Want — a WIPpet/ROW80 post

English: W.I.P.


It’s a new month, but not a new WIP…  at least not for me.

Welcome back once more to Singer of the Swan’s Song (working title, of course) for another WIPpet.  Since it’s the tenth of July, allow me to offer you ten more sentences of Atyr’s story.

It didn’t take much beyond the woman’s tone to tell her what had happened. “You told him to do that?” She didn’t care if she’d shouted at the Master Healer. Now the fury she’d felt to her two watchkeeps, poor foolish creatures, she realized just doing what they’d been told, unable to know better.

The Master Healer nodded with clear satisfaction. “Of course I did. I haven’t spent these past few days mending all those cuts and bruises to let Lassau add another dozen or so more. You can find new ways to seek connection to the Goddess than in that woman’s twisted care.”

Atyr looked at the woman coldly. “You want me to die,” she said keeping her voice as quiet as she could.

So there it is–I hope you liked it.

wippetwednesday_zps53e803c0Maintained and promoted by K.L. Schwengel at My Random Muse, #WIPpet writers post pieces of a draft (Work In Progress) that somehow relate with the date for commentary and consideration.  Feel free to comment and visit other #WIPpeteers.   We love the company.

ROW80 Check-in

A whole new Round of Words started last Monday.  I was “in” but “not in” until this Sunday, able to use some public machines to comment on blogs, but not daring to actually post until I knew my home machine was stable enough (and not compromised any more than my legitimate software requires so that it can be updated, etc.).

It’s happier now.  I am too.  My writing is still behind.  I hadn’t realized how much I was relying in that first week of the month to get my rhythm going for this Camp NaNo, but I’m finding myself fighting the “I need to get stuff done” drive for our camping preparations as well as the “I’m so far behind now, I can’t catch up” call to give up.

It’s a recurring problem I’ve had since school.  Back then if I missed a day or (more often the case) didn’t do my homework, but realized I needed to make up the work to avoid that nasty zero in the grade books, I’d feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of everything…  and I’d give up.  I’d try to hide the bad grades from my parents; I’d act as if I didn’t care to the other kids in school, even when every tease burned.  I hated the fact that I was constantly giving up, but I didn’t know how to get to where I wanted to be.  And the resulting depression just made it harder to even maintain the status quo let alone catch up.

I wanted to start again without any backlog, and school didn’t work that way.  Which is perhaps why the concept of the ROW80 appeals so much to me.  It’s more like life, where people are constantly remaking themselves as they learn and discover what works best for their needs.

Where we can Forgive and Forget … and then move on.

Yes, the same amount of work still needs to be done, but I dictate the direction it will take and the timeframe I will work on it in.  And I can change things as life happens.  Oddly enough, that is enough to make me feel better and enough to stop me from freezing up when I find I’m falling behind.

I’m behind, but I’m still writing.  I’m still editing.  Swan Song may not be written this year.  I have not set date for the release of the series.  Sooner is, clearly, better since it allows me to share it with people while I’m able to interact well with the audience and hopefully be able to write more, but if something happens, it doesn’t set me in a funk the way it used to.

So, while I’m still behind, I’m catching up.  For this month’s CampNaNo goal of 50K, I should be at about 17K today.  Instead, I’m at about 7K (estimation given because some of the work is handwritten).  I’m not panicking though, because it only takes a few bouts of #wordmongering and #1K1hr sprints to make a 3K day.  I have time to make it up now and more time to finish things when we come back next Friday.

Camping "not quite" old-style

Camping “not quite” old-style

And my ROW80 Fitness goals will be flying after a week of rowing the boat around our bay (we’ll be at the end of Pope Bay on Saranac Lake ), sawing firewood, and meandering through the woods.  Last year we were at the far end of Boot Bay, and there was a wonderful spot for rowing there.  I’m hoping for some similar fun this year.

