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 cw hawes on August 9, 2015 at 3:37pm

@Alice - Thanks for pointing out the repetition! Earlier the box is said to be about the size of a deck of cards. So I'll come up with something to shake it up.

I am guessing there is more to the letter. What is here is just what someone would write to mom and dad. :)

Tit for tat! You have two "daytime activities" close together. :) An easy fix, though. Also, I believe it should be "You will" and not "You would". 

Otherwise, I like the epistolary additions you've made. Nice touch.

Comment by Alice E Keyes on August 9, 2015 at 3:23pm
@CW, my curiosity about what's in the box is increasing. The ruminating paragraph reads much better. The only change I might make is little box is used twice and close together. Could von Osler be precise about the size?
Comment by Alice E Keyes on August 9, 2015 at 3:16pm
I have a moment on the family vacation to add a snippet.

Dear Mother and Father,

The weather has been lovely. The evenings are cool and there hasn’t been a cloud threatening our daytime activities with rain. You’ll be interested to know that my daytime activities have been scientific. The College of Nikola and Ada has a Scientific Society and are studying the Old Faithful area of Yellowstone. I was asked to join and Uncle Teddy agreed, thinking studying with students would be more interesting than listening to the Yellowstone Board’s meetings.
You would be happy to know my sketching skills are of great use to the group of students I’m helping. In fact, Professor Hayden invited me to join the Naturalist Department and said my observations skills would be a great asset to the program. It is all very exciting.
Comment by JazzFeathers on August 9, 2015 at 2:14pm

@WC - That's a very good question ;-)

Comment by cw hawes on August 9, 2015 at 7:58am

Last week we left off with Rand Hart ruminating:

Hart looked out the window. The Hindenburg was a couple hours away from Lakehurst. The ocean was giving way to the New Jersey shoreline. These occasional odd jobs were nothing new. They helped for those times when Lady Luck failed him. Most were very routine and this one sounded easy enough. There was a ship steaming west. Probably heading for the harbor in New York and maybe home.

So let’s pick up his conversation with von Osler where we left off:

“Must be something pretty big in that little box,” Hart said.

“Let us say history is in this little box.”

Hart looked at von Osler. “History, huh? I suppose I have to pay my own airfare.”

“You will agree to deliver the box?”

“Why don’t you just deliver it yourself? Or have some errand boy from your company drop it off?”

Why not some errand boy, indeed! To be continued!

Comment by JazzFeathers on August 7, 2015 at 12:54am

@Holly - Added to my G+ page ^_^

Comment by Holly Gonzalez on August 6, 2015 at 10:47am

@Jazz Sorry for the late post, but I've got the snippet up on my blog now :) I took everyone's suggestions and added a bit more to the description, as well as changed the word 'touches' to 'drives'. Thanks again for the help, guys!


Comment by Alice E Keyes on August 3, 2015 at 9:57am

JazzFeathers, I've put it on my blog with comma additions ;-) aliceekeyes.blogspot.com , Thanks.

Comment by JazzFeathers on August 3, 2015 at 2:56am

Gals, if you post your snippets on your blogs, I can share them on my google+ page


It's a little page, but grawing ;-)

Comment by JazzFeathers on August 3, 2015 at 2:53am

@Alice - Really love the letter. It says so much without saying much ;-)
If I were her friend, I'd new stright away there's something cooking with this Ranger. 

@Holly and Alice - You're absolutely right. I need to vary my sentece structure... and not just here. Thanks so much for the suggestion :-)

Comment by cw hawes on August 2, 2015 at 11:16pm

@Alice - I like the letter. Nice touch.

Thanks for the comment. I see your point and fixed the text. The part about home comes up in just a little bit.

@Holly - Thanks for the suggestion. "Receded" isn't working for me. I'll give it some more thought.

Comment by Holly Gonzalez on August 2, 2015 at 10:26pm

@ Alice I love the letter format, it conveys a mysterious feel, and the sense that something indiscreet is afoot. One thing I noticed, just a simple grammatical change, would be the placement of commas in this phrase to: The Ranger who rescued me, Ernest Dashing, has taken me..... As far as the robots in mine go, Holten Jaster just hates getting his hands dirty, and his nephew had large trunks to carry. so he brought a few extra custodian units to do the heavy lifting. Thanks for the note on the change to 'drives', that does make better sense.

@CW The conversation flows well, and I like the transition of Hart's attention to the scenery, as he considers. The sentence which mentions the ocean giving way maybe could be tightened with another verb choice,  something like "The ocean receded against the New Jersey shoreline." not necessarily that wording, but it came to mind :)

@Jazzfeathers The noir feel and wavering forms of the spirits is awesome! I agree with Alice, perhaps a little bit of sentence structure in the last bit. An example, "Shadows obscured Adam's face, making it indecipherable." just a few words arranged here and there would create a new rhythm. <3

Comment by Alice E Keyes on August 2, 2015 at 4:32pm

I spent the weekend end camping so if suggestions don't make sense it is because of my sun baked brain.

Here is a snippet from a letter I added to Miss Winsome and the Scientific Society

There is too much to tell in the brief time I have to write and I’m looking forward to our first visit when I get back. Though, I do not want to think about the end of this adventure. I’ll end this letter with this tidbit. The Ranger, who rescued me, Earnest Dashing has taken me on a stroll each evening. He knows everything about nature, likes to tinker with steam inventions, and has the warmest brown eyes.

