The Reaper, the Universe, and the Sub-conscious

I’m a little late today, but almost didn’t post so we should all take tardy over absent, right? I’m not sure if I’ll make the entire rounds this week either. I’m heading out of town Friday morning and won’t be back until Sunday night. Tonight is grocery shopping, tomorrow packing and some plan-ahead cooking… That means limited fun computer time for moi. But I’m confident the rest of you can carry on quite admirably without me. Plus, I’ll tell the monkeys to keep an eye on things while I’m gone. You don’t want to cross the monkeys. They’re getting a bit stir crazy. Winter and all.

For today, I give you four paragraphs from The Adorned for the 4th day of the month. This follows after one of the other WIPpets I posted at some point. I know, I’ve been jumping around with this one like a frog on a hot road, but I only have a little over 10k written, so I hunt and peck for tasty morsels that won’t give too much away. **Author’s note: Kudos to the Shakespeare Insult Kit pinned to my cork board. Most likely not historically accurate, but oh-so-handy.**

“Gods of the damned!” Roe jerked away, skittering out from between him and the wall, scrubbing at her arm. “What did you do? What the–” Her eyes stretched open to the point of near painful. “Oh no. No. Oh you clouted crook-pated whoreson. You’re a speller. Mithylmis protect me, you’re a spawned from the dark speller.” She threw her arms up, pounded away, then back again, fists on her hips. “That just–that– you– It explains it. That–oh sweet mothers. I should’ve known. No wonder. Now I know. I’m surprised Tuter didn’t out and out kill me. Or Pip. And how is it everyone in the city knows? Everyone but me. Slow on the take again, Gild Fingers, that’ll get you dustman sure as anything. You couldn’t have said? Couldn’t have told me right off?”

“Would you have aided me had I said such?”

She stared at him. “You are thicker than Jesperanna’s thews. No one. No. One. In this city. Not even me. Would knowingly help a speller.”

“Then it is for the best I am not one.”

Don’t you feel like you just fell down the rabbit hole?

Now, an explanation on my [insert crappy mood] from last week. Just because I hate to throw things like that out there and leave people wondering.

Here’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

As you may or may not know, EoD has been soundly kicking my ass. Despite knowing where I wanted to go with it, how I was going to get there, how it began, how it ended, AND having well over ninety thousand blood-soaked words on the virtual paper — it was painful. Not bad writing. Possibly not even bad story-telling. Just somehow…wrong. And I couldn’t pin-point the where or the how of it no matter how many times I re-read it.

Truthfully, I probably could have just powered through to The End and sent it to my betas. Who knows, they may have enjoyed it. May have told me how wonderful it was. And maybe it is. Maybe it’s not as bad as I think it is. The problem comes from the very fact that I’m even thinking it’s bad. I wasn’t enjoying writing it. Not one bit. Working on it was torture. Every time I opened the file, I felt like I was pushing a mountain up a hill. It irritated me on so many levels–and when that irritation started creeping into other aspects of my life I knew something had to be done. Because when the hubby tells you a friend of his wants a signed copy of Book One, you should not practically came unhinged. People wanting books is a Good Thing. Not a reason to snap and snarl. But I did because–well, several reasons, but basically it all boiled down to Book Three being a cantankerous bastard and holding up several plans for the completion and marketing of the entire trilogy. PLUS holding me back from working on other projects.

Then, I got this crazy idea. An inkling, really. I did not want to get too close. Didn’t want to look it in the eye. Like when you cut yourself, and you refuse to look at the wound because you know when you do the pain is going to hit. The reality of seeing your own blood and your skin sliced open is going to churn your stomach. By refusing to look, it doesn’t exist. Or, at least it’s not as bad. Even if your finger is floating in the chili.

Ugh. Where’d that come from?

So, getting back to my long-winded crappy mood explanation–I threw my idea at the Universe and my Sub-conscious and went to bed.

Bad idea, that. I really wouldn’t recommend doing it on a regular basis.

However, they came through. When I woke up on Wednesday last week, they presented me with exactly what I needed to do. They confirmed my inkling.

I didn’t like it. Not one. Little. Tiny. Bit. But, I felt like it was the right thing. At least, I hope so. One takes an enormous risk throwing things to the U & S.

*deep breath*

I started completely over.


Yes. There you have it. I opened a new file, renamed it, began anew.

First I created two pages of plot noodling, which is as close to actual plotting as this pantser gets. There are some bits from the original I can still use. Maybe 10k or so worth of scenes and words. But overall? I slaughtered darlings. Oh, so. Many. Darlings. And it hurt. Bad.

