We write the Rook and Rose novels in a series of shared Google Docs, swapping back and forth multiple times during the course of a scene. Because of this setup, we often leave comments in the margins of the draft. Many of these comments are logistical ones like “check timing” or explaining alterations we’ve made . . . but some are just us getting chatty with each other. We actually leave those in the draft for the entertainment of our editor; now we want to share them with you. Below are a selection of the choicer ones, with the relevant quotation from the book that the comment was attached to.
(Needless to say — but we will say it anyway — here be spoilers. Albeit context-free ones, since the quotations are relatively brief.)
|A muscle jumped in Serrado’s jaw, but he said nothing to correct the inaccuracy or half-veiled insult in Vargo’s description.||(Alyc) Grey: “We’re not descended from damn birds, you utter twat”|
|Taking the mask from Vargo, Renata held it up, comparing it against him. “It almost matches your spider pin! But not your coat, I fear.”||(Alyc) Peabody: “She noticed me! We match! Oh, I do like her!”|
|[Vargo] lifted the mask from Renata’s face, his gloved fingers brushing her cheek in passing||(Marie) Grey: “I’m standing right. fucking. here.”|
|Donaia’s attention flicked briefly to Renata’s bare arms.||(Marie) Ren: Bitch, please. (Alyc) Heh. Donaia’s getting her cat on|
|“Over there, Parma Extaquium and Egliadas Fintenus. […] Don’t bother trying to get between [them]. […] I’ve been failing at it since spring.”||(Alyc) I think I’ve changed my mind. Bondiro and Parma are totally fucking and have been for years, and this ‘getting into her pants’ thing is just a game they play. ::mentally writes fic about quaternary characters::|
|“Mezzan Indestor.” The Rook faced him with all the lazy assurance of a predator.||(Alyc) You have failed this city.|
|“That kinless bastard. Here, take mine.” He pulled off his left glove and offered it to her.||(Marie) Way to unwittingly rub salt in Grey’s familial wounds, Leato!|
|He’d loved those boots. So big they chafed and left blisters; he’d had to stuff them with rags. But they’d made wonderful clompy sounds that had all the Fingers feeling safer when Sedge was around.||(Alyc) Sedge’s boots = my dad’s motorcycle boots that I stomped around in when I was three. There’s a pic of me, probably lost forever now, in only my diapers and those boots. They came up to the thigh. Sadly, I was no highwayman. Unless the highwayman preferred pampers.|
|[Leato] enveloped her like a blanket, warm against the chill of the room, and smelled not unpleasantly of sweat, with a lingering trace of caramel from what remained of his perfume.||(Marie) Ren’s stream of consciousness: “Look for clues that he’s the Rook. Durrrr, boy. FOCUS, girl.” [In our original draft, Ren began suspecting Leato earlier than she does in the final.]|
|“I believe you were once betrothed to her.” Before Letilia broke the contract and fled.
“So I was.”
|(Alyc) Scaperto: “I don’t know what a bullet is, but I feel as though I have dodged one.”|
|Only river-rooted Nadežrans frequented the Gawping Carp.||(Alyc) This location has a song. It has been stuck in my head all day. It is the Whiffenpoof Song; however, I can’t find the cover that I like. So someday I will find it and you can add it to the soundtrack.|
|“Are you flirting with me, Captain Serrado?”
“An alta and Leato’s cousin? I’d rather face Alta Parma’s wrath.”
|(Alyc)The original line was “I promise you, Alta Renata. If I flirt with you, you’ll know it.” However, I nixed it because as BRILLIANT as it is… it’s a dead giveaway that Grey is the Rook. ::cries for dead darling::|
|Tess’ fingers itched to drag the coat off [Pavlin] for a bit of nip-and-tuck.||(Alyc) not a euphemism|
|“They’re going through a passel of [ice], so you should be able to make your way in without anyone giving you a bother.”||(Alyc) Originally had this as ‘hassle,’ but Hassle and Passel sound like cartoon characters. But not, y’know, American cartoons. No, some weird live action-claymation hybrid from Sweden or Finland.|
|If [Ren] let herself stop to think, she’d be terrified. So she didn’t stop. She just kissed Tess, settled the bucket on her arm, and strode into the house.||(Alyc) WOOT! ::breaks bottle across bow:: I christen this ship the HMS Renafore.|
|“Would you care to snoop together?”||(Alyc) My gods, kiddos. Get a room. Or a really cramped closet.|
|Then she paused and said thoughtfully, “I don’t suppose you know anything about some difficulties around a warehouse belonging to House Fiangiolli?”
Vargo’s fork slipped on the bit of roast duck he was attempting to skewer.
|(Alyc) Peabody: “Get out. Get out now. Abort!”
Vargo: “Naw, I can handle this.”
|This close, she could see some kind of mark, not quite fully hidden by the paint. Its circular shape suggested some kind of numinatrian tattoo, but she couldn’t make out the details without obviously staring.||(Alyc) We’re managing to get so caught up in how fuckable Vargo is that Marie keeps forgetting to give Ren dialogue 😛|
|She groaned inwardly as another Rook approached them, but it turned into a coughing fit when she realized the man under the hood was none other than Leato.||(Alyc) I bet she’d like to confirm what’s under the hood… >.>|
|Hoping Tanaquis would take the unsteadiness of her voice for trauma, Renata said, “I assure you, I am not keeping anything back.”||(Alyc) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zg0xBjegI7A (video clip of Valerie in The Princess Bride shrieking “LIAR!!!”]) [this line got changed in revisions]|
|[Vargo] fiddled with the edge of his collar.||(Alyc) Rushed conversation: Vargo: DON’T YOU DARE COME OUT. Peabody: But– Vargo: NO! WHAT THIS CONVERSATION NEEDS IS NOT MORE SPIDERS.