That, with some notebooks and pens, and a week of no internet…  I’ll be back into the “Write Mode” by  end of this break; I always am.  Changes in rhythm are refreshing and a great way to rediscover one’s focus.  I’ve always found this true for me.

What rhythms or ruts have you found yourself in?  And how did you get back on track?

To ease you all into Summertime, here’s a little Porgy & Bess, as sung by the talented Leontyne Price.  Mmm!

ROW80LogocopyThe ROW80 Writing Challenge is the brainchild of author Kait Nolan who felt that, in a world of WriMos and FastDrafts, people who want become authors  need something that promoted the daily habit of the writing life.  Feel free to visit some of our other members here.


36 responses to “Want — a WIPpet/ROW80 post

  1. Interesting. The last line in the first paragraph confused me a lot. I read it about six times, and it’s still not making sense to my brain. Could just be lack of caffeine though, which I’m currently sucking down through my straw.

    I love the realization at the end, that she was trying to kill her! It’s great. Keep it up!!


  2. Lovely post. I especially appreciated your musings on how ROW80 has helped you to not get bogged down, to learn your own writing rhythm and to celebrate what you DO achieve. 7K words is quite a good achievement. That week of camping sounds ideal. Today (thanks to posts by other ROW80 folks) I jumped in with a post for WIPpet. For your WIPpet post today, the characters are not quite clear to me (their relationships), as I’m new to your story, but the tension between the two comes through. The dialogue bites!


    • YAY! You joined the WIPpet too, Beth.

      The relationships are a bit challenging to follow if you haven’t read things in order… I probably need to add another Atyr scene before I switch to another character in the Swan Song series, just to make some of the relationships more clear.

      I’m glad the dialogue flows well.

      And thanks for the encouragement, Beth. I know that 7K is a good count for the 10 ten days, and normally I’d be content, but for a NaNoWriMo, I do have to maintain a higher standard. Soon it will be “Editing Time”… the word counts will get smaller; and 7K will be just right.


  3. Ooo great snip of dialogue. People at crossed purposes. Very nice.


    • Thanks, Raewyn. I like putting my characters at cross-purposes most of the time. An “evil” (thinking mustaches-twirling, wicked laughter-style) bad guy just doesn’t cut it for me. I like my characters to feel like real people who are just trying to do their thing and sometimes things (other characters) get in their way. 😀


  4. I’m totally out of rhythm at the moment and because I want to focus on editing Emergence, didn’t join in ROW80 this time around.

    I love the last line of the WIPpet. Quite the build-up of tension and intrigue.


    • Oh? Bummer. (Though I think that while the focus of the ROW80 is writing, you might actually find the consistency of goal setting and such that it uses useful for your edits, Kathi.)

      Thanks. Atyr certainly has herself in a pickle here.


  5. Poor Atyr. I hope whatever is ailing her gets better. 🙂


  6. I must admit, I was like Adrian, and had to read the last sentence in the first paragraph a few times. I love em dashes, probably a bit too much, so of course my suggestion would be “add some em dashes! They’re great!!!”


  7. Getting back in track is tough, usually because we look at the HUGE amount of words we’re behind on and freak out. I do, anyway (I’m at 5.2k of 50k for the month. YIKES).

    Here’s how I get back on track. Tonight, when I’m about to go to bed, I’ll read through whatever the last bit of my current wip. I’ll then make an active plan of: Tomorrow I will finish/write/sketch out/outline x scene. If you focus on that one scene, that one goal, your head clears.

    Then, when I’m done with that scene, I prep for the next one. If you take twenty to thirty minutes to figure out exactly what you want to happen in that scene…kind of like choreography (called Blocking back in my theatre days), you’ll save a day’s worth of anguish, trust me. Each scene is a hurdle to overcome.

    At the end of the day, you might be surprised. And it feels so good. I have sketched out the scene I want to write tomorrow. If I finish it early, I can continue on the next scene or I can stop. And it’s guilt free because I reached my goal.

    I really hope this helps! I’ll be trucking right along with you hon!


