Petting — a WIPpet/ROW80 post


To shortcut to the WIPpet, click here, but you may wish to read on, since this check-in supplies a lot of backdrop to this week’s excerpt.

I didn’t check in yet again on Sunday.  No reason (well, I have reasons, but…), I just didn’t do it.


manuscript (Photo credit: El Chupacabrito)

Right now I’m trying to recalibrate my head from NaNoWriMo to see if I can finish up Release before Angry Robot closes their Open Door (many, many thanks to Kathi for directing me to their event).  Though I feel torn about that, and this is why:

Originally Release was meant to be starting book in a trilogy (Parvenu) that would introduce a future-version of my world after they’d recovered from the destruction of their homeworld.  Then I got deeper into The Swan Song series and have since discovered that the history I wrote for Release just doesn’t fit.

Since there are a few thousand years between The Swan Song and Parvenu, I suppose some of the history my (very unreliable) narrator knows could be just wrong.  But there are also some people in the story that….  Well, we’re talking a few thousand years, and Alanii is in the first chapter.

No, Alanii is not a vampire.


Crossroads (Photo credit: Richard Elzey)

So, I really am not sure I actually want to release Release.  But it’d be nice to do something with it rather than continue to let it moulder in a drawer.

Beyond that?  I’m behind on everything else.  Finishing NaNoWriMo took more out of my this year than ever.  And despite my 59,707 wordcount, I don’t feel I won, because I didn’t work consistently, nor did I stay on the project I’d intended to write from the start.  😦


Today, as I noted in my ROW80 check-in, I’m posting a piece from Release.  Thirteen smallish paragraphs from the twelfth chapter:

an old pirate ship.

an old pirate ship. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

His gaze wandered the sky. “You think Dave is such a philanthropist that he would risk his life getting us out of the that Hell if he wasn’t getting something out of it. She’ll belong to him before the day ends, but, for now, she’s still mine. I want to see her one last time and thought you would, too.”

Mystery solved. Now the test made more sense, though I did wonder why Chaz hadn’t chosen to land the Indolence as his last memory. It also suggested what Dave was doing on the main deck–preparing the papers.

“Sorry you’re losing…” I looked up, following his gaze and caught my breath. Opalescent clouds floated over my head, hanging off of a tarred grid that clutched at them. A child trying to catch spilled water. The solar sails writhed in the breeze, producing a sound akin to sighing. Each sail had a voice of its own. They sang in harmony. “Oh…”

Chaz sighed along with his ship, but I caught a small chuckle from him. “It’s alright, kid. She is just a machine, no matter how beautiful.” He sighed again and reached up to caress one of the sails. “It’s the memories that are going to be hard to leave. Not the ones I have, but the ones that I know would have come.”

I looked at him curiously. “Does that hurt?”


“Mind if I touch them?”

“Of course not.”

English: Artist's conception of a solar sail

English: Artist’s conception of a solar sail (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The sail felt like icy cold water. The flow of color brought a slightly different texture as it passed from white to pink to green and between. White ran under my fingers like a soapy sponge. Pink felt like clear oil. Green gave the impression of very weak syrup. I pulled my hand back and for a moment after, my fingertips glistened.

“Rub them, kid. They make different sounds when you do.”

I looked at him sideways, but tried gently poking at a small patch of white. The whole sail trembled and gave off a small squeak before sighing again. I tried again, running a finger up and down on its surface. The sail giggled, I’m sure of it. Had Chaz been joking when he had said the ship was just a machine?

Chaz was busy making his set of sails purr like contented housecats. Did he ever climb the rigging and pet the upper sails? Didn’t they feel left out?

“She screams when she’s in landing mode,” he said suddenly. “That’s why no one is here to meet us yet. You can’t hear it through the hull, but…”

There you go…  Hope you enjoyed it.  And if you have any comments or suggestions, they’d be extra greatly appreciated this time, because I’m at such emotional crossroads as to what I’d like to do with this book.  Thanks bunches!

Cheers to K.L. Schwengel at My Random Muse!  She hosts WIPpet Wednesdays (it is like herding cats, after all) for us.  WIPeteers post pieces of a draft (Work In Progress) that somehow relate with the date at the group linky and bravely invite company, comments…  even gentle (or not-so gentle) critiques

20 responses to “Petting — a WIPpet/ROW80 post

  1. I love the descriptions in this extract and your use of sound and touch – really brings the scene to life.


  2. Oooh, I love solar sails! And these *sound* particularly classy. 🙂

    I switched projects too, and while it means I didn’t get as far on A Wasted Land as I wanted to, I’m still quite happy with the results. Just think of all the words! *g*


    • I will think of all the word, Ruth. The words help, even if my initial goal wasn’t achieved. And as always, I learned a lot from this year’s NaNo. I hope you got as much from your experience.

