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 Alice E Keyes on September 6, 2015 at 10:54am
@CW - I really like how Hart knows how to get around the world and the time it will take.

Here is another clip from my H.A.G story. One shouldn't bother a H.A.G while she is working.
"You are a H.A.G. I have never meet a H.A.G. How many curses have you inflicted on a person?" asked a young woman.
Heather closed her journal and resisted the urge to point a finger at the girl. "Where were you raised and by whom? You have no manners. Someone should have told you wandering in the woods is a dangerous occupation. If you must wonder and you see
something unusual then you should leave the area immediately. Do you not know the story of the stupid girl who wondered right through a field of odd orange ferns and was turned into a Boar?"
"Are you cursing me now?"
Comment by cw hawes on September 6, 2015 at 8:03am

Von Osler wants Hart very badly to be his deliveryman, as we saw last week:

“I have a person who will make the delivery. But…” Von Osler shrugged. “He is not as skilled, creative, or lucky as you are. With you…? Let us say it is like having four jacks instead of four eights.”

Are 53,000 deutsche marks going to change his mind from spending some time at home? Hart turns the offer over in his mind:

Hart turned his gaze towards the window and the ocean beyond. He’d been hoping to spend some time at home. Enjoying his money. Now, however, fifty-three thousand deutsche marks were staring him in the face. And just to deliver a little box. By noon on the eleventh. He wouldn’t have much time. Probably have to catch a red eye out of La Guardia or Floyd Bennett tonight for Miami and then a three day flight on a Pan Am clipper.

To be continued!

Comment by cw hawes on September 6, 2015 at 8:02am

My comments are late, sorry about that, sometimes life intervenes and we just have to deal with it -- or the muse. :)

This past week I've written, typed, and edited 21,300 words. Doesn't include my blog posts or other tangentially related writing. And I finished the Rand Hart story! It clocked in at 21,000 words, just over the line for a novella.

@lupachi - There is a bit of mystery here. Thus far, I don't like this Ahmed guy. He seems arrogant. A know it all. Perhaps, though, he does! And he has to give everyone a crash course on the situation.

@Alice - I like the "implied" nature vs mechanization battle here. The dialogue is good, giving us loads of info about the "world" and the characters.

Comment by JazzFeathers on August 30, 2015 at 3:49pm

@Alice - I like the dialogue, it's so snappy and vivid. I especially like the action "Ruby, slamming down a hefty textbook". I nearly head that book hitting the desk :-)

Oh, and thanks for the nice words. Always nice to find a 'fan' ;-)
Unfortunately, it doesn't seem I'm any nearer to being published. At lest, not my trilogy. But I'm thinking about self-publishing a short story with Michael, Blood and Susie. Yeah, you've read snippets of the old version in here, but I'm brainstorming the idea and I think the new version will be quite a bit different. 
I'm so excited of this new adventure! And of course, I'll be posting snippets in here ;-)

@CW - Interesting evolution of the story :-)

@Lupachi - You may not being posting your ch 5 in instalments like CW is doing with his opening, but I feel like I'm getting quite a vivid impression of this chapter. And I'm loving the imagery :-)

Comment by Alice E Keyes on August 30, 2015 at 12:13pm
@CW, I like the use of gambler's lingo. We know Hart is going to take the job ;-)

@Jazz, I'm itching to read the whole story. I hope you find an agent soon!

@Lupachi, Am I understanding the passage correctly, in that, they are going to find Panzuzu to kill his wife?
Comment by Alice E Keyes on August 30, 2015 at 12:02pm
Good Morning, busy morning on 8 sentences. This is from my H.A.G (Hermetic Aphrodite Guild) story. It's an exchange between the "villains."

"He’s going on a date with a H.A.G," said Ruby, slamming down a hefty textbook.

"Does it really matter? He can do what he wants. The Order of Typesetters has never dictated whom one can date," said Flint.

"But H.A.G’s are just entirely too much about nature. They never get degrees. What can he see in someone who is uneducated."

