WIPpet Wednesday: That’s… Disgusting

Yes, kids, I’m back with a REAL WIP snippet this week. And I hope I’ll actually get to comment on everyone’s posts this week, rather than the reading-and-drive-by-likings that were all I had time for last week. Sorry about that. I did read them, though!

Fun as last week’s THE END was, I’m hard at work again. We’re back to Torn, making small-yet-essential changes and cleaning up fun things like over-used words before my wonderful editor gets his hands on this one.

It’s hard work, but interesting.

Actually, that’s a lie. It’s completely tedious, but it has to be done.

One of the things I’ve worked on in recent drafts is adding more depth to the world, specifically in terms of history and mythology. Not big things, but more glimpses of the larger world than we had room for in Bound. This exchange went into the book on my last pass through, and since I just worked on this scene again this week, we’ll take from this section for WIPpet Wednesday.

12 (short) paragraphs for the 12th, from Aren’s POV (plus one to grow on). He and Rowan have been discussing his travel plans. She tends to worry… (**Bound spoilers, if you haven’t read it and plan to**)

“Good.” She picked up an iron poker and nudged the logs in the fireplace. “Could you just stay that way? Aquila would be less conspicuous. As a human, you’re recognizable. Even people who have never met you can’t help seeing that you’re not like other people.”

It still made me smile when she called my eagle form by the name she gave it before she knew who I was. How things had changed since then. “It would make basic survival easier, too. But I can’t. Sorcerers who have animal forms and stay in them too long get strange in the head.”


“They take on more animal characteristics, even when they return to their proper bodies. There are stories about Lyloch, a Sorcerer who lived in Luid during my grandmother’s time. He learned to change into a wolf-dog, and by all accounts he used his skill well in the queen’s service, spying for her, travelling through the winter and finding his way into enemies’ homes when compassionate servants let the sweet dog in. They say he would go weeks at a time before changing back. He became mean as a human, began to prefer the company of dogs, snarled at people who got in his way.”

“And what happened to him?”

“They caught him ripping a whore’s throat out with his teeth.”

“You mean—”

“In human form, yes.”

She paled. “Okay, so don’t try that. But I’m still glad you have the option. Will you promise me one more thing?”

“I might.”

“Don’t be afraid to accept help.”

“I’m not afraid.”

Rowan rolled her eyes. “Fine. Don’t be stubborn about it, then.”


For more WIPpet Wednesday fun (where we share a snippet from a work in progress that relates in some way to the day’s date), click here to see everyone’s link-ups. Be sure to say hello to our host KL Schwengel, who does a bang-up job of it even when life is crazy.


I’m making progress on my editing goals. They’re harder to measure than drafting was, and I have no impressive word counts to share. Still, I think I’ve finished making changes and planting seeds for things that will happen in book three, and I’m on to doing a search for words I tend to over-use to see where they can be left out or replaced.

“Was/were” is the last one I have to do, and I left it for the end because it’s a big one. I don’t think it’s as much of a problem word as some do, but it is a good way to search out passive voice and descriptions that could be a bit more dynamic (“His eyes were green” isn’t passive voice, but it’s also not all that interesting). That means it’s going to take a bit longer to get through this one, but it’s worth doing. Better writing on my part = better reading for my lovely, wonderful, stupendous readers.

I’m hoping to have these edits (and maybe the read-through) done by the end of this week. And then we’ll see about getting something started for NaNoWriMo…

For more ROW80 (a round of words in 80 days), click here.

Thanks for stopping by and listening to me yammer. I’ll get something more interesting up soon, I promise!



About Kate Sparkes

Kate Sparkes was born in Hamilton, Ontario, but now resides in Newfoundland, where she tries not to talk too much about the dragons she sees in the fog. She lives with six cats, two dogs, and just the right amount of humans. USA Today bestselling author of the Bound Trilogy (mature YA Fantasy), Into Elurien, and Vines and Vices. Writing dark, decadent, and deadly Urban Fantasy as Tanith Frost. www.katesparkes.com www.tanithfrost.com View all posts by Kate Sparkes

22 responses to “WIPpet Wednesday: That’s… Disgusting

  • Jessica Minyard

    Poor whore. Heh heh. 🙂

    I’m not even attempting NaNoWriMo…so best of luck to ya!