    • Blocking! Oh, my… how could I forget the concept. Thanks for reminding me of it, Dawn. And yes, you’re right about how just a few extra minutes of prep before working on a scene can make things flow so much easier.

      Yes, catching up will happen, and we’ll both do it, one scene at a time, one after another, after another. Right there in the trenches together.

      Thanks for stopping in and the great motivating comment, Dawn.


  8. I totally know that feeling of “Oh god, I’ve been a horrible person!” But I’m intrigued as to why she thinks the master healer wants her to die.

    I totally understand feeling overwhelmed when you get behind, rather than motivated. It’s a problem that plagues me, too! Good luck for the rest of the week, I hope you get some good words down! 🙂


    • Hmm, I’m thinking I didn’t get Atyr’s voice right here. She’s less concerned that she was “horrible” than that she was fighting a losing battle. Must work on that. (Really glad these comments are coming through, because it’s an important piece in a sense, and yet if I’m not getting her voice right…)

      I will get some words down, but I have a feeling they won’t be as focused as I’d like. The head doesn’t want to settle this evening.


      • Ah, I see. It did come across more of “Oh, they were just doing what they were told and I was giving them a hard time about it when it wasn’t their fault.” I’m having a similiar thing this week – the Prince’s comment about the clothes wasn’t intended to be funny, but a lot of people have read it that way and now I can totally see how it could be, so I’ll have to see how I can rejig it.


        • I think it’s because we know our characters more intensely than anyone else. We see their expressions, hear the tone of their voices.. We read them differently that other people.

          I didn’t think Felipe was actually being “funny”, but I definitely got a strong sense of sarcasm there. That doesn’t sound like what you were going for either though.


          • That’s definitely true. My stories are always like movies in my mind and I have to remember that no one else can actually see that other than what I put on a page (hence, descriptions are often my weakness).

            There’s probably little bit of sarcasm; he’s definitely feeling smug round about this point because he’s got Simian under his control, but mostly I was going for “matter-of-fact statement.”


            • One of my local betareader friends calls that the “voices in the void” curse (yeah, I do it a lot… dialogue without any descriptions or settings what-so-ever). I see the characters and the rooms/spaces, the people walking around them, etc., and it sounds like you do too. Did you see that post (I forget who posted it this week) about the Steven King article on description? Here’s the link: http://www.wordplayer.com/pros/pr13.King.Stephen.html Don’t know if it will help at all…

              The best sarcasm, imho, is usually matter-of-fact.


  9. With Road Salt, my writing took on a more serious note. With this book I was on a mission after my son entered a residential drug rehab and had been in the program for almost six months.


  10. A very dark last line, which leaves me wanting to know more. Hope you manage to catch up on your writing (I’m sure you will). Oh and camping by a lake, campfires and woodland walks sounds blissful.


    • Thanks, Kate. I will catch up. Right now I’m a bit stircrazy because of preparations, but yes… blissful is coming. There’s nothing like a good change of pace to get the brain working right again. 🙂


  11. I think the pressure to have a certain amount of words by certain day is one of the reasons I haven’t done Nano for a while. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when the to-do list just keeps getting longer and longer.

    That said, 7K is nothing to sneeze at! Congrats and good luck. 🙂


    • I actually find the pressure helps me….within reason. I really benefit from group sprints. Some other people seem to freeze on them. So many different styles… Kind of like books themselves. The words and the basic concepts aren’t really that different, and yet… look at the great variety.

      That 7K is up to 8.5K now. It’s progress. That’s all that matters. Thanks for being so supportive, Ruth.


  12. I’ll admit to being lost on the except, but it could be tiredness clouding my head. I also feel your pain on getting behind/catching up. Sometimes even what I have to do can be overwhelming. You are dealing with your situation well and with a good outlook. I wish you the best on making progress on your projects.


    • It could also be a scene out of context, Gloria. I have that sometimes with WIPpets (it does get easier as one seems to get used to a particular WIPpeteer’s characters and story) myself.

