The Prompt:

“What you know” doesn’t necessarily always mean “your comfort zone.” For this week, take what you know out of your comfort zone. Try a new genre, a new time period, a geography you’ve only dreamed of, fantasy or historical instead of contemporary fiction, try the male POV if you usually write women. Or vice versa.

 Ack! Don’t judge me! (Well, a little constructive criticism would be nice!)

The first thing I thought when I read “out of your comfort zone” was “I’ll just do memoir. Almost all my memoir prompts are out of my comfort zone.” My second thought was “Well, I’ve said that I wouldn’t write Steampunk, since I don’t think I could do it justice. Here’s my chance to give it a go.” Yes, I wrote about a character being out of her comfort zone, but, trust me, the idea of writing an alternate past instead of an alternate future is different than anything I’ve done before!

Artist & Model Ophelia Overdose

Honeysuckle was way out of her comfort zone.

She was used to fixing the damn machines, not riding them. And she absolutely refused to wear one of the clunky chunky waist-to-wrist harnesses meant to make the ride so much more convenient for the casual traveller.

Her partners, Nigel and Lucy, teased her endlessly about her stubborn refusal to conform. Lucy had just bought the trendiest new harness to go with her designer jodhpurs and skin tight breeches. She looked positively dashing when she shrugged on the matching jacket and goggles.

Nigel had chosen a harness that fit under his suit, making him appear to be one of those who, like Honeysuckle, eschewed the so-called-necessary technology. But when he approached one of the massive machines, all it took was a dapper flip of the wrist and he would be flying along with the rest of the crowd.

Honeysuckle watched hook after hook go by, and not a single one had a seat suspended. Back in the day, every hook would have had a seat or even a bench. But as personal, customizable harnesses became more and more popular, seats had become less necessary.

She glanced behind her. Any moment now, the evil Dr. Maad would return to his lair and discover she had escaped from his trap after all.

She glanced down. Why all mad scientists had to have lairs fifty stories above the street, she could not fathom.

She glanced up. Hooks were going by at a regular rate, yet still, not a single one had a seat.

Assessing her options, she grabbed her tools and ripped open the coin-operated horsie ride that looked so out of place on the Come-N-Go platform. Just as she suspected, it was actually a cleverly disguised… well, it certainly wasn’t just a horsie ride, but what it was, she had no time to discern.

She ripped a length of roller chain out of the machine’s guts and cobbled it together with the horsie’s harness. Giving a quick yank to test for strength, she muttered “It’ll have to do…” and tossed the chain above her head, catching the nearest hook.

She was swept off the platform not a moment too soon. Dr. Maad’s henchmen burst onto the platform, getting off several crossbow shots before the track took her swinging around a curve and out of range.

Honeysuckle held on for dear life, even though her arms felt like they would give way at any moment. Fortunately, the next station wasn’t far away.

Lucy and Nigel were waiting at street level, as planned.

“Mrs. Jones, Mr. Jones…” Honeysuckle nodded to her partners.

On the way home, she broke down and finally bought a harness for herself.

It was the only way to keep up with the Joneses.

The shortlink for this post is

The OTHER “Keeping Up With the Joneses” post on the non-fiction side of the blog has nothing to do with Steampunk