An Impossible Visitor – Wednesday WIPpet

It’s Wednesday WIPpet time again when, along with my fellow WIPpeteers, I crack open my Work In Progress to give you a sneak peek into my creative process. In honour of the 6th of February, today’s WIPpet is six lines from page 46 of The Fall of the Kings.

In this scene Josiah is at the Heartstone, when he notices a woman watching him. This is disturbing because it is the only time Josiah has ever been interupted here (an inexplicable quality of the Heartstone):

At first glance she seemed old, her silver hair unbound and falling down past her shoulders.  She was slight, and dressed simply in a long home-spun woollen dress, wrapped about with a moss-green shawl.  It was only later I realised the sun-browned skin of her face was smooth and her slender frame was tempered with strength.  But the moment she stepped out of the shadows, I couldn’t see past her eyes – strikingly pale and a blue so light as to almost be white.

“What do you want?” 

Even as I spoke, the words felt inadequate, falling flat between us, as she stared at me with an unsettling intensity.

She’s an interesting character this one, even if she only plays a minor role in the story.

If you’d like to join the WIPpeteers, just pick a passage from your WIP that has some correlation to the date (6 lines, paragraphs, words from page 6, 60 or chapter 6) and click here to add your link to the linky tool – or to check out the other WIPpets. Thanks again K.L. Schwengel for hosting!


23 thoughts on “An Impossible Visitor – Wednesday WIPpet

  1. Erp… does the number of adverbs really matter? I’ve not heard that before.

    Are you really looking for critical feedback at this point? I just assumed the point of posting WIPpets was to give people a glimpse into a work *in progress*, not a work ready to critique. Sort of a behind-the-scenes glimpse.

    1. No (and actually I secretly – there’s another – love adverbs) – and I think I just did get a few critiques on some of my earlier WIPpets so felt the need to justify. I shouldn’t have to do that on my blog should I – will get out feathered WIPpeteer hat / pen / sword combo and delete that silly adverbial reference… *swishes feathered pen dramatically, tips back Wippeteer hat defiantly and makes a dignified exit (hoping skirt not tucked into undies…)*

    2. Oh that was no to the critique – but I have read ad nausem not to use adverbs… Stephen King so famously quoted:

      I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops. To put it another way, they’re like dandelions. If you have one on your lawn, it looks pretty and unique. If you fail to root it out, however, you find five the next day . . . fifty the day after that . . . and then, my brothers and sisters, your lawn is totally, completely, and profligately covered with dandelions. By then you see them for the weeds they really are, but by then it’s–GASP!!–too late.
      (Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. Scribner, 2000)

      1. I think it stems from streamlining writing for readers who want immediate gratification. Yes, overuse of adverbs is like overuse of anything (except dark chocolate, of course). A sprinkling here and there, as needed, can enhance a tale. IMHO. Some may argue with me. Oh heck, some *do* argue with me. But when adverbs are flying like snowflakes, then there’s trouble.

        My biggest pet peeve? “was” Passive, passive, did I say, passive?

        Oh, and, like ReGi said, your skirt’s fine (but there’s TP stuck to your shoes).

      2. I agree about the dark chocolate thing…

        But passive writing is my archilles heel – I think it comes from reading lots of old stories – stories that were written to be told. And apart from Josiah being written in first person, his voice is very passive too… but that’s a mountain to cross on another day *keeps plodding through first draft mire…*

        Blimmin TP…. @#%$!

  2. I don’t read Stephen King. I’ll quote Mr. Adverb himself instead. “For indeed it is a fact that I make [Dr. Verb’s] words much more useful than they otherwise would be.” (Grammar Land by M.L. Nesbitt.) – I quite agree.

    Funny, true story about dandelions: An acquaintance of ours was born and raised in one of the Alaska Native-Russian villages. The first time he came to Anchorage (to visit his step-daughter, I believe), he also saw dandelions for the first time. He thought them so pretty, he took some home to plant in his garden. That village is now overrun by dandelions every spring. 😛

  3. This character certainly is intriguing Raewyn. Is she young or is she old? Or is she both?? That’s the wonderful thing about fantasy writing – you can more or less do what you want with your story. As long as you’re consistent within the world you’ve created of course. I was writing a fantasy story for older children a couple of years ago. But I gave up in the end because different people were telling me different ways I could improve it and in the end that confused and bewildered me. I was trying to rewrite the story before I’d even finished it and that killed it for me really. But it is something that I would consider going back to some day; maybe starting afresh would really help. Who knows, one day I may even be able to finish it…

    1. She is young, but at first glance she has the appearance of being old – and almost otherworldly. She’s a changemaker in this story with a few key scenes, but there will be much more of her in book 2.

      It’s so easy to get derailed by people trying to help. It’s definitely happened to me over the years. My take is to try and listen to what everyone has to say, but follow the path that is true to my own vision and voice. I suspect this book won’t arrive in a form that will appeal to everyone, but I am certain I will do the best I can to get it into a form that I feel shows my story in the way it should be told.

  4. I definitely got the otherworldly sense about the woman, even from just that short description.

    This is the first time I’ve come across the Wednesday WIPpet, I think I might give it a go myself. I’ve been looking for some other writing-centric blog ideas!

  5. A striking and mysterious character – she must be great fun to write. I agree with Kathi to avoid the overuse of anything when writing. I read Steven King’s ‘On Writing’ years ago – quite fancy reading it again. 🙂

  6. Ok, I l had some great things to say about adverbs but I see you took that comment out from your original. Good for you (as this IS your own blog)! Anyway, I like this description because she is very, very mysterious. I like how you say at first glance she looks old, as if she’s somehow timeless. Makes me wonder how they would portray her in a movie. And about that adverb thing, I was excitedly reading your post about when a lady mysteriously appears and dishearteningly interrupts this guy’s thoughts, but I was rudely interrupted by my kids who mistakenly broke the toddler bed in their room so I regrettably have to go now. (Did I mention that I genuinely love dandelions?)

    1. Ooo I wonder if I should just throw caution to the wind and do an adverb post some time. Because the dandilion metaphor is brilliant. Some people hate adverbs with a passion akin to the most ruthless garden. I too love dandelions – especially their clocks – although sometimes when I’m mowing the lawn and I see how much they’re taking over (our section is tiered and I’m sure the very bottom patch should be called Dandelion Fields…).

      Bummer about the toddler bed…

      1. I love dandelions when they’re yellow. Afterwards maybe not so much. But it always gives my boys a reason to play outside and pick all the dandelions. I sometimes fancy I should rent my kids out to the neighbors to do their weeding for them!
        (Toddler bed was fixable… for now! *Thankfully*)

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