Paying Attention to the Signs

Happy Wednesday everyone. It’s that most special time of the week when WIPpeteers from around the globe share snips of their WIPs from various genres. But first, my mid-week ROW80 Check-in because it’s short and sweet.

  • I wrote more words on CBC. Roughly 4k to be exact.
  • I made great headway on the cover for Emergence regardless of the fact I spent two unproductive hours Monday night arguing with the program I’m laying the sketch out in. For some reason it kept Not Responding. So, of course, like a Terrier locking its jaws on a rat, I refused to give in. I repeatedly ctrl-alt-delete-Task-Managered the living bejeezus out of it. Rebooted the computer twice. Logged out. Logged back in. Researched the problem on the internet. And still got nowhere. All the while I kept telling myself maybe it meant I needed to take a break. I couldn’t help but remember the quote about a sure sign of insanity being that you repeat the same thing over and over while expecting different results. Who says I’m stubborn? There’s another quote about the fine line between persistence and foolishness, or some such thing. I embody all of the above. No damn computer is going to one up me. *sigh* In the end, the damn computer one upped me. I hung my head in defeat and went to bed. Ever since, the program has worked like a charm. Ahh, the joys of modern technology!

Okay, on to this week’s WIPpet. I was going to give you the last 29 sentences I wrote Tuesday, but that included too much spoiler material. Page 29 had the same issue. I could have given you 29 words, but I couldn’t find a quote I liked. So, instead, you get 29 sentences I wrote Tuesday, just not the last ones of the day. πŸ™‚

To set you up, in this scene Driev is on a job. Yes, he’s a sometime thief, among other things. He has been told the item he is looking for is in a compartment under a sculpture of a certain goddess, in the study of a house. Something hasn’t felt right about the job from the start. He’s thus far avoided four guards and believes he is alone in the study. Or is he? Oh, and he makes a reference to something that Ahgul once told him which I will share with you here.

“You’re taunting life,” Ahgul had told me once. “You’re hoping it kills you because you can’t do it yourself. Too much pride, heh? Too much honor? What you are is too much a coward to face it head on, so you’re looking for an easy way out.”

And now for 29 sentences…

I’ve never been a student of the deities. There are far too many to keep track of. As such, choosing between the three sculptures on their identical pedestals, with the barest of light to guide me, was little more than a toss of the dice. I went with the nearest. It weighed less than I thought it should have, and revealed nothing beneath it. I replaced the figure and moved on to the next. My fingers closed around its neck, and I tensed, twisting my head toward the far side of the room.

Air moves differently when people are about. Even someone standing still, and breathing slow and steady will cause a shift in the currents. Most folk won’t ever notice the subtleties. Those who spend enough time practicing the shadow trades become attuned to it. Those same instincts that had been screaming at me since entering the Magistrate’s estate wanted to explode.

I could have called the watcher out. I could have left without the prize. I could have done any number of things. I shouldn’t have continued on as though nothing were amiss. But I did. Ahgul may have had a point. I lifted the figurine straight into the air, shining the thief light on the pedestal to reveal a hollow in which sat a small, bloodwood box.

I set the thief light aside and reached to lift the box from its hiding spot. As soon as my fingers touched it, three things happened at once, and I swear I heard the pantheons burst out in laughter.

A blinding jolt of pain shot up my arm, and launched an assault in the back of my head as though someone had clobbered me with a sturdy chunk of lumber. Though I wanted to drop the damn box, my hand refused to cooperate. I likewise couldn’t convince my mouth to keep shut. The attempt at silencing it caused the noise that came out to sound something like the cross between a whimpering baby and a screaming cat.

In conjunction, the door to the study flew open to admit one startled and irritated guard. Half way across the room he gurgled out a sound to rival mine, staggered, clutched at his throat, and dropped to the ground.

Before I could make sense of it, something sharp bit into the side of my neck, and a voice whispered in my ear, “Bene darkmans, Brother.”

Numbness followed immediately, eliminating the magic-induced pain, and spreading from my shoulders to my toes in the same amount of time it took me to realize what had happened.

By the way, ‘bene darkmans’ means ‘good night’ in thieves cant.