(Marie) Alsius: “If only I could talk to her directly . . .” Vargo: “And tell her what I did? It isn’t too late for me to smoosh you.” Alsius: “Yes it is, and we both know it.”
|Vargo took his cue, standing and giving her a slight bow. “I will. If you need a moment of peace, tug on your left earlobe. I have some skill at being a distraction.”||(Marie) Here Ren does not flash back to a memory of Vargo in body paint, but only because she’s too tired and traumatized.
(Alyc) And this is proof that Ren and I are nothing alike.
|One part of her mind said, That’s Master Peabody. The rest of her shrieked and overturned her chair.||(Alyc) Alsius: “Now?” Vargo: “Wait for it.” Alsius: “Now?!” Vargo: “Wait for it.” Alsius: ::vibrating:: “NOW?!” Vargo: “…Now.” Alsius: “WHEEEEEEE!!!!! BOO!”|
|He obviously thought she’d dropped the card on purpose, that the whole thing was a ruse to pass along a hint.||(Alyc) well… it kinda IS
(Marie) That part of it wasn’t, though! </professional pride>
|“When you say unable to sleep, what do you mean? Since when? How does it feel? What steps have you taken to remedy it?”||(Marie) “And remember, this is for posterity, so, be honest. How do you feel?”|
|While Ren scrubbed away the previous makeup and reapplied her mask, Tess explained matters: the days of delirium and weakness, and then the numinatrian ritual that healed her at last.
“Vargo?” Ren said, pausing with her eyes half-done to stare at Tess.
|(Alyc) ahhahaha. If he wasn’t the first to admit it was shocking, I think he’d be insulted by this.|
|“Rumor has it there was a Vraszenian woman involved in the Night of Hells. Surely that can’t be Mezzan’s lover.” I think I would have noticed him in my bed. [this line was changed in revision]||(Alyc) STEALTH LOVER
(Marie) THAT’S CREEPY
(Alyc) You don’t even notice him coming and going!
(Marie) If you don’t notice him coming, it doesn’t sound like very good sex. 😛
(Alyc) better than the sex where you don’t notice yourself coming 😀
|“I see I’ve lost my place as your hero. Probably for the best. He’s better suited to it.”||(Alyc) And here we see that rarest of birds — Vargo speaking a bedrock truth.|
She refused to call that a bad thing.
|(Marie) <3 <3 <3 Giuna can join Tess in the “best people in this novel” corner of the room.|
|A shake of Tanaquis’ head killed that hope. “It should be the cards you used in the reading. They have the strongest, clearest connection.”
Of course they did.
|(Alyc) YOU CAN’T AVOID PLOT SACRIFICES, REN! They’re like Wheaties. You must eat them to grow strong.
(Marie) WE ARE NOT BURNING HER CARDS.
|Ladnej laughed and planted a kiss on Smuna’s lips.||(Marie) Yes, they’re lovers. Because apparently now I, too, work out the romantic lives of quaternary characters. 😛
(Alyc) Heeeee <3 This makes me happy
|“After this is done,” [Andrejek] said softly, “you and I will talk again.”||(Alyc) I SHIP IT SO HARD!!!
Seriously, the sexual chemistry here is off the charts <3
(Marie) I guess it’s a good thing we’re intending to make the Anduske an ongoing thing in the story, then, because I didn’t actually intend to launch a new ship just by having the guy stare Grey down and talk quietly instead of shouting . . .
(Alyc) Unf. I know what I want for Yuletide.
|Instead of eating, Tess stared at the bread, fingers curled around it like she was cradling a wounded bird.||(Alyc) or her broken heart|
|Tacit permission was enough for Grey. He grabbed the butler by the collar before the man could figure out what she meant and shoved him backward into the front hall. I bet he’s flammable.||(Alyc) HAHAHAHAHAHHAAH <333333|
|The railing snapped beneath her hand when she put her weight on it, turning her leap into a fall.||(Marie) Sorry, Ren; you don’t get to be as sexy as Grey. 🙂|
|The thought of Tess on ash was enough to snap him out of his spiral.||(Alyc) You wouldn’t like her when she’s angry
(Marie) Tess’ nightmares involve messy seams and garments falling apart 🙂
(Alyc) Giant bobbins rolling slowly towards her
|Mettore shot to his feet. “I told you, hag — not here.”||(Alyc) Fucking minions, amirite?
(Marie) Ondrakja is the worst. minion. ever.
|Idusza swore Andrejek wouldn’t harm their own people like that . . . but the rank and file didn’t always know what the leadership was doing.||(Marie) Exhibit A: The Vigil
(Alyc) Exhibit B: Ondrakja
|Instead of answering or taking his hand, she fumbled in her pockets, of which she had an astonishing number.||(Alyc) Heh. Tanaquis is the original ‘it has pockets!’ girl.|
|Plus he’d been looking too small. Fienola hadn’t exaggerated: the numinat covered the amphitheater’s entire floor.
“Shit,” Sedge breathed.
|(Marie) Originally: “It’s big,” Sedge breathed.
. . . yeah, a little too suggestive. 😉