What’s Up Buttercup? WIPpet Wednesday

We’re having one of those glorious autumn mornings in the Land of the Long White Cloud. It’s cool but not the promised southerly that pierces the bones, the few low-lying clouds are burning off and the sun is shining. My poor sick children have recovered enough to be at school and I get to hang out with the wonderful WIPpeteers and their awesome creations!

My work in progress has been undergoing a fairly hard edit over the past few months and I think I’ve gotten a handle on how to improve the story. One of the things that has become very clear, is that the story at times can be fairly heavy. There are people making letting themselves down, at least one seriously disturbed individual causing trouble, grief, betrayal and a dose of politics to give the world some structure. Add in the warm fluffies that is the editing process and I was starting to depress myself. Is this the story I really want to tell?

The short answer is yes. But in order to balance out what at times can be quite a heavy story, there needs to be shades of light too. And as I’m starting the rewrite, and gearing up to write the next act, I’m looking for places to soften the edges and add a bit of humour and colour. There are a few characters that are key contenders to lighten the mood. Stellar leaves a trail of stardust where ever she goes, Tobias can be an unfettered ray of sunshine when he turns on the charm, and Jae and Zak could fight over their own names. However, Simon (Josiah’s old aide / assistant) is one of my favourites. He is the original old dog – who is so set in his ways he’s not moving for anyone. Anyone. So it’s kind of fun to watch people go around him.

Today’s WIPpet is a follow-on from an earlier post – People Skills. If you remember Simon, was having a moment about a novice who he thought was getting a bit above himself. When Simon found out the novice (Tobias) was being relegated to digging privies for the dedication he was (quietly) mollified. This WIPpet is from the next chapter when Tobias is gearing up to run the Simon gauntlet, but the path is unusually clear. Suspiciously clear…

The very talented ReGi McClain has already posted about a very savvy assistant this week, so as we’re on the same wavelength I’m going to shamelessly steal her clever mathematical formula to make this WIPpet conform to the ‘strictly enforced’ requirement that our WIPpets relate to the date. So here are 20 lines, (May 15 + 5 (for the 5th month) = 20… nothing contrived about that at all…) from The Fall of the Kings.

Before he ventured up to the Overseer’s Quarters, Tobias swung by the stables and having clapped eyes upon Josiah’s horse was determined to get past Simon if it was the last thing he did.

He still smarted from the stand-off the evening before.  The Overseer’s aide, or the bull-dog which seemed a more accurate title, had stonewalled him.  Refusing to discuss Josiah’s whereabouts and then chasing him off as though he were a junior kitchen hand rather than a novice under instruction from the Overseer himself. 

This morning Simon could snarl and snap all he liked, but he was going to see Josiah.

As the big iron-bound doors came into view, Tobias felt Simon’s presence before he saw him.  Squaring his shoulders and pulling himself up to full height, he told himself he was ready for anything Simon could throw at him.

He couldn’t have been more wrong.

He found the old man in a sea of boxes; his focus clearly on creating order out of chaos.

“Oh it’s you.  He’s expecting you.  Knock before you go in.”

 Simon barely glanced up from his work; yet he seemed almost cheerful.  And was it his imagination or was there a slight lift at the edges of the granite hard mouth?

The change was so disturbing, Tobias opened his mouth to say something; but with the path to Josiah clear for the first time in living memory he thought better of it and closed it again before tapping gently on the door.

To join in with the WIPpeteers, or to check out what they’re working on at the moment click on this linky or cruise on over to the lovely K.L. Schwengel’s blog for more details.

Well I hope you’re having a good day wherever you are! Do you have a favourite stubborn character, or one that lightens the mood of your more serious tales?

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33 thoughts on “What’s Up Buttercup? WIPpet Wednesday

  1. Aha, poor guy! It’s so exhausting trying to psych yourself up for something and then discovering it wasn’t necessary! Though knowing the task he’s about to get given, maybe he shouldn’t let his guard down just yet…!

  2. Awesome title for your post. 😉 Why do I get the feeling Tobias should run as fast as he can in the opposite direction?

  3. Hmmm, makes me wonder if he’s walking into some trouble or other. I’ve heard of westerlies, btw, but not southernlies. Thanks for the vocab lesson! Happy fall!

  4. Hah! This is great with Tobias building up to a face-off with Simon and then, well nothing, except a ‘walk right in’ and an almost-smile. Hmmm, something’s definitely not right there. Love it!

    1. Yes. Finish book. Must finish book… *says it like she means it*… cracking on. Although am having some problems with plot bunnies, you know the kind that say this is a great idea, it’ll fix this problem and then proceed to lead you on a merry dance right off course… Am going to post about the little blighters this week!

  5. Good excerpt Raewyn. As commented above it’s puzzling why Simon isn’t being a lot nastier to Tobias. Great mystery. I’m sure all will be revealed at some point when I read the finished book!

  6. Hmm, digging the privies themselves shouldn’t be that bad. Filling them in afterward… now that could be challenging. Of course, if they are in a city/keep, there is all that emptying of the privies that needs to be done on occasion.

    Simon is a trip! I love the “Oh, it’s you.”

    Getting humor into a story without making it campy can be hard. It sounds like you’ve got a handle on it though, Raewyn. Stay warm.

    1. Poor Tobias ends up getting a bit too intimate with the privies post-digging. (These are make-shift affairs to deal with a huge influx of people to the city).

      I agree with it being hard to walk the fine line between being funny and campy. I’m glad it came off okay, because I frequently fall into the campy trap. I kind of like it.

      1. I love camp to be honest. I just had a feeling you weren’t trying for that with this piece.

        UGH! Poor Tobias is right!

  7. What’s shakin’, bacon? 🙂

    I have a feeling Tobias is not going to like what’s waiting for him. Mischief is afoot! And Simon’s great. He’s funny without trying too hard to be funny.

    1. Oooo another one – LOL.

      I like Simon. He’s certainly doesn’t see himself as a comic character, but I am constantly amused by his unwillingness to bend. I’m not surprised Tobias is put out… it’s sort of one of those moments where you think, what just happened here?

      1. I really enjoy understated characters who are funny just by being themselves. I feel Simon is one of those.

  8. Haha! Love it. I know exactly how Tobias feels, that moment when confidence turns into confused caution. My stomach gave a little sympathy flip.

    Thank you for the shout-out and compliment. 🙂

    1. Simon knows Tobias is in for a very unpleasant job, he is smiling on the inside thinking the young upstart is going to get what’s coming to him. Actually he doesn’t know the half of it – but he’s loving his moment!

  9. Why is it that Simon reminds me of Bob Newhart? He makes a fine straight man, just by being there.

    As it turns out, durn near all of my characters are stubborn (hmmn, wonder if there’s a reason for that?).

    Maybe it would be useful to look at the adding of lightness and humor as a spectrum. Maybe a faint lightening here, and a brilliant sunbeam there, and a flickering candle flame somewhere else…adding texture and light to the whole, in varying degrees.

    This struck a pleasing tone. Well done!

    1. Thanks! So funny about Bob – yeah I could see that.

      I have a soft spot for stubborn characters too. Don’t you think that all writers need to have something of a stubborn streak to stick at it!

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