"I’ve heard that a woman goes through an education process similar to universities in order to become a Traveling H.A.G. And, the guild has strict code in order to call oneself a H.A.G."

“Are you defending her?"
Comment by lupachi1927 on August 30, 2015 at 10:18am

Hey guys! Back from vacation and ready to contribute again :)

@Jazz - Love your fragment! Cw is right, it's got great characterization. You get a sense of the speaker's personality, as well as Adam and Xander.

@cw - I like Osler's little card quip. The only thing I might suggest adding is an "and," perhaps, to the beginning of "If I don't?" I think it reads a little clearer. Otherwise, nice piece! This has been a fun exchange to see in full. I really like that you post snippets consecutively, so we can see the passage develop over time.

My snippet today is a bit lackluster. I think last time I posted a bit about what the cultists plan to use Lamashtu for. Today, I thought I'd post a short bit about the thing they could potentially use to defeat her: a statue of her "husband," Panzuzu. Ahmed is the first one speaking, explaining an inscription on the back of the statute that Lou noticed earlier:

“That inscription says: ‘I am Pazuzu, son of Hanpa, king of the evil spirits who blow down from the mountains, causing much havoc.”


I poked at the scorpion tail and scowled. “Great. A mountain god.” I glared up at him. “You realize we’re in the middle a Illinois, right?”

Ahmed sighed. “It is not ideal, yes, but Pazuzu is the only being capable of driving away the evil of his wife.”

Comment by cw hawes on August 30, 2015 at 8:40am

Last week we found von Osler telling Rand Hart why he was so interested in the professional poker player. This was part of the conversation:

“I have no notoriety, if that is what you mean.”

Von Osler looked at Hart. “Precisely. That is what I mean. And you are skilled, creative, and lucky. You are exactly the person I was looking for. In point of fact, we’ve been watching you for some time.”

“Really?” The question dripped of sarcasm.

The question is, of course, why has von Osler invested so much time into learning about Hart. Was it all for just this one mission? Perhaps. Von Osler, though, has other things on his mind. Here is today’s snippet:

Von Osler nodded. “So, Herr Hart, if the airfare is going to be an issue, I will add another three thousand deutsche marks to cover tickets and expenses. Will you accept my little delivery job?”

“If I don’t?”

“I have a person who will make the delivery. But…” Von Osler shrugged. “He is not as skilled, creative, or lucky as you are. With you…? Let us say it is like having four jacks instead of four eights.” 

To be continued!

Comment by cw hawes on August 30, 2015 at 8:39am

@Jazz - Always interesting to see a character through the eyes of another character. Here we get a picture of both Adam and Xander through Jerome's eyes. Nice little bit of characterization.

Comment by JazzFeathers on August 30, 2015 at 1:17am

This is from one of my fevourite parts in the story ^_^

“We would often see Adam come back from school because we walk a stretch of the same way. He would always walk alone. A bunch of other kids would follow him, teasing him, sometimes pushing him. He would never react.”

Jerome finally turned to Blood and the corners of his mouth crooked slightly.

“It made them mad that he took it without fuss. It was Xander – Sometimes I thought Xander would get so angry I feared he would jump in the middle of that bunch of white kids and do something wild.”

Comment by JazzFeathers on August 25, 2015 at 12:50am

^_^

Comment by cw hawes on August 24, 2015 at 9:16pm

Well, Jazz, those doggone street doors are important. Probably more so than a book cover. :) It's just terrible when we have to be practical. :)

Comment by JazzFeathers on August 24, 2015 at 3:51pm

@CW - Well, actually, I'm not going to spend that money. I need a new street door and that's where that money is going ;-)

Comment by cw hawes on August 24, 2015 at 7:42am

@Jazz - You are certainly entitled to your opinion.  However, that does not alter the fact you don't need to spend 2-3K euros to get professional results. You can do so for less. Much less. That is all I'm saying. In the end, it is your money. :)

Comment by JazzFeathers on August 24, 2015 at 12:34am

@CW - Uhm... I'm not sure starndards change as fast as customers think. 