Your loving friend,


P.S. Please keep all of this a secret. Especially the fact about not having an escort.


Comment by Alice E Keyes on August 2, 2015 at 4:23pm
@JazzFeathers I like the feeling of the last paragraph, but I think it could be even better with more sentence varity. Three sentences in a row start with he.

@Holly Why more than one robot? I think saying -no one drives this car but me- because if your riding in it, you are touching it.

@CW I'm a bit confused by -this was nothing new- What is this referring to? The ocean? Perhaps something like - A simple courier job was nothing new. And, something to connect his thoughts from switching his mind from his previous plans to looking out the window to deciding to take the job.
Comment by JazzFeathers on August 2, 2015 at 3:13pm

@Holly - I like the description of the car. Truly very visual. I'd watch out for the similarities in sound of "sinuated" and "Insinuated".

@CW - I particularly like that moment of intimacy we get with Hart. It's a nice insight into his personality :-)

Comment by cw hawes on August 2, 2015 at 7:49am

In today’s snippet from Rand Hart, we pick up where we left off last week in Hart’s conversation with von Osler. Last week we ended with Industrialist Herr von Osler saying, “Maybe. Maybe not. I would say the odds are in your favor this delivery will be quite routine.” We begin today’s snippet with Hart speaking.

“Only if Luck decides to be a lady.”
“As you say, Herr Hart.”
“Deliver the box and get a total of fifty thousand deutsche marks.”
Hart looked out the window. The Hindenburg was a couple hours away from Lakehurst. The ocean was giving way to the New Jersey shoreline. This was nothing new. He did the occasional odd job. Helped for those times when Lady Luck failed him. This one sounded easy enough.

To be continued!

Comment by cw hawes on August 2, 2015 at 7:48am

@Holly - I struggle to describe Art Deco design, so I find your snippet of interest. I think the car description is good. There could perhaps be more, but that all depends on how detailed you want to get. The hood ornament description is very visual. And I love the robot servants. That one line gives a good picture of Uncle Holten.

@Jazz - I especially like the last sentence.

Comment by Holly Gonzalez on August 2, 2015 at 5:29am

Hi everyone, sorry I haven't been posting for a few weeks, been super busy. Here's a new snippet :) I'm playing with ways to describe art deco in this story. In this scene, young Silas Blane's uncle is driving him to his new boarding school. Uncle Holten is a scheming, uncouth man with a scandalous past. He's also an arrogant SOB, and used to getting his way because he's one of the wealthiest and most powerful executives in the solar system. He does have a weakness for beautiful cars :) This fictional universe isn't an exact historical replica, rather an adapted one.

His motorcar gleamed, a flawless black Esata-Frachiere 8A trimmed in brass. Custom accents sinuated along the body, meeting in dramatic streamlines at the front. The hood ornament leaped with insinuated vigor, an abstract nude girl with arms and blunt wings unfurled.

The robots loaded my luggage, then climbed into the back seat.

"Where's your chauffeur?" I asked.

Uncle Holten scoffed as he donned his gloves and driving goggles. "No one touches this car but me. Get in."

Comment by JazzFeathers on August 2, 2015 at 3:51am

Back to my novel!

Well, to be honest, I'm revising it once again and I've just realised I want to rewrite the entire ch 5 :-(
I know, I know, but it needs to be done. While in the previous drafts I always thought I wanted the reader to be eased into Blood's personality slowly, now I want the reader to be slapped right into it, so to get a strong sense of how different Blood truly is. 
The action won't change, but all the rest will... and I don't even know where to start. 

Anyway, my snippet for today is far down the story in ch 25. This was one of those intuition you get out of nowhere... and you love it. 
I hope you love it too ;-)

“This is an old building.” Adam’s voice sounded hoarse in the silence. “My great-grandfather built it in the very first days of Chicago. It’s a long time ago.”

A movement, a kind of ripple unsettled the air around Adam and for a moment Blood thought it bent and changed, almost morphing Adam’s shape.

Adam turned to him and Blood couldn’t see his face against the light from the counter. He narrowed his eyes as Adam paced back to him, the sound of his footsteps on the boarded dance floor the only sound in the darkened club. He tried to search Adam’s face, but the shadows hid it. He had the unsettling sensation that a stranger looked at him, watching from inside Adam.

Comment by lupachi1927 on July 26, 2015 at 8:14pm

@ Jazz - Nice point. I agree with you---adding setting details and body language can do a lot to bring a scene alive. With CW's scene, it could be used to up the tension. For example: that waiter's still standing by that potted plant, and he keeps looking our way. Is he just trying to give us our check, or is he a spy listening in on our conversation? or what have you.

While Lefty's possessed by something, it's not the alcohol demons---I just sorta threw that in there for some extra background info and to explain the fact that they're talking about demons as a common part of the setting. People in my setting *can* be possessed by alcohol demons, however. It's not pretty to say the least.

@alice - Thanks for pointing that out---you're right, it's a little strange now that I look at it that he's giving a big explanation right after saying that he's sick of giving them, lol. I'll have to look into rewording it or, like CW suggested, maybe breaking it up a bit and have Lou ask for more info, as the info is important.

Stay in touch


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