The Grafitti on the Wall

I hit that annoying wall. You know the one. It has a big sign painted on it that says, “Hey, Writer, You Suck!” There’s another sign below it proclaiming, “Your story sucks, too.” I know both signs are bogus. If I had to guess I’d say they stem from the near impossible task I’ve set myself of getting Coinblade in suitable shape to submit to Angry Robot by the end of this month. I’ve been pounding on it relentlessly for almost a month now. Non-stop. To the Exclusion of All Else. The end is in sight. Knowing that, the Self Doubt monsters emerge, force me to over-think, and begin to pick at my otherwise healthy ego because it’s exhausted and not paying attention. So, at the risk of shooting myself in the foot, I need to back off for a couple days. I need to put CB on the back burner and maybe start some edits on Emergence. Or, I don’t know, work on a cover? It’s a crazy thing to do with a deadline only . . . 27 days away. Then again, I’m chock full of crazy ideas.

Speaking of crazy. After our interview Monday, Eden took the flying monkeys for an outing because they’d been so well behaved. They proved that isn’t always the case by leaving their mark on the wall. *sigh*

Eden and flying monkey graffiti.

Eden and flying monkey graffiti.

I suggested they clean it up. They suggested I . . . well . . . let’s not get into that. It’s not physically possible anyhow. Friday, another WIPterview heads your way, so make sure you come back for that.

Now, on to our WIPpet for this week. It comes from CB. For today’s date I went to page 12, and am giving you 4 (short) paragraphs, plus 13 bonus lines. 12/4/13. Viola! That’s about as straightforward as WIPpet math is bound to get. This scene is a flashback to when Driev and Andel were boys.

Andel Barkum and I started running the streets on the high side of Gilded Wall when we were boys. I had two years on him, and Andel had half a head more height than I. Outside of that, we looked enough alike to pass for brothers. We both had the brown eyes, tawny skin, and black hair of our southern ancestors, though he possessed the angular features and sharp nose brought by the addition of pure, Nobrian blood. He had a regal air about him as well. Even at six years old. He didn’t even have to try. The way he carried himself led people to avert their eyes and tip their heads as though the Crown Duke himself had walked past.

My air caused people to whisper a quick prayer to their goddess and make the sign of the Blessed Good.

We were going to be pirates; braving the Outer Sea, battling the monsters said to dwell there, striking fear into the hearts of travelers. But then Andel heard some legend about a long lost city deep within the mountains to the far north, said to contain enough treasure to make even the Duke’s bursar weep.

“What do you say, Dri?” he said as we lay on our backs on the library roof, the stars twinkling overheard, sharing a fresh fruit pie we’d snitched from The Elegant Baker. “We go find the treasure first, then use that to buy our ship?”

“I suppose.” I licked my fingers. We hadn’t needed to steal the pie. We both had coin to spare. Everyone on the high side of Gilded Wall had more than plenty. The theft had been my idea. A game to play. And a way of getting back at my father for some childish grievance I could no longer remember. Only we hadn’t gotten caught which meant my father would never know, and my attempt to shame him had failed. But the pie was damn good. “But pirates don’t buy things, right?”

Andel pursed his lips, stained red with berry juice. “Right.”

Ah, such an innocent pair. Well, okay, so maybe only Andel’s innocent. You know who else are a bunch of innocent folks? No, really. Do you? I bet you thought I was going to say, “WIPpeteers.” *cue maniacal laughter*

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  1. Such a great scene!!! I love your world building! I don’t blame you for taking time off, Kathi. But just know that you have a wonderful story!
    The Joker is the king of the evil laugh!!!

  2. I’m with L. Marie about it being a great scene. Wonderful characterisation in such a short extract too.

    Oh, and bah humbug for hitting that wall (this extract far from sucked).

  3. Lovely excerpt Kathi. I thought the characters of both boys came over really well. I like how Driev is almost disappointed he couldn’t shame his father. It gives a good insight into his relationship with his father

    • Driev is very disappointed he couldn’t shame his father. Their relationship, unfortunately, goes from bad to worse to whatever lies beyond. 🙁 It wasn’t a part of the story I intended to happen, it just unfolded and who am I to argue?

  4. Ah, the Wall … yes, I think I’ve run into it before too … But I really admire your perseverance with the goal with the goal of getting something finished and ready to submit in such a short space of time! Good luck!

    And great scene. Ditto all the comments about the excellent characterization therein. 🙂

    • Thanks, Ruth. I think most writers are familiar with that dang wall. It’s whether or not you can get over, around, under, or through it that matters. I have so far. Hopefully this time will be no different.