And also, by the way, if you missed the previous two WIPterviews, Emily Witt stopped in on Friday, and Xina Marie Uhl paid a visit Monday. Also, if you’re a lover of fantasy, on Sunday I reviewed the soon-to-be-released Evensong by the phenomenal Krista Walsh.

Okay, time to go see what the rest of the ROWers and WIPpeteers are up to.

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39 responses

  1. Stubborn? You? I’d never say that. …. Well, all right, fine, yes, you are, but based on the end result of all your work, it pays off!

    Fantastic segment today. I’m really like Driev’s story — looking forward to nabbing the whole novel once it’s done!

    January 29, 2014 at 5:29 am

    • Thanks. I’m liking him way too much at the moment. And really grooving on the 1st person. But we’re having a bit of a disagreement. I want to make this a stand-alone, one off. Driev thinks there will be more tales to tell. I told him to just get through this one first and we’ll discuss it later. Characters. Geez. Give ’em a book, they want a series!

      January 29, 2014 at 5:36 am

      • They are greedy, aren’t they? All “Me! Me!” and I’m all like — no, I need to work to pay for food. Leave me alone! And then they’re crawling all over and sticking their grubby little fingers in the TV. Wouldn’t trade’em for anything πŸ™‚

        January 29, 2014 at 5:42 am

      • Yeah, can you imagine a life without them?


        January 29, 2014 at 5:44 am

  2. Kate Frost

    Wow, that’s quite a scene and ouch too. Seems like Driev has managed to get himself into a spot of bother. Very intriguing. Well done too on getting 4k written.

    January 29, 2014 at 5:37 am

    • He has a way of doing that, doesn’t he? Poor, sweet boy. *cough*

      January 29, 2014 at 5:45 am

  3. Holy death wishes, Batman! It does make things interesting, though…

    January 29, 2014 at 6:48 am

    • For a supposed minor character who dies within the first handful of pages, Ahgul has made a real impact on this story. Yeah, death wish, in a passive sort of way.

      January 29, 2014 at 5:29 pm

  4. sjp

    First time here and I want more!!! Who doesn’t love a good thief πŸ˜‰

    January 29, 2014 at 7:26 am

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I’m glad you enjoyed the WIPpet. I, too, have a soft spot for the rogue sort. πŸ™‚

      January 29, 2014 at 5:31 pm

  5. I read your comment about at first only writing one Driev story and was briefly horrified. But then you restored my faith in you by saying you’ll do more. Whew. He’s too good of a character and this world is too rich to only write one book.

    January 29, 2014 at 9:11 am

    • And let’s not forget that since Ahgul and the boy went and changed the plot on me, I have a whole mess of scenes that got cut that will need someplace to go. *sigh*

      January 29, 2014 at 5:32 pm

  6. This doesn’t look good for Driev. And I don’t have any fingernails left to chew. Good excerpt!

    January 29, 2014 at 9:12 am

    • Well, there’s always your toenails. πŸ˜‰ And, really, when has it ever looked good for Driev?

      January 29, 2014 at 5:33 pm

  7. Congrats on all the words! I’m really limping along these days, but at least I’m writing daily.

    And another great excerpt. Love the cool little fantastic details and the thieves’ cant. πŸ™‚

    January 29, 2014 at 9:14 am

    • Writing daily is definitely better than not writing at all.

      The thieves’ cant is fun to work with. Granted, I’m taking some liberties with it, but I try to stay as true to form as I can.

      January 29, 2014 at 5:34 pm

  8. Amy

    Oh, dear. He seems to be in a bit of a mess.

    Reading upthread about characters and their wants…yep. They’re such bullies sometimes. Delicate balance, letting them have their way and reminding them that we’re in charge. πŸ˜€

    January 29, 2014 at 9:19 am

    • We can remind them we’re in charge but does it really matter?

      January 29, 2014 at 5:34 pm

  9. Now who doesn’t love them some good “thief on thief” action? πŸ˜‰

    And stubborn? I take it you didn’t know about this new software they’re installing with PCs these days to make sure people get their sleep? (not really, but sometimes I wish it were true, especially after a night of playing Civilization)

    January 29, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    • Ha! If only they did have software like that.

