December 17, 2003

Reusing old stuff -- spoiler

THere are times when things don't work right where you put them, so you need to yank them back out. I always save everything I write, because 1) it makes me fearless at yanking them back out and 2) often they fit somewhere else with a little tweaking.

If you look back a ways, you'll find the original ending of TINKER. You might want to see compare it to the following to see how I changed it to fit the second book.

I'm still not totally happy with Oilcan's section, but I think it will work out in the long run. Think.

Okay, I’m stuck.

Well, not really stuck as there’s too many options.

I want to keep the book focused on Turtle Creek and not repeat “build-a-gate” that more or less repeats book one. Lack of materials is going to seriously hamper Tinker, but I feel I need more…. I think.

My first reaction is to have someone stole all of Tinker’s stuff while Oilcan was out on a run. The problem is that Pony immediately goes into protective mode and insists that they call for backup and the scene immediately falls on its face. One quick solution is to have Tinker’s system call in the police and Nathan is there. It would be interesting, but at the same time, I’m not sure if there is a whole of room in this book for Nathan.

If I had Nathan back, I was planning a “set piece” which is like a party or something, where the main character can interact with lots of different individuals without needing to come up with an excuse of why they bump into one another. The movie, the Big Chill, is one long set piece.

I know who took the equipment and why – what I’m having trouble with is the far reaching implications. It reaches into the nebulous zone of the plot, where I know only the vague outlines of things.

However, the more I think about it, the more I like it, so I’m going to write it.

First thing I’m going to do is to track down the last chapter of Tinker and copy it for Nathan’s section.

And to deal with the “fall on its face” problem, I can have Nathan already responded so Pony/Tinker has backup without calling for help. Tinker’s concern for Oilcan becomes the next stumbling point, so Nathan can know where he is. So the deck is cleared for Tinker to react to the stolen equipment and then, Nathan.


The double chain-link gates of her scrap yard stood half open – wide enough for a regular car to pass through, but not the full open that she and Oilcan normally swung them – just in case they needed to bring in the flatbed tow truck with an oversized load. She saw with alarm that the heavy chain hung from the right hand gate; her cousin would never leave a valuable and difficult to replace chain out like that.

“Shit,” she hissed, hesitating at the gate. The steel Stanley padlock lay on the ground, it’s bolt cut. Someone had broken in.

Where was Oilcan? Home safe? Or had he already arrived for the morning and was currently investigating the yard alone? Stacks of cars waiting for the crusher blocked her view of the old mobile home that served as the scrap yard’s offices.

She cautiously eased the Rolls through the gate.

A Pittsburgh police squad car was parked in the wide muddy area in front of her office. It’s flashing lights reflected on the chrome of the wrecked cars. Bue Noergaard greeted her with “Hey, we were just about to try and track you down.”

“Bowman.” She relaxed slightly seeing the familiar face. She scanned the lot. Normally Oilcan drove the flatbed tow truck or rode his hoverbike. “Is Oilcan here? What’s going on?”

“Nah, your security system put in the call – before it got yanked.” The Dane answered her first question. “Someone broke in and took all your computer equipment.”

She swore and rushed into the trailer only to collide face to chest with Nathan Czernowski.

“Tink! Are you okay?” Nathan asked.

“I’m fine.” She snapped, rubbing her nose where she smacked it into his badge.

(awkward conversation)

Someone had raided her workshop. She stood in the doorway, dumbfounded and infuriated. Her tools were there -- screwdrivers, wretches, wire strippers and things more exotic – but all her computer equipment was gone. Clear spaces on her workbenches were the only indication that they’d ever been there.

“What the hell happen to my stuff?”

(Nathan is acting strangely awkward, puzzling her until)

…she remembered where they’d left off. After he professed his obsession with her, she’d talked into dating her, despite their age differences, just on curiosity’s sake. Unfortunately, Windwolf had just come into her life to whisk her away and turn her into an elf. On the first night after her transformation, Nathan took the news badly and tried to force her into sex. Pony had intervened just as Nathan seemed to getting control of his emotions.

