First WIPpet of the New Year

Happy New Year! I hope 2014 brings new and exciting things to everyone. Unlike a great percentage of the populace, I don’t make resolutions. I don’t even really make any new, long-reaching goals. Pretty much because I’m revamping all year long and, in my world, January first just means I have to flip to a new month in the calendar. So, I just keep on keeping on, and here’s what’s on my plate at the moment:

  • Emergence is just waiting on cover art and formatting to be released. I’m hoping for the end of January or some time in February.
  • CBC will be finished early this year and then either shopped around or self-pubbed, haven’t quite decided.
  • Haven’t forgotten Crossing Paths or my ‘Brothers’, but they are both back-burnered for now.
  • I skipped a couple sessions of ROW80, but will be jumping into the next one to help keep me on track.
  • On the non-writing front, I need to get my healthy eating habits back. They were obliterated by holiday leftovers and too many desserts. And egg nog. And desserts. And too much food. And egg nog cheesecake. Yeah, I combined egg nog and dessert into one luscious food.
  • And make more time to exercise. Having a stand-up work station at home helps keep me off my butt, but I still need to move more.

As mentioned in #2 up there, CBC didn’t get finished in time to throw it Angry Robot’s way. In fact, the plot went askew in a major way to the point of a huge rewrite. It’s all Ahgul’s fault. Except for one or two mentions in passing, this was about all the page time he was supposed to get:

“Another one.” Gerk Fant, proprietor of the Flaming Tart on Lower Way in Runoff, stabbed the Notice of Public Execution into the wall beside the bar with a rusty knife he saved for just that purpose. He turned his head and spat, and something scurried through the rushes in an attempt to avoid the assault.

“Who’s it now?” someone called from near the bar.

Gerk squinted at the notice. “Ahgul.” He hawked up another gob and let fly.

The poor guy was supposed to be just a name. A red shirt, as it was. Nobody of importance. But turns out he’s one of the few people Driev cares about at this point. The old man helped him out. He’s due to get hung, and damn if out of the clear blue Driev didn’t decide to break him out of jail. Ahgul hadn’t done anything wrong, you see. Only Ahgul, being older than dirt, decides he doesn’t want to be rescued and forces Driev to take someone else instead. I want to go on record here and say that NONE OF THIS WAS PLANNED BY ME. At first I just went with it, thinking it was no big deal. Then the character who was rescued turned out to be more than I had thought and…

That’s my original plot, going up in a brilliant burst of flame.

Tens of thousands of words obliterated due to one random act of insubordination by a character who was just supposed to be window dressing. First I tried to work it in to the original plot. Then I had to tweak. Then tweak some more. And then I finally realized the original just wasn’t going to work any more. Thank you so much, Ahgul. Really.

Okay, I’m done venting, I think. Onto the WIPpet. For January 1, 2014 I have gone to what is now page 14 (according to Word) and I give you 9 short paragraphs WIPpet math style (1+1+2+0+1+4). Driev is using the sewer as a means of escape from the jail. He’s not happy leaving Ahgul behind. He, and the boy Ahgul made him take instead, didn’t exactly make a clean getaway (no pun intended)…

The water reached my waist, the current tugging at my legs strong enough to cause me to brace against it. In hindsight, tossing the boy in head first might not have been the best idea. If he hadn’t cracked his skull against something, he’d likely drowned and been swept away.

“Not my fault, Ahgul,” I said to no one, reaching under the slime covered water, groping around like a blind man after a dropped coin. “Damn the bloody gates, if he drowns it is not my fault. I made no promises.”

Voices drifted down, no more than garbled words that couldn’t penetrate the rush of water flooding into the tunnel from above. No one could have seen us dive through the sewer hole, and there would be no tracks to mark our passing. I would like to think the sewer would be the last place they looked, giving me time to find the boy, or what remained of him, and be gone. Even if they suspected we’d gone that route, it would be another long while before they could muster enough men to station them at every discharge point in Runoff, along the Wauklee, and near the docks.

My fingers brushed against something that could have been a stick. Or a corpse. Or any other number of things I didn’t want to think about. I latched onto it and hauled it up. It turned out to be an arm. An arm thankfully attached to a scrawny body no less filthy after a dip in the waters here than it had been when I threw it in.

I hoisted the boy up and shook him. His eyes flicked open and he coughed, then spewed the contents of his stomach, including everything he’d recently swallowed, across my chest.

“Gods-be-damned, boy!”

He shuddered in my hands, whether from fear or cold I didn’t know. Another round of coughing erupted from him, and I turned him around, slapping him hard between the shoulder blades, thankful not to be on the receiving end of the next wave of excrement that escaped him.

“I ca . . . can’t . . . sw . . . sw . . . swim.” The last word came out as a wail, and I clamped my hand over his mouth.

“You want to be found, you little pig shit?” I said, my voice a hiss in his ear.

Yeah, Driev has a real way with kids.

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  1. I find it cute when characters do little things I don’t expect. Being in a fight and kicking a puddle’s water at each other for instance. But, when they do plot splitting things… I want to give them the unhappy ending!

    Driev has definitely read a lot of child rearing books. He is so cautious and protective. Dad of the year material. 😉

    • Well, in Driev’s defense, he didn’t have the best fatherly role-model. He was an awesome big brother, though. And a ‘brother’ to his best friend. But now he’s older, jaded, and…broken. He just doesn’t have a clue.

  2. Fantastic excerpt Kathi! So exciting. Glad I’m not in Driev’s shoes at the moment. Hope they escape. Happy New Year! 🙂

  3. Yuck! The details in this are repulsive, which I love! Again I’m really enjoying the first person POV and Driev is a fabulous character. I think I might call someone a ‘little pig shit’ too under those circumstances and having just been vomited on.

    • Glad I could repulse you. I feel my work here is done. 🙂 Maybe if he hadn’t thrown him in head first, he wouldn’t have gotten vomited on.

  4. Great snippet! Sorry you weren’t able to get the book done in time to submit to Angry Robot, but it’s still a great story.

    Happy New Year!

    • Thanks, Ruth. Angry Robot was a long shot. It did help show how much writing I can get done when I really put my mind to it, though. And it gave me a good jump on Driev’s tale, which otherwise might have just continued to languish in the slush heap.

  5. Poor little kid…. (yea, yea, I know, Driev had his reasons, and he didn’t exactly plan to be in this situation and…) Still… I’m sure he can’t smell the vomit where they are. 😉

  6. As annoying as it is, I find it really exciting when a character breaks formation and takes the story in another direction. It makes you realise that perhaps what you are creating is bigger than yourself. Also, loved the excerpt, especially the unique voice and the descriptions. 🙂

    • I wonder if that would happen if I actually sat down and plotted out a story? Or do characters running amuck only happen to pantsers?

  7. I had to smile at your comment above ‘do characters running amok only happen to pantsers?’ because I would have to say, no. I plotted my most recent book thinking that I would have more control. And in the second draft I realized that I had the wrong villain. That had me doing a wee bit of rewriting.

    Love the excerpt.

  8. So excited to read Emergence! Loved First of Her Kind. 🙂 I had the same holiday issue. I’m not considering it the end of the year until Chinese New Years–just so I have time to take off the holiday gain. 😉

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