Dieselpunks

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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.

#8SS

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Comment by cw hawes on December 13, 2015 at 8:23pm

Thanks, Alice! In the last sentence, is "are" supposed to be "were"? If so, I think this snippet conveys a now-then scenario well. They were once common and now aren't. Something happening to make them uncommon.  What was the something?

Comment by Alice E Keyes on December 13, 2015 at 3:19pm

Sorry for my delinquency in coming back and replying. Congratulations, CW, for getting But Jesus Never Wept and the paperback version of Festival of Death. Lupachi, I feel for you query summary's are hard. I read that you should make several versions of various lengths and make sure you address in the first sentence a 'must' - Lou Lupino must??
(I started this in the morning and finally am finishing it.)

Here are my 8 from my HAG story.

"There are plenty of deer in this woods,” said David as he hung the carcass from a tree and started to dress it. “When I traveled over the area in an airship, I experienced the vastness of the forest. It expands to the uncivilized area and reaches far into it before you even see a village."

"There are airships now?" she asked.

"Not many and not for general travel. My brother, an inventor, built one of the first ones. We went traveling for a year on his airship."

“They are pretty common in my time for traveling, though I find the height is unsettling and prefer to travel by train or bicycle."

Comment by JazzFeathers on December 7, 2015 at 2:56am

@lupachi - I prefer the second draft. Yes, there's more info in the first, but the second is more to the point, a lot mor efocus and it's easier for me to understand what the story is about and why Lou does what he doas. 

I actually think you can tighten it up a bit, because in the central part you basically repeat the story of the WWI vet twice. 
I think you don't really need this part:

kingpin of Chicago’s underworld. So when Al asks him to babysit a screwy WWI vet, he knows it’s an offer he can’t refuse—literally. Lucky for him, it doesn't seem too bad: 

I can find all this somewhere else in the query, so I'll just edit it. 
And well, this is just me. Not an expert either (I wish!) ;-)

@CW- I like the snippet, especially the opening line. 
The last part sounds a bit telling instead. I think you could probably insert that part of description (their suits, their accent, what they carry) into the dialogue and action. 

Comment by cw hawes on December 6, 2015 at 11:51pm

@lupachi - I'm not the best person to ask on query letters, since I don't do them. I did find this site, which seems to sum up what I have in the past read elsewhere. Check it out: http://www.agentquery.com/writer_hq.aspx

For what it's worth, I actually prefer your original to the revision. The original explains more and makes it easier for me to understand what the book is about.

As for POD, yes, that is what I'm doing. I'm going through CreateSpace. The process is pretty simple. Pick the size book you want and download the template. Copy and paste your text into the template and then upload to CS. You get several options for covers. I just use my ebook cover. When the book is ready, it can be ordered through CreateSpace. In a few days it appears on Amazon and eventually on Barnes and Noble. You can also order copies for selling yourself, give aways, book fairs, and what have yous.

Comment by lupachi1927 on December 6, 2015 at 10:23pm

Sorry, forgot to include the original draft of my query pitch bit. Meant to include it for comparison. It's slightly different. Here's the original from my first query draft:

Lou Lupino is one of the Nightfolk, millions of second-class supernatural citizens of an alternate Prohibition Era America. More specifically, he’s a Dog: the bastard offspring of two werewolves, he’s stuck with a bad temper, enough fur to make Bigfoot proud, and the humiliating urge to bark at cats. Most werewolves abandon Dogs at birth, seeing them as worthless, craven things only fit to lick human’s boots.

Lucky for Lou, however, he’s found a home with Al Capone as an enforcer for The Outfit, busting heads alongside his zombie partner, Pierce. A deeply loyal soul, Lou would do anything for his boss, his partner, or his girlfriend, China. So when Big Al asks him to keep an eye on a traumatized British WWI vet who thinks he’s being stalked by “ghost men,” he agrees without a second thought. Babysit some screwy vet for a week? Sounds like a cakewalk—until the bullets start flying. See, it turns out the vet had stumbled into something out in the deserts of Iraq back during the Great War—something worth killing for. Now Lou will have to stay alive long enough to figure out who wants the vet dead and why, before Chicago falls prey to an ancient Mesopotamian evil…one that just might involve his girlfriend.

Comment by lupachi1927 on December 6, 2015 at 10:18pm

Sorry about the lateness of my post, I sort of spaced about this today >.<. Lately all I've been doing is beating my head against my query summary as a way of taking a break from editing the novel. I've been spending a chunk of today rewriting it. Here's what I've got so far. What do you guys think? I feel it's still a bit repetitive. The original used to have more of the setting/world in it, and I'm not sure if I should shove more of that back in. Also, the sentence structure could probably be more varied. What do you guys think?

