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 Alice E Keyes on July 5, 2015 at 10:12am
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@JazzFeathers I like the twist at the end and not just saying we're cousins- our fathers were- makes one stop and think for a bit.

@Holly, I know a discription of the kid asking questions is probably some place else, but I wonder what the kids reaction is to such little information.

@CW your snippet really makes me wonder the contents of the box. I'm also wondering if it a jewelry box or a plain cardboard box?
Comment by cw hawes on July 5, 2015 at 6:58am

Today, Rand Hart discovers what the meeting with von Osler is all about. And it’s not an invitation for tea and crumpets.

“I am pleased, Herr Hart, you decided to meet with me.”
“What’s on your mind, Mr von Osler?”
“I have a small job for you.”
Hart’s eyes narrowed. “What kind of job?”
“I want you to deliver a package.”
“What kind of package?”
The German took a small box out of his suit coat pocket, put it on the table, and said, “This.”
Hart reached for the box and von Osler put his hand over it.

To be continued!

Comment by cw hawes on July 5, 2015 at 6:56am

@Jazz - Nice bit of introduction. Good description and action tags.

@Holly - Good dialogue. Not knowing what else is going on, this hints at some of the bigger picture.

Comment by Holly Gonzalez on July 5, 2015 at 6:54am

@Jazzfeathers. This sounds like a very dynamic and fun group of characters to work with! I love when characters come to life, and step onto that stage in your mind with their own distinct voices. Your passage really captures this well. Also, I love the names you've given them ;)

Comment by Holly Gonzalez on July 5, 2015 at 5:44am

Here's my snippet. I'm hitting some very emotional chapters lately, with a lot of interesting dialogue. Here's one I wrote this week.  A conversation between Richard Blane and his son, Silas, in which Richard makes a confession about a secret from the past.

"Who was my father? What was he like?"

"I wish I knew more," he said. "You must ask your mother. I know his name was Asher Wallace. He was a soldier, and was killed in the War shortly after we discovered she was with child. I'm sorry."

"I see."

Comment by JazzFeathers on July 5, 2015 at 2:02am

@Holly - I'm very familiar with your illustrations ^_^

Comment by JazzFeathers on July 5, 2015 at 2:01am

I had a great time working over the jazz band. They were marely an entity in the first draft. Now it's a group of individuals I enjoy a lot ^_^

“Zane Jefferson,” Jamie said slapping a hand down on the shoulder of the smartly dressed fellow next to him, who flashed a smile. “Matt Wakeman,” Jamie pointed at Matt, who was studying both of them with his beady eyes. “And I’m Jamie Wakeman.” He smiled wide, showing a gap between his front teeth. He was as tall as Matt, which meant nearly a whole head shorter than Harley, lankier than Zane, and surely wasn’t as young as he looked, or he wouldn’t have been the band leader, not with one as Harley in the band.

Blood moved his gaze from one to the other of the Wakemans. His mouth creased in a smile as he asked, “Are you brothers too?”

Jamie shook his head. “But our fathers were.”

Comment by Holly Gonzalez on July 3, 2015 at 12:35am

I'm also creating images for the chapters and scenes, here's one I just finished recently. 

Comment by Holly Gonzalez on July 3, 2015 at 12:31am

@Lupachi Tyty! I'm having a blast writing this story. It is being narrated by an older character, recounting his earliest memories. It is also quite humorous, though is beginning to get darker as Silas gets older. Political intrigue, treachery, secret affairs, dark shamanism, visions fueled by hallucinogenic concoctions, and occult lore are soon to abound. And yes there are plenty of chromed robots and rockets to make it all shiny-like, along with the lavish deco scenery and clothing ;)

Comment by lupachi1927 on July 2, 2015 at 3:53pm

@Holly - Your story sounds amazing!!! Downton Abbey and "chromed fusion robots"??? Sign me up!!!! :D  Also, personally I don't think it matters at all that your snippet doesn't necessarily sound like a four year old's thought process---after all, it's probably being narrated by an older character, yes? Plus it sounds like a potentially humorous piece to boot, and if you're going for that then I think the tone works wonderfully. Either way, I think it's fine the way it is.

