Things of All Sorts in the Rain, and a Train

Sooooooooo . . . for my ROW80 Update: Last night I decided to proclaim the first draft of Emergence as complete as it’s first draftiness could make it. I debated for about an hour before waving my magic wand because, well, I’m about 8k short of my first draft goal of 110k. That and there are many [fill in the space] place holders that need fleshing out. HOWEVER, (yes, it’s that big that I had to capitalize it) I have no doubt I’ll be adding many words — as well as deleting many others, as usual. But here’s the thing . . .

. . . the framework is laid, the skeletal figure held together with bits of twine and duct tape, the foundation in place. I can’t hit my target without doing a major rewrite because there are other things that must change.

Yes, big ugly things like this.

To do that rewrite, I must re-read, from the beginning. And so, I have unexpectedly proclaimed the first draft ~Finis~.  I have printed it out, will let it ferment for a week — or at least several days, possibly hours even — grab my much-loved and trusty red pen, and start to fill in the holes, create others, mold, shape, hack, torture, slay, and otherwise beat it into submission.

I should be happy dancing all over the place but I’m still a bit angry at it, and some of my characters, for some of the shit they pulled that I must now correct. And, of course, there’s the part of me that thinks it’s complete rubbish, not worthy of the laser toner and tree pulp I’ve just spent on it. I’ll get over that feelin as soon as I dig in and find the good bits. Then there will be much happy dancing and celebrating with flying monkeys.

Because, yes, I *love* flying monkeys. Which is why, if I could be any witch ever, I’d have to be the Wicked Witch of the West. She with the flying monkeys.

So, what to give for a WIPpet this week? How about some more from Crossing Paths? For the 12th of June, I give you 12 lines from Ethan’s POV as he goes out on another “job”:

Ethan peered across the street from the relative shelter of a doorway. Of course it would be raining. What other weather would he have to be out working in? He couldn’t catch a break and have mild temps with a clear sky and a bright moon. Not that the moon ever showed its face in the back alleys he tended to frequent, but something that didn’t drench him to the bone and set his teeth chattering would be a nice change of pace. If he thought it was possible, he’d guess Gabe had a hand in the weather. That would be just like the rat bastard.

Why his target chose to be out on a night like this bothered him more than the weather. She just didn’t look the type to be strolling the dark underbelly of the city in the rain. Then again, most of his targets were used to the underbelly, and were never anything like the outward form they wore.

It put him in mind of a certain brown haired, emerald eyed beauty that seemed to haunt his every waking minute and some sleeping ones as well. She didn’t look the type to try and kick his ass, but she had.

And, in case you missed it, Kourtney Heintz, author of The Six Train to Wisconsin, stopped by the blog yesterday for an awesome interview. Hop back a post and read about this author’s work habits, why she chose Wisconsin for a backdrop, and how she coped with the emotional depths of her story.



  1. *joins in celebration, wears lampshade on head, spills drink on the couch*

    Sorry, it’s too early for this. Congratulations on the first draft, though! I always feel apprehensive about read-overs, too, but I know you’ll be very successful at mining those gems. Give your characters hell for pulling that shit, show ’em who’s boss!

    Nice use of the phrase “rat bastard” there. I enjoy a character in a bad mood. 🙂

  2. Who has Ethan fallen for? Have we met her in a previous WIPpet Wednesday?? And I for one can’t wait to read the sequel to FOHK – which I’m guessing is ‘Emergence’ right? Please excuse my denseness if I’ve got that completely wrong! Whatever the case, I’m keen to find out what happens next to Ciara and Bolin. 🙂

  3. So intriguing!!!!!! I want more!!! (Consider this a like, since the like button isn’t working.) Congrats on getting your draft done.

  4. That is the ugliest, most freakish chimera I’ve ever seen. Where did you find that pic?

    Hmm… so this target of his is not the woman who kicked his rear BUT she’s desperate &/or confident enough to be in seedy places on foreboding nights? Are we going to learn more about her?

