A little while back (four days? Which is like forty years in Internet Time) I asked folks on my Facebook Page if they would like to read little snippets cut from my WIP. Facebook allowed as how that might be keen, so I thought I’d blather a little bit before posting the first one.
My general working method on Steel Butterfly has been: write a bit. Write a bit more. Get on a roll and write a huge chunk. Get really enthused and write like a crazy person. Get stuck. Don’t write anything for ever and ever. Read back over the previously written bits. Cut most of them.
Really, it’s one step forward, twelve steps back, and that’s why it’s taking forever. Also because of reasons.
Anyway, once I cut a bit, whether it’s, most memorably, around four chapters, or just a paragraph or two, I dump it into a scraps folder, because you never know when some description or item or bit of dialogue you cut will be perfect for the bit you’re writing next. Waste not!
I’m not entirely convinced that posting my snippets on the interwebs is a great idea; usually when I have a whim like this, I get all excited, I convince myself it’s a brilliant plan, and then–WHAM! For one reason or another, it sucks. Or it just doesn’t happen. Because of REASONS. But perhaps posting small, out-of-context snippets that don’t even exist in the final MS will not RUIN ALL for me.
We shall see. (cue ominous music)
Our first out-of-context snippet, in honor of the upcoming Kindle release of Voyage to Ruin (I haven’t talked about that yet? Remind me to blather a bit later on!), has a nautical flavor, and a character who may feel familiar to readers of that book.
In the pale light of dawn, the deserted docks looked flat and bleak, an ink painting executed by an artist of unhappy temperament on old, shabby paper. Here and there, small clumps of fishermen worked to get their boats out into the turning tide, but they numbered less than a dozen in all, and their shaggy-bearded faces were as desolate as the empty piers.
“So,” said Aine, “you have this enormous family that you never told me about, and you’re pirates?”
“Not pirates,” Evion replied, brushing imaginary lint from his gloves. “Smugglers. We don’t kill people. They don’t. Hardly ever.”
“I don’t know where you picked up this unfortunate habit of sarcasm,” said Evion, “but in this instance it is completely unwarranted. My family shuns conflict and abhors violence.”
“Mmm,” said Aine. “I’m sure they’re the kindest, gentlest pirates you ever did see.”
“Smugglers!” Evion protested–a little too loudly, and one or two of the nearer fishermen half-turned to glance in his direction. He sniffed and fiddled with his gloves some more, dropping his voice. “That’s why we’re at this pier and not the main city docks. Too many people about there, even with the blockade. Ships stuck in harbor, sailors without anything to do. This one’s a little more out of the way. The man we’re meeting–ah!”
“The man we’re meeting ah?” Aine echoed, and then saw what he was looking at.
The man they were meeting was striding down the docks towards them, a tall figure in a long coat, his bootheels clumping against the wooden walkway, his long braids swinging behind him. He raised one hand, opening his mouth to hail them, but Aine beat him to it.
“You!” she said.
He halted, his hand hanging absurdly in midair. She saw him narrow his eyes, his glance darting from one of them to the other. Beside her, Evion shifted his weight from foot to foot, uneasy and suspicious.
Then the big sailor put back his head and laughed, a single laugh like a shout. “Bless my soul!” he cried. “If it ain’t the lass from the Narwhal! I see you’ve found a man, then, though what good this sorry specimen will do you, I confess it puzzles me to discover.”
Evion whipped around to stare at her. “You know him?”
Aine regarded him steadily. “I met him yesterday. I was asking after Fionn. He bought me a drink.”
“Incredible,” said Evion, shaking his head. “Three days in town, and you just happen to meet the one single person I’d rather you never encountered.”
“What–” said Aine.
“And ain’t it cheerful,” said the sailor, “when friend meets friend all unexpected-like, especially under such circumstances as these.”