  5. O no, sorry for that wall! I used to think it was strange when authors would have so many projects on their plate, but now I get it. Sometimes you really do need to step back and work on something else. Good luck getting everything sorted – at least mentally for now!

    • Thanks, Alana. Yeah, I sometimes think I have too much going on . . . well, I think that a lot. But then something like this comes up and I’m glad I have fallbacks. Otherwise I’d be tempted to just continuously bash my head into the wall to see who wins.

  6. I know it well, that Self Doubt staring at your words and saying, “um…wtf?? Really? THAT’S what you put down?”

    Alas, as others have told me when I’ve let Self Doubt in, we all shall tell you it too. Your work is good, taking a break is good, and when you get back to it, Self Esteem will say “oh yeah, after some tweaking, this is DAMN good.”

    Which leads me to say that I enjoyed this scene, it reminded me of a particular childhood friend I had myself. We would sit and daydream of things to do, like Driev and Andel (perhaps not the very same things, but well, close enough). You paint their personalities with imagery I can see in my head. Well done!

    • What doesn’t help is characters that run amuck and then stand there not saying anything while expecting you to fix the mess they’ve made of things. Grrr. “What? You’re the author. You deal with it.” Thanks, voice in my head. Thanks muchly.

      Thanks for your words of kickassery . . . um . . . encouragement. 🙂

  7. You’ve created some strong, captivating characters here. Don’t let the doubt monster get you! You’re a talented writer!

  8. ah yes, magical laughter! So not innocent here! =P

    Great excerpt, and of course Andel is more innocent–he’s younger and still very young in general. I love that they’re not innocent in their intentions, but their intentions are still whimsical and dreams.

    • Yes, Andel is such a good boy. But he unfortunately has poor choice in role models. Though I can say (hopefully without spoiling things) that he does try to be a good influence on Driev. Unfortunately, Dri’s life is . . . complicated.

  9. I get the impression that part f Andel’s innocence comes from the air he possesses. He’s not looked at by the world as something to be distrustful of. He’s perhaps not respected, but it seems that just because he’s who he is, Driev is looked at askance. It can have a strong effect on a person… being looked upon as “wrong” before you even know the person looking at you.

    Sorry about the wall too, Kathi. I do know what you mean. If you read the ROW80 section of my post this week, you probably know that I’ve got my own wall going. Yours sounds worse in most ways though. And what’s worse is that it’s clearly lying to you. You DO write well. You create compelling characters and you clearly have a grasp of your worlds. Just sometimes you need a break… or, since it’s only a few weeks… maybe you just need to barrel through.

    • I would guess that has a great deal to do with it, Eden. Also, home life plays a part.

      Oh, I intend to barrel. Unfortunately, I’ve had some breakthrough thoughts that would involve somewhat of a major plot bending. But oh, it makes such perfect sense in my head!

      • Cool! If you’re ready or still interested in trading some chapters for reviewing, etc., let me know. I’m going to barrel through as well. But we could get the trade started now…

        • I should have some ready for you this week — changed a major part of the plot so I’m back to almost the beginning using as much as I can but altering it. *sigh* Anyhow, feel free to start sending me what you have and I’ll start shredding. 🙂

          • Ah! I’ve done that too. In fact, that might be what I have to do if Courting keeps working the way it is.

            I’ll have something for you by Wednesday. It’s been one of those weekends already.

  10. I love the pirate logic. I mean, sure they buy things, but they also don’t buy things. So what are the things they actually buy? Probably undies. I wouldn’t want to wear stolen undies….

    • Not unless you stole brand new undies. Otherwise . . . yeah . . . that grosses me out a little, must say.

    • What little I know of pirates and pirate history, they usually didn’t steal things in their own community or where they lived. They just stole from people they didn’t have a personal connection to.

  11. “Muajaja” hahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Spanish phonics and all. 😀

    They remind me of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. 🙂 Such boys. Shame on Driev. *disapproving mother face*. And shame on Andel for not being a better example. *meaner disapproving mother face* 😛

    • C’mon, mom, Andel’s younger. He’s only following by example. Although, thanks to my subconscious plot-noodling last night while the rest of me was sleeping, Andel does try to be the better influence. *sigh* He has a good heart. *double sigh* No more, lest I give spoilers.

      • *deep sigh* Okay, fine. I’ll let him off without being grounded for the rest of his life this once. Once, mind you. Next time, I won’t be so nice. And he’s going to pay for that pie!

        Do you often plot-noodle while sleeping? I’ve only done it once, that I can remember. I usually plot noodle while washing dishes or taking a shower.

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