A Portrait of Grief – Wednesday WIPpet

Welcome to the Wednesday WIPpet, the day I give you a sneaky peak into my Work in Progress. Showing a first draft snippet like this is a bit like eating raw cake batter. It isn’t what it could be, and it certainly isn’t what I’d serve up as best; but I have fond memories of my Mum giving me a little wink and letting me lick the baking spoon! It’s in this spirit that I offer this WIPpet.

In honour of the 6th (Waitangi Day in NZ), I’m sharing 6 paragraphs from Chapter 6 of my current WIP The Fall of the Kings. Josiah’s wife Alyssa has died a few weeks ago, while Tobias was away on an errand (and before Josiah moved into his new quarters at the Sanctuary). It is the first time the two men have met since Alyssa died:

Josiah walked over to the window and gazed out at the Heartstone as though searching for the answers in its golden heart.

Seeing him in silhouette, Tobias was shocked at the physical change that had occurred in a matter of months.  Josiah had clearly lost weight, and his cheekbones were sharp against the dark hollows of his eyes.  The lines in his face appeared deeper; but where they once carried a hint of laughter, now grief gouged a physical trail across his features.

A quick glance confirmed the new quarters were as bereft as Josiah himself.  The floor and walls were bare stone and the few sticks of furniture – a low table surrounded by a few wooden chairs, and even the oversized mahogony desk seemed insignificant in the generous space. The scrolls scattered across the pitted desk top were the only evidence Josiah used the room at all.

It was in stark contrast with Josiah’s study at the Mill House. But of course the rugs, the cushions, paintings, jars of wildflowers, the cheerful, comfortable clutter were all Alyssa – and there was nothing of her here.

Staggering back against the desk, he closed his eyes as the reality of her loss crashed over him.

‘I miss her too.’

If you’d like to participate in the Wednesday WIPpet, the rules are: post a section of your Work in Progress that has some link to the date. As today is the 6th, 6 words, lines, paragraphs from page 6, chapter 6 or 66 for that matter. Then head over to K.L. Schwengel’s blog and order a copy of First of Her Kind… (Okay you don’t have to, but I think it looks great – just sayin). What you’ll actually find is the linky so you can see who else is sharing their WIPpets – or leave a link to your WIPpet in the comments below.

Have a great writing week!


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18 thoughts on “A Portrait of Grief – Wednesday WIPpet

      1. Yeah, but I like putting my first draft stuff out because when I isolate it like that, I can really see what’s wrong with it. Or what’s right with it. 🙂

      2. Ah I know – still feels like my precious babies are naked before the world. Saying that it’s good to see what works for people – and you can always learn from critique!

    1. Thanks. It’s hard to write the grief response without bogging yourself and the story down – this is one of the chapters due for a substantial rewirte – so it’s helpful to know what resonates.

  1. Sooooo did not enjoy reading that. Which is to say: Fantastic job. You capture grief beautifully. It’s probably the moment I’d put the book down to get some tissues, had I a stronger connection to the characters, and whine to my husband about, “stupid child-bearing hormones, they messed up my composure.”

    1. Josiah is a tough character because he is so emotionally ravaged at a time when he is supposed to be the leader of a new era at the Sanctuary. I appreciate your encouraging comments.

  2. Great piece Raewyn. I agree with the comments above and I like the descriptive detail as well, such as the ‘pitted desk’, nice touch.

  3. Hi, I’ve seen your name pop up enough on Regi McClain’s blog that I decided to stop over and say hi! I love the WIPpet idea, by the way, and decided to post my first one today. Out of curiosity, do you find yourself actually mourning for your characters? Great excerpt by the way. Definitely sounds like a book I’d love.

    1. ReGi’s blog is a great place to hang out! I do mourn for my characters. Josiah turned up on page one so cut up with grief I felt really burdened for him from the outset.

      The biggest difficulty is keeping it confined within the realm of the story. Sometimes it’s easy to let it go and write screeds of how really devastated he is, and how every little thing makes him think of Alyssa – but it really bogs down the pace especially at the start of the book where things need to be kicking up.

      Thanks so much for stopping by. I’ll head over and check out your WIPpet too!

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