Saturday, April 17, 2010

Excerpt Chapter Two

So, maybe if I put this down publicly, I won't be so annoyed by it anymore. This is the opening of Chapter Two that I hate and that has stymied me all these weeks. I'm throwing it out here so that I stop being precious about it and MOVE ON with the darn chapter. I need to turn it into Lula's Bunch on the 29th after all. No more messing around! I can flesh it out and fix it in revisions, yes?

Chapter Two

Jeet Doro's Kitchens

No matter how hard or fast Mist scrubbed, the giant, greasy pile of pots kept growing taller.

She glared miserably at the dishes. An hour’s worth of scrubbing and she hadn’t even made a dent in the mountain of pots, iron skillets and three legged cauldrons that covered the length of the nearby worktable in a sprawling stinking heap. The truly big ones, the ones roomy enough to bathe in, were haphazardly stacked nearby, left for the kitchen boys.

She snuck a look to make sure no one was watching, then pushed away from the stone wash basin. She just needed a moment to stretch out the kink in her back, that spot that felt like someone was ramming a carving knife between her shoulder blades.

“Mist! Back to work,” one of the under cooks snapped.

Mist stifled a groan, grabbed the nearest pot and dunked it into the basin. She knew better than to complain on a banquet day. Using a stiff bristled brush , she worked at the remains of a mushroom sauce, which had hardened into black cement. Four more hours before she got a break, a bite of bread and a moment’s rest, and then the clean up would begin. She’d be lucky to see her sleeping mat before midnight. The sauce refused to come clean, so Mist tossed a handful of soap pellets into the water and churned it to a bubbly froth. The harsh soap, made from potash and tallow, stung her skin. Her hands would be chapped and cracked before the day was done.

Gods, how she hated banquet days—up since dawn, running coal, scouring pots, and mostly trying to keep out of trouble. Somehow though, trouble kept finding her.

A heavy hand landed on her shoulder and roughly spun her around.

Okay, off to try and be less precious about the next bit.



  1. Karyn, I love the brave move on your part. I may try to post a bit of one of mine too.

    Also I can't help but notice your followers are growing. Very impressive.

  2. Is this a YA novel, Karyn? I think it's awesome you're posting this bit; whatever purges the demons and pushes you forward is totally full of win. Write on!

  3. Yes, good to see the Lula's Bunch on my follow list, Megan! Hopefully now that I've posted this hot mess, it will lose power over me and I can get on with the writing.

    @Cris: I'm not sure what genre it is. I keep thinking it's just straight fantasy, but the protagonists are a teen and a kid, so... but in my mind it's more like following the MC of the Mercedes Lackey books or Garion in Eddings work. I guess I won't worry about it until I finish it and see what I have.

  4. Karyn, why do you dislike this bit so much?

    The positive is, it reads easily, conveys a clear message/picture of Mist's position in the world and what banquet day for her looks like, and "moves the ball forward" (trouble is going to find her).

    That said, the rhythm (?) of the paragraphs feels a little too much the same in each paragraph. Short declarative sentence (sds), sds, sds, sds. For me, this ultimately erodes depth.

    I'm not sure about "glared miserably". You feel miserable and glare at X.

    Don't dislike your chapter--I want to know what trouble finds Mist and why she is in the situation she is.

  5. Hadley here, feeding the Hamster. Hi to Billy too.

  6. Karyn, if it's bothering you that much, the best thing to do IS move on and go back to it later with a clearer head. Seems to me you've dished out that exact same advice before. :)

  7. @Kate - Thanks for the crits! I am getting that comment from multiple sources about varying my sentence rhythm. Something I'll definitely have to keep in mind.

    I'm not sure why I hate this so much, and I suspect that's part of the problem with my current block. The hating must be masking something else, some other internal drama.

    @Cari -- you're right! Do as I say and all that. Darn. Hate getting called out on my own advice. LOL.