Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

8 Sentence Sunday on Dieselpunks

Moderated by: JazzFeathers

8 Sentence Sunday on Dieselpunks is a creative writing exercise for our Storyteller community. The aim of the exercise is to inspire our writers and gather feedback on their work from others in the community.

The rules are simple: everyone interested in 8 Sentence Sunday posts an eight-sentences-long snippet of their writing project right here in the comments. The snippet can be dieselpunk or steampunk, and it can be in-progress or already published. All we ask is you keep your snippet in line with the standard rules on Dieselpunks (keep it suitable for teens and don’t be a dick).

Most of all, you have to engage. If you’re asking for feedback, you have to be constructive about at least one other member’s work as well.

Feel free to post links to your own websites and products on this thread as we hope to keep our corner of the alt-history continuum alive and dancing.



You need to be a member of Authors and Storytellers to add comments!

Comment by JazzFeathers on July 26, 2015 at 4:29pm

@CW- I understand the need to be sparse, but you are giving nothing to us except the dialogue. That's fine in a play, but personally I don't think it's fine in a story. 

When someone speak to someone else there are always more than just words. Both characters will also speak with their bodies, and I think giving the reader this info will enhence his experience of the story, because it will allow him to infer info the narrator is not really spelling out. And I suppose these two characters are not talking to each other just sitting with heri arms of the chair armrests, no? ;-)

Same goes with the surroundings, you don't need to really describe it (this is not what I meant), but two men talking about something as sensitive as this will be very aware of what's going on around them and will react to it. In my opinion, this would enhence the reader's experience, not detract from it.

I think plays are very different from stories. Plays aren't supposed to be read, they are supposed to be watched as they are performed, that's why they don't need too much info about setting and body language, that will be provided by the actors and the stage. But we don't have this help in a story, so I think the narrator should provide this to help the reader feel 'there'. 
Just my idea ;-)

Comment by cw hawes on July 26, 2015 at 3:15pm

@lupachi - There is, IMO, a bit of a problem, as Alice points out, with Ahmed's being piqued at yet another question and the somewhat detailed description. On the other hand, I think the description is needed. Perhaps have Ahmed toss off an answer and then the other person "beg" for more of an explanation.

I think the problem with the last sentence in my snippet is more due to the 8 sentences than anything else. The conversation continues. If there is still a problem after next week, then I can look at fixing it.

@Alice - I like the inside joke. I'll have to think about that.

@Jazz - When I read a book, I don't really like a lot of description. So when I write, I tend to be short with description or eliminate it altogether. Part of it is also the Japanese aesthetic of letting the reader participate, which I very much like. If I spell out everything, then there isn't much left for you, the reader, to participate in. Another factor is Shakespeare. We basically have the dialogue for his plays. No stage direction. I personally like that. It lets me imagine the scene and pay more attention to what is being said.

I'll take a look at the entire scene in my manuscript and see if more "color" will add anything to it. I'm not averse to adding the surrounding scene. I just don't want it taking away from the dialogue.

Thanks everyone for the feedback. I value your reactions. The goal is always to improve!

Comment by Alice E Keyes on July 26, 2015 at 2:21pm

@JazzFeathers It looks like we posted at the same time. I laughed when I went to my inbox and saw that you had just posted. And, I loved that you used quite in your post. I really like the word too bad its and adverb and most of the time not necessary just ask Strunk & White.

Comment by Alice E Keyes on July 26, 2015 at 2:11pm

@CW - the last sentence could be reworked because I see what Lupachi means. It is a case of the missing 'that' which I know we all try to avoid 'that' word. Because von Osler and Hart are gamblers, you might want to give actual odds (this could be an author inside joke by making the odds number of obstacles Hart has to endure to get the box delivered to how many villains in the story).

@Lupachi The explanation of the gidim is 'quite' long. If Ahmed is tired of schooling your MC then I think he would try to be concise and kind of toss the explanation out there which might show his annoyance better. And careful with the word 'quite' because it is one of those sneaky words that be quite overused. I struggle with limiting its use so I created a character that uses 'quite' quite often to get me in the habit of eliminating it every where else. 

Comment by JazzFeathers on July 26, 2015 at 2:11pm

Hi guys. Sorry I'm snippet-less, was a very strange week... but I love all yours ^_^

@Alice- That exchange is just priceless! I get a sense of two very snob people, and I'm quite intrigued by the last sentece.

@CW- The dialogue is getting interesting, but again I think I'd like a bit more context around the dialogue. Impressions, body language, maybe hints at waht's happenign around them. As it is, it sounds a bit like 'talking heads'.

@Lupachi- Ghosts! This is just my element! This kind of ghost sounds quite interesting. But what is the relation with the demon-rum? Wasn't Lefty related to that last time? 

