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 November 1, 2015 at 10:06am

Wrote it just this morning :-)

"You have to let me go," Susie stated, her voice so hard she almost didn't recognise it herself. 

Simon stood motionless, his face a mask. He tried to smile. 

"Su Xie, you don't kno what you're talking about."

"I know exactly what I'm talking about." She wasn't afraid. "You took my life from me. One last time."

Anyone doing NaNoWriMo? ^_^

Comment by cw hawes on October 25, 2015 at 3:33pm

Here's the blurb:

Devon Michaels has a problem. His high blood pressure is out of control. He’s a stroke victim waiting to happen.

Devon Michaels also has a solution. Become a vampire and gain eternal life, along with perfect health.

The problem is how do you find a vampire? But an even bigger problem arises when you do.

“Metamorphosis” is a 5000 word short story exploring an unusual solution to a common problem and when being dead just might mean you stay alive.

Comment by JazzFeathers on October 25, 2015 at 3:06pm

Thanks for all your suggestions, guys. Contrary to the snippets from Ghost Trilogy, this is a first draft, so I appreciate every suggestion since it will make my revision easier ;-)

@CW - hey, another Halloween story. I've see a few around. What is yours about? ^_^

@Alice - Like lupachi, I'm a bit confused. I actually took for granted that Heather is Madmoiselle Aphrodites, but in this case the dialogue doesn't make a lot of sense, since the first part of it seems to happen as if Heather were not there. 
But then, this is only a snippet. What comes before may clarify that well enough :-)

Comment by lupachi1927 on October 25, 2015 at 12:24pm

@ Alice - Maybe I'm missing something that was posted about earlier, but I'm slightly confused with your passage here. Is Heather herself "Mademoiselle Aphrodite," as the professor guy indicates, or is it an organization as the girl at the window indicates? If so, does that mean they're blaming Heather for the crevice? That doesn't seem to jive with the earlier passages. If she isn't, then maybe you should change the professor guy's line to something that doesn't make it sound like Heather herself is this Mademoiselle...? Just a thought.

@ Jazzfeathers - I quite like your passage. I think it conveys the fact that Susie is going through an emotional turning point very well. The only thing I'd suggest is maybe breaking up your sentences a little bit in the middle passage. Something like this:

What kind of a woman was she? She did owe everything to Simon? What would have happened to her if he hadn't taken her in? He had given her everything: been her protector, her lover, her mentor. The least she could do was be loyal, as he had asked her.

I agree with Alice that you could reduce some of the passive voice, too, but otherwise I like the passage. You capture Susie's emotional turmoil really well.

Comment by cw hawes on October 25, 2015 at 10:44am

@Alice - Good presentation of the info. I think some manner of tag for the other two speakers would help. I like the casual way the professorial looking fellow blows the whole thing off.

Comment by Alice E Keyes on October 25, 2015 at 10:10am

JazzFeathers - holding Blood's hands tightly - I think tight needs to be an adverb - tightly. And, I think the second paragraph could be better by eliminating most of the passive past tense. I like this moment because it gives the reader a hint that things will improve when Susie makes her own choices.

Comment by Alice E Keyes on October 25, 2015 at 10:01am

This snippet is the start of things getting troublesome for Heather.

"Excuse me," said Heather, "any news about the building falling into the crevice?"

Three people replied and spoke at once.

"The hole has increased."

"No classes today."

"I am sorry to say they are starting to blame Mademoiselle Aphrodites," finished the girl by the window.

“There are rumors of other natural phenomenon have happened at other universities. They say if a building is being erected to accommodate mechanical and steam studies, the
H.A.G.s have targeted these buildings," said the man with the newspaper.

The man in the corner who looked more like a professor than a student said, "Do not worry, Mademoiselle Aphrodite, it will all pass, rumours come and go, and they will find in the end, it is just a sinkhole created by an underwater river."

Comment by cw hawes on October 25, 2015 at 8:29am

I'm not working on a dieselpunk story right now. My halloween short story is available for pre-pub purchase. And I'll make it available for free starting tomorrow for a week. In addition to the story, I'm working on the 5th book in my post-apocalyptic saga and the 4th book in my Justinia Wright mystery series. I'm hopefully going to start a Lady Dru novel next year.

@Jazz - Good scene. I think your new approach to the story is more complex. Which, IMO, makes it better.

