Back by popular demand: An excerpt from A Wasted Land for #WIPpet Wednesday

Since you guys were largely agreed that you wanted to see more of A Wasted Land on my snippet days, I returned to the manuscript yesterday and wrote a new scene, part of which I’m sharing with you below. I actually have quite a bit of material after this scene, but it’s much later in the story. My first draft process is very messy. I tend to write a bunch of big, pivotal scenes that really interest me first. (If you’re curious, I’ve written more about my process here.) In between those, I have a slew of notes and questions to myself, like “How do I get Kustennin and Celemon together?”; “Are they already in Dyn Draithou at this point, or still in Caer Leon?” or my favorite (not): “Battle scene here.” The note that led to this scene was, “I need to get in more of the political alliances and tensions!” Then it occurred to me that some of the regional kings might not be particularly happy with the appointment of Celemon to the position of Master of Horse. So this scene is at a fair in Caer Leon. Aurelius (Celemon’s former betrothed), has just confronted Kustennin about the appointment. Please forgive my typical utterly rough draft mode, which is often devoid of details. Just imagine them between the stalls of a fair — I’ll add that in later. :) Oh, and my math is like this: 8 short paragraphs for the 8th, plus two more because I didn’t want it to end there. *g*

“Cador was not a military leader either, and he too was Master of Horse for a time.”
“But he rode with Arthur.”
“Yes, he rode with Arthur.”
“How can you expect Celemon to fill such a position?”
“She will be in charge of the war horses exclusively. I have created two positions out of what was once one. Cynglas has agreed to be Head of Cavalry in the new army of Britain.”
Aurelius glanced at Vortipor. “And what of you?”
“I have agreed to take on the new position of Master of Ship,” Vortipor said. “I will begin building up the fleet and recruiting and training sailors once I return to Moridunum.”
Aurelius turned from Vortipor to Kustennin, gazing at him silently, his expression hard to read, his mind closed. He knew the trick of it. He was the son of Modrun, after all.
“What, Aurelius?” Kustennin finally asked. “I am new at this. I do not yet know what role to ask you to play. But you are one of the strongest kings in southern Britain. Your support will be crucial in keeping the Saxons from expanding further into our territories.”
“My mother’s death is on the traitor Medraut’s head,” Aurelius finally said. “And Cerdic supported Medraut’s rebellion. I am your ally, Kustennin. I hope you do not forget it.”

WIPpet Wednesday is the brain child of K. L. Schwengel. If you’d like to participate, post an excerpt from your WIP on your blog, something that relates to the date in some way. Then add your link here — where you can also read the other excerpts. :)

Related posts:

- Research, lack of words, and another #WIPpet for Wednesday

- Excuses department: getting rid of tomatoes

- More from A Wasted Land for #WIPpet Wednesday

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About Ruth Nestvold

Ruth Nestvold's short fiction has appeared in numerous markets, including Asimov's, F&SF, Baen's Universe, Strange Horizons, Scifiction, and Gardner Dozois's Year's Best Science Fiction. Her fiction has been nominated for the Nebula, Tiptree, and Sturgeon Awards. In 2007, the Italian translation of her novella "Looking Through Lace" won the "Premio Italia" award for best international work. Her novel Flamme und Harfe appeared in translation with the German imprint of Random House, Penhaligon, in 2009 and has since been translated into Dutch and Italian. She maintains a web site at www.ruthnestvold.com.
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23 Responses to Back by popular demand: An excerpt from A Wasted Land for #WIPpet Wednesday

  1. What a great voice you have – I’m having first draft envy. Although I must say, my writing process is very similar to yours. I often write in one very wide sweeping arc, but then have a monster task of pulling it all back in.

  2. Excellent excerpt, as always! Love your name choices – very vivid. And your excerpt brought to mind one of my favorite books – The Winter King by Elizabeth E. Wein. Have you read it? It’s a beautiful little Arthur story.

  3. Emily Witt says:

    I have a very similar first draft process, I have to say! :D

    Interesting excerpt – I have missed the last few WIPpets so it’s been a while since I’ve read anything from this one but this gives us a good insight into the ties between some of these characters.

  4. kathils says:

    Well, sounds like quite a few of us tackle those first drafts in a similar manner! No wonder we all get on so well. ;) I usually write in scenes and then try and tack them all together in a cohesive manner. I’ll write sequentially for sections, then something will demand I write it instead, then I’ll go back…It’s because my brain just can’t stay still!

    And three cheers for going back to Wasted Land. Yes, I’m a fan. :) I love the last line. Having to remind someone that you are not their enemy never seems to bode well. It sets a bit of tension and gets my nerves jingling.

  5. Adrian says:

    I like how Kathi says we tackle them in a similar fashion when my process is so vastly different. I’m a linear thinking and I keep it all in my head going from start to finish.

    I think it’s interesting how everyone is getting their place and where they’ll work in this all. And like Kathi said, having to remind someone that you’re not their enemy makes me think that you really still are. =P Great excerpt!

  6. Eden says:

    You’ve made me very happy with this WIPpet, Ruth (both for the reminder of how you write your drafts, since it’s similar to my own [like so many other WIPpeteers, it seems] and for the fact you’re back to A Wasted Land)

    Kustenin is definitely getting himself in a tight place here… So far it’s a graciously dangerous one, but emphasis is definitely on dangerous.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it, Eden! I’ll probably continue to work on Amber’s story parallel to this, but I’ll try to write enough on A Wasted Land to be able to share with you guys each week. :)

      • Eden says:

        I feel I should either be saying lots of “thank you”s or apologizing for disrupting your creative streak with Amber’s story….. Really, you should post what you feel most ready and comfortable posting, Ruth. I can’t speak for everyone, but I like both stories. I have a preference, but both have a lot going for them.

      • Don’t worry about it, Eden! I’m actually pretty comfortable having two projects going at once. Then when one is flagging, I can switch to the other. I used to always work that way but abandoned it to be more “disciplined.” Now I’m finding that I really like having options. :)

        Besides, I really want to finish A Wasted Land, and it’s good to have you guys’ feedback to keep me going, even when it is more work than Amber’s story.

      • Eden says:

        I get it. When we run into a wall (even after years of success) we all (not just writers, but all sorts of people I’ve observed) jump on board with some other person’s ideas of structure and “discipline” to get through a task…

        Well, then glad to help nudge you along. :-D

  7. ReGi McClain says:

    Ooo… it seems trouble may be brewing. Or at least a good fight with a traitor. :-) I do so love a good fight.

    • Fights are always good — except in real life …

      • ReGi McClain says:

        Oh, no. Real life fights stink. At least until it’s all over and someone writes a great book or makes a really cool movie glorifying the triumph of a steadfast, courageous heart over oppressive or ignorant foes. With enough embellishment or an epic soundtrack, anything can seem pretty good. :-P

  8. Pingback: A brief update, and Celemon among the horses for #WIPpet Wednesday | Ruth Nestvold – Indie Adventures

  9. Pingback: The turret, and more from A Wasted Land for #WIPpet Wednesday | Ruth Nestvold – Indie Adventures

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