What I mean by standard is: this is the minimum you have to be able to do, and this is the minimum result you must be able to achieve in order to be considered proficient by other people doing the same thing that you do. 
I'm sorry to say most indie novels (at least the ones I've read) don't meet this criterion. 

It's very strange, because it looks like in the publishing world, lots of people think they can do anything, even if they are not proficient. 
If I want to craft a pair of shoes, I'll turn to a shoemaker. I'll do whatever I want, once I know how to craft shoes, but first I have to learn how to put the thing together, right?
This doesn't seem to apply in the publishing world, and I'm sorry to say, in my opinion this is why indie works are often substandard. 

Are trad pubbed novels always up to standards? No, especially if we go from big publishers to small publishers to indie publishers. But if we talk about publishers who live off their job, standards are usually met. I'd say that the standard product (and please note I'm talking about the 'standard' product, not the 'good' one) is the norm in the industry. 
From what I've seen so far, the standard product in the indie world is the exception, not the norm. 

Do readers care? Alas, they mostly don't. That's why standards are increasingly going down outside of the industry. It's a dog biting its own tale: writers don't live up to standards, readers get accustumend to that and let so many things go, so writers get accustomed to readers being forgiving and don't try to become more proficient in their profession. 

I'm not as pessimistic as I sound, mind you ;-)
But I do think this moment we're living is probably one of the worst in the history of modern publishing, because everyone thinks they can do whatever they want and they are proficient from the first time they do anything. This hurts the profession. Not only that of professional trad publishers, but also that of indie authors who act professionally. 

Just my two cents about the matter ;-)

Comment by cw hawes on August 23, 2015 at 4:07pm

@Jazz - Standards change. What is standard today isn't tomorrow. You don't have to write a book a month to be an indie author. Many don't. Depends on what you write. 

In today's ebook world, I don't think the standards make any difference. I can't tell the difference between a Big 5 ebook and a self-published ebook. And if I can't, then my guess is few can and why spend all that money for something few if anyone will see? 

What I care about is bad grammar and typos. I'm reading a book right now published by the Big 5, that had a typo on page 2. Standards? The last book I read by the Big 5 had a half dozen typos in it. Standards? And these weren't published yesterday. They are older books. I don't think anyone is perfect. 

I also care about a book being well-written. Here, many indies fail. They don't know how to write. But I've also read many trad published books that were not very good. So?

In the end, you have to satisfy yourself. Because you are the first audience. That is the key. I love all my babies. Even though I know the best is yet to come. :)

Comment by JazzFeathers on August 23, 2015 at 3:39pm

@CW - Well, the thing is, I'll never be able to write a book a month. I'm a slow writer. I rewrite a lot, I revise a lot, so I suppose I'm not the perfect indi-writer. There's a reason why I prefer trad ;-)

Because I know I'll never write many books, I want the ones I do write to have the best chance possible. This is why I want the job to be professional. And by this I mean, worked by professionals. Friends' help is invaluable, it's thanks to friend's help I'm where I am now (and believe me, it's a long way from where I started), but there's a moment for friends' help and a moment for professional advice. 
I think I've come to the point where I need professional advice, and of course, if I want it, I need to pay it. 

I've worked in a publishing house for years and I know the standards, that's probably why I strive to get to them. I know most readers don't see whether a book has been professionally typeset. I see it, and so I want my book to be up to industry standards. 
I know most readers don't see (or even care) whether a story has been professionally edited. I see it... and I definitelly care ;-) I know that I don't have the professional skills to bring my work to a professional standard, so I need a professional. That's how I see it. 

Don't get me wrong, I know this is probably just me, it's MY problem. But I know - because I've worked in the industry for many years - that there is knowledge in traditional publishing, and that knowledge makes up the standards. Seems to me as if so many indie authors dismiss that knowledge too easily, and together with the it, they dismiss the standards. 

