Tag Archives: snippets

Daily Snippet, 1-24-12

I ignored the kick in my stomach from the fear of being arrested, accused, found out. “They obviously don’t know who I am or I would have been hauled in already. They would have cause enough. If nothing else, just because I have your master key, doesn’t mean I haven’t been trespassing in quite a few residences.”

 “Just as you say. They don’t know.” He crossed his arms. “But I am less than comfortable with encouraging further scrutiny.”

 “I’ve been the very model of discretion. That was, after all, the reason you hired me.”

 “Moreover,” he added loudly, “I haven’t heard anything from you on the case. From my point of view, the issue is no closer to being resolved than it was when we hired you.”

from Incognito: the Vertical Street

I’m having fun being really unkind to my characters. Since I’m skipping around and leaving out scenes, they’re not even getting the full force of it. I’m sketching out the whole plot, beginning to end, before filling in the missing parts. So right now, I’m going through the final clues leading up to the climactic scenes. Which means I’m at my most vicious. Friends are in danger, allies turn their backs, and not even home is a safe haven. I’m a mean, bad person and I LOVE it.

The next part up will be the resolution, when the bad guys get their punishment. I don’t even have to feel bad about that part, so things are looking up.

Daily Snippet, 1-21-12

I admit, the pause that followed surprised me. I felt a little hurt. I had come there with no doubts that Nelly would take us in. She finally said, “Yes, okay, except no, you have to wait while I get a scanner out.”

“Scanner?” Pike repeated.

I grimaced. “Ah. Nelly’s a little particular about what she lets into her personal space. It’s fine. I think.”

from Incognito: the Vertical Street

There’s just something about Nelly that I love. She’s a little bit Sherlock to Morgan’s Watson, even if Morgan is the detective. Nelly is brilliant and eccentric and loyal. She can also be off-putting and amoral and high-strung. She and Morgan have both made a point of carving out lives for themselves in a society that is not terribly kind or accepting of them, but Nelly is far more ostentatious. She wears her weirdness as a badge and a shield and one of those hand buzzers from a joke shop. She also gets all the best toys and who can resist that?

Daily Snippet, 1-20-12

I started to walk. I felt like a ghost, an unreal observer of everything happening. There was nothing I could do to help. I knew that, the sensible part of me knew that, so I did not run. I walked. I tapped my headset. “Call Alistair.”

The smoke rose up in plumes until an erratic localized wind rushed down the street and sent all that smoke sideways. Onlookers, kept at bay by fire service barriers and a handful of assisting police, recoiled from the sudden choking cloud. Even at a distance, my eyes stung and watered as I listened to my headset ring and ring. No answer.

“Call Pike,” I told it and it started ringing again.

from Incognito: the Vertical Street

Took a couple days away from writing again. I mostly spent them running errands and shopping. Just trivial stuff. It felt good, actually. I guess I needed to get out of the house a bit more. I’m reading a lot of stuff about what I guess qualifies as life hacking. I’m not really sure, which is part of what I’m learning more about. I’m always trying to work out what I’m doing and how I can most effectively and enjoyably do it. I’m always planning and tinkering. I hope to have some cool things happening in the next few months.

About the scene, well, where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and all that. I’ve written about fire in two other stories, only one of which ever saw the light of day. That’s House of Cats (see links above) and, no spoilers intended, there’s fire. Repeatedly. It’s a thing.

Fire is a thing in my life and it works its way into my writing often. It’s a long story, sometimes even a funny story, but when I was about eight, I spent a couple days trapped on my family’s ranch, where we were surrounded on all sides by a brush fire. There were trucks from two fire departments living with us, making a last stand to save us because we had about twenty horses, eight people, assorted smaller pets, and no way of getting any of them out. I spent those days half out of my mind from all the smoke, barely able to function. (The rancid meat I was accidentally fed [I told you, long story] did not help matters.) The world was ending.

Brush fires remain my personal hell on earth. I am generally a good person to have in most emergencies. I am calm and competent; if I do not have specialized skills to solve a problem, I am at least a help and not a hindrance. Except if it is a fire. If I am in close proximity to it, even if I am far from home, I will become hysterical, sobbing and hyperventilating. If I am home and there is a fire in the general Southern California area, I will watch the news with a focus bordering on madness. It does not matter that half the damn state would have to burn up before it reached me. Part of me is still eight years old and knows that fire will come and eat me.

So. Fire. It’s a thing. It crops up. On the plus side, I really, really know how to write it by now and I love the scenes that use it. Personal demons make the best fiction.

Daily Snippet, 1-17-12

“Can’t you just kidnap him?” Nelly looked bored with the whole idea. She was never one for restraint, of course, especially if the only reason was social convention.

“I am ashamed to admit that I have considered the possibility.” I kept sipping the same disgusting drink. I felt too lazy to get up for a new one. It was early and I was stuck sitting on my hands while Pike did all the exciting work. I yawned with my hand over my mouth.

Nelly’s false face echoed the yawn before she said, “Well, I don’t believe in shame so–Morgan, what is that infernal beeping?”

from Incognito: the Vertical Street

I’m not being very consistent with my writing. I can make excuses, like, oh, I was having real human interactions with my friend after weeks of solitude. Actually…okay, that might be reasonable. Whatever. Today, Morgan got to have the same chance to talk to a friend. About work, of course, because what else is there? Is it possible that Morgan and I approach our work in some of the same ways? Why, yes, it is. My characters get all my worst habits.

Daily Snippet, 1-15-12

Having Pike constantly buzzing in my ear started to seem normal. He had a tendency to talk to himself, especially when he was nervous or upset about something. He kept his voice low so that most people would not notice even if they were near him, but of course, Nelly’s mic picked up everything he said. It was sensitive enough that I sometimes found myself wondering why my heart was racing, only to realize that I was hearing the faint swish and thump of Pike’s heartbeat and mistaking it for my own. He became a voice in my head and a comfortable one, at that.

So I mostly tuned out what he was saying while I worked on other things, until something sank through my brain and I realized the person he had just introduced himself to had called himself “Lenny.”

Pike’s tone of voice perked up with the same interest I had. “Hey, Lenny, nice to meet you. Do you–Did you know that woman who disappeared from here? Rozamar?” I tensed up. I did not know what they were doing or who might overhear them.

“Yes, I know Roz. She went away, but she’s going to come back some day,” Lenny said. He had a low and wistful voice like someone filled with infinite calm or infinite stupidity.

from Incognito: the Vertical Street

My muse has started to forgive me for the whole word count debacle. I still feel stressed about it because I want to get caught up from those two days of not writing, even if I’m going to keep the same pace from now on. (I realize those two objectives–getting caught up and keeping a reasonable pace–are most likely mutually exclusive.) Why? Because I want the day of the year to match how many scenes I have written. My calendar tells me what day of the year it is and how many remain on any given day. Um. I like this sort of thing.

I do get unreasonably hung up on these ideas of starting and ending things at precisely the right time. Like when I’m going to use a timer for writing sessions, but I won’t even begin if I can’t start right on a formal minute marker, like ten after or something. I experience actual difficulty in functioning because of this need for things to be just so. If nothing else, I have an unhappy tendency to conflate good organization with good fiction. If only I am organized enough, precise enough, perfect enough, the words will all come out perfectly, too. Lack of confirming evidence for this theory has not disabused me of it yet.