  5. I hope you and your first draft patch things up. Don’t ditch him (her?) quite yet. And this whole target thing really gets me wondering what’s going to happen next.

    • Never fear, first draft and I will get along swimmingly as soon as it falls into line. Well, I may have to take someone’s POV away because I altered the ending and now he doesn’t play as big a part. But I like him, and he could play a part in Book Three if it evolves, so maybe I’ll just leave him be.

  6. When I read rat bastard, I just couldn’t help but thinking of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles where – is it Michealangelo? – goes into a celebrity movie imitation and says ‘you dirty rat!’ It made me laugh, and you get to know a random memory from my youth. I got about 60k into my first draft before realizing it needed to be completely worked from the very beginning. Then the first chapter had a few rewrites, and now I’m at about 14k and moving forward, lol.

    ‘strolling the dark underbelly of the city in the rain.’ I quite like that description.

    • I’m glad you explained the connection between rat bastard and the TMNT because my brain started scrambling to figure out when those innocent turtles would have said that!

      That line is one of those you look back at, smile, and say, “Wow, I just wrote that. Not bad, Schwengel. Not bad.”

  7. So, Ethan’s a “nice boy” with stars in his eyes and a past that will set fear in the hearts of men….

    Okay, so that was a little over the top dramatic. That’s the feeling this WIPpet evoked. Or maybe it was the celebratory wine?

    (those post-finis blues though… Oh I sympathize. I empathize! Trudge on, brave writer! Red Ink, ho!)

    • I’m not quite sure anyone, let alone Ethan himself, thinks of him as a “nice boy”. Well, okay, there are a couple people who might. One who knows exactly what his past is and what he is, and one who really doesn’t care.

      Oops, what a tease I am! 😉

      Grabbed the red pen last night and gave it to Chapter One. Mwahahahaha

  8. I love it when characters are disgruntledly impressed by/attracted to other characters. Also enjoyed Ethan’s crankiness in the first paragraph and second the appreciation of “rat bastard” as an insult”.

  9. Thirding the rat bastard love, here! I would raise my coffee to you in salute, but even I stop drinking coffee by 3:30am (most of the time!).

    I can so empathize with your feelings about the newly-finished draft. I just rough planned the epilogue to my 2009 NaNo, and things really flew out of control. Still, it was a wild ride…and I will be writing the epi soon….then calling it done, but really in need of some serious rewriting….five years breeds BIG discontinuity!

    I won’t be dressing it in red for quite a while, yet, though….I’m CampNaNoing July, then Chameleon and Bounded get their reddening treatments!

    Can’t wait to read more about Ethan and his underbelly target! =)

    • And the best part about Rat Bastard (great name for a character now that I think of it) is saying it in an accent. Give it a whirl. Any accent. It’s awesome. 😉

  10. Congrats on the first draft, whatever shape it is in! I have to tackle a bunch of scenes and notes, something that doesn’t even come *near* to a first draft and whip it into shape. *g*

    Good luck!

  11. Pingback: A Moment – WIPpet Wednesday | Dreaming of Other Realms

  12. SO excited about Emergence. Is Kate finished with the lampshade – I’m good at spilling drinks too…!? Even if it is chimera ugly am excited that the next instalment is coming along nicely. I know you got what it takes to beat it into submission Schwengel. You stay angry with it and then turn it into a lovely piece of awesomeness.

    I can related to Ethan to. It’s chucking it down here and the house feels like it might take off (might need those flying monkeys if the weather keeps up like this)… Ethan rocks, you do those tough, cynical but very compelling male characters v well!!!

    • Thanks. 🙂 I’ve actually started whipping Emergence into shape. I thought I would hate it. Actually, it may not be too bad. Although I’m still sitting on the fence about a character who demanded a POV and now I’m wondering if I have to take it away.

      “It’s chucking it” — I’m really going to have to use that at some point!

  13. Ha! I love those pictures! Declaring it done with 8k to go is not so bad. I once declared a first draft done with about 50k to go (in a 60k book.) 😀

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