Lou Lupino is a Dog. The bastard offspring of two werewolves, he’s cursed with a bad temper, enough fur to make Bigfoot proud, and the humiliating urge to bark at cats—as well as a fierce, innate loyalty to whoever he calls “master.” In his case, that happens to be none other than notorious gangster Al Capone, kingpin of Chicago’s underworld. So when Al asks him to babysit a screwy WWI vet, he knows it’s an offer he can’t refuse—literally. Lucky for him, it doesn't seem too bad: Al just wants Lou and his zombie partner, Pierce, to keep an eye on a traumatized British WWI vet who thinks he’s being stalked by “ghost men” for a week. Lou thinks it’ll be a cakewalk—until the bullets start flying. See, it turns out the vet stumbled into something out in the deserts of Iraq back during the Great War—something worth killing for. Now Lou will have to stay alive long enough to figure out who wants the vet dead and why, before Chicago falls prey to an ancient Mesopotamian evil…one that just might involve his girlfriend.

What do you all think? According to all the stuff about queries I've read, you only get a max of 200 words to discuss the content of the novel, and right now I'm pretty close to that...

@CW - I like your snippet! It's intriguing. And dang, you sound like a writing powerhouse! When you say you're releasing something in paperback soon, I assume it's POD? What's that like? Never looked into it much.

@Alice - Nice snippet too. I think it's interesting that the workers plan to hold her to her word.

@Jazz - I like the phrase "he looked inside of her." It's different. Seems like a nice piece of an emotional scene, and you're doing a good job of showing rather than telling.

Comment by cw hawes on December 6, 2015 at 5:59pm

At present I'm working like the devil to get But Jesus Never Wept (Justinia Wright, PI #3) out in ebook before Christmas. I'm also trying to get Festival of Death (Justinia Wright, PI #1) out in paperback before Christmas. And I'm trying to finish my initial edit of The Rocheport Saga #5, which I want to put out in January.

But I kind of miss participating here and was thinking about the next Lady Dru novel, which I want to publish by spring. So I wrote three pages. Here are the first 8 lines of the book.

The warehouse was dark, save for the line of lights illuminating the central aisle to the middle of the building. I had climbed about twenty feet up to the top of a pile of crates to observe the four men sitting at a table, arguing. Karl, my partner, waited in the shadows on the main floor.

One man, dressed in a suit, spoke with a German accent.

"Ve haf already agreed on the price, Herr Black. Vy complicate our agreement now?"

The one who was apparently Mr Black, was also dressed in a suit and his hand rested on a valise next to his chair. He spoke with decidedly American accent.

Comment by cw hawes on December 6, 2015 at 5:49pm

@Alice - That's a nice twist. Good set up and then "Fooled ya!"

@Jazz - An active snippet. Very nice. You may have already done this in the second draft, I'd tighten up the end of Blood's section like this:

He closed his eyes. His brows creased and he took a deep look inside her.

Otherwise very nice. Like that "He knew it." line.

Comment by JazzFeathers on December 6, 2015 at 3:58pm

This is a passage from Ch 4. It's still the first draft, it's a bit different in the second draft, but I haven't typed that up yet. 

She whirled.

Blood stood right beside her.

Her heart went crazy.

She opened her mouth.

Blood rose his hand and touched her lips lightly with his fingertips. He closed his eyes, his brows creased hard. He took a deep sight and looked inside her.

He knew it. 

Comment by JazzFeathers on December 6, 2015 at 3:56pm

@Alice - WOW! That's quite an announcement!
I like the snippet, very bald. I just think there is a POV slip in teh sentence starting with Eli, but I know this is just a first draft, so... ;-)

Comment by Alice E Keyes on December 6, 2015 at 11:04am

8 sentences from 2015 NaNoWriMo work -

After several drinks, Olive grew tired of keeping Eli from breaking her secret to Henri and Mark. She stood on a chair, “I would like to make an announcement.”

All of the patrons and the owner turned their attention to Olive.

One of the workers said, “You have our attention and once you announce something here, it sets the gears in motion. You must do whatever you say and I’m hoping...”

Eli stood and glared at him because he was sure it was going to be a bawdy suggestion. The man hesitated and then said, “Yes, Miss your announcement.”

“I am going to Boston tomorrow and join the protest against the Academy of male inventors.”

Comment by cw hawes on December 1, 2015 at 3:11pm

@Jazz - I agree 100%: writing by hand is a different experience than typing and I, like you, find I can concentrate better. And yes, it isn't double work, because I too edit while I'm typing. I started the practice in college. Wrote longhand, typed up the paper and edited it (on a typewriter), and then submitted. 

