Breaking it up – WIPpet Wednesday

Hi everyone! Hope you’re all well. I’m gradually adjusting to the cooler weather. Here in the UK it’s been quite sudden – we had an extended period of summer weather, but that’s over now and it’s well and truly autumn here. It’s a bit cold and I need to wear a coat when I go out – this time last week I was out in a T shirt!

Oh well – at least WIPpet Wednesday doesn’t change and I can share with you some more from my WIP Teaching Mr Leavis. I’m doing OK with it – I wrote over 1200 words on Monday which is a record for me. 🙂 But the trouble is I seem to have got quite far along in the plot without the word count reflecting that. So as of right now I’ve done 38,000 words and ideally I want to do about 70,000 in total, but as I say the plot’s kind of run away from me.

I think part of the trouble is that although I made a plan at the beginning, I didn’t plan out the middle part of the story as carefully as I did when I wrote Reunion of the Heart. OK, even in ROTH I deviated quite a bit from the plan, but I still had a clear idea in my head of how I wanted the story to get to its conclusion. I don’t have that with this one. I’ve been much more of a pantser this time around and I’m not used to dealing with it!

But at the same time I don’t want to go back and change things – I think it’s VERY important that I finish the first draft – even if I only get up to, say, 45,000 words. Then I will go back and do some MAJOR editing (and hopefully flesh it out a bit). After that I may ask for a volunteer – literally one person – to be an alpha reader for me. I don’t even want to let beta readers see it for some time! If you have any words of wisdom to offer, let me know!

All right, that’s enough writerly angst! As you may have guessed from the title of this post, the excerpt I’m sharing with you this week follows directly on from last week’s, which you can read here if you haven’t already! To recap Rebecca is trying to stop a fight between Jonathan Leavis, an obnoxious parent from the school where she works and Nick, a colleague of hers from the same school. I’m sharing 15 paragraphs. My maths goes like this: 8 +10 = 18 – 2 = 16 – 1 = 15

‘Oh don’t be ridiculous,’ Nick muttered.

‘I’m being ridiculous?’ Rebecca’s voice rose in volume. ‘I’m not the one trying to punch the living daylights out of someone!’ She felt her face grow hot with anger.

‘Yes, Nick, just stop causing trouble,’ Jonathan said, his tone arrogant.

Rebecca rounded on him. ‘I meant both of you!’ she snapped. ‘You’re not exactly whiter than white in all this are you, Mr Leavis?’

‘You can call me Jonathan,’ he murmured.

Rebecca blinked. ‘Right now I’ll call you anything I want,’ she said. ‘If it was in my authority I’d ask you to leave this club, but seeing as you own it…’ Her voice was clear and, as the music had long since stopped, her words carried across the room. There was a collective intake of breath as the audience of clubbers took in her words. Everyone seemed to turn to Jonathan and scrutinise him.

His face went redder if that were possible, and he gave Rebecca a look which she couldn’t fathom.

‘I’ll go,’ Nick said in a loud voice. ‘I was about to anyway before this knob head decided he wanted to have a go.’ Despite his bravado his voice was weary and his expression, although defiant, a little careworn.

He turned and began to walk away and this time Jonathan didn’t try to stop him. Rebecca glanced at Jonathan and saw a dark scowl marring his features as he watched Nick leave. Rebecca too turned away from him and was about to return to her friends when she felt a hand on her arm. She turned around.

‘What do you want, Mr Leavis?’ she asked him. She was blowed if she was going to do as he asked and call him Jonathan. And she was beginning to wish she’d never met him. Was he never going to stop causing her trouble?

His expression was guarded yet a little contrite. ‘I want you to know, Miss Engleton, that there’s more to this than meets the eye,’ he said in a low voice.

She sighed and looked him straight in the eye, noticing that he was gazing back at her with extreme interest and wondered what he was thinking. Why did he have to give her such brazen looks all the time? It was so unnerving. Rebecca felt fatigue beginning to overwhelm her and her limbs were heavy, as if she’d climbed a mountain. It’d been a long day.

‘There probably is, Mr Leavis,’ she said.  ‘But I’m too tired to hear your story tonight. Maybe another day.’ She resolutely turned and walked away from him, feeling his gaze still on her as she walked towards her friends, who by this time were standing close by in the crowd. Their expressions were a mixture of astonishment and admiration.

‘What was that all about?’ Karen asked laying a hand on Rebecca’s arm, an amazed look on her face.

‘I haven’t a clue,’ Rebecca admitted. ‘I just knew if I didn’t step in either one of them could get seriously hurt.’ She felt her legs becoming a bit shaky. ‘Can we sit down? I think I’ve got a bit of post-traumatic stress disorder,’ she joked.

So there you have it. To take part in WIPpet Wednesday all you have to do is post some of your recent writing work on your blog, then add your name to this. Rule: ideally the excerpt of your writing should relate in some way to the date. Don’t forget to check out all the other WIPpeteer’s contributions.

Thank you K. L. Schwengel for being our lovely hostess! 🙂

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32 thoughts on “Breaking it up – WIPpet Wednesday

  1. Good idea to finish the first draft and then fix stuff. That way you can see if it’s really going to deviate that much. By the way, the weather over here makes no sense. It’s been in the 40’s and the 70’s so far this week. Not fun.

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  2. #PantserProblems need to be a thing. Y’all are giving me fits. My work strays enough even when I do have a concrete plan… 🙂

    I agree with you (and Charles) that pushing through is probably a good plan. I know I can’t see the overall structure and flaws of a story properly until the full first draft is out. Best of luck with it!