But now, a week later–

Yeah, it still hurts. And I still second-guess myself. But I have nearly 20k written and I rather like what’s happening. So far my characters are being well-behaved. That tells me they’re happy with what’s going on. For now. And who knows, maybe I can take all those words I shoved into the Obsolete file and recycle them as a freebie in between novel.

*blinks some more*


I think I’m still in denial.

And there you have it. The reason for my funk. Hopefully the cure as well.

As the Awesome Newfinese Kate Sparkes says, “Don’t fear the rewrite!” In whose honor you get…



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  1. Ha! I love that you posted that song, even if it’s stuck in my head now. Again. Thanks.

    You’ve got this. It’s going to be SO. DAMNED. GOOD.

  2. Sigh. First, I’m proud of you for wanting to write a quality book and knowing that you CAN. Second, I second Kate. You go, girl!
    Third, once again, you’ve left me breathless with your excerpt. Agents, take note of this author!!!

  3. I feel your pain. Mostly ’cause I’m facing a similar issue, although I really like most of what I’ve already written, say 60K +/-. But I know I’ll have to turf a good bit of that, and it doesn’t sit well at all. Not even side-saddle well, and Lord knows I’m not built for that. But, I salute you for taking the bull by the tender parts and moving on. You go!

    • I like a lot of what I’ve written also. Just not as part of the book. There are some scenes I go back and read just for the thrill of it. Taken as a whole…

  4. As horrible a feeling as it is, sometimes it’s the right thing to do. If it feels right to you, then it is. No one can tell you how you *should* feel about your work.

    Great excerpt, and yes, I definitely feel like I fell down the rabbit hole. But I wanted to go there. I like Roe oh so much. Where she goes, I will follow.

    • I’m glad you’re a Roe fan. I was reading something the other day about how there aren’t enough broken/anti-hero/walking the line female characters, but plenty of such male characters. I thought, “Hey! I have one. Over here, meet Roe.” 🙂

  5. Wow. The whole thing? *bows* You have my admiration. Since your time is limited, I’ll just say: have a good weekend. Blessings on your manuscript. 🙂

  6. I totally understand where you’re coming from and why your WIP had you in a bad mood. My last WIP was like that. I just didn’t enjoy writing it, but I powered through. Now I can see that I need to basically do a rewrite–there are a few scenes that work as is, but most of the story needs a great deal of work, especially the first few chapters. Now that I’ve had some time away from it, I can see the story’s potential. But while I was working on it, I wasn’t having fun, and that’s not how art should go. Sometimes it’s hard; some scenes are a pain, but overall we should be able to find our flow with a story. And with that story I just couldn’t. But now that I have some distance, I am looking forward to the rewrite.

    Good luck with your rewrite!

    • ” I wasn’t having fun, and that’s not how art should go. Sometimes it’s hard; some scenes are a pain, but overall we should be able to find our flow with a story. ”
      Exactly! Because I love the characters, I know what has to happen, and yet….

      But now I’m back to liking them again. For the most part. 😉 Glad to know I’m not the only one who has gone through this. I hope never to again, but I’m pretty sure it’s part of the I’m a Writer package.

  7. I like rabbit holes–when I have a flash light. 😀
    You are awe. You CAN do it! 😀

  8. I love your dialogue in this bit. I just adore how Roe’s roughness comes through, and how it flows. I just love it.

    Good luck on your rewrite! I know it’ll be amazing!

  9. Wow. Your insults could turn the bard green with envy! Enjoy your time out.

  10. Great excerpt as usual, Kathi. Roe is so much fun!

    I’m sure you can salvage some of the first version for freebie stories in the world and such! And the new version will probably be way better for the fact that you followed your instincts. *hugs*

    • Thanks, Ruth.

      Yeah, there are big chunks of scenes I’ve written that I axed even earlier on, that would probably make good novellas. They just weren’t all gelling together. Time will tell on whether this was a good move or not.

  11. I’m feeling a little ahead… then behind in things being on the other side of the planet 🙂
    Anyhoo – I loved that Shakespeare insults chart – GOLD. As for your MS recycling. Wow.
    Great excerpt but I don’t know if I could have done that. But you have actually completed one. So I’m so hesitant to do that with my first knowing that it might NEVER get finished if that’s the case. Going to head on over and check out everyone’s WIPpets tonight after work.
    Dialogue is definitely your strong point Kathi.

    • That whole time-zone thing melts my brain. 😉 I’ve been studying that chart, I think I could use some of those at the dayjob without ever getting in trouble with HR because they wouldn’t have a clue what I was saying! LOL

      Thanks, Alison. I’m liking these characters and can’t wait until I get to spend more time with them.