Comment by lupachi1927 on July 26, 2015 at 1:35pm

@ Alice - Nice exchange! My only nitpick is perhaps inserting a "now," before "tell me" to help transition between topics, as otherwise it comes off as a bit abrupt.You could also perhaps throw in a comma after "discovered," too, but maybe that's just me. Otherwise, though, I like it! :) The next time I have jasmine green tea, I shall be comparing it to a lady's boudoir. ;)

@ cw - I like your exchange, too, especially the inversion with luck not always being a lady. Nicely phrased :). It's stuff like that which suggests a foreign speaker without resorting to that godawful phonetic spelling you sometimes see when people want to write out accents and such. However, I'm not sure what you mean by the last sentence. Perhaps there was supposed to be a break in there? Right now it doesn't seem to flow. Perhaps adding a period between "favor" and "the mission" would help? Just a thought.

Here's my snippet---a continuation of my last one, where Ahmed and Lou are talking about Lefty, which ended with Lou asking "what else could it be?" as regards the thing that might be possessing their charge:

“It depends. I would have to see him to be certain, but considering his circumstances, perhaps a gidim.”

“A what?”

Ahmed glowered at me. “Your ignorance is getting quite tiresome. A gidim is a hungry ghost of the desert, created when a person dies alone among the dunes without a proper burial. They cannot enter the land of the dead because of this, and so they seek to stay in our world by feeding off the life force of the living. A human host would be a great prize for such a creature.”

Comment by cw hawes on July 26, 2015 at 11:30am

Here is mine for today. We pick up where we left off last week in Hart’s conversation with von Osler. Hart is speaking.

“And why would I need to be creative?”

“You might not have the need. Then again…” Von Osler shrugged. “Luck. She is not always the lady, no?”

“True enough. So you’re telling me I might need to get a little creative in getting this box to the ‘certain person’.”

“Maybe. Maybe not. I would say the odds are in your favor the mission will be quite routine.”

To be continued!

Comment by cw hawes on July 26, 2015 at 11:28am

@Alice - LOL! Hilarious. Very good exchange! Only nit is maybe use "It" instead of "The tea". I think context will tell us what "It" refers to and conversationally speaking, I think "It" is more natural. Besides, we all know coffee doesn't smell like a lady's boudoir. :) That is priceless!

Comment by Alice E Keyes on July 26, 2015 at 10:55am

Good morning. Here is my 8

“I hate coffee. It’s Jasmine green tea. Tell me what you’ve discovered if anything.” She stood above him for a moment and then took a seat across from him.

John sniffed at the tea and scrunched up his nose. “The tea smells like a lady’s boudoir. Truth is I couldn’t stand hanging around Miss Winsome and her friends...”

“Wait, the girl I had dangling from Persephone’s ladder name is Miss Winsome?”

Comment by JazzFeathers on July 19, 2015 at 3:23pm

CW- I like the quick exchange between them. Yes, we're reading only 8 sentences a time, but it feels like a very fast exchange. I like it :-)

Alice- That's so fun! I don't know these characters as well as CW does, but I like their personality :-)
And hey, your weekend sounds intersting!

Lupachi- Demon Rum an actual demon? I LOVE this concept!

Comment by cw hawes on July 19, 2015 at 1:41pm

@lupachi - Lou's rumination is good. His puzzlement comes through and is carried on into the conversation.

@Alice - I burst out laughing when I read the explanation for the noise. I think, at first read, anyway, it fits with the brothers' personalities. They're rather harebrained and this "get rich quick scheme" fits with them. I mean who else would take a basically quiet piece of machinery and make it more noisy? :) Like putting playing cards on your bike wheels to make noise.

The burnout comes when editing. At least for me, because I don't like it at all. I usually put the book aside for a day and write something or do something else. Then pick it up the next day and have at it! :)

Comment by Alice E Keyes on July 19, 2015 at 1:20pm

My critiquing brain isn't working. I think it is a combination between going to Yellowstone brewfest, mountain biking 10 miles through trails destroyed by cows after a heavy rain, and getting a little burn out on rewrite/editing my novella. So, I'll say this: My Sunday morning ritual of coffee and reading various Dieselpunks pages is something I look forward to. Bravo, to all of your creativity.

Comment by lupachi1927 on July 19, 2015 at 12:53pm

@Jazzfeathers - Nice snippet! I agree with CW, you capture the compulsive gambler's dilemma perfectly :). And it's really great that one of your readers came to sympathize with him over time---I think that's a hallmark of a well-written, well-rounded character. Wish I could say my villains were as complex! Sadly, I think that's something I'm gonna have to work on in my draft, hehe...

@cw - I like your snippet too! The interplay between Hart and von Osler is fun and amusing.

@Alice - Senator Roosevelt, eh? I'm assuming this would be Teddy? Interesting that you've made him a Senator! How has his career changed in your alternate history universe? Was he still the governor of New York at any point, or did his career take a different track?

My snippet today is still from Chapter 5, but this bit refers to Lefty, the British WWI veteran that Lou and his partner, Pierce, are running around trying to protect from mysterious assassins. Here, Ahmed's offered an explanation for Lefty's odd behavior that Lou doesn't quite agree with. This bit starts to delve into some of the background of my novel, too, where demons and demon possession are part of everyday life, since "demon rum" is a literal thing. Small demons, trapped in bottles, are what gives liquor its intoxicating abilities, and those who drink too much open themselves up to possession---though in Lefty's case, that's not quite what happened. Here's the snippet: 

That didn’t make no sense. Sure, Lefty had been acting screwy all right, but most people who were possessed by demons stood out to folks like me. “Wait a sec, Teach. If he was possessed, I woulda known it by now—my nose doesn’t lie.”

