WIP Wednesday & Row80 Aug 7th

Hooray, we’re halfway through the work week! As they say, everybody’s working for the weekend. Except the moms of this world. Who knows when their break comes? Maybe 9-3 when all the kids are old enough if they’re lucky. Hats off to the moms of the world.

Okay, without further ado…

The Goals

1. Read at least 10 more Anton Chekhov short stories to add to my progress starting from 50 of 201. Well, I got one in. 58 of 201. Progress. 😉 Read his stories here free!

2. Finish reading both The Fire in Fiction and On Writing. No new progress.

3. Submit Trick or Tree to another writing contest. Finish Dog Shy and write at least one other short story, all to be submitted to contests. No new progress.

4. Write a flash fiction story. 2 flash fiction stories written so far.

5. Do at least one thing every week that increases my fluency in Spanish and Japanese. Check and check!  Thanks to Teaching Tunes Tuesdays I’m keeping up with this one.

6. Finish feedback edits on SHADE and get it queried. Still in the midst of editing. I reworked a scene on Monday and as I was in the middle of writing it I wasn’t sure I liked it—at least not completely. I need to brainstorm on how I want this to go and how to make other story elements meet up for the change, so I paused on editing (well, and I had no time yesterday at all). But I’m still making progress!

Bonus Goals. Code Name Clemmings has two chapters now. I’m not good with working in descriptions of my protagonist. I usually go with what they’re thinking about and seeing and since none of them are super vain they almost never think about their appearance, so it doesn’t come up. I don’t want it to be clunky either though, like a neon sign announcing: here comes the description. Tricky business.

WIPpet Wednesday

I’ve been watching Gloria and Kate do their WIPpet Wednesdays and am finally climbing onto the bandwagon. So let’s see how this works. Today is 8/7/13. So that could be 8+7=15 lines in, 13 line excerpt from Clemmings:

“My juice…” Alice mutters, as though she had been the cause of its loss. My hand remains ignored.

“Typical, clutzy Alice,” mocks a sassy voice. Enter Mercedes Everett. According to my research, she’s the mortal enemy of poor Alice—well—of anyone who dares to cross her. She’s the kind of gorgeous that movie directors would eagerly cast if she weren’t such a terror. Sparkling sapphire eyes, that too-perfect-to-be-real golden hair, and a figure girls forced themselves to vomit for.

She places one of her perfectly manicured hands on my shoulder, each pink nail embellished with a painted lily. “I haven’t seen you around. You must be new.”

“I am.” I step closer to Alice; Mercedes retracts her hand. Although it probably seems natural to everyone else, I know Mercedes will take it as an insult. Might as well start diminishing her power now.

I know, small excerpt. I’m curious to know what you think the story is about with just this much.

How are your goals coming? Are descriptions of people, especially your protagonist, a difficult thing for you or what would you say is your weak point? Your strong point?

24 thoughts on “WIP Wednesday & Row80 Aug 7th

  1. I’m looking forward to having a few hours to myself when the younger boy (Thing 2, if you will) starts kindergarten. Time off… Weird notion!

    Love the description of Mercedes here. Protagonist descriptions are hard for me, too. I try to avoid the “look in mirror, describe” method. I usually work a few details in, and leave the rest to the reader’s imagination.

    • The least tacky way I’ve seen is to work it in when the protagonist is comparing themselves to another character, but good gracious it can be tough. I guess that’s when the brain strain over editing comes in. 😉

      How long do you have until Thing 2 starts kindergarten?

        • Oh yay! One month for both of your dreams to come true. Aw, Thing 1 being too cool. Thing 1 won’t believe you but will feel really bad about not playing with the lil bro in later years. (I still do for not just being nicer to my sis…) Oh well, they have to learn themselves, right?