      I’m going to try and get around to everyone over the next four days. So glad you hopped on board the WIPpeteer train!

  12. I am so confused… In a really good way! Eagerly awaiting more. Great insults and dialogue.

    As for the whole starting over thing… Totally feeling you, there. I’m there, too. Loved the characters and the premise, so kept those and scrapped the rest. Sometimes it’s just part of the process. At least that’s what I tell myself. It sounds good, right? 😉

    • Someday it will all come together and you will no longer be confused. I hope. 😉

      I think if I ever do a trilogy again, I do so in one huge chunk. Not releasing any until they’re all done. Because not only is there the pressure of completely a story in general, there’s the added pressure of tying up all the loose ends and bringing it to a satisfying conclusion without taking another five years to do it in.

  13. Great choice of music. It’s been way too long since I heard this, I’d forgotten just how much I loved it.

    Awesome snippet as always, I absolutely love the insults! The last line is just brilliant too, though after her tirade I can’t imagine Roe taking it all that well…

    That’s a lot you’ve got done in the space of a week! It definitely sounds like you’re much happier with it now, heh.

    • You can thank Kate Sparkes for the music. 😉

      Yes, much happier with how the story is progressing now. So far. Um…yeah, admitting that is probably asking for trouble.

  14. I feel your pain – I’ve started over on the same book about three times now because something just didn’t feel right. I wasn’t quite as invested as you, but it seems like it’s coming together better now. Oh you clouted crook-pated whoreson. You’re a speller. Mithylmis protect me, you’re a spawned from the dark speller. – Words from a champion curser right there – love it!

    • I started this one over several times…not completely…more like adjusting. But this was major.

      Yeah, Roe has some talent in the land of cussing. 😉

  15. I did the same thing with the first draft of Flames of Redemption. It was only about 60k or so, I think. But, when I started reading through it, it was going to need so much work, I ended up scrapping it and starting completely over. And I definitely think it’s better for that. Here’s hoping the characters keep cooperating for you.

    And these two. I love reading your snippets.

  16. I have notebooks and notebooks full of abandoned stories – to the point where, when I watched the 2009 Trek movie, I was sure someone (Eden!) gave someone else my Spock and Uhura notebook (terrible, terrible story, but there would have been ELEPHANTS later on, if I’d got that far before I came to what passes for my senses….)….

    Uh, where was I…?!

    My series are all in a jumble because I didn’t realize I was WRITING a double series. So that pressure is off, because it’s still going to be a few years before I have enough of them ready, in proper sequence, to offer them up…and because, apparently, TnT have taken up permanent residence in my head. Promise those two a story every day *in MAY*, and they bully me into four stories *in the past week*, with more bubbling….

    Damn Vulcans, and the humans who love them…

    Anyway, I think you did what you needed to, and a fresh start seems to have been the best idea.

    And Roe – I rather love her, when she’s angry. From a safe distance, of course, and biting my fist hard to keep from busting out laughing and therefore garnering her attention….

    • Yeah, Roe’s not so good at people laughing at her. Or appearing to be laughing at her. Or even grinning in her direction at her expense. Best just to keep a serious face and nod. No smiling. 😉

      So TnT have filed for permanent residency, have they? Those rascals. But wait…I don’t hear anyone complaining.

      • And now I get to use one of my favorite quotes from M*A*S*H – which finally and delightfully made it to Netflix (Jim and I have been watching it together since our dating days, eighteen years back, so this is BIG for us!).

        Winchester: “All right, I’ll go. But when I get back, there had better be no smiling.”

        Everyone else:

        “Who’s smiling?!”

        I’m not smiling at you, Roe….only near you…really.

        As for TnT, they didn’t bother to file for permanent residency; they just took over. They are rascals…and, even though I really, REALLY need to be thinking about the logistics of getting this family to the other side of the continent in a week, I’m really not complaining. I’m having way too much fun! =)

  17. Oh my goodness, what is going on in this excerpt? Love the tension.

    Good for you realising that starting over was what was necessary. I’m sure the finished product will be glorious.

  18. It’s really hard to know when to push through and when to pause. Sometimes something is truly wrong with the story and sometimes we are just filled with self doubt. I think you made a good call. You are a phenomenal storyteller. I trust your instincts and I’d wait a few years for the final book so that it’s the book you want it to be. 🙂

  19. I actually like starting fresh. I love a blank page. When I’m really miserable with what I wrote, I put it away and don’t look at it for a while. Then, I go back to a blank page and start over. The big idea is still the same but my approach is different, and I usually find a better way to tell the story. You can always weave in the good stuff from the previous draft later.

    Keep writing, Kathi. We need your stories!

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