Comment by JazzFeathers on October 25, 2015 at 2:36am

The biggest difference between the old version of Give in to the Feeling and the new one is Susie’s position. In the old version, Susie was practically Simon’s prisoner and she knew it. Simon was also an abusive man so Susie was desperate to break free from him, though afraid to do so.
In the new version, although the situation isn’t totally different (Simon saved Susie from a terrible life, took her on and gave everything to her, so he expects something in return), Susie’s position is different, because she is loyal to him and that’s her choice.
Blood appearing in her life has a different meaning. While in the old version he was clearly a savior, in the new one he’s the herald on a different life, and he opens Susie’s eyes on the fact that she has a right to choose what life she wants.
I’m a lot happier with the new situation, because this makes the story clearly Susie’s story.

Susie closed her eyes, holding Blood’s hands tight, pushing tears back down.

What kind of a woman was she? She did owe everything to Simon, what would have been of her if he hadn’t taken her on? He had given her everything, he had been her protector, her lover and her mentor and the least she could do for him was being loyal, as he had asked her.

She opened her eyes and met Blood’s.

A shiver ran down her spine. He was a completely new world. She had never ever imagined she might want something different from what Simon offered, something of her choosing.

Comment by JazzFeathers on October 19, 2015 at 4:04pm

Can't wait to read more of your stories, Alice ^_^

Comment by Alice E Keyes on October 19, 2015 at 4:01pm

I've missed two Sundays. I really meant to post yesterday but starting a 4 am in Canada, arriving in Montana and then driving for two hours took a toll on my ability to think clearly enough to write an intelligent thought. I will be back here next Sunday.

Comment by cw hawes on October 19, 2015 at 8:35am

@lupachi - As JazzFeathers points out there is a lot of info presented. Without context, it is difficult to say if it can be broken up or not. I do like the writing though and the vagueness of 'Nightfolk'.

When it comes to viscera, we have a stomach clench and a twisted guts. I think that is too much if they are in the same section.

But further, I've read 8 Sharon McCone mysteries recently and I came across no stomach clenches. In fact, very little reference to the viscera at all. I've recently read 4 Bertha Cool and Donald Lam mysteries. Same thing. In fact, I can't remember reading of a stomach clenching in a single Big 5 published novel. Of course I haven't read them all, so maybe they are out there. However, in all my years of reading I don't ever recall reading of a stomach clenching. Then again, maybe that is just me and the authors I read.

So, yes, JazzFeathers, it is up to the writer to use whatever she or he thinks will communicate. And if you want to use stomach clench, do so. I'm simply saying it sounds odd to me and doesn't communicate to me as well as other terms. But then, I'm only one reader.

Comment by JazzFeathers on October 19, 2015 at 2:05am

@lupachi - Mhm... I wonder whether you're trying to pack too much info in a very short time. If I combine this section with the one you posted last week, I end up with quite a bit of info-dump. 
Maybe there's a way to break up the info? Or even to give some of it through dialogue instead of exposition? 
Of course it's hard for me to say, since I've only read bits and pieces from your story, but maybe there is a way to establish people's preoccupation earlier in the story, so that you don't ahve to pack it here together with other more pressant info. 
Just an idea ^_^

@CW - Of course it's always up to the writer how they want to express a sensation. That's really a very personal choice. Adn that's what makes us all different storytellers, right? ^_^

Comment by lupachi1927 on October 18, 2015 at 7:52pm

@ Jazz - Your exchange is short, but as CW says, it conveys a lot. I like the little detail, too, that no one ever asks the dancer's names. It's a nice touch, and also sets off the fact that he asked her as important for the reader, too.

@ CW - While I haven't felt my stomach clench per se, I have felt my abdominal muscles clench, which was what I was referring to. And i meant the reaction to be ambiguous, too, so maybe it's good that it's unclear? But I could revisit it.

Maybe seeing more of that section would help? Here's another piece of that same section, specifically the part right before it, with a few transition sentences missing from the end. Again, I'm going for vague yet intriguing. It's still kind of rough, though. So, here's another part of Lou's talk with his Boss:

I smiled back at him, but I felt my guts twist up with Grade A guilt all the same. Sure I’d been out there giving the Purple Gang a hand, busting heads and schlepping booze across state lines, but me and the Boss both knew the real score. It was no accident that my week-long trip to Detroit had happened to coincide with a flurry a letters to the editor by Chicago’s elite Dayfolk, all demanding that the police reopen the case so they could feel safe in their Prairie Avenue beds without fear a being torn to bits by some marauding Nightfolk in the dead a the night--like I was some kinda mad dog killer onna goddamn spree. It was bullshit, sure, but the Boss didn’t wanna take no chances, so off to Detroit I went.

“Thanks for sending me out there, by the way,” I said, ducking my head some. “I know you didn’t have to none, and I really appreciate it.” I looked away, my face hot, feeling like I couldn’t quite meet his eyes.

