WIPpet Wednesday: Awkwarrrrrd

Okay, let’s start with a confession: I’m sharing from a project that’s technically on hold. Much as I love Cat and her story, I have worldbuilding issues there that I need to work through, and I promised my editor I’d try to get some more pre-editing done on Torn, so that’s what I’m doing.

Sparrowhawk & Son is still a work in progress, though, so here we go. Catalen has been forced by her new employer to have a medical exam done. She’s not too happy about the idea, but she’s been promised that she won’t be poked or prodded.

6 paragraphs (3+1+2 for 3/12)


No poking or prodding, my ass. I should have specified that personal questions make me as uncomfortable as physical examinations do. My eye isn’t the only secret I’d prefer to keep.

This room is cold, and not exactly private. Sure, the doctor pulled a curtain around the bed so no one can see me, but the nurses’ hushed murmurs drift through from outside. They can sure as hell hear me.

“Are you sexually active?” The doctor is this roundish old guy with a skinny neck who reminds me of a turkey I once saw.

I shrug, and the open-backed gown they’ve got me wearing slips down my shoulder. “I’m not sexually passive.”

He looks at me over the top of his glasses. “I’ll just mark yes. Any chance you’re pregnant?”

“I’m promiscuous, not stupid,” I tell him. He gives me that look again, and I sigh. “I’m always careful, okay? Always.”


For anyone new here, WIPpet Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by KL Schwengel where we (the WIPpeteers) share a snippet from a work in progress that relates to the day’s date in some way. For more entries, see here–there’s usually a good range of genres, and often work that’s more polished than my first draftishness here. Want to join in? Post to your blog, link back on the linkamajigger, and be sure to visit and comment on other people’s posts.

Apologies to anyone I missed last week (which is everyone who posted after late Wednesday afternoon, I think). Not having my laptop stinks, especially when we’re away for the weekend. :/


ROW80 Update

On to A round of Words in 80 Days, which I keep forgetting to link back to on their blog. Oh, well. Still nice to have some accountability, even if it’s just in my head.

It’s been an interesting week.


First thing: I pulled off that NaNoWriMo win before we went away. Just barely, but I did it. Between that and my insane month-and-a-bit before that of drafting Bound book 3, I’ve written about 130,000 words of first drafts since the end of September. Not a lot for some people, but I’m pooped. Never mind the two weeks of editing I did in there… yeah.


I’m not sure how to say this. We’ve hit a series of small snags on Torn. Nothing to panic about. It’s just that my editor can’t take it until a bit later than estimated (not his fault, just the way things worked out. These things happen). On top of that, I might not even be able to see his notes until the new year. Why? Remember how my laptop died, so I have to use my old desktop? Turns out it’s too old to run the current version of Microsoft Office (or the current version of Windows), so I can’t put Word on it to see Track Changes. No, I didn’t have Word installed on it before, because I use Scrivener and kind of hate Word.

I can’t get my laptop fixed until I get it into FutureShop (hi, pricey service plan!), which means a 4 hour trip to St John’s. I tried to order a mac laptop (which I need anyway) as a replacement. It would have been perfect. Delivery by December 10, a more reliable computer, everything I need…

OOPS, they won’t deliver to a PO box, and we don’t have home delivery. Wait… I need to find out whether I can get that with expedited shipping.

I’m rambling. Sorry.

Just frustrated. And none too happy with Microsoft, either. *glares*

BUT… I’m still moving ahead, and currently using AutoCrit to catch repeated words and other issues to try to save time on editing later. You’d think at this point that I’d notice when I’ve used “hideous” twice in one paragraph, but it’s all a blur to me. And it’s so rewarding when they tell me “nice job!” for not having any dialogue tag-related adverbs in a chapter.

“YAY, ME!” she shouted shoutily. Oops.

Please wish me luck in either getting my computer fixed, getting a new one, or finding a hard copy of an old version of Word.



Started Deathmaker (Dragon Blood Book 2) by Lindsay Buroker, and I’m so glad I did. I’ve been having a lot of trouble really becoming immersed in books lately, but this one did it for me on a long car ride in a way that nothing else I sampled over the weekend did. It’s book 2 of a series (not sure how that happened, but it was on my Kindle), but I didn’t have any trouble getting into it. Good story so far. I did have a moment of “Aaaah, crap” yesterday when they announced something to do with gem power (which is what they use in Sparrowhawk & Son), but hey. It’s all been done before, and I’m sure there are major differences. It’s just a jolt when you see a concept/idea/familiar bit of action from your work in someone else’s.

