Dieselpunks

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.

#8SS

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Comment by JazzFeathers on April 11, 2016 at 1:53am

Hey ladies! What a pleasure to see you here and with such great news!

@Alice - a story in an anthology, how great!
And let me tell you your excerpt is so different. Not only the subject matter, but the style too. I like the personal use of punctuetion. Very different :-)

@Lupachi - What a news!!!!
I'm crossing all my fingers for you. Do let us know how it goes :-)

Comment by lupachi1927 on April 10, 2016 at 8:52pm

Hey all,

I've been super busy lately trying to get my current draft in shape. I don't know if I told you all, but remember those queries I posted a while back? Well, one of them WORKED! :D

I sent it into the agent I'd met at my last writing conference and they said they loved it and were very intrigued, and wanted to read the whole draft! So I've been polishing it for the past two months in an attempt to get it ready (they generously informed me there was no time limit). I hope to be done in a couple weeks and send it in. Wish me luck! :D

And thank you all so much for giving me feedback on my queries---it really, really helped! :D

Comment by Alice E Keyes on April 10, 2016 at 5:43pm

Hello,  I've been missing this site for motivation and I'm feeling a bit lonely in the writing world. 

Here is a bit of a story I wrote for an anthology

Dahlia, spotting the castle Zahra, called out, “Home off starboard.”
Yggdrasil smiles at the site of the castle but then pouts seeing an eloquently 
set tea table with Nanna sitting already sipping tea with a book held in her 
hand. “That’s not much of a greeting.” Dogwood comes up from below decks. 
“Dogwood, you did send a telegram at Boothby saying we would be at the 
castle in three days time?”
“Yes, of course, I remember the clerk, her nimble fingers and ample...” 
Dogwood words stop though his hands show the size of the woman’s chest. 
Yggdrasil and Dahlia, as usually, didn’t pay attention to this since it was 
always the same remark made about any woman he encountered.
Angered by the tranquil scene below, Yggdrasil paced which indicated to the 
crew that she was thinking. “Harrumph, I would, at least, expect the castle's 
own Måni to be waiting tea for us though I was expecting a full blown party at 
our return.”

Comment by JazzFeathers on April 10, 2016 at 2:38pm

Hey, is anybody around? 

It's been wuite some time since we last met on this forum. No, I don't have a new story to submit, but I'll say I am toying with a new idea. The one set in 1920s Europe, I mentioned that before. 

What is eveyone else doing? 

I know this is for sharing pieces of our work, but if everybody is planning, maybe we can brainstorm for a while. What do you think? ^_^

Comment by JazzFeathers on January 24, 2016 at 2:40pm

@Lupachi - Loved the smippet. It made me chuckle. 
Sorry to hear abotu your heath issue, I hope everythign is fine now. I had health issue too nearly all over January. Just flu, btu I hadn't been able to rid myself of it for nearly three weeks. That was annoying... as if I had nothing to do but be ill. 

Oh, I don't mind doing more revision on my editor's suggestions. The story is becoming stronger and this is what I want the most. It was good working with him. I'd sure suggeswt anyone to work with an editor because he will push you places you may not think to go on your own... even when you see the problem. 
I've revised all through the weekend and I hope I'll be ready tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, because then I need to format the file and upload it to Smashwords. Whan that's done, I'll be a tiny bit more relaxed ^_^

Comment by lupachi1927 on January 24, 2016 at 11:54am

@ Jazz - How's the revising going? Sorry to hear your editor wants more changes---that's particularly frustrating given your date for publishing, but at least you've got some free time coming so I hope that helps! Best of luck with getting it all out there on time. At least with digital publishing, you can create and publish updated editions without much trouble---so I guess that's always an option? Anyway, good luck! :)

I haven't been writing as much as I'd like to lately thanks to some health issues, but here is another part of that same scene I shared part of before:

I winked at the boy and chuckled, sticking my hands in my pockets. “You got a permit for that, sonny?” I asked, nodding at the shotgun.

The boy glared at me and squared his shoulders, making him look even more like some kid playing at cops and robbers--and doing a shit job of the robber part, too.

