Excerpts from Wanderland, my Alice in Wonderland Retelling


Today I’m very excited to share some bits and pieces from my Camp NaNoWriMo novel, Wanderland. I’ve written about 23,000 words so far in 10 days. I’m hoping to get to 50,000 by the 20th, but we’ll see how I go!

It’s been so much fun writing a fantasy. Usually I only write contemporary, which I love, but this is a very nice change. And I’ve ALWAYS loved Alice in Wonderland as well as Through the Looking Glass. This year I’ve read it three times – once for research and the other two for pleasure. The problem is that it has a very lacking plot. However, that does mean I’ve got a lot of freedom in this retelling to go in directions that I think are really exciting.

Basically, the story follows Alice and her brother Charlie as they end up in Wanderland. Their mother, father and sister have been taken, and they have to travel through each land in order to retrieve them. And the best way to travel, of course, is by rainbow…which is where they meet the famous White Rabbit. Lots of madness, nonsense and gibberish poetry ensue.

By the way, that is FAR from a proper blurb. I haven’t written one yet.

Anyway, let’s get to the excerpts 🙂 I’m just going to slot in random Alice in Wonderland gifs because…well, because I can.

And yes, the Cheshire Cat does make an appearance.

(oh, and don’t mind the formatting. It doesn’t copy-paste right on WordPress!

Excerpt one

From Chapter 4, in the land of Iridus


Patch brought us into her house. It was a circular one, butting up against two that curved inward to get around it. It was the same crystalline blue as her eyes. She opened the circular door inwards and we entered, Sepia trotting along behind. Inside the single-roomed house, a million different colours competed for attention. And the source of it was all clothing-related: balls of wool and spools of thread, just as many wound up as unwound, draped all through the room like a giant spider web. I looked down at my wheelchair. Several threads were already stuck in the spokes.

‘Now,’ said Patch, clapping her hands, ‘Will you require kibble or canned food?’ She raised her eyebrows.

It took me a few seconds. ‘Oh, for the dog?’

Sepia barked.

She laughed. ‘For all of you. I’m not sure what kind of dogs you are.’

‘We’re not dogs at all,’ said Charlie. His eyes on Patch, he didn’t watch where he was walking, and got tangled up in some blue yarn.

‘Then you must be hens,’ said Patch decidedly. ‘I’ve got corn somewhere…’

‘We’re people.’ As Charlie said this, he got even more tangled in the wool and fell to the floor. ‘We’re human people.’

‘Oh.’ Patch frowned. ‘Do you take salt or chilli in your tea?’ Charlie looked about ready to answer, but she continued. ‘Oh, neither, only the hedges drink tea.’ She bustled to a cupboard buried at the back of the room and began tossing things out. ‘How about some cake?’

Charlie had given up trying to untangle himself, and answered from the floor. ‘Oh, yes please.’

‘Well, I haven’t got any, so it was rather silly of you to ask for it.’ Patch stood upright and turned back to face us. ‘I could always knit you something to eat, I suppose…’ She put a finger to her lip. ‘Only I’ve run out of cheese wool. Eggs will have to do, I’m afraid.’

I watched with interest as she plonked herself on a couch buried in wool, and selected a few balls at random. She then dug some knitting needles out of her hair and began knitting with four different balls at once. Sepia had sat on the floor and was sniffing a bright turquoise spool of thread.

‘What does she mean, knit us something to eat?’ whispered Charlie from the floor.


Excerpt 2

From Chapter 8, concerning the Mad Hatter, the March Hare and the Motley Fox

I’d been so busy worrying about Charlie that I hadn’t realised there were people sitting at the tea table. Three of them, and I wasn’t sure if I could call them people, really. There was a handsome red Fox, the white tip of his tail twitching in the air. He wore black spectacles balanced on his nose. If I’d thought Charlie’s outfit was bizarre, the Fox’s was something else: a large top hat with holes cut in it – birds flew in and out of these. He had large falsh eyelashes and painted nails, a feather boa tied around his neck, and enormous heart-shaped wings poking from his back.

