Are you about to start writing a steampunk novel? Do you need some steampunk writing prompts to give you some ideas? Read on!
1. Pioneer or Pariah?
In a world where steam power reigns supreme, your character manages to create electricity. How will the world react to this revelation? Will they start to convert, or will your character be a target of those who wish to ensure the future of steam power?
2. Steampunk Sports
A steampunk society that has integrated machinery into almost everything they do. What sorts of sports would they play? For example, could they play with a mechanical ball that has a mind of its own, or even have jockeys that ride clockwork horses? How dangerous would it be to be an athlete in these sports?
3. The Clockwork Witness
A detective is called in to help solve a murder. When they arrive, they learn that there is only one witness. It’s a clockwork automaton that the murder victim had been building. How does the detective handle the case, and will they find the killer?
4. The Chimney Sweep
Powering a city can be dirty work. Your character is a chimney sweep, tasked with cleaning up the soot and debris left from the machines. When on an assignment, they witness something that shocks them to their core. Do they stay quiet, or do they risk coming forward, even though it’s unlikely anyone will believe the story of a mere chimney sweep?
5. A Steampunk Space Mission
Although technology has advanced significantly under the influence of steam power, man has still not made it into space. Your character aims to change this and be the first person to make it there. What challenges will they face along the way and how will they use the technology of their world to be able to do it?
6. Stop the Train
In a steampunk world, cargo is transported across vast continents using a large and complex railway network. However, this network is also frequented by pirates who use their own locomotives to take over the cargo trains, hijacking the carriages onto their own steam engines. Will you choose to write from the perspective of the cargo train crew, or perhaps take the side of the pirates?
7. A Steampunk Fairytale
Take a classic fairytale and give it a steampunk twist. For example, what if in Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the three bears were automatons and Goldilocks wasn’t fearful of mechanical beings? Or, what could the “wolf” be in a reimagining of Little Red Riding Hood? The possibilities are endless here.
8. The Automaton Revolution
In a world that has perfected the art of creating advanced clockwork automatons, they are used for all manner of menial tasks, allowing humans to live a life of luxury. But, what happens when the automatons decide they have had enough?
9. The Smallest Cog in the Machine
A civilization is home to a huge machine. In order to keep it running, a specialist team of engineers is employed. However, they don’t perform maintenance from the outside of the machine but instead live inside it amongst the cogs and gears. Your character is one of those engineers. What is life like for them, and what happens when something goes wrong?
10. Simpler Times
A luxury airship runs into trouble and crashes in an uncharted wasteland. Far from civilization, as they escape the wreckage the survivors are met by a tribe of people who have never seen steampunk technology before. Do they educate them in the ways of their world, or find themselves being drawn to their simpler way of life?
11. Digging up the Modern Day
A mining company is digging for resources to fuel the steampunk society they live in. One day they break through into a chamber full of relics and machines of the likes that they have never seen. They have found evidence of our daily life in the 21st century! What does the mining crew do with this discovery?
12. The Clockwork Man
A grievously wounded soldier is brought to see an inventor. The inventor is asked to save the man no matter what using experimental mechanical limbs and organs. Who exactly is the soldier and why does he need to be kept alive? How much of him has to be replaced? At the end of it all, is he truly human or made into something more?
13. The Salvager
Your character lives in one of the many scrapyards sprawled across the city. They scrape together a living by selling valuable items that they find in the trash, but they also have another passion: creating machines and inventions from the scrap and spare parts that they find.
14. A Mechanical Companion
As technology has progressed, keeping living pets has become old-fashioned, and instead, families purchase mechanical pets for their children. What is it like for a child that owns one of these automaton animals, and what do they get up to together?
15. Fight the System
A group of rebels fights against an oppressive government by hacking into the clockwork surveillance system and reprogramming its automaton police officers one by one. Will they be successful, or will the corrupt government put them in their place?
16. Answers in the Rubble
In a post-apocalyptic steampunk world, a lone survivor scavenges through the remnants of an abandoned city, searching for clues about what happened many years ago. Who knows what dangers still lurk along the way?
17. Social Engineering
In a society where social class is determined by the complexity of one’s mechanical enhancements, a lower-class citizen infiltrates the upper echelons by using their engineering skills to create extraordinary clockwork prosthetics.
18. Metal and Magic
In a steampunk-fantasy world, a young mage discovers a way to harness steam energy to amplify their magical abilities but must keep their invention hidden from a society that fears magic.
19. The Clockwork Heist
A master thief plans an elaborate heist to steal a legendary artifact from a heavily guarded museum, navigating traps and security systems with their wit and mechanical gadgets. What kinds of contraptions will they have at their disposal?
20. My Metal Friend
In a world where steam-powered automatons have become a part of everyday life, a curious child befriends an abandoned robot with a secret past, embarking on a journey to uncover its origins.