“For Your Own Good”: Sea Changes (Kifo Island Chronicles Volume 1) for WIPpet Wednesday

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date.We’re led by the capable fingers and nimble mind of Emily Witt

Oh, it’s Wednesday…and today is a particularly poignant one for me. But, since I’ve already addressed that, let’s move on to the business of the day, shall we?

Our weekend getaway was delightful, and I will eventually be posting pictures. Not today, though, because I’ve got a lot else to do – I didn’t touch my April novel project, A Rising Tide (Kifo Island Chronicles #4) for a week, and just got back into it last night. Itching to get caught up, and to see what will happen next….

I’m keeping up with the #atozchallenge, although I’d like to be ahead even a story or two. I do feel that time getting closer – maybe even by the end of this week, if all goes well. It would be helpful, since my last off day was spent visiting and driving home, so I didn’t have a chance to move ahead.

But none of that’s really what we’re here for today, which is another snippet from Donovan Nash‘s opening scene in Sea Changes.

Donovan is one of my favorite Kifo Island characters. He had a major supporting role in both of my previously drafted Kifo stories. Now, he gets his own (well, shared with Karina, and maybe Ava, but still, he’s finally the star he was always meant to be!)

For those who’ve forgotten, or are new to this story, here’s the premise:

In advocating for a dying girl seeking emancipation from controlling parents, can an overburdened young woman and a lonely young man find a future together?


This passage is NaNo rough. I’ll be creating a revision plan within the next few months. That said, any input is gratefully accepted!

WIPpet Math:

  • Today is April 13, 2016
  • I‘ve got thirteen sentences today.

Context: Donovan and Ava are getting acquainted as a prelude to a possible working relationship. Here, we learn a little more about why a child is alone on Kifo Island. Ava has just suggested that most of Donovan’s clients are probably older than her twelve years.

“For Your Own Good”

She had a very pretty smile, beneath wide and intelligent eyes that seemed to be either green, hazel, or medium brown.

Clients? No – I have a reputation for preferring children, which may be why they sent me. But you could easily be the youngest person to actually employ me, if you choose to.”

Would that bother you?”

Nope. Will it bother you?”

It bothers me that I needed to do things this way.” The girl shook her head. “But my parents aren’t exactly the type to consider what bothers me, or whether I even am bothered.” Another shake of her head. “They’d keep me in the hospital till I died, tethered with PICC lines pouring poison into my body, making me sick, and telling me ‘it’s for your own good’.”

Why would Ava’s parents want her in the hospital?

Is it for her own good?

Who should decide that?

Where are her parents?

What’s next?

Some of these questions may be answered – and others will certainly be posed- next week, so be sure to come back then to learn more of Donovan’s story.

To read Donovan’s scene in its entirety, just follow the link:

And now, a friendly reminder:

I know some of you love my Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction. This month, for the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge, I’m giving in to T’Pol and Trip who are demanding I give them some much-needed attention. You can read them here:

Or, if those aren’t enough, you can visit my brand-new fanfiction.net account, and find extended versions of each story. Yup! After years of dreaming about sharing my passion, and many years more than that of hiding it shame-facedly, my Trek stories are making their way out there in the big wide world! =)

Want more WIPpets? You can find them, and even add your own date-related excerpt if you’re so inclined, by following the little blue froggy from WIPpet to WIPpet to WIPpet!

The kind of father/daughter relationship Ava longs for…



  1. Great scene, Shan. You’re setting up all kinds of interesting conflict that wasn’t in the picture before. And since it’s speculative fiction, I’m not going to try to guess what the conflict with her parents is about, just wait to be surprised. 🙂

  2. I can understand parents, or anyone who loves someone, wanting to cling to them any way they can. It’s usually for selfish reasons. Our own pain at the thought of our loss. I don’t know if a 12 year old could really make this decision wisely, but I’m with her. I’d rather face things on my own terms. You definitely can provoke some thought and discussion. 🙂

    • That ‘selfish reasons’ line – you might possibly be spot-on there, Kathi.

      I’m wondering if anyone could make this decision wisely – or fail to, if they knew what they wanted in their heart.

      I’m not sure any of us can know whether someone else has made a wise decision, in a situation like this. It’s more a matter, I think, of whose the life really is – does it belong to Ava now, or not until she’s grown? Do her parents own it until then, even to the point of forcing treatment upon her that she views as torture?

      I’m thrilled about all this discussion. As my own daughter nears her twelfth birthday this summer, this is even more relevant to my own life than it was last fall, when I drafted the novel…

      Boldly Going Through the Alphabet!
      Part-Time Minion for Holton’s Heroes
      shanjeniah’s Lovely Chaos

  3. I think I’m somewhere in the middle on how capable a 12yo is of making big decisions on her own. I have a 12yo, and he’s made several wise choices about his bodily autonomy, and I don’t doubt my 10yo would have been able to do the same in his shoes (it’s hard without being able to be more specific to explain why both of those things are true). But there are some things I can see they are not ready to do without more knowledge and experience.

