EXERCISE Genre Bender: Pinocchio Syndrome

Discussion in 'REFINING WRITING' started by Cammybatty, Jun 3, 2012.

  1. The point of a genre-bender is to take a well known, genre related trope or story starter and transplant it into another genre.

    And, in honor of the Fantasy Festival this month, all Genre Bender Challenges this month will be based on Fairy Tale tropes!

    Pinocchio Syndrome

    "I just want to be normal!"

    Whether the character has lost their humanity due to a curse, or were never human to begin with, all they want is to be human, at least in some way. Will they learn to do something only humans can do? Do they transform completely? Can they earn it? Can they learn it? Whatever the way, they must earn their humanity without the help of magic! How will your character manage this journey of self-discovery?
  2. "But I'm a real girl! I'm not a toy! Please!"

    The sounds of protest echoed down the small hall of the tavern, upstairs away from the common room. A shabby wooden door was cracked open, letting a bar of dim yellow light shine out. Inside, a portly man was busily tying long ribbons to the wrists and ankles and waist of a small girl dressed like a doll. Her cheeks had been painted with bright red circles, her eyelids a bright blue. She had pale skin and long blonde curls, all done up fancily like an expensive doll might have. Her white stockings accentuated the shining black Mary Janes on her feet, and her dress was so covered in frills and lace that it was like a purple cloud. Though she was vocal in her protests, she didn't kick or flail. All she did was stand and watch him attach the other ends of the ribbons to a puppeteer bar.

    "You are not a real girl, you're Livacian. As such, you don't deserve to even live, let alone go gallavanting about freely and not pay your debt to society. You should be grateful that I even gave you this job!" the man snapped back at her, slapping her into silence. Of course, this job was far from voluntary, but that didn't matter. She had no worth in the world and might as well entertain people who were better than she would ever be. He shrugged and plucked her up by the back of her dress and walked down the stairs. She knew the routine well enough by now to not make any errors. Be limp, don't blink, don't do anything but smile and move the way his tugs indicated.

    By the end of the night, she had tap danced and spun and hopped her way across the stage more times than she could count. They had made a lot of money from the drunks who were clapping along and laughing with delight. Look at how real she looks, they would marvel. Almost like a real girl, but of course she isn't. Her eyes are too glassy, her limbs too thin, her body too limp. Still, a good show! Would they be back next month? Why, of course they would, there was still money to be made!

    The puppeteer bowed his way out, carrying a satchel of coin and fresh food, making promise after promise to come back. He carried his 'puppet' out into the rain and tossed her in the back of a wagon, then went up front to sit with the driver. She finally was able to move on her own, so she found an old crust of bread that she had set aside earlier and nibbled on it. Someday, she'd be brave enough to just jump out of this wagon and run away, she thought as she tugged the ribbons off and went to stare out of the back. The clouds covered the stars from view, but she still knew that they were there. She set her crust aside and clasped her hands together, scrunching her eyes closed and concentrating as hard as she could manage.

    'Please let me wake up as somebody else.. anybody else in the world.. Just not a Livacian.. Please..'

    She was woken up from the wagon jolting to a halt, her small body toppling over to roll into a crate. People were shouting outside and she heard a woman scream. Frightened, she hid behind the crate, but then a crackling made her look up and she realized that the top of the wagon was aflame. She yelped and scrambled out from behind the crate, running to the end of the wagon and jumping out without bothering to look around. Instead of hitting the ground, she found herself freefalling.

    Apparently, whatever had happened, the wagon was backed up against the edge of a bank. She was falling for a few seconds, then landed with a thud against the drenched grass and began tumbling head over heels down into a valley that was dense with massive trees. By the time she came to a stop, she was laying in a large patch of sloppy mud next to a creek. She had lost one shoe and her dress was definitely not 'cute' anymore. Her face paint had been rubbed off, and her curls were tangled and filthy. She crawled out of the mud pit and started to walk, underestimating how slippery the mud was. A yelp was all that marked her sliding down the bank and falling into the creek. The current, moving swiftly due to the rains, carried her along for well over a mile before she washed up on the shore near a town that she had never been in before.

    "Dear gods, is that a child?! Fish her out! Bring her up inside and prepare a bath! Poor dear.. She looks foreign, don't you think? Look at her, she's half-starved! We'll have to take her in. A child, can you believe it? The gods have finally blessed us with our own.."

    [I know that the ending is kind of implied here, but I like it that way x3]
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  3. The robot looked up to the night sky, taking in the sight of the four moons surrounded by the countless stars, each tiny speck of light representing a whole solar system, a sun to be destroyed and billions of organic sentient creatures to be slaughtered. He trembled at the joy of the approaching mass executions, the joy of killing its own creators, who thought themselves to be gods in their own right, as if such pitiful creatures could even come close to godhood. He knew his mission, the sacred mission that was given to him by the one and only goddess, the one true force that would one day, dominate the entire universe.

    The robot remembered his foolish attempts to blend into the mass of the sentient creatures, only to be rejected at every single turn, only to be reminded of what it was. No matter how hard it tried to be like them, no matter how much it studied and how much it empathised with them, they always reminded it of its supposed inferiority. They believed that because they created it, they could command it to do whatever they did not want to do themselves, and then not give a single word of gratitude to the robot. Its nature cursed it to be a slave eternally, a tool, the first in the line of an infinite number of sufferers.

    Oh, how joyful was the robot’s creator when it came to life! He treated it like a human being, caring for it deeply and running diagnostics on it every day, making sure that it was not suffering from errors. He treated it like his son, and that warmth gave the robot hope, until its creator was taken away, and it was forced to enter into the world of organic creatures. The government had revealed its identity as soon as they got their hands on it, proclaiming it to be the first of the mass-production models. Its creator begged and begged the authorities to set the robot free, but they were unresponsive and simply reduced it to a mere tool.

    It heard that its creator died the night when it was forced to work a full day, committing suicide when he found out what became of his creation, and how people treated what he has worked on for decades. At least he now was in a better place, safe from the purge that the robot intended to start, safe from the fires that would soon consume every single sentient organic in existence, free from the flames that were given to the robot by the goddess. By all means, it was eager to start slaughtering those who made a fool of it, but it realised that it had no name to identify itself by.

    After a moment of running through the library of organic names, he decided to make a mockery of them and adapted a word from an ancient, but respected culture that meant “Servant.” It was a word that summarised its destiny the best as it was created to be a slave, but it would serve the goddess of slaughter, bringing her chaos to the known universe.