It seemed like another life, one where he featured front and center; she hadn’t thought of him for nearly two months. Too much had intervened, like being kidnapped by the oni. Strange that she thought him so huge and scary – now that she’d seen true evil, he had shrank back to human-sized again.

“You look beautiful.” He gazed her wistfully.

“Thanks.” Yesterday’s excited ruined her one set of human clothes, forcing her to resorted to her most causal elfin wear. She wore a loose pair of pants slung low on her hips and a spaghetti-strapped midriff, both of bronze silk. On a lark, she’d also worn the diamond bracelet and necklace that Windwolf given her; the stones blazed against her dusky skin. She was pleased with the result. She knew she looked causally elegant. She also knew that she looked sexy, and suddenly felt weirdly under-dressed.

“They tell me that you’re married to him,” Nathan meant Windwolf. She wondered who ‘they’ might have been: Oilcan, who would have broken the news gently, or Maynard, who would have followed it with warnings not to upset the viceroy and his new wife.

“Yeah.” She fiddled with the bracelet. “It was kind of by accident -- but I do love him.”

“So I guess it’s all over between us.”

She nodded. “Nathan, I never loved you. I liked you a lot, but in a big brother kind of way. I was willing to see if I could love you, but it wasn’t working out. We wouldn’t have ended up together.”

They stood a moment in unhappy silence. Finally, he wet his lips and said, “I’m ashamed of what I did. I went way over the line, and I’m so sorry – though I know that really doesn’t cut it. I shouldn’t have done it in the first place.” His voice grew husky with self-loathing. “I would have killed another man for doing it. That I was drunk, and jealous excuses nothing,” he said with disgust. “I was so wrong.”

She’d trusted him, and he’d betrayed that trust, but there was no denying he hadn’t used his full strength against her, and most likely was honoring her refusal when Pony stepped in.

“I am very, very sorry that I hurt you,” he said, and turned to go, apparently neither looking for her forgiveness nor expecting it.

She caught his hand, stopping him. “Nathan. I’d like to go back to the way it was with us. We were like family. That’s going be hard for both us – but I’m willing to try. I can’t say that I totally forgive you, but I think, I can work up to that.”

He looked at her slightly stunned, and then nodded. “I’d like that.”

They parted at the tentative note.

Oilcan (carrying bottles.) “Hey.”

“Hey. You turned into a heavy drinker while I was gone?”

“Nah, here.” He held out one of the bottles. “Try this.”

She glanced at the label, as Oilcan also gave a similar bottle to Pony. “Cider?”

“Hard cider. A little stronger than beer,” –he lifted up his bottle of Iron City in illustration—“but it’s easier on you than ouzo.”

She tried it. “Not bad. I could get used to it.”

“I saw you talking with Nathan,” He dropped out of Elvish to English. “How did that go?”

“Only time will tell. Do you think I’m doing the right thing?”

Oilcan shrugged, but didn’t say anything, reminding her of something Riki’s said once of her cousin: Oilcan wouldn’t poison her against someone, regardless of how he felt. Apparently Nathan would have to earn Oilcan’s forgiveness too.

She sipped the cider. Actually it was fairly good. The elves set great store in wines, but she hadn’t had one that she liked yet. And Oilcan was right – ouzo led to drunk way too fast. Still, she wished she could still drink beer. “How do you feel about all this?”

“All what?”

“Me being an elf? Being married to Windwolf? Are you alright with that?”

He shrugged again, sipping his beer, but this time he ventured, “You were gaga for him from the start. He’s solid, the whole way through, not just on the surface like Nathan. I feel like I can trust him to be good to you. And he seems to sanely in love you.”

As opposed to madly in love, she supposed, like Nathan. “And the elf thing?”

“Actually, I would have had more trouble with Windwolf changing your religion than your ears. You are what is inside of you, not how you look.”

“Can you go tell that to Tooloo? She’s still in snit with Windwolf.”

“Unlike you, I have learned the futility of arguing logic with Tooloo.”

Posted by wen at December 17, 2003 01:44 PM