    I love this scene, mainly because it’s bringing some interesting discussion. I’m definitely interested to see where this all goes.

    • Sparking interesting conversations was my goal with this story (My evil writer plan is working, BWAHAHAHA!!!)

      I don’t need you to be specific, but, like yours, my kids, 14.5 and not quite 12, can stand for themselves, too. They’ve had a great deal of autonomy since they were 7 and 4, so they’ve had lots of experience with making all kinds of decisions. Today, my daughter is struggling whether to return her Nerf gun, which broke the fourth time she fired it (she wasn’t being rough; I was right there). If she chooses to do that rather than ask her brother to modify it, does she get another gun, the bow she’s been wanting, something else, or does she save her refund? If she gets another Nerf product, does she get the pink Rebelle, which she loves, but knows will cost more because it’s “pretty”? She’s already written an Amazon review…

      No, these aren’t life-or-death choices, but there’s a lot to think about, and these choices indicate that she can follow a series of options, and consider their merits and risks…

      Like many seriously ill children, Ava has, in some crucial ways, matured quickly. And we have a lot more to learn about her…just like she has a lot to learn about life.

      Looking forward to the discussion as the scene progresses.

      Boldly Going Through the Alphabet!
      Part-Time Minion for Holton’s Heroes
      shanjeniah’s Lovely Chaos

      • Yes, that’s exactly it. Just because a decision isn’t life-or-death doesn’t mean it isn’t important to the person making it. It’s why we always held the door open to the kids choosing public school (which they both now have, on their own) when they were homeschooled, but the door to homeschooling remains open now that they’re in public school. When there is something we think might benefit them (or harm them), we might offer an opinion. But the final say invariably is theirs. I’ve seen, overall, that when kids are not forced into compliance but are both trusted and supported, they typically do make wise choices.

        • I wish every kid had that choice of a loving, accepting home or school, or both, at different times.

          I dreamed last night that both my kids went to school, and were happy. I was sad, for me, but happy for them. I also made sure to tell them that they were welcome to come back to homeschooling. =)

          Boldly Going Through the Alphabet!
          Part-Time Minion for Holton’s Heroes
          shanjeniah’s Lovely Chaos

  4. Considering in some cultures, and all too often throughout history, twelve was an acceptable age for a young bride, a young woman who might have had to manage her own home… Well, I don’t know Ava, but I do know expectation and maturity–and need!–can do a lot.

    That said, if she was not raised or exposed to examples that allowed her to access this strength within her, the fact she’s showing herself as this mature can be hard to accept.

    • Well, I’m not giving away much of Ava’s backstory here, but she’s definitely needed to be more mature than she might have, in other circumstances. And she’s motivated…

      As far as suspension of disbelief, if that becomes necessary, it might be worth it to remember that Kifo Island is a bit hospice-meets-Fantasy-Island, so, in that reality, it’s not utterly far-fetched that a twelve-year-old might be there independently.

      Boldly Going Through the Alphabet!
      Part-Time Minion for Holton’s Heroes
      shanjeniah’s Lovely Chaos

  5. I’m with Regi here. I don’t know if Ava has cancer, but there’s definitely something medical related going on. This story is going to dive into some hot topics isn’t it? I don’t blame her for not wanting to be stuck in a hospital (I was only there for three weeks, and it sucked even if the food at that hospital was some of the best hospital food I’ve ever had) but at 12 I don’t think she’s old enough to make that decision for herself – even though she’s a very wise 12.

    • Ava is an unusual girl, in an unusual situation, and that’s all I’m going to say, until the snippets do it for me.

      I will say that all of the Kifo Island novels deal with hot topics in one way or another.

      Whether or not she’s mature enough will definitely be addressed (I don’t believe physical age has as much to do with this type of decision as maturity does.)

      I hope the next snippets will be thought-provoking.

      Boldly Going Through the Alphabet!
      Part-Time Minion for Holton’s Heroes
      shanjeniah’s Lovely Chaos

  6. An intelligent child. She feels that she is worrisome to her parents or that they cannot deal with the fact that she is dying and would rather run away from it by keeping her in a hospital.


  7. I really hope to catch up with your A-Z!

    Hmm, hmm, and more hmm. I’m a bit behind, so this is a red-flaggy kind of post to me, but that’s probably lack of context. I’ve known very few 12 year olds who were truly able to make wise decisions over matters with long-term consequences. It sounds like she has cancer and her parents are just hoping to keep her alive.