Ahmed shook his head. “A desert demon is not the same as the Infernals we have here in the States, as they do not reek of sulfur as ours do. Besides, it may not even be a true demon.”

“Then what the hell else could it be?”

Comment by Alice E Keyes on July 19, 2015 at 11:15am

Here is snippet from Miss Winsome and the Scientific Society for CW. I'm not satisfied with the noise the steamo'cycle makes but Im thinking on It. 

She crossed her arms. “Why are you and your brother’s cycles so noisy? What are you doing here? You’re suppose to be watching Roosevelt and reporting back to me in two days. It’s then that we plan our next move.”

   “The board and Senator Roosevelt are not staying at Old Faithful; tents aren’t good enough for them. Guess burning that hotel was a mistake as the old codgers are all going to the Canyon Hotel. And, if you must know, we improved our steamo’cycles to make the marvelous zooming rat-a-tat pop noise. I’m not telling you how we did it, ‘cause we’re going to sell our noise invention.”

Comment by cw hawes on July 19, 2015 at 9:27am

In today’s snippet from Rand Hart, we pick up where we left off last week in Hart’s conversation with von Osler.

     “Okay, then why me?”

     “Because I like your luck.”

     “Sometimes I’m lucky.”

     The German paused, as if searching for the words to say, then spoke, “You are a very creative poker player. I like and reward creativity.”

     Hart looked him in the eyes. “You’re not so bad in the creativity department yourself.”

     Von Osler smiled. “You see, Herr Hart, we already have the start for a good working relationship. We understand creativity.”

To be continued!

Comment by cw hawes on July 19, 2015 at 9:24am

@Jazz - Ah, the gambler's dilemma. :) Portrays it well, I think. I'm wondering if the last sentence shouldn't also be in italics. I think it sounds better if it is part of his rumination.

Comment by JazzFeathers on July 19, 2015 at 8:25am

Oh, goodness, this hot weather is melting my brain. I saw my 8 Sentence had gone live on my blog and though, what? why? 
Uhm... maybe because it's Sunday?

Anyway, this is about Justin, my antagonist. I've had very diverse reactions to him from my readers. Some even hate him, some others like him. What I liked the most is a friend of mine, one of my first beta readers, who started out hating him but by the end of the story she sympathised with him. 

I just love Justin, just like all of my other charactes ^_^

He let his head dangle.

He always said to himself, Only this much money. I’m only betting this much money and that’s it. At first, it had even worked. The first couple of nights he did stop when the money was gone. But then, he thought he could gain something back. The next spin might always be luckier.

He shook his head. He should know better by now. I can quit, if I want to. He should know better.

Comment by cw hawes on July 13, 2015 at 4:37pm

Thanks for the comment lupachi! The story takes place in 1938. From my reading of period literature, I don't see a problem with using G, but thanks for questioning if it is appropriate. 

Comment by lupachi1927 on July 13, 2015 at 4:18pm

Hey everyone and sorry for the late comments, I was busy all day yesterday and didn't have time to post/find a snippet. Anyway here's my two cents:

@cw - I like your snippet, but I wonder at the use of the slang "twenty Gs" for twenty thousand dollars. I'm not sure exactly when "g"s started standing in for a thousand dollars in slang, but it feels much more contemporary to me than the kind of language you've been using for your characters so far. To be honest, I'm sorry to say I think I missed seeing exactly when your story is set. Depending when it's set, it might be more appropriate to use the term "grand," which became common in the early 1900s (see: http://www.word-detective.com/2008/04/grand-one-thousand/). From what the internet tells me, the term "g"s comes from the 1940s and later (see: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2044/whats-the-origin-of-g...). Of course, if your story is set in the 1940s this is an entirely moot point. Otherwise, just a suggestion.

@alice - Love your exchange! :) My only question is this, which I'm not entirely sure about: shouldn't there be a question after "The horses or the cowboys," rather than a period? I suppose it depends somewhat on how he's emphasizing it---if it's meant more as a statement, then a period is fine, otherwise it could possibly be construed as a question. Just curious.

Comment by cw hawes on July 12, 2015 at 6:06pm

LOL! I don't know if train windows can open or not. :) Since it's Uncle Teddy's private car, I don't see why he couldn't have had them open. My only thought is steam trains tended to be on the dirty side. The smoke coming back might have ash and stuff in it and an open window could be not so good. But if they are stationary, they I don't see a problem. All that is off the cuff.

Okay. I see where you are coming from, Alice, and your suggestion makes sense. So I have no quibble. I'm also thinking of pacing, though. Off hand I think your suggestion works. Just want to take a few moments to read and make sure. 

Stay in touch


Allied Powers

Diesel powered dieselpunk podcast
Dieselpunk Industries
Jazz Age Style by Tome Wilson
Vnv Nation

© 2018   Created by Tome Wilson.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service