I rolled my eyes and called out to Patrick. “Look in the back if you want, dipshit, but you ain't gonna find nothing in it except for a Day boy—and he’s ours, got me? I’ll be damned if we’re gonna lose a hot meal to the likes of you." It was a lie, sure, but I didn’t wanna hafta answer any questions about Lefty and why he was in the back a our truck. Saying we were gonna eat him was the easiest explanation, and the one he was most likely to buy. Sometimes being pegged as inhuman monsters has its advantages.

Comment by cw hawes on January 18, 2016 at 5:08pm

Good news for you, Sarah, to get that time off!

I guess I'm the opposite. As the story comes off the pen, that is pretty much how it stays. The editing is a lot of tweaking and working out the occasional kink. I much prefer the excitement of the story flowing out of me. But each one of us has our own unique method. That is what makes writing so personal.

Are you self-publishing the trilogy?

Comment by JazzFeathers on January 18, 2016 at 3:27pm

Hi Chris :-)

Yes, I am self-publishing... but I don't want to change the date I've chosen. Good news is that just today I've learns my boss wants to clear some of my holiday carry-over, so in February I'll have a lot of unexpected days off. Couldn't be more happy ;-)

Really? Oh, I LOVE editing! That's the stage when the story really takes up its shape and meaning for me, so I really don't mind working to it.

Comment by cw hawes on January 18, 2016 at 11:24am

@Jazz - A bit of a bittersweet feel to the scene. Very nice.

Always good when you and the editor are in synch. Are you self-publishing? If so, then the launch date can be revised because you set it.

Personally, I hate editing. Unfortunately, it's necessary. I can't afford an editor. So I go over the book so many  times, I don't even want to see it after awhile. I have good beta readers and they help a lot.

Just remember: one day at a time and it will get done. :)

Comment by JazzFeathers on January 17, 2016 at 4:11pm

What about another little piece of my story? ^_^
Another little passage from Susie and Blood falling in love.

He never said anything. She didn’t need him to. When the time for the last show came, she said, “I must go, now,” in such a little voice she thought he might not hear.

Instead he nodded. He searched her eyes with his and she felt the most peculiar warmth bloom in her chest. She stepped back. His hand kept hers across the space between them. A moment, just one moment, and when their hands finally let go, that warmth slowly died out. 


I've jsut heard back from my editor and I love the comments. He addressed so many parts that pothered me and offered suggestions. 
He actually thinks I should add words to the story, because the pace is too fast, especially in some episodes. I hope to start revising tomorrow ( say I hoped, because I had actually hoped to start over this week-end. Didn't happen...)

In the meanwhile... I'm paniking. I feel like I'll never be able to have averything ready for my launch day. 
I'm doomed. 

Comment by JazzFeathers on December 28, 2015 at 3:32am

Hey gals, thanks for your feelings about the opening. Alice - No, Blood isn't there at this time, but he'll appear soon ;-)
Lupachi - That's exactly what I'm trying to suggest :-)

@Alice - Really like this snippet. I think it conveys a lot about the story (I actually think now I know exactly what this is about) and the mood. Also about the kind of world the story is set into. Very nice. 

@lupachi - Hmm... I do like the snippet, especially the voice and the mood. It is a great world-building too, but... it feels a bit info-dumpy in my opinion. But of course, it depends a lot on what's around it. If this is the only piece of infodump, you'll probably fine ;-)
May I ask you why you're considering editing it out the story?

So, my story is with beta-readers now, I think I'll send it out to my editor at the beginning of January. I'm so very excited!!!!!

Comment by lupachi1927 on December 27, 2015 at 6:22pm

Hey guys! Glad to hear you both had a nice Christmas. I did, too---very quiet but nice.

@Jazz - Congrats on finishing the second draft!!!! :D That's awesome! And I don't think your opening is bad at all. I agree with Alice that it's very atmospheric and you get a good sense of a crowded, dimly lit speakeasy. I think you convey well that Susie is a regular here, too, which I suspect is important.

@Alice - I see the assistant professor has a drink in hand, here. Is that perhaps fueling his little rant?

I'm taking a break from my book and query until after the holidays at the moment, but here's a little questionable fragment I've decided to share from a scene I might cut. Here, Pierce and Lou get held up by another gang while moving through their territory:

Pierce looked down at the Dwarf and snorted all derisive-like. “Are you fucking serious?”

