WIPpet Wednesday: Ava’s Story

Hi there! Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday –K.L. Schwengel’s weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move their WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date.

For the last several weeks, I’ve been sharing Henry and Tisira’s story, from my WIP, Chameleon’s Dish. I know several are you are eager to know what’s going on with them, but here’s the thing…

Henry, Tisira, and Nockatee have vanished! They were at the Globe – and then, they weren’t! They didn’t give any warning…they were just gone!

So, in their absence, I had to scramble to find something else to offer up for WIPpet Wednesday. Fortunately, I happen to be participating in the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. So, today, please allow me to introduce the first of my Kifo Island Chronicles characters….

Let’s all give a big WIPeteer welcome to Ava Garcia!

Ava is twelve, and she is dying. She’s come to Kifo to live her life away from the hospitals and treatment and parental control that have filled the last three years of her life. She had to take legal action to get that right…and now her parents have appeared on her doorstep…

And now, on to the WIPpeting!

WIPpet Math:

Today is April 2, 2014.

  • Today’s math is pretty simple…
  • (for the date) + 4 (for the month)=6; 6+7 (for the digits of the year, added)=13; 13+1 (because this is excerpted from my first A to Z post) =14; 14 +1(for Ava)=15
  • Voila! 15 sentences! See, Siiiiiimmmmppppplllleeeeee! =D

“Ava!” Mom’s voice sounded like she was in the middle of a horror movie. She smiled; it looked more like a grimace. “Let me help you, sweetie.”

She reached out, and Ava backed away a step. She wanted to close the door in their faces. She was too tired to deal with them, and with their clutching attempts to control her. But it was too late; Dad got a shoulder in, making room for Mom with a grunt that might have been a greeting.

“Come on in,” Ava said, as though there’d been a choice. Dad scowled at her, then sent his glare traveling around her tidy and inviting living room, where pools of sunlight splashed against clean wood and jewel tones.

“You’re not here all by yourself, are you?”

“Tom, can’t you at least wait until we’re past the door?” Mom’s voice was peevish and whining, and any hope that anything had changed between them evaporated.

“I’m not alone. I have Mustafa.”

What will happen next? Will Ava keep her freedom? Will her parents’ arrival turn out to be a good thing, or a threat to the life -and death – Ava wants to have? And just who is Mustafa, anyway?

If you want to know more about Ava; the full A to Z post is here. These posts are the seeds of a project that will germinate over the next months, so input is especially valuable. No need to feel shy; I’m a friendly sort, and will keep my talons sheathed…for the most part.

Want more WIPpets?

I leave you with this sweet little song that, to me, captures Ava’s mood…






  1. Wow, interesting snippet, Shan, good job. What an amazingly complex situation! I think at this point and this level of informations, it’s dangerous to come to any conclusions as to who is in the right here. 🙂

    • Ruth,

      Well, I think all three of them have very definite ideas about what’s right in this situation – but also, each has a different goal.

      I’m not sure there’s an absolute right or wrong here. But I’m sure Ava’s parents are sure they are in the right.

      And so is Ava.

  2. The mother, particularly, makes me shudder in this scene. I can really hear the forced “now come on, let’s all play happy families!” tone in her voice.

    • Emily,

      I may or may not have a lifetime of experience with just that type of interaction. It makes it very tricky to have an honest discussion of any conflict, which is obviously a problem for Ava, who simply doesn’t have time to “play nice”.

  3. Gah!!! Oh, Shan, my alter-ego tummy just did a flip-flop reading that a 12 yo took legal action against her parents. How tragic! How… I mean… just… and she’s dying! Why!?! Why, oh, why!?!

    • ReGi,

      I know, right? You’d think she wouldn’t need to go to such extremes when she’s got so little time left. You’d think her parents would want every moment they could have with her – and, maybe, they do.

      They might just have a different way of seeing it, and a certain inflexibility about her opinions.

      The why….well, you know – you’ll have to read more to find out! =)

  4. Love your WIPpet math! it’s fun to meet your characters through the A-Z!
    Nicole’s Mighty Minion for the A-Z!

    • Deniz,

      I’m having a lot of fun meeting them, too…and, of course, they’re running away with their stories, which is exciting, but makes it a lot harder to condense them into an A-Z sized post!

      That’s not a bad problem to have, though, since my ultimate goal is much longer stories involving Kifo Island. =)

      I hope you get the chance to enjoy more of these characters. They are definitely an interesting lot!

  5. Mustafa…cat? fish? Parrot? Nice handling of the situation and giving us a glimpse at the relationship Ava has with her parents.

    • Kathi,

      Yes, Mustafa is animal rather than vegetable or mineral. Thank you; these characters and their lives have kind of grabbed me. It’s refreshing to take a break from the intensity of the revising…

      Mustafa’s true identity is revealed in the full A to Z post.

    • Adrian,

      being “on her own” at Kifo isn’t like being on her own somewhere else would be. The island is a hospice; she ha a lot more in the way of support than her parents are making it seem like, or maybe aware of. I feel for her, too – but she’s happier and safer where she is than she was when she lived with her parents.

  6. Poor Ava! I would need a creature named Mustafa, too, if I had parents like those! They remind me of Harry Potter’s horrible aunt and uncle. I’m curious to learn more about Ava – she seems to have such a tragic story.

    • Xina,

      Ava is stronger than she knows. And her parents – different details, obviously, but they remind me of my own. As a matter of fact, a few of their mannerisms and comments are almost directly things I experienced.

      It’s my hope that, although Ava has had a rough go of it for most of her life, that she ends well. I’m a little curious to find out if she’s right.

      As for Mustafa, he popped into my head and insisted he belonged with Ava. I’m not one to argue…

  7. Well, I miss Henry and Tisira. But Ava sounds like quite an interesting girl, and I’d like to know her better. I already have a bit of a sense of why she might need some space from her parents. They seem…difficult.

    • Amy,

      I miss them, too! I wonder where they’ve gone, and what they’ve gotten themselves up to…with those two, it could be anything! =)

      OTOH, Ava really is an interesting character, and. yes, ‘difficult’ is a good word to describe them! I will be returning ot these stories sometime after April and May – I’m creating story arcs for each character, and they’ll each have a longer story, possibly even a novelette or novel, since I tend to be long-winded! =)

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