Hey there, all you creative minds! As an author, I’ve come across a multitude of fascinating characters. But today, we’re going to talk about something special: creating memorable robot characters in steampunk. If you’re into gears, goggles, steam, and clockwork, then crafting robotic wonders is right up your alley.

What’s In a Name?


First things first, let’s talk nomenclature. In the world of steampunk, robots are typically referred to as “automatons.” They’re intricate, steam-powered mechanical beings, often humanoid, with a certain Victorian-era charm. In my series, The Adventures of Bodacious Creed, these machines are affectionately termed “steelies” (singular: “steely”). Different names add flair and authenticity to the world you’re creating. The term “robot” wasn’t coined until 1920.

Fleshing Out the Mechanics of Your Robot Charcters


Now, on to the nuts and bolts – literally! Not to mention the engines and circuitry. Steampunk automatons are all about clockwork and steam power. When designing your robot character, think about how it operates. Does it have steam vents? Is it powered by an internal furnace? These mechanical details give life to your automaton and make it feel like a real part of the steampunk universe.

Giving Robot Characters a Personality


Robot characters in science fiction can sometimes feel cold and unemotional, but in the realm of steampunk, they can be as lively as any human character. If you’re writing a series, you may want to start with them doing simple tasks, and show how their programming advances over time. Think of quirky mannerisms, speech patterns, or even wardrobe choices. Yes, your automaton can have a sense of style. This can go a long way in endearing them to readers.

Lucky and Dixie from "The Adventures of Bodacious Creed"

The Purpose They Serve


An automaton needs to have a purpose in the story. Is it a loyal sidekick? A formidable adversary? A wise guide? In my world, the Creedverse, steelies serve as medical assistants, guards, and guides. I even have one (so far, just in my series bible) that assists in a small chocolate factory and has injectors in its fingers for different fillings. Define its role in your narrative, and tailor its features and character traits accordingly.

Interaction with Human Characters


One of the most engaging aspects of an automaton character is its interaction with human characters. How do people in your steampunk world view these mechanical beings? Are they trusted companions or are they met with suspicion? This dynamic not only builds your automaton’s character but also reflects the society in your fictional world.

Their Own Journey


Finally, consider giving your robot characters their own story arcs. Perhaps it’s seeking to become more human, or it has to overcome some mechanical limitation. Whatever the case, giving your automaton a goal adds depth and makes them more relatable.

There you have it! Crafting an automaton character in a steampunk world is an adventure. From the intricate mechanics to a dash of personality, your robot can be a memorable addition to your story.

Just a brief note before I go: remember that building characters, be it human or mechanical, is an art. Take your time, let your imagination soar, and don’t be afraid to make bold choices.

If you’re looking for a place to keep track of your fictional world (or worlds!), including its characters, locations, timeline, and much more, I encourage you to check out World Anvil. Start with a free account and see what you think! World Anvil is where I keep my series bible on the Creedverse. While most of the information is private, there is a lot of information available to the public. Check out the For Readers section and the Appendix!

Until next time, keep those gears turning and your creative engines steaming!


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