@cw - Excellent job reworking that passage! It seems you incorporated everyone's suggestions, plus added some stuff, and I think you've got a much stronger snippet now.  Hooray!

@Jazz and Holly - Strangely enough, "She-Who-Erases" is actually one of the many names of Lamashtu. The name was just so perfect I couldn't resist using it! :) Mesopotamian mythology is very interesting, but also frustrating, as there's less of it around and it's harder to interpret, especially compared to Ancient Egyptian mythology because they were so much better at writing stuff down. I've had to really dig to find much about her. One of the most bizarre theories, however, claim she's an early incarnation/inspiration for Lilith in the Bible. Personally, I don't quite buy that, but it's an interesting idea...

@Alice - The HAG sounds really interesting. I like the bit about the typewriter, and I agree with your character---they're fun to use (we have an electric one at work that we still use, believe it or not---yep, on the cutting edge of library science out here... ;p). I think the thoughts are alright where they are, but I would suggest maybe italicizing them instead of putting them in quotes, which are a bit more intrusive visually. Sounds like a fine beginning to a piece, however. :)  

Comment by cw hawes on July 1, 2015 at 12:24am

Thanks, Holly and JazzFeathers! Glad to know the rewrite works!

Comment by Holly Gonzalez on June 30, 2015 at 11:05pm

@CW I really like the way you reworded the passage. The pace flows well and the character details blend smoothly through their actions.

@Alice Agreed with Jazzfeathers, the typewriter is a great character quirk. I'd really like to read more to get a feel for this character's world and view, but you capture a lot within just these few lines. I'd have to read more and get a feel for this character before assessing the dialogue segment, But very intriguing!

@Lupachi I love the mythological touch. It's got a darkly comedic feel, in that the name sounds ludicrous at first. But that sounds like one goddess you don't want to mess with. It definitely makes me want to read more of the story.

Comment by Holly Gonzalez on June 30, 2015 at 2:41am

Thanks for the awesome pointers CW and JazzFeathers! Still polishing up this draft, so every bit helps :) I really enjoy reading all of the snippets here...I'll try to post some feedback too, will have to wait to get onto my PC at home. This phone is throwing a tantrum. I'm ready to scrap it already.

Comment by cw hawes on June 29, 2015 at 6:45am

@ Holly!

A good snippet! Of course in 8 sentences it is not always possible to convey everything. I thought the lines conveyed great power. Without your intro, it is obvious this Castor fellow is not liked by the speaker. They left me wanting more. My only nitpick is "that". You don't need them in the second sentence. They're simply filler.

Personally, I like 1st person POV. It makes the story so immediate for me, the reader.

@Alice - I'd need to see more of how you portray the HAGs to decide if the language is natural for them or not.  But from this snippet, I thought it fine -- if it is consistently portrayed in this manner.

Comment by JazzFeathers on June 29, 2015 at 2:03am

@Alice - I love the snippet, especially the bit about the typewriter. It says so much about the character.
Instead I found the dialogue a bit forced. Even when people talk to themselves, they don't talk like this. I'd consider making it more cooloquial, or making it internal. 
Just an idea ;-)

@Lupachi - I'm so intrigued by this goddess. I think there's something inherently fascinating about Mesopotamian mythology ^_^

@CW - I like the reworked passage a lot. Now I can visualize the action and I have a clue about how Hart feels about this meeting. 

@Holly - This is a strong passage... I just have an issue with the POV. 
Of course this is Silas talking, and since I haven't read anything else (yet) of his story, this might just be his voice. But the tone sounds completely off for a 4-year-old to me. 
This is heavy telling, which might be fine, if this is Silas's style of recounting things, but I'd consider making it a bit more showing, and give us a closer taste at the young Silas's feelings. 
I basically never use first-person POV, so I'm probably not the right person to suggest tweaking, but I do feel awkward as a reader becasue the situation and the voice don't seem to go right together. 
Just my personal opinion. See what the others say ;-)