        • I feel the same way about my younger brother. I hated him when I was a kid, but now I feel so terrible for my little guy, and understand how hurtful I was all those years ago. :/

  2. Looks like your goals are coming along nicely. And.. YAY! You’re a WIPpeteer now! 🙂

    What do I think your excerpt is about? Hmmm… I think the narrator is some kind of body guard/care taker for Alice and Mercedes is a jerk that dislikes/picks on Alice, though not a physical threat.

    • It’s all because of your and Kate’s encouragement. 🙂 Yay! I’m glad the excerpt already communicates that much. It’s been a lot of fun to write something completely different. Well, by completely I mean still YA but a different vein of YA. 🙂

  3. I’m still trying to find my new book, from a list of ideas.
    My trouble spot is letting dialogue go and knowing when the conversation is over

    • I think you have to put yourself in the shoes of both characters and imagine their reaction to each statement and when they would be done. Of course that’s easy to say, much harder to do.

      Maybe you should do a few flash fiction stories from your ideas and see which one you feel the most passionate about?

  4. Okay, so I don’t like first person narratives much. This is one that I would like. There is so much personality in it that it makes the narrative come alive, which is the only way to draw me into first person narratives. Also love the snark in it.

    But…the first line (which I know is totally out of context for me)…well…it makes me think of things that I’m fairly certain IS not what you meant =P *i has a dirty mind*

    YAY! for joining!!!!

    • Hey, hey, mind out of the gutter. 😉 I’m glad the personality drew you in. I used to LOATHE 1st person, but I guess all the YA books I’ve been reading lately, a lot of them are 1st P so when I started writing this story, my protag demanded she got to tell it from her point of view. 😉 Thanks for reading it. 🙂

  5. Welcome to the WIPpeteers! I love this line, “She’s the kind of gorgeous that movie directors would eagerly cast if she weren’t such a terror. ” And I love how she moves away to start diminishing her power. Nice work here. 🙂

    • Thanks! I’ve been meaning to join forever. It’s great to get feedback from people and see if what I’m trying to communicate comes across, even in little excerpts. WIPeting is a great idea!

  6. Nice bit of personal power play included in here, Jae. Interesting choice of names too, helps highlight the power struggle.

    As for description, I’m not sure your POV character needs to give us one. Maybe have an odd moment where another character comments on “Another hair cut? But you’d looks so much nicer if you let those waves grow out a little” or “have you ever thought of wearing a suit and tie more often? They really work for you.” Stuff like that will give the reader clues without an infodump. Otherwise… it’s best to let the reader do his/her own “character creation”.

    Welcome to WIPpets, Jae. 😀

    • That’s kind of how I’ve felt about it, but it’s nice to have someone else validate it. 🙂 I kept searching the first chapter the other day for a place where it felt natural, but I could never get quite what I wanted. I’ve got a little description in the next chapter because it does work, but it’s still quite sparse. I usually get dinged for character descriptions from CPs, so it’s been tough to find that balance.

      And thanks! You’re all a very welcoming crew. 🙂

      • You’re never going to satisfy everyone with what you write, Jae. You know that. Write the story you would most like to read, and you’ll find your audience…. and that includes descriptions.

        If you feel you need a description scene, have something like a clothes buying session or a regular bathroom session (toothbrushing, checking that scratch on cheek in the mirror sort of thing) to add a few small details. Make it more about exploring the character’s reactions to a change though than about actual descriptions… Stories are really all about action and reaction on the emotional level.

  7. Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday! I enjoy the power struggle here, and I hope that Mercedes doesn’t make the Narrator suffer like she’s obviously done to poor Alice in the past.

  8. I really like the snappy narration style you’ve got going in this excerpt! I’m keen to read more about the relationships between these characters (though I’m not going to hazard any guesses about what the WIP is about).

    With one of my recent WIPs, I had the advantage of two POV characters who are strangers when they first meet, but end up spending a lot of time together, so I had them take in each other and work in the descriptions that way. But I agree, it’s much harder when your whole thing is from the one POV.

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