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  3. I have that same problem with trying to push through the first draft. I don’t often involve alpha readers, but I think when I’m done with this latest one I’m going to have to.

    I love this time of year, BTW. I much prefer wearing sweaters and sweatshirts.

    Mr. Leavis is quite…something…isn’t he? I’m having a heck of a time figuring him out.

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    • Yeah, as I said in this post I reckon I’m gonna need an alpha reader. But we’ll see. It could be that I complete the first draft, then go back and edit it all myself and am happy with, then send it out to beta readers. We’ll see.

      I love that you’re finding Mr Leavis enigmatic. Shows me I’m doing my job… 😉

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  4. Great snippet…way to build that delicious tension and leave us all wondering – what is Mr L’s deal. It’s going to be fun finding out 🙂 In your position I’d keep ploughing through too and then start from the beginning and let my inner editor go to town! She’s sneaky and she likes it that way. I always thought an author was the alpha reader, the idea of passing it to someone else…now there’s an thought!

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    • Yes I’m definitely gonna edit it before ANYONE sees it! It’s got so many plot holes and things that need tweaking – or rather hacking lol!

      Glad you liked the excerpt. Yes, Mr Leavis is a bit of an enigma at this point. 😉

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  5. I think it’s a good idea to just get that first draft down and worry about editing and rewriting later. If you get hung up on it now, you might never get to the end! 😀

    Great WIPpet though 🙂

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    • Yeah, I wanna avoid getting hung up on it and fixing stuff before I finish the first draft! I did that with a story I was writing a few years ago and it killed it for me – I abandoned it. So I’m gonna play it safe this time and stick to finishing that pesky first draft!

      Glad you liked the WIPpet! 😀

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  6. Middles are the hardest part for me. I don’t tend to do a whole lot of outlining, though, and I’m used to being kind of a pantser about my writing. I agree, just get the words out and worry about the rest later.

    Mr. Leavis is really…well, I think “knob head” kinda sums it up. (Yes, I do know what that means. Though I think it’s very entertaining how UK slang comes across as so much more polite than how we Americans would say the same thing. LOL!)

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    • Really? UK slang is polite? Cos I would have always said the opposite – that American slang is more polite. Maybe it’s just that it’s lost in translation lol and if you don’t really know a foreign country’s slang, then you don’t appreciate its rudeness!!

      But yes at this point Mr Leavis is being a knob head. 😉 Thanks for your advice re first drafts. I think you’re right – I just need to write the first draft and worry about the rest later.

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      • My friend once shared with me what she said was a completely rude string of name-calling–essentially an expansion on “knob head.” I laughed and said it just sounded so much less awful than the same thing in American slang. I guess it must just be a matter of what we’re used to and know.

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  7. I am a fellow pantser and I very rarely have more than a few key scenes planned out. I think it tends to work better that way for me. I’ve never used alpha readers, either, so I’m not really even familiar with what they do. I liked the excerpt, and how prim and proper Rebecca seems mixed in with the spunk. It’s a nice contrast.

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    • Thing is I seem to be alternating between a plotter and a pantser at the moment – it’s like I can’t decide which I’m gonna be lol. But I’m just gonna keep writing at the mo, see where it takes me. 🙂

      Glad you liked the excerpt. ‘Prim and proper’ hmm… hadn’t thought of it that way, but I spose, yeah Rebecca is being a bit that way. I think it’s probably partly down to her being a teacher and used to bossing people around, doing things the ‘right’ way!

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  8. I’ve had that happen to me in the middle of a MS too. Good luck getting through the rough spots. I love your persevering attitude! And this scene does a great job showing the frustration/anger your character’s feeling. Nicely done!

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  9. Some fiery tension here! Nice work! I was a bit taken aback by the use of “She was blowed if she was going to …” because I’ve never heard it before. I guess it’s a UK expression? Otherwise, I like what you’ve got here.

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    • Thank you! I thought ‘She was blowed…’ might be a problem for Americans to understand lol. It’s basically the same as saying ‘I’ll be damned if I let that happen!’ I don’t know if you Americans would say that, but that’s the nearest I can get to it!

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  10. Sometimes I feel like I just need to get the plot down. My first drafts often lack descriptions of people or places.

    Soo… Leavis is crushing on her? Maybe? I think I missed a few. 😦 Sorry. At any rate, he didn’t kick her out of his club, and that’s very intriguing.

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  11. I was going to say that I think it’s a good idea to just finish the draft and then go back and fix the other problems, but everyone has already said that, so…

    Mr Leavis is a bit of a character, isn’t he? I’m pretty impressed that Rebecca stepped in to break up the fight, and that they listened to her! I get the feeling that isn’t the last she’ll be seeing of him though…

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  12. I’ll be honest. I don’t like the last line. It might just be because I have PTSD and it’s anything but a laughing/joking manner, but yeah. Didn’t like it. *shrugs* I did like the rest though! I love the tension in here and the subtle aspects that are coming out. There seems to be quite a history we’re missing, and I’m definitely curious to find out what it is.

    Write through it. You can’t edit a blank page. =P

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    • Oh, OK – if I caused offence obviously it wasn’t intended! Thank you for pointing that out to me and I’m glad you liked the rest of it. 🙂

      You’re absolutely right about the editing though. I need to finish it first before I start on that. 🙂

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  13. I like Nora’s quote about the whole not being able to edit the blank page thing. Which I’m sure others have said, too. Also, love all that tension in your excerpt – it’s great!

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  14. Pingback: A lift home | Elaine Jeremiah

  15. Pingback: The reason for the fight – WIPpet Wednesday | Elaine Jeremiah

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