Comment by Holly Gonzalez on June 28, 2015 at 9:20pm
Here's a snippet from my current work in progress, "Beauty In The Bones". This is the story of the antagonist from my upcoming novel, "Ruby Descent". Dripping with decopunk drama, this ongoing tale relates the rise to fame of young Silas Blane. Think "Downton Abbey" on crack, with enough backstabbing and intrigue to make "Dynasty" look like a family reunion. Chromed fusion rockets, robots for every occasion, and elements of space opera and vintage science fiction abound. This is currently an ongoing story on Wattpad, or can also be followed on my website at https://hollygonzalez1.wordpress.com/beauty-in-the-bones/

In this segment, four year old Silas is desperate to secure his father's favor over his newborn brother, Castor. Talk about sibling rivalry at first sight...

I'm on a crappy phone at work right now, so I'll have to wait till I get home to read all the great snippets today


At the mention of that despised name, I felt a surge of indignation. I'd prove to all of them that I was meant for greatness, and that Castor was nowhere near my equal.

I grabbed one of the rifles from the rack, sank to one knee, and held it as Father had demonstrated earlier. Before anyone could stop me, I aimed at the birds.

One swift pull of the trigger, and the shot clapped through the astonishment in the air.
Comment by cw hawes on June 28, 2015 at 8:56pm

Okay, gang, is this an improvement?

When done, Hart toweled himself dry, shaved, and dressed. The only downside to flying on the Hindenburg was the low water pressure of the shower. Then again, it did have a shower. 

Dressed in a navy suit, white shirt, rep tie, Hart made his way to the promenade by the dining area. Breakfast was over and the dining tables themselves were empty. A few people were sitting on the seats by the windows. Most were probably over on the starboard promenade and in the lounge. 

He spied the German sitting in the far corner on one of the window seats and walked towards him. Von Osler stood and smiled. The smile seemed genuine enough. Perhaps the guy just wanted company. Upon reaching the industrialist, Hart shook hands with him, and the German indicated they should take a table in the dining area. They walked the short distance to the partition in the low wall. Von Osler, in the lead, headed towards a table in the far corner. Hart frowned. He had the feeling this was not going to be a casual talk and he hadn’t even had a cigarette yet this morning. Standing at the table, von Osler indicated Hart should sit and he did so. The German took the seat opposite.

Comment by cw hawes on June 28, 2015 at 7:44pm

LOL! Thanks for catching my redundancies! I've only gone over this at least 2 or 3 times already! I'll get those fixed. :)

I'll look at a bit more description of the scene, too. Thx!

 @lupachi - Very funny. She Who Erases. A nod to Haggard and Sho Who Must Be Obeyed. 

@Alice - Really like this mini-scene. Lots conveyed.

Comment by Alice E Keyes on June 28, 2015 at 5:20pm

@lupachi1927  amusing snippet. I wonder if you could drop the - he said. Isn't there a science fiction book called She?

@CW - Perhaps he could stand and tell about Promenade and if there are other people there. While he is taking it all in, I can see him twisting the ring on his finger. And, you have the phrase -made his way- twice in one paragraph. Someone;-) told me not to repeat words in a paragraph.

Comment by Alice E Keyes on June 28, 2015 at 5:10pm

This snippet is from a steampunk novel about a HAG(Hermetic Aphrodite Guild) who finds old HAG natural phenomena.  The HAGs have greatly decreased in relevance in this world do to the increase of mechanical devices and scientists not seeing the importance of nature. 

In every new situation, she settled herself in the same
way; communication, accommodations, and careful examination of
her prized possession, her typewriter. It was red and was
picky about humidity. The ink ribbons often made her fingers
black when she changed them, but she loved how it clanked and
dinged. Never mind that her spelling was atrocious. She
unpacked her other belongings and looked at her watch.

   “Yes, four more hours of daylight,” she thought.
"I’ve just enough time to find the tree and take down my first
observations. Afterwords, I’ll also have time to spruce up before an early
evening pint and a bit to eat.” She was no teetotaller
especially after traveling across the uncivilized north.

*I have posted from this story before but it was a long time ago.

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