Guess the idea of getting jerked around by some clotheshorse from the goddamn Druggan-Lake Gang was just as ridiculous to him as it was to me. After all, this the same gang whose joint leaders swanned around together in matching tailored suits and gave each of their boys the keys to a Rolls Royce once they’d proved themselves. They made a fuck-ton of scratch, sure, but they were known for their distribution network, not their gun-play.

For an answer, Patrick just glared and reached up high to prod Pierce’s elbow with the tip of his shotgun barrel. “Get out, now—and keep your hands where I can see ‘em.”

Comment by Alice E Keyes on December 27, 2015 at 3:15pm

Here are 8 from my HAG story -

The assistant professor stood on a table with a pint in his hand. "Listen people, listen! She and all the Mademoiselle Aphrodite's are behind the attack on our university." He pointed to heather. David stood behind her with his arms crossed in front of him and scowled at the assistant who continued."The hags are angry about having a Man of Mechanics as head of the University and are angry at the world of steam powered devices taking over their beloved nature. They fear the loss of their power over us normal people. She knows how the College of Mechanic’s building was damaged and knows..."

Comment by Alice E Keyes on December 27, 2015 at 2:28pm

I did have nice Christmas though the weather was too cold to enjoy the sunny skies. Congrats on finishing the second draft.

It is very atmospheric and I have a good sense of the story. Is Blood there at this moment? The one small bit that made me hesitate is - as the band still played - I wondered if the band was still playing how did the people know the show was about to start? Maybe something about the last chords of a song? 

Comment by JazzFeathers on December 27, 2015 at 1:41pm

Hi people, how's it going? Did you have a nice Christmas. I did, actually, one of the nicest of the last few years, spent with family, mostly ^_^

And guess what, today I've finished the second draft of my novelette, so I thought I'd like to celebrate with you. 
I'm posting the new opening of the story, and since you guys gave me a big hand in figuring out how to revise it, I can't wait to hear what you think about it ^_^

Susie left Simon’s table and walked lazily toward the bandstand.

The club was dusky, smoky, chock warm with people, but it didn’t bother her. She knew most of these people, at least by sight. The smoke and the soft light gave her a sense of familiarity, almost of protection.

She squeezed in between two men standing in the table area with cocktails in hand and one of them winked at her. She smiled back but didn’t stop. The show would start momentarily. She found a chair waiting for her by the bandstand and sat, watching the crowd ease off the dance floor as the band still played. 


I'm still not happy with it, but I think it's better than the one I used to have.
Suggestions welcome as always ^_^

Comment by lupachi1927 on December 14, 2015 at 3:20pm

@ CW - Thanks so much for the vote of confidence, and thanks for running it by another person as well! I think at this point I will probably end up using it, but I'm gonna let it all sit until after the holidays to give myself some perspective from it, then send it January 2nd or something like that. As Jazz says, I could probably find a way to trim it down somewhere, since it is a bit overly long.

@Jazz - You think the stakes are clear? Wonderful! I was really struggling with trying to convey that more, so I'm glad you think it's clear. I agree with you, though, that it's a tad long. Are there any bits you think I could cut down?  I believe I'll take your advice and wait until after the holidays, too. I don't necessarily want a fast response time, but I think I should maybe let it sit in a drawer for a few weeks and take a break from it before I send it in...and January's only a few weeks away at this point anyway.

If you want a fresh pair of eyes for your next query, lemme know and I'd be happy to review it! Sames goes for the rest of you. It's the least I can do after all the help you guys have given me! :D

Comment by JazzFeathers on December 14, 2015 at 9:00am

Sorry guys, I missed the Sunday éè
But yesterday was horrible. I think I caught cold on Saturday and yesterday a was a zombie...
Anyways... :-)

@Alice - I like your snippet. It has such a peculiar flavour to it. I like the idea of time travel, of people talking about the differences and the fact that they don't find it strange at all. It says a lot about the story and the world it takes place in.

@CW - I like your snippet too. Very strong and tense :-)

@Lupaci - Honestly, I like the blurb a lot. Very clear and to the point. It's also very clear what the stakes are (agents always ask for it), what the world looks like, who the protagonist is. I don't really see what more you would want to have ;-)
It may be just a little (very little) bit long, since it's around 270 words, when I was adviced to have the blurb 250 words or shorter, because it looks like agents read proposals on their phones nowadays, so the shorter the better.
I was also told the time of the year isn't really a factor, though you might want to try in a low moment (yes, like January) only for a matter of time: they will be faster in answering.
Good luck with it ^_^
I don't think I'll try again with mine 'till next year. I'll be busy with the novelette through March and then in April there will be the AtoZ Challenge. I think I'll start revising the novel again after that then I'll try submitting once more. Let's see...