      Thief on thief. Thief on assassin. Could go either way…

      January 29, 2014 at 5:35 pm

  10. Fantastic excerpt Kathi! Driev is one tough cookie! I like his coolness even though he’s wary. And it’s so exciting. I especially like the line: ‘The attempt at silencing it caused the noise that came out to sound something like the cross between a whimpering baby and a screaming cat.’

    January 29, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    • That happens to be my favorite line in this excerpt so I’m thrilled someone mentioned it! *happy dance*

      January 29, 2014 at 5:37 pm

  11. Thank you for sharing your 29 sentences – it sounds great! I particularly liked the part “As such, choosing between the three sculptures on their identical pedestals, with the barest of light to guide me, was little more than a toss of the dice. I went with the nearest.” as it sounds like an observation of many people and how they go about life – just picking the nearest choice because it’s easier, rather than weighing up what’s really ‘out there’.

    January 29, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    • Thanks for stopping by, Callie. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      Interesting take on that section. And you’re right. I know I’ve been guilty of doing just that. Pick the nearest, the easiest, because it’s less hassle. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always turn out for the best.

      January 29, 2014 at 5:39 pm

  12. I love him too. Especially because he keeps going when he just knows things aren’t what they seem. Can’t wait to see where he wakes up!

    January 29, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    • Don’t you mean ‘if’ he wakes up? Mwahahahahaha!

      January 29, 2014 at 5:40 pm

      • Don’t you mess with me Schwengel, with all the reading I do on the kindle these days I can’t throw the book across the room in disgust…

        January 30, 2014 at 7:47 pm

      • Fine. I’ll take pity on you this once. He wakes up.

        Um…I’m thinking you may not want the Kindle version of EMERGENCE. *darts from room*

        January 30, 2014 at 7:54 pm

  13. I like Driev’s story. This boy attracts trouble. πŸ™‚

    January 29, 2014 at 4:10 pm

  14. I really like the thieves cant you’ve invented. I like this story a lot in general. πŸ™‚ Driev’s insistence on ignoring the other person in the room is a little baffling, even with Aghul’s comment. It doesn’t seem like cheek. He really does seem to have a death-wish, but he’s obviously gotten pretty good at avoiding death.

    January 29, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    • Oh, I didn’t invent thieves’ cant. It’s an actual language used by rogues and gypsies — especially in the 18th c. There are some excellent sites and some books on the subject.

      Driev is the most complicated character I’ve ever dealt with. His upbringing was not good. He’s had a rough life in a lot of respects. Events of 5-6 years ago undid him. Ahgul’s observation is fairly accurate. Driev has very little respect for his own life. He’d love someone to take it from him, yet there is something in him that fights every time. Death gets right up in his face and as much as he thinks he wants it, he won’t give in.

      Plus, in this scene, he thinks he knows who might be in that room with him. His ignoring them is somewhat of a challenge, somewhat of a snub.

      January 30, 2014 at 5:09 am

  15. I love the description of how air moves differently around people. I am a tad concerned for Driev now. I’m sure he’ll manage, though.

    January 30, 2014 at 3:46 am

    • Thanks, Emily. Let’s just say, it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

      January 30, 2014 at 5:10 am

  16. I just want to say I have many arguments with software and electronics both at home and at work, and can be just as stubborn. When both writing and trying to use a program that keeps crashing, there is always a moment you need to walk away. Actually doing that walking away can take more will power than many have.

    January 30, 2014 at 3:31 pm

  17. Very interesting snippet. Looking forward to reading more.

    February 1, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    • Thanks for stopping by, Erin. πŸ™‚

      February 2, 2014 at 9:01 am

  18. Ah, Driev. I love you, you tortured soul, you.

    But you seem to have put your fingers where they definitely did NOT belong….and now, you’ve got your hand full!

    I’m guessing you didn’t enter the room without a few survival strategies, though, despite yourself.

    Having had screaming cats and whimpering babies, I am reasonably certain my head would NOT appreciate that sound! =)

    February 4, 2014 at 10:36 pm

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