      Glad you liked the sails. They’re more than a little hypothetical since most sails now are thin aluminum sheets, but who knows what the future might bring us, mm?


  3. Oooh, I love this. 🙂 The description of the sails is exquisite and I want to touch them myself.

    59k+ in a month is quite an accomplishment and you should be proud of that whether you think you won or not. I’m figuring even if I don’t get CB done for Angry Robot, it will be completed shortly thereafter and that’s awesome since I had no real plans to do that this year. 🙂


    • So glad you love the sails, Kathi. I confess, while I wrote this piece, I was wishing I could too. A lot of cat-petting was done instead. The cats approved.

      You’re right, too, Kathi. It’s all forward progress. Even if it doesn’t always seem like it. And I think part of the reason I couldn’t get Courting done during the NaNo was because I allowed myself to think about doing something with Release…. Which, as you saw from the ROW80 part of the check-in, I really have a pickle to think of there too.


  4. Hmmm, very interesting. I’m especially intrigued that he could chose some land as his last memory. Makes me wonder what’s going on for sure. Nice job!


    • 🙂 Thanks, Alana. I’m trying for a bit of a page-turner with Release, but even in slower moments like this one, I still want to make the story enjoyable and relaxing and arm-rest clutching.


  5. Wow, solar sails? I haven’t heard of that, but it sounds like a genius idea. I mean, what better energy for a ship to use than the sun? I think out of this excerpt, that idea and the description of the sails and the different colors they changed are what intrigued me the most.


    • Solar sails aren’t my idea. This story was based off a fanfiction I wrote that evolved into a lot of original characters and places and histories, etc., and the original cartoon I based it off had a ship with solar sails.

      Not that they’re a science fiction device… Some of the space probes we’ve sent out to explore our solar system have a version of solar sails on them mow. My design here is fictional, but who knows what the future might bring?

      Glad you liked the description, Sarah.


  6. Is the ship alive? I get that impression but I know it could also be that the ship is just a ship and the noises are being humanized by the narrator and their friend. I’m not sure which idea I like better; I think either would work and work well. I enjoyed the descriptions of the ship and its reactions to being touched as well as the way Chaz feels about her–err–it. Considering the long history of people humanizing the sea and ships, the thought of people doing that with ships that sail in the sky fits in nicely with that tradition.


    • You’re so right, Kathy. I’m a big anthropomorphizer of my vehicles too, so I can definitely see the confusion. I could leave the question a “you’ll know when it comes out”, but it’s not a big part of the plot, so… no, the ship isn’t alive, not even in the sense of having an AI installed in it. But I’m glad that Chaz’s attachment seems natural and traditional. I see these people as coming from a generally coastal, sea-going culture. I wanted a sense of that to flow through.


  7. as for submitting, I say do it. What you’d have to decide is whether or not you’d regret not sending it in or if you’d regret not doing something with the piece, which it seems like you would. This isn’t necessarily the right path for the book, but you don’t even know if they will accept it for publishing or not. I guess the real question is whether or not you will regret not submitting it. =D

    As for the excerpt, it’s great! Wonderful job.


    • Good point, Adrian. At the worst, they say no. If they say yes, and I have to make a decision about what direction I want the series to go in, but… Who knows, maybe that’ll help me in other ways.

      Glad you liked the excerpt.


  8. Eden, I love the beauty of your writing in your excerpt. It is also intuitive and I love that as well. It feels organic and not contrived or staged. You’re a wonderful writer! Thanks for sharing! Mary


  9. I must hop on this WIPet meme… I keep threatening to do so. I loved “Each sail had a voice of its own. They sang in harmony. ”

    Well done on arriving at a superb word count (despite not feeling you ‘won’).


    • You really, REALLY should jump in on the meme, Shah. It’s fun, it’s cheery, (it pushes me to write every week)…

      Glad the description got you.


  10. Ooo… interesting concept. I like the idea of living sails that behave a little like pets. I think I’d be sad to leave, too, if I’d grown attached to my ship. It’d be like giving someone your old pet because you had to move someplace that wasn’t pet friendly, or because you couldn’t afford to feed them anymore. 😦