Comment by cw hawes on December 13, 2015 at 10:30pm

@lupachi - Much improved, IMO. In fact, I'd say run with it. Read it to my beta and she agreed.

And thanks! I like your suggestion!

Comment by lupachi1927 on December 13, 2015 at 9:41pm

Hey guys, sorry for being late with this---spent most of my day downtown shopping for Xmas!

@Alice - Thanks for the suggestion regarding the "must" aspect. As it currently stands, I've written over 12 different summaries for my query letter...and I don't like any of them! This is a problem, because I really wanted to send the query out this week so I can get it in before Christmas hits...unless you all think I should wait until mid January at this point? I'm not sure if I'd get rejected out of hand at this point no matter what I send in, simply because the agent might be overwhelmed with holiday stuff.

I like your snippet, and it's a nice way to show the time-traveling aspect, since you're comparing stuff. It flows nicely.

@ CW - I like your snippet! Your dialogue has a bit of slang to it, which I like---particularly "cockamamie" and the "hot, hot, hot!" bit. Nice voice! :) If I were to quibble at all, I'd suggest changing "dealing straight" to "playing straight." Otherwise, nice. :)

As for my own eight sentences today...how about YET ANOTHER query summary? >.<  It's a little longer than eight sentences, but I wanted to include it all. I must say, I'm really starting to HATE this process. I've been writing different ones for two straight weeks now, and I feel I may soon go insane. Each one I write seems worse than the last one...sigh.

This particular summary has gotten two votes by two different writers as the one I should use. Personally, I find it rather clunky, but maybe it works and I just can't see it anymore? I don't know. :p What do all of you think? Is it worth keeping any maybe trying to cut down some, or is it not worth it? Do you like it or not? And if I should keep it, do you guys have any suggestions for edits? Any and all help is much appreciated!

In a world divided by day and night, you gotta learn to walk in the shadows...

That’s what Lou tries to do, anyway—not that he’s got any choice in the matter. Lou is a Dog. The reviled offspring of two pureblooded werewolves, he’s cursed with a fierce instinctual loyalty that binds him to a single master—and forces him to straddle the line between the sunny daytime world of America’s human citizens and the dark, dangerous nighttime of its supernatural underclass. Lucky for Lou, he’s found a niche that touches them both: organized crime. Working as an enforcer for his master, Al Capone, Lou spends his nights busting heads alongside his zombie partner, Pierce, and his days avoiding his rocky relationship with his girlfriend, China. When Big Al asks him and Pierce to keep an eye on a screwy WWI vet, Lou jumps at the chance to please his master. Babysit some fella who thinks he’s being stalked by “ghost men” and jumps at his own shadow? Sounds like a piece of cake—until the bullets start flying and Pierce almost dies—again. Turns out the vet they’re watching went nuts for a reason: he stumbled onto something out in the desert during the war, something evil enough to drive men mad—and something worth killing for. Now a group of ruthless assassins will stop at nothing to get to the vet, including mass murder. In order to protect the ones he loves, Lou’s gonna have to figure out who wants the vet dead and why before all of Chicago falls prey to an ancient evil…one that just might involve his own girlfriend.

Comment by cw hawes on December 13, 2015 at 8:33pm

Thanks for the suggestion, JazzFeathers! I made a few adjustments. My snippet for today is touch long, but I wanted to get in the entire comment.

Mr Zoerner, you weren't dealing straight with me. You didn't tell me your boss is the guy with the little mustache. You led me to believe some cockamamie story about using the device for mining. If I'm going to betray my country, I need more money. Plain and simple. My boss doesn't know I'm here and willing to sell you the store."

I smiled and said to myself, "Oh, Dru, Denly did come through for you. His tip is hot, hot, hot!"

"Do you have the prototype?" Zoerner asked.

"Nah. Too big to lug around. I do have a small scale model which we've used for demonstrations." Black opened the valise, reached in, and took out a cylindrical object.

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