As for freebie... I don't know. I friend of mine wrote an article about this where he said giving stories away for free makes sense only if that is a part of a more organic selling/marketing strategy. 
Seems reasonable to me. But then, I've never really tried to sell a book yet, so I really don't knwo at the moment.. 

Comment by cw hawes on August 23, 2015 at 2:23pm

@Jazz - I think you can still do a professional job of self-publishing and not pay that much. Someone who knows grammar and punctuation can proof the book. They don't need to be a pro. If the book is in need of some serious editing, maybe work a deal out with a friend who has knowledge of editing. I don't think one has to pay for everything. 

I pay for nothing. I have 2 readers who catch most of the grammar, redundancies, plot issues, etc. I read my own book a half-dozen times. Reading aloud is as good as an editor in my opinion, because reading the book aloud lets you hear all kinds of errors. My wife does my covers. My sister had a nice cover done for $150.

The idea that publishing a book has to cost lots of money is a myth. If you the author have built a network of people who are good at the language and read and know books, I think you can greatly cut costs. 

In say 3 or 4 years, I may redo the covers on my books. I know the rage right now is photo-looking covers. And mine don't look that way, which may hurt sales. But since I don't have many out in each genre, I'm just letting it go for now. I think the covers look good. If others don't, meh.

To be realistic, one book rarely does anything. Sure there are exceptions, but all of these authors spending piles of money to promote one book are mostly throwing that money away and making the middleman rich.

Anthony Trollope didn't even get noticed until his 4th book. His 5th finally sold.

There are lots of ways to put out a professionally looking and reading book without giving up your life savings.

Comment by cw hawes on August 23, 2015 at 2:01pm

@Alice - I'm a sucker for food. Throw some grub in there and you have me hooked. :) In fact, that sandwich sounds so good I think I'm going to the store. Forget 8 Sentence Sunday! Just kidding. Well, kind of. 

I'm not sure "odd" works for me. I'll have to chew on it a bit. I'd lean towards "precise". And maybe sub "yet" for "but".

What I really like here is through the words, and not a lot of extraneous detail, I can picture the people and the setting. I like that.

I'm not a fan of free. I've downloaded lots of free stuff. I read one and went on to read most of the series. Read another and decided I didn't like the main character enough to finish the series. Started reading another and got turned off by the amateurish writing. The others are sitting on the virtual shelf collecting virtual dust. What I'm reading are the used paperback mysteries I bought and got in the mail. Love getting stuff in the mail.

You're right: I value what I pay for. I'm willing to maybe give away a short story for free. Something under 5K words. But a whole book? I don't think so. I can't imagine a promo where I will get enough money back to justify giving away assets for free. The exception would be a freebie in exchange for a review - because the review will help me get sales.

The fact is for most writers, the sales don't seem to be following the give away. Early on new writers like Lindsay Buroker were able to get traction. But now that Amazon has changed the rules of the game and there are zillions of indies trying to get attention, I don't think free is where it is at. Even Buroker is pulling back on her advocacy of it.

I think Dean Wesley Smith is right: time. All good things come in time. As indies, we have the time. Tradionally published books don't. If they don't make money in 6 months, most are Clementines - lost and gone forever.

So patience and writing lots of books. All indies say one needs to be a fast writer and have lots of books out there. Smith, a traditionally published author, dumped 200 books from his backlist on the market place when he went indie. And he is now writing 1 novel a month. Lots of books and fast writing - and patience.

Yeah, Hart was probably pretty much invisible until von Osler started watching him. Hm. I wonder what that is all about?

Comment by JazzFeathers on August 23, 2015 at 1:42pm

@CW - So 'they' have been watching him, eh? And who are they? :-)

@Alice - I like the way you use language ^_^

Regarding pricing, I haven't read the article yet, but this is what I think: if one makes a professional job of publishing a book, even if self-publishing, there is no way that he can price the book only a few euros. Not if this author is trying to make a living out of it. 

I've done some mathematics and I came to the conclusion that it would cost me 2-3000 euro to self-publish my book professionally (half of that sum would go to the editor alone), so would it have sense to offer the book for 3-4 euro? 

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