    • My A-Z posts will be there when you get to them. I plan on setting up a page for them – hopefully before the end of the month, but definitely by the end of May.

      As for Ava – you’ll have to see, but you might not be far off in some aspects. As for age and long-term decision making, I think a lot depends upon the person. Many adults don’t do well with long-term decisions, after all.

      I know many 12 year olds whose lives have included a great deal of autonomy – many of them approach major decisions with a level of maturity that might be very surprising to those who think kids need to be controlled, as Ava said, for their own good.

      So I’m probably coming to this story from an unusual angle.

      I will say that there’s more going on here than will be revealed in this scene…

      Boldly Going Through the Alphabet!
      Part-Time Minion for Holton’s Heroes
      shanjeniah’s Lovely Chaos

      • Everything is very individual, of course. I’ve known some tweens who were extremely autonomous, some who did very well, others who really did not. And you’re right. Many adults do have trouble with long-term decisions. It all varies. In general, though, I tend to be of the “respect and value your elders” camp.

        • I believe in “respect those who are worthy of respect”. I see a certain danger in blanket respect of elders that likely comes from having been required to respect my own abusive parents. That respect (which was really more like fear) led me to enact some of the same abuses on my own children when they were small.

          When I changed my approach to parenting, my own parents insisted I was disrespecting the way I was raised. For them, and some other adults, perhaps including Ava’s parents, ‘respect’ means never doing anything that adult won’t approve of.

          It’s just possible that Ava is no more able to adhere to her parents’ definition of respect than I am my own parents’. In both our cases, it may be impossible to respect OURSELVES, if we do.

          Boldly Going Through the Alphabet!
          Part-Time Minion for Holton’s Heroes
          shanjeniah’s Lovely Chaos

          • I’m sorry about your experiences. 😦 I’m glad you came out the other side with so much strength and joy.

            (By the way, I’m just discussing to be discussing, not trying to prove or pound in a point. I was actually one of those extremely autonomous 12 year olds and once upon a time 12 was when you got married and made your own home. If it gets too hard on you, feel free to tell me to shush.)

            I’ve been very blessed to have many wise elders in my life. Some more than others, obviously. There is a need to be choosey who to take advice from. (I developed a criteria after taking some disastrous advice. :-P) Even among the most foolish of elders, though, there’s experience. However much you’ve experienced at 12 years old, even if the volume of experience is greater than the oldest elder you know, the time for reflection is absent, and that time is extremely important.

          • I wouldn’t want to repeat those aspects of my childhood, and I regret deeply passing even a hint of it on to my own beautiful, amazing children. We talk about it, and that it’s possible to change. Better yet, I do my utmost to live that change – all the time. I’m not perfect, but, little by little, it’s gotten more natural.

            It’s easy to feel joyful in a peaceful home. Since I was raised in so much volatility, that’s a treasure I truly understand the value of.

            My son, who will be 15 in September, has been autonomous for several years. He tends to be level-headed and forward-thinking. He often talks about his decisions; he always has good reasons. Even younger than 12, he was demonstrating better decision-making skills than some adults I know.

            I wrote this draft to inspire just this kind of discussion. As the novel moves on, there will be more details about Ava’s situation -and I think what “side” people come down on will depend a lot on their own perspectives and experiences in several areas.

            Mostly, I want people to think about some of these issues. So long as folks are respectful (NOT something I worry about with you!), there’s room for lots of opinions. I tend to agree with Ava’s view of what’s best and right, for reasons that may or may not become clearer in time.

            It’s that need to be choosy I hope to imbue in my children. I don’t interfere in their relationships with my parents, but I do caution them to consider the “adults are superior to kids and kids should fear and obey adults just because they ARE adults” mindset that prevails with them.

            I cant argue that adults have had more YEARS for reflection, but in actual hours, adults tend to often be engaged in the types of outer obligations that make reflective time scarcer; my unschooled kids have nearly all of their time free for their own activities (both spend considerable time in imaginative and reflective pursuits). It’s possible that they have more time, cumulatively, than some people several years older than them.

            And. of course, having the time for reflection doesn’t mean that anyone – adult or child – will USE that time for that purpose. A good many adults seem to go through an entire life somewhat as though they were sleepwalking- going through the motions, feeling emotion, and never questioning the purpose of those actions, the source of those emotions.

            In short, I’m not convinced that longer time lived equates to the ability to reflect. I’ve had epiphanies in seconds, and spent decades stewing over things I can’t do a thing about (like the way my parents raised me).

            I guess I have things to say, too…. =)

            Boldly Going Through the Alphabet!
            Part-Time Minion for Holton’s Heroes
            shanjeniah’s Lovely Chaos

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