Comment by JazzFeathers on December 1, 2015 at 3:03pm

@Alice - Just checked out your NaNo profile. WINEEEEEEERRRR!!!!!! You are awesome!
I've only wrote that many words in one day once and I'm not sure I'll ever do it again, but you pulled it out for NaNo!

@lupaci - I think the best thing of NaNo is getting so much work done, and above all getting in the habit of writing. So you are a winner too. 
And then, if you need any motivation for finishing your draft... what are we here for?????

@CW - That's a lot of writing. I'm in awe.
And it seems a lot of work too, but personally, I also like handwriting my stories and then tying them on the PC. I don't know, writing by hand helps me concentrate in a way that is very different from when I type. It isn't a double job, in my opinion. It's already a part of revision.

Comment by cw hawes on December 1, 2015 at 12:22pm

@lupachi - If you got 50K, you won. NaNo, as I understand it from reading the book years ago, is basically getting down your first draft. If you get a book out of all that, you are a winner. :)

Yes, I think writing must be viewed as a job. Even if only a part time one. Treating writing as such leads to consistent productivity. And that leads to stories and books and hopefully quitting the day job.

Yes, The Rocheport saga is 4 1/2 plus reams of handwritten pages. The manuscript is quite a stack of paper. :) Since I didn't write it continuously, I'm not sure exactly how long it took me. Couple years most likely. I worked almost daily at it through 2013. Now I'm publishing it as a serial. Each book is roughly 60K words.

Comment by lupachi1927 on November 30, 2015 at 11:18pm

@ Jazz - Congrats on reaching your 50k!!! Sounds like you're well on your way to getting your draft edited, which is awesome. Then you can sit back and relax for a bit! :D

@ Alice - Loved your snippet. Hope you make it to 50k today!!!! Gooooooo!!!! :D

@ CW - Seems like you're balancing yourself well between creating new stuff, editing other things, and blogging, and your word output is impressive, especially September--that's almost an entire NaNo right there! When you say the Rocheport Saga is 2200+, do you mean you've got that many handwritten pages? If so, that's quite a prodigious output!

As for me, I ended up "winning" Nano yesterday with a word count a bit over 50k, but a lot of it was revised material plus blog posts, so I don't really see it as "winning" per se---especially since I've still got half the major changes in my draft to get through :(. While I didn't make it through all the new material like I hoped, at least it got me back in the habit of writing every day. I think you're right, CW---it seems best to treat writing like another job. Seems you can get a lot more done if you look at it that way...

Comment by cw hawes on November 30, 2015 at 12:44pm

I want to say @Jazz and @Alice you both have two wonderful little snippets there. Excellent writing!

And congrats to you JazzFeathers for completing your 50K! And for you, Alice, go, Go, GO!!!!! You CAN do it!

My sister asked me just yesterday how many words I write a month. I didn't have an answer at the ready, although I do keep a writing journal to try to record my progress. So I tallied up some numbers. I suprised myself with what I came up with. The numbers below include new fiction, revisions, blog posts, newsletters, and what have you that are related to my writing.

September - 49,447 words, of which 16,000 was brand new fiction and 27,213 was editing and revising.

October's word count was 25,855.

November's, as of yesterday, was 36,512 words. New fiction was 5607, blogging was 5050, and editing and revising was 25,855.

Most of the editing and revising is on The Rocheport Saga. I'm converting the 2200+ handwritten manuscript into conveniently sized books. I also add a significant amount of new material to update and improve upon the original.

I write everyday. It's my new job. :) Best life ever! Wish I'd done it 30 years ago. 

Comment by Alice E Keyes on November 30, 2015 at 10:42am

I have today to finish, but I also have 5000 words to write to cross the 50,000-word count. It will be the most I've written in a day, but I'm determined. I'm just writing bits and snippets at this point from different character points of view. It is more like an exercise in character building than actually getting the story completed.

congrats, JazzFeathers on completing the 50,000 words. Having an editor in the wings waiting is a great motivator!

Comment by JazzFeathers on November 30, 2015 at 2:21am

I'm so sorry, guys. Yesterday was such a busy day I - er... - forgot about the 8 Sentence éè

Hey, gals, how's your NaNo doing? I suppose that was the problem for you as it was for me ;-)
The good news for me is that I crossed the 50k line - pant! pant! - though the story isn't done yet. I'm close, but not done yet, though I expect to finish this revision early this week. 

And I should too. My editor waits for my readable draft on 15th December. 

CW, how about you? How's your writing going? :-)

Comment by Alice E Keyes on November 22, 2015 at 2:48pm

Thank you, JazzFeathers. You have captured the feeling of realization of both characters quite well. You make me itch to read the whole thing! 

Comment by JazzFeathers on November 22, 2015 at 1:35pm

@Alice - That is just lovely :-)

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