boots too loudly, she thought about what had led her to this strange, clandestine departure. Who would have ever guessed that her childhood friendship with Minerva would turn into this.
The first time Savannah met Minerva, she was a very different girl than she was now. Savanah had only lived with Grandmother for a year and was adjusting poorly. Her parents had occasionally allowed her to join them on their airship as they explored the nearby wilderness. She hadn’t been with them when the accident happened and the airship crashed.
Grandmother had never approved of her son and daughter-in-law’s dangerous behavior. “You’re bound to be killed one day,” she used to say each time they prepared to leave.
Her parents always brushed her off, unconcerned with the risks that come with airships that are less stable than traditional balloons. Savannah had too. But everything changed on that fateful day. She now lived with Grandmother all the time in this huge house. There were no more adventures to be had. Just lessons on acting like high society: properly drinking tea, embroidering the likeness of flowers onto handkerchiefs, walking primly in heels. Just like Grandmother.
Then Minerva showed up. She was the servant next door and a fellow orphan. The first time they met, Savannah was strolling through Grandmother’s rose garden while Minerva hung laundry. At first, Savannah watched her, wondering what it would be like to work alongside Minerva. Then Savannah crossed the shrubs, trying not to muddy her white leather boots.
When she tumbled out on the other side, Minerva dropped the sheet she had been pinning and stared.
“I’m sorry to startle you,” Savannah said as she struggled to her feet. “It’s just that it’s been so long since I’ve had an adventure. I was wondering if you’d let me help you.”
Minerva grabbed the sheet and brushed the grass off of it. “Uh… I don’t think that’d be very proper.”
“I won’t tell if you won’t.”
And thus their strange friendship started with hanging laundry and talking about the lives they used to have. Before becoming the servant next door, Minerva had worked in an airship factory. She’d always dreamed of adventure and had known a few older children who had aspirations to become adventurers one day. She relished listening to Savannah’s experiences of flying over the nearby forests and mountains and even seeing the edge of a desert.
For the past eight years, Savannah and Minerva had plotted an adventure. Now that they were both seventeen, it was finally time to do it. The rest of the team was already assembled. They would explore the New Territories together.