Weekend Writing Warriors: Odd Duck (Hooper)

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I’m currently typing up my handwritten pages of the nanoduck and just reached this bit, a conversation between Our Hero Tom and Hooper, the bodyguard of Leda, an American Swan Princess whose father is powerful in both human and Were politics.

Leda is something of a hot wreck.

Hooper, on the other hand, is a calm, collected swan who could probably bench press a Chevy.

Whooper Swan

“It’s almost too bad you don’t like Leda,” Hooper said.  “You’re not such a bad guy.”

“Gosh, thanks,” I said. “What about you?  You like her—and you can’t tell me Swanson’s crap doesn’t rub you the wrong way; why not swoop down and save her from all this mess?”

“She likes it messy,” he said, shrugging. “She needs drama or she gets bored—and I want a mate, not a sparring partner, y’know?”

I knew.


Hooper isn’t an oxymoron, if you were wondering.

The very few male wereswans I’ve read about in fiction—there are fewer in legends—are mostly these otherworldly artistic types, as if Odette had a fraternal twin who was too physically delicate to make in it professional ballet, even after taking classes with his sister and her friends since he was five, so he becomes a high-strung college professor with turned out toes and an interesting translucent pallor.

But Real Life™ swans are actually these enormous birds with incredible upper body strength and powerful legs who could snap your arm with a single wing wallop. And they may look like they’ve been designed solely to droop in an artistic way, but they’re actually pretty savvy guys who are protective of their territories and bevies like whoa.

Some of the male swans in Tom’s world are still pretty droopy, possibly because they believe their own press.  Or maybe just ’cause the chicks dig it. Or maybe because of my narrative needs.

But Hooper went to college on a football scholarship.

I’m just sayin’.


Image of a Whooper Swan was taken by Pascal Aleixandre, located on WikimediaCommon, and shared under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.


43 thoughts on “Weekend Writing Warriors: Odd Duck (Hooper)

  1. Swans are also monogamous and do not take another mate if theirs dies. And they can be quite vicious. But I have to admit, these are the first wereswans I’ve ever read about. Well, the fairy tale doesn’t count because they weren’t really wereswans.

    Anyhow, fun snippet. I like Hooper. When do we get to read the whole thing?

    • They are monogamous, but I learned that if their pairing was new enough, or if there are no cygnets the first year or two, they can and do accept other mates! Such possibilities! 🙂

      You will after I do, Paula . . . editing is slow going. 🙂

  2. I don’t know much about swans, other than the fact that they’ve got vicious bites. I like the humor in the dialogue and get why he feels this way about Leda. It kind of sounds like me 😀 great snippet!

    • They must, Frank–I’ve been goosed before by a genuine goose, and swans are even bigger! 🙂

      Yeah, drama is interesting, but long term it’s exhausting. 😀

    • Thanks, Karen! 🙂

      There’s apparently a special name for them: Swanmanes. I’ve no idea why!

      But there are a couple of legends and myths out there–Swan Lake is one of ’em. Leda and the Swan is (technically) another. 🙂

  3. The exchange is great, but I really hope you find a way to work this into the book somehow: “as if Odette had a fraternal twin who was too physically delicate to make in it professional ballet, even after taking classes with his sister and her friends since he was five, so he becomes a high-strung college professor with turned out toes and an interesting translucent pallor.”

  4. Swans are mean and strong–they only look serene from far away. Good for Hooper for recognizing some people don’t want to be saved. There’s always those who like living in a telenovela (Spanish soap opera, for those who don’t know. They are soap operas with drama squared).

    • I totally agree, caitlin. Though Hooper is actually fairly serene. 😀

      And Leda does want to be saved . . .but in a very specific (telenovela) way. 😀

  5. I love swans, but then again, I’m biased, as I used the symbolism of the swan a lot in my first Russian historical, including the title and cover. I hope Hooper finds the perfect mate.

    Would you be interested in being tagged for the 777 challenge? The rules are, “In your current WIP, go to the 7th page, 7 lines down, and share 7 lines or so.” You don’t have to post on a specific day or immediately.

    • I was going to ask you about that—I might need a few Russian swans later. 🙂

      Thank you for thinking of me, but I’ve already been tagged several times for 777, and I’m running out of manuscripts that have actual page numbers. 😀

  6. I never got why anyone would think a swan was droopy or easily-overpowered. They’re larger than geese, and probably stronger too (you won’t catch me testing the theory IRL, though, I like my fingers where they are :)).

    Love the wereswan with a football scholarship! This story has so much that’s unexpected (for me, at least, non-were-reader that i am) but your characters are so real and likeable. Great 8!

  7. Wow, what an unusual concept! One of my favorite fairy tales as a child was about swans- I forget the name, but it was German and about a girl named Elsa who had brothers who would turn into swans, and I loved it so much!

    Love the dialogue here; Hooper sounds like an interesting guy, and Leda like she’s a piece of work. But she would be, wouldn’t she?

    • Is that the one where she had to knit sweaters from stinging nettles for her brothers and/or not say a word to anyone for seven years to turn them back to men, and at the end of the story, her youngest brother had one wing, because she couldn’t finish? That’s one of my favorites!

      Hooper was never supposed to have dialogue, but he became more important while I wasn’t noticing. Leda is only important to one person—oddly enough, it isn’t her! 🙂

      Thanks, Christina!

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