Anyway, I think I’m going to need to pick up more of Lindsay Buroker’s work if the story ends as well as it starts. Really great stuff. And for writer types, especially independent authors (or author-publishers, or whatever term you prefer), her blog is a fantastic resource.

I also wish I was as prolific as she is. Maybe some day, but I don’t think I’ll ever be “finished first draft at beginning of November, publish the book by Christmas” fast, even on shorter books. I need more time than that. So jealous, though…

More ROW80 here.




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 five 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

25 responses to “WIPpet Wednesday: Awkwarrrrrd

  • Adrian

    hahaha I like this girl. She’s got attitude!

  • Amy

    “I’m not sexually passive.” Hahaha! That was the right answer.

  • L. Marie

    I laughed at the sexually passive line too.
    Oh Kate! Sorry about all of the computer hassles.

  • Denise D. Young

    When I got to the line “I’m not sexually passive” I cracked up. Definitely an LOL moment.

    I think 130,000 words since the end of September is pretty impressive. I don’t write as fast as some writers do–and I revise slow, so I couldn’t turn a book around in two months unless it was short–but I try to make steady progress on my work. As long as I don’t stop, I figure I’m good.

    I hope your laptop issues are resolved soon. Happy writing and editing!

    • Kate Sparkes

      I figure progress at our own pace is better than forcing it to try to keep up with other people, right?

      I just need more time. One draft, let it sit, second draft, beta readers, fixes, editing, fixes, technical stuff… I can’t do it in just a few months. Hoping for a year on my book 3, which would be super fast for me.

      • Denise D. Young


        Our processes sound similar. A year for a novel sounds perfectly reasonable. I know there are writers who write three novels in a year; I’m not sure I’ll ever work at that pace. As long as I’m meeting my goals, I figure I’m on the right track.

  • ReGi McClain

    “sexually passive” is certainly worth a snort or two. 🙂

    So… is she saying every woman who gets pregnant when she’s not expecting it is being stupid? Or not careful enough? Sophomoric little snot, isn’t she? 😉 Though I can’t blame her for disliking the exam. I had to take my kids to most of my prenatal appointments. So much fun when you have to answer a battery of STD questions in front of your curious preschooler.

  • Alana Terry

    haha, I like this dialogue a lot. Sexually passive – ha!

  • Amelia E. Browne

    The dialogue is amusing and so relatable. We’ve all had those awkward conversations. 😛 Hopefully your computer troubles are sorted soon! 🙂

  • rachelalsowrites


    This snippet made me laugh so much. I already love her!!

    Good luck sorting out your computer troubles!

  • Fallon

    I loved the “not sexually passive” line too. And I really hope you get the computer issue sorted out.

    I love Lindsay Buroker’s books. I’ve read almost all of the Emperor Edge series, but only the first of the Dragon Blood ones.

  • Beth Camp

    Cat jumps off the page for me, and I want to read more, though she’s always a shock in comparison to my 19th Century Cat. Especially liked that detail re only curtains separating Cat from the hovering nurses. Hah! I take her sarcasm as her anger at the lack of privacy and her way to get back at the system (the nerdy doctor is painted well in dialogue, action, and description). I sympathize with both that darn computer frying AND the slowness with which editing proceeds (always slower than I want, but I’m not willing to compromise). But persevere! And thank you for the link to Lindsay Buroker.

  • kathils

    “I’ve written about 130,000 words of first drafts since the end of September. Not a lot for some people,” What type of people do you hang around with? Not a lot?!!? NOT A LOT?!!?

    Sorry, I get excited when I hit 2k in a day. All day.

    Um, anywho, love Cat. 😀 She’s great fun.

    • Kate Sparkes

      2K is a start for me if I’m drafting. 5K is good. 10K is… I’ll probably never do that again. But some people aim for 10K every day. It probably helps if you’re on Facebook less than I am… and less easily distracted…

  • bevbaird

    Great snippet – draws you in. Great lines! Hope the computer gets fixed soon. A lot of progress made. All the best in the coming week.

  • Elaine Jeremiah

    Wow this is completely different from Bound! I like it though, her blunt answers to the doctor’s questions are great and I got a good sense of her personality, even from this short excerpt. 🙂

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