A few seats along was—my heart beat faster as I recognised the White Rabbit, but it wasn’t him, it was a Hare. A large drum was affixed sideways to her head, and was beaten every so often by an invisible hand. On top of the drum, three tin soldiers marched. In front of her was a calendar opened at the month of March. Her nose twitched as she studied it carefully.

Then there was a man seated at the end of the table, with the most outrageously large hat I had ever seen, close to toppling every time he moved. I watched as he opened the top of the hat to bring out several more, which he lined up on the table to admire.


Excerpt 3

From chapter 9, a lullaby


Rock-a-bye Alice, brimming with dreams

Wanderland seldom reflects what it seems

When the dream breaks, young Alice will fall

And then she will find she’s not dreaming at all.

So there you have it, everyone! Three excerpts from my current work-in-progress. I hope you enjoyed them. Remember this is only a first draft, so probably none of this will end up in the next draft.

And a question: what’s your favourite YA retelling? What would you like to see more of in retellings? Also, if you have any comments/questions/critiques on these excerpts, feel free to put them below! 

30 thoughts on “Excerpts from Wanderland, my Alice in Wonderland Retelling

  1. These are all so wonderfully creative! I love Alice in Wonderland. It is such an absurd story, you can do almost anything with it! Great job, and best wishes as you continue! I’d love to read more sometime!

  2. THIS IS THE BEST. Oh, oh, the nonsense is like perfection. Seriously…I need this book in my life asap. I particularly love that poem. Brilliant. And the eating wool and eggs scene is fantastic. It’s just spot on with the confusing nonsense…seriously, you’ll make Lewis Carroll proud. 😉

  3. OMG, Em, this is brilliant! Brilliant I tell you ❤ I'm so smitten with anything 'Wonderlandish' and this is the perfect mix of whimsy, quirk and madness. Can I read it? Ohhh, I so wanna read it.

  4. Emily, these are AMAZING! Your little twists on the real story and the characters you’ve created are already shining through. It would be awesome to read the full thing, you are definitely very talented 🙂

  5. Wow, this is so great! I can see how this would be so much fun to write. 😀 I love love love Alice In Wonderland, so I’d pretty much read every retelling of it ever, and I like the fact that (from what I’ve read here) it holds similar threads to the original tale, but with your unique writing style and twists on things, it’s still manages to be different. Love it! 🙂

      • Thanks Kara!! I LOVE Alice in Wonderland as well (obviously, or I wouldn’t be writing a retelling) and I love how each retelling gives it something different. Which is what I HOPE my story does. I’m glad you like the title – there are some one-word titles I really hate but hopefully it’s enough like the original that people recognise it as a retelling.

  6. I REALLY enjoyed your excerpts Emily, the first one was a lot of fun and really illustrated the silliness involved, imagine chilli in your tea lol! The 2nd one also showed some really outlandish characters that you would only find in Alice in Wonderland. And I loved your lullaby, so creative and clever! Keep doing what you are doing Emily, it sounds awesome 🙂

  7. oh I love this Em! I love the lullaby, particularly–it’s so creative. I absolutely love reading retellings and I haven’t read many Alice in Wonderland ones–but this one is coming along brilliantly. My favourite fairytale retelling is probably Cinder.

    Thank you for sharing your awesome writing, Em! <33

    • I loved writing the lullaby, actually, and some of the other poems in there (I’m a poet and didn’t know it). There aren’t many Alice retellings out there, which is why I wanted to write this one, since it’s one of my favourite children’s books ever! Oh, I DO love Cinder…can’t wait to for Winter 🙂

  8. These are so good for a first draft! I am hooked already and would definitely pick this up if it was in the shop. That Lullaby was brilliant *claps enthusiastically* It has that Alice In Wonderland feel to it. Well done.

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