      I think we’ve all felt that falling behind pain before. I don’t know about the good outlook. Basically I told myself I could be behind and miserable or behind and at least calm and accepting of it… The later just seemed more bearable. 🙂


  13. I enjoy that ROW 80 is so forgiving and understanding. It’s part of what drew me two it, and why I continue to participate in it (and now WIPpet) over other writing things out there like NANOWRIMO.

    I look forward to reading more of your WIPpets when you get back 🙂


    • I’m glad that you’re finding these challenges working for you. There something about being able to feel a little success here and there that drives one forward. NaNoWriMos always feel so final (that’s why I like the camps and JuNoWriMo, because they’ve got a lot more built in flexibility).

      Thanks, Christina. I have to say, I’ve really been enjoying your WIPpets lately. Fun stuff!


  14. Sys,

    I was one of the teasers, for many years too long, and I wish I hadn’t been. =(

    But there is another way of looking at those school years.

    That undone homework was a waste of our time, and we know that.

    In elementary, and in junior high, the drawing we did instead was creative expression in the midst of isolation and soul-numbing boredom. It kept our selves alive.

    We may have gotten way behind on chemistry labs in high school (I’m sure there was one we never did), but, if we hadn’t been writing those endless response folders, and, (mercifully!!!!!) getting better at it as we went along, would there be an Atyr or a Niaan to delve into, today?

    I feel you were focused on what you needed to be focused on, then and now…and I say that with a lifetime of perspective behind it, and also a lifetime of knowing how much more amazing you are than you’ve ever given yourself credit for.

    I have an idea. If the discrepancy between where you “should” be and where you are might sabotage you, why not be covert about defusing the threat? It’s a CampNaNo month; you could drop your goal by 10K, and raise it after you’ve gotten ahead of your average. Instantly, you’re not behind anymore, and you can venture forth from there boldly… Maybe it won’t work, but it might be just the escape hatch your mind needs to let go…

    As for the snippet – Atyr’s voice came through loud and clear for me, because I have known her so long, and had some small part in her evolution (mostly as devil’s advocate; but still). I am with everyone else on that line; it’s tangly. I read it three times, then added in the words I thought you meant (following a decades-old tradition!). I think I made sense of it.

    Granted that I have a huge advantage over anyone else who commented here, because I have known you and these characters so long and so well, but I think the story will read clearer when others know more about these characters. Ten sentences is not many, and I feel this as a very tense and pivotal moment for Atyr; but i know that more because I remember us chatting about this bit a couple of years back.

    I hope your week was blissful, and that the mountains and the lake ate up some of the heat and humidity…been beastly here in old StillH2O.

    I’ll be cheering you on, and I think we need getting kids together time AND a girlie night before the conference!

    Love and hypothetical snugs (it being too damned hot for the real kind)…



    • Too danged hot for sure! Even up at the lake it was simmering… And I don’t think I’ve ever dealt with that many mosquitoes in one time before (and I used to do swamp walks for the Nature Center programs at Beaver Lake).

      I like your suggestion of lowering my CampNaNoWriMo goal. Nothing says I can’t raise it later, but after this week of almost no writing (I made my five sentences a day, but little more than that–hard to write and swat/scratch at the same time)…

      Thanks also for your observations for the Atyr piece. You may have more “perspective” but that means also that you see more of how it should work–I don’t have the “well, it’s only 10 sentences and maybe you need more context” excuse. You know better.

      And you’re right. There was a lab we never did; we were allowed to miss one lab and still take the Regents; and you know how many we had to rush to make up at the end of the year….

      As for the being picked on in school… it wasn’t meant as a “poor me” but more of an observation of how I’ve been slowly understanding how my “process” works. It’s a realization of how I’ve done things over the years, and contemplation of how I might be able to improve on things in the future.

      Yes, both a kids day together and a girlie night sound lovely.