  • Denise D. Young

    Loved the WIPpet. I think of all the rich, beautiful story-worlds I’ve fallen in love with over the years–Middle Earth and Hogwarts spring to mind–and I hope I can add that kind of depth to my stories. You’re doing a great job with creating a rich, vibrant world, Kate.

    I agree that it’s harder to measure our progress when we’re editing. Drafting is easy–word count. With editing there’s so much back and forth, so many passes that it’s not easy to quantify.

  • Ruth Nestvold

    To give myself something to pat myself on the back about when editing, I either count the hours spent editing or the pages edited. It does help, at least a little.

    Great scene again, Kate. I like the complications to the magic that you’ve come up with. And I agree with Jessica — poor whore. 😦

  • Gloria Weber

    I think you did great adding depth to your world with a darkly humorous story. (I hope I’m not the only one that chuckled at that…) It also adds limits to your character and possible conflict/trouble. Real nice.

    I hope the edits keep going well. Slay those over used words!

  • kathils

    “He became mean as a human, began to prefer the company of dogs, snarled at people who got in his way” You know, that could very well describe me. I have been known to growl at people who block the aisles at Costco just to get something from the sample lady. Just saying.

    I don’t pick on ‘were’ so much, but ‘was’…well you know how I feel about that word. In most cases.

    • Kate Sparkes

      I’m like that in Walmart before Christmas. One time a lady did growl at me… don’t think it was you.

      I go out of my way to get rid of “was” if the scene is overloaded with them, if it’s truly creating a passive sentence, or if changing it would make things more interesting. I find that trying too hard to get rid of them often makes things more awkward and clumsy–or my word count climbs unnecessarily. I go with whatever reads best (but yeah, four in a paragraph? Gotta fix that).

  • rachelalsowrites

    I wanted to read your snippet, but then you said Bound spoilers and I…I just couldn’t. I’m actually too excited for Bound to have anything spoiled 😦
    I’m sure it was fantastic though!!

  • Alana Terry

    I like that you’re adding more backstory to the world! And yeah, I hope he doesn’t go the way of the guy in that legend

  • Adrian

    Aren and Rowan have great interactions with each other. It’s nice to read.

  • Fallon

    Loved the snippet, and I *really* need to read Bound. I should get on that.

    And I *may* have a tendency to snarl at people too.

  • Amy

    I love their exchange here. I also found that story darkly funny. I sort of wonder what a sorcerer who spends too much time in eagle form would end up doing. I also wonder if he’s right or just paranoid–maybe the one in his story was already a bit…odd.

  • Xina Marie Uhl

    Oh wow what a great setup you have here with the eagle shapeshifter and the rather chilling warning. How easy it would be to get lost in the simple primitiveness of an animal’s form. No problems beyond eat-sleep-mate. Or so it seems…

  • sstamm625

    Sounds great! Looking forward to the next book!

  • shanjeniah

    I loved this. I also have a character who tore out a throat, but the character in question was the antagonist, and, even if not exactly deserving…well, if you provoke beings likely to tear throat, you do run certain…risks….

    Bound is on my list for next year, when I plan a festival of writer friends’ books!

    And, no matter how many NaNo words you get, you’ve got them. =D

    I may or may not have been known to growl, snarl, snap, and yowl….

  • Elaine Jeremiah

    Lovely excerpt Kate. Can’t wait to catch up with Rowan and Aren again soon. 🙂

  • Amelia E. Browne

    Great excerpt 🙂 Good luck with your world building too 🙂

  • Emily Witt

    I really like the story of Lyloch! Even with its rather morbid end. And the fear vs. stubborness made me smile, too.

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