Comment by cw hawes on October 18, 2015 at 6:50pm

@Jazz - Nice exchange. Says a lot in a minimum of words.

As for stomach clenching, what is it? How does a stomach clench? That would mean the stomach tightened, like when I clench a fist. I can in all honesty say I've never experienced that. I've had other sensations in my stomach, but never have I had it tighten up like when I make a fist. I may get a sinking feeling or a nauseous feeling. Can't say I've had it clench. I suppose that doesn't mean it can't happen. I haven't experienced that particular sensation.

And to my mind stomach clenched is no different than saying he felt sick to his stomach. We as writers are both telling the reader something. With clenching, I really don't know what is meant. But I do know what being sick to my stomach is. 

Just my 2 cents worth on the matter.

Comment by JazzFeathers on October 18, 2015 at 7:50am

Let me tell you I’m really enjoying writing Susie and Blood’s romance. Strange, since I’m not a romance writer or even reader. But I like when characters feel for each other and evolve as response to what happens to them. This is what I’m trying to do with Susie.
But then, I’ve always loved writing Susie and Blood as a couple. These are two independent persons who choose to be together.
Right now, their choices are giving me quite of an headache… but I’ll sort it out!

“Will you tell me your name?” he whispered.

Her breath had slightly quickened. Patrones of the speakeasy never asked the dancers’ name, there was no reason to.

“Susie,” she said. Then she let her lips curve in a smile. “Yours?” There was no reason why she should want to know it.

“Blood,” he answered.

Comment by JazzFeathers on October 12, 2015 at 2:08am

@lupachi - Mhm... if that's the first time you mention her at all, I'd make a bit more of it. At least, I'd make clear why one thought cases the other, or the reader just receives a random info that is unlikely to rememebr later on. 
Because this is the all point: if it is an info that the reader needs to remember, we have to make that info stand out. If you embad it inside something else, chances are the reader won't remember. 

@CW - Why would a stomach reaction be necessarily bad?
My mum's physiotherapist once told me we have two brains that understand and process especilly emontions: one is the actual brain and one is the stomach. 
And on a storyteller's level, 'the thing sickened him' is telling, while 'his stomach clenched' is showing ;-)
The stomach clenching, in my opinion, is that sensetion you get when something sudden happens and touches you at a fairly deep level. For example, when you prepare an exam for weeks, go have it, and they tell you, "I'm sorry, you won't pass this." Your stomach gets that funny reaction as if it's twisted and it's a negative sensation. 
But also when you go places and in the crowd you see the person you're interested in and you see him looking at you. You think "Oh, goodness, then he is interested in me." You're stomach gets that same funny reaction, but this time it's a positive sensation. 
On a steryteller's level, if you simply describe the physical sensation, you leave the reader free to interprete it. If you say something like "he felt sick to the stomach" you are interpreting the event in place of the reader and this, in my opinion, weakens the reader's involvement. 

Comment by cw hawes on October 11, 2015 at 10:13pm

@lupachi - Without knowing what comes before and after, I can't tell you if this is too early or too late. There is a certain vagueness that I like. Adds a touch of mystery. If you are still introducing all the characters, then it is probably alright. 

On a different note, I am unaware of stomach's clenching. Was there a knot in his stomach? Was he sick to his stomach? To my mind, a stomach reaction is negative. Is that what you want here? If his reaction is to the thought of the rapist, then I'd make him sick to his stomach or just say the thought sickened him.

Comment by lupachi1927 on October 11, 2015 at 8:22pm

@ Jazz - It is the first time I mention her at all, which I know is bad. I plan to try to work her into the first page, but so far everything I've come up with feels really clunky. Guess I need to work on it more.

Hmm, there's a backstory for why he doesn't drink? Interesting! I wonder what is is...

Comment by JazzFeathers on October 11, 2015 at 2:44pm

@CW - A huge gool luck for your launch. I too will read your excerpt as soon as I can ^_^

@lupaci - An a general feeling, the passage is good. But as for the mentioning of 'her'... is that all you have in this section of story? Because if that's the case, it doesn seem a bit vague to me and coming out of the blue. It might confuse the reader rather than intigue him.
Would you be able to connect the long passage with the mentioning of her in a stronger way, maybe making more obvious why the more recent happening makes Lou think of her? 

Guys, I know I shouldn't feel like this, but I'm finding the rewrite of my story particularly pleasant. I'm really enjoying it in spite of needign to rethink everything. 
@lupachi - there's a whole story behind the reason why Michael doesen't drink ;-)

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