Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Over Nine Thousand

I pride myself on being a worker-bee type writer, and NaNoWriMo is something I’ve wanted to do for a while. I thought it would be really fun, especially if I chose a project that I didn’t have very well planned. I could just see what would develop organically from a couple of characters and half-scribbled images in my mind. I was right—it’s been a blast. I’m sold. I’ll be back next year and everything.

However… the first day I wrote about ten thousand words, which is a pretty good day. On my best days, I have been able to put about thirty thousand words on paper before dinner, but there’s no rush, so I wasn't geared up to try and have any particularly awesome days this month. I’ve got all month and after ten thousand words I was sleepy, so after that first day I calmed down and just added a couple thousand words to the manuscript here and there, not really stressed about finishing well before the end of the month. Last week I was super busy and I only ended up writing a little over nine thousands words. Still, I was almost to the forty thousand mark Saturday morning.

Then, Monday, tragedy struck. It was back-up day. So, I went to back-up my novel and everyone knows where this is going so I won't even... Ugh.

I didn’t lose the whole thing, though. I’m not that pathetic, this time (I have lost whole books in the past, good job, me.) I did lose everything that I wrote last week. It’s gone forever. I was very pleased with those nine thousand words. The thought of rewriting the last few scenes was pretty awful, because they were not easy scenes to write.

First I cried, then I ate a sandwich and glared at the computer screen, like it’s even his fault. Then, I started writing, with this particularly awesome Youtube video on my mind.

So, that was yesterday and now I’m finally beyond the point where I lost last week’s work. I’m not loving some of this as much as I did the first time around. I just can’t seem to recapture the same tone, in one scene in particular… but, at least one other scene has improved considerably upon being rewritten. I guess that’s just the way it goes.

Anyway, I’m still on track to finish pretty quickly, but geez. Did I really need to learn a lesson just then?

I guess if I have to ask that, I probably didn’t learn it well enough.

I might have just shot myself in the foot.

Monday, November 7, 2011

NaNo Week Uno!

So far, NaNoWriMo has been pretty awesome:) It’s November 7th and I’m at 25K (and I didn’t do any writing yesterday) so, hopefully I’ll finish quite early and take a week or two to edit and stuff. The veterans of NaNo repeatedly say that editing is the worst thing you can possibly do, so I’ve resisted (ish) the urge to read through what I’ve written and instead just keep adding more, but the result is that I’ll probably have to edit this book more than any other, once it’s actually finished.

It’s nice to get a head start. Half-way done on the sixth wasn’t really what I intended, but cool, cool.

I settled on The MirrorGirl, a project that I worked on years ago, abandoned, turned into a short story, revised, decided I wanted it to be a novel after all, tried to work on a summary, got overwhelmed, came up with the complete story from start to finish in my head, got bored, forgot about, revised the short story again, abandoned again, rediscovered, kidnapped, murdered, resurrected and forgot about again.

The only thing I really kept around from that original version is the characters. The plot has a new face, the style and themes and structures are utterly different… I read through the rules and it’s all kosher. I didn’t write a word of this book before November 1st, I had vague elements floating around that I thought might come to play in the plot, so the story-line itself has been pretty organic.

I decided to switch perspective between the chapters and write it in first person present tense, because I think it suits the story and also because I think that it’s always easier for me to get up to a higher word count in first person present.

So, here’s an excerpt from Nole's perspective:

I like to think I’m not a bad guy. I was perfectly willing to wait another three days—a generous extension—before I sent someone to break Rex’s thumbs. Of course, such warnings proved unnecessary once the man miraculously came up with the money and delivered it in cold, hard, unmarked cash to my kind hand. Considering the humiliation and torment he put me through, I ought to be considered absolved of any wrong I have ever done for being forgiving enough a man to forget. I let him live, didn’t I?

I let him live even after he took advantage of my innocent little Mercy and took her away from me and made it known to the Crime Kings at large. I even let him come back and work for me after the little bint moved on. I let him live when he and his goons lost a very important shipment over a cliff and claimed the boogey-man did it. I’ll even split the financial retribution evenly between all the men on the job, rather than demanding that they each pay me the full amount or take a bullet to the back of skull.

That’s all in the past. Rex is the past. Some men don’t have the nerves to stay at this for long. He gave me my money and now I don’t ever have to see his ugly face again. I’m feeling good about that. If I can put Rex into the past, then maybe Mercy will stay there with him.

It’s dark out already. It’s only five o’clock but looking out my window, the sun is all gone for the day. It clocked out early. I could use a drink. I go over to the cabinet, ready to pour myself something nicer than the crappy beer that gets me my daily prescribed alcohol most of the time. The door opens as I reach the cabinet. On instinct one hand creeps closer to the piece at my side, but it’s just Hector.

“Someone’s here to see you,” says Hector, a little louder than necessary. It’s loading dock day outside. The truck engines are probably still buzzing in his ears.


“Dr. Bleak.” Hector clearly knows that impact these words will have on me, but he tries to play it cool. I will too, once I get over my shock. I try to think of myself as only achieving the levels of necessary evil. Bleak is a whole other class. I don’t know what he’s doing here, but I hope he’s got the wrong place.

Hector moves aside to let a giant enter the room. The man looks like he might be seven feet tall. He’s wide but from his regale stance and broad, strong shoulders I guess that it’s all muscle. His face is hideous. Scars extend from the corners of his mouth up to his ears in an eerie, grisly grin. This man can’t be Bleak. Sure enough, the body-guard moves aside to allow the Doctor to step into the room.

Dr. Bleak looks tiny in comparison to his Muscle. His thin body is draped in a tailored black suit. He wears leather gloves over his delicate hands and a hat which he removes upon entering the room. A full head of white hair is combed neatly beneath the hat. His chilling blue eyes suggest intelligence that must be a requirement for someone like Bleak.

“Have a seat,” I say coolly, gesturing to a pair of chairs in front of my desk. I’m not sure that they’ll be able to hold the weight of the Muscle, but he doesn’t sit down anyway. Bleak does, then he looks expectantly at me. I sit down in my own chair behind the desk. “What can I do for you, Doctor?”

“This is quite a smooth operation you run here.”

I nod at the compliment, it does mean a lot considering the source.

“I’ve always had a fascination for these little factions outside of Salome’s beating heart… You know, someone like you is a real innovator in a lot of ways. You’re a businessman. A gentleman of the community and what you do keeps the community in order.”

“Well, I try my best,” I don’t really know where he’s going with this, but I’m keeping one hand within a few inches of my gun. My eye is trained on Bleak’s huge bodyguard. The man looks totally calm. His enormous hands swollen and red, concentrated around his massive front two knuckles.

“This community has caught my eye recently and well… the truth is, I’ve got a job to do here, but, I wouldn’t want to get in the way of anything or overstep my bounds. Rith isn’t really my territory,” he chuckles. “So, I was thinking that instead of having my men do this job, I’d hire out. I’d hire you, to be specific.”

“You want to pay me for a job out here in Rith?”


“What kind of job?” I can’t possibly imagine what might be relevant to Bleak’s work, all the way out here.

“Little job. Barely any trouble; one day’s effort and it’s all finished,” says Bleak, his voice like crystal chimes.

“What does it entail?”

“There’s a little girl. Her name is Rabbit Blue and she’s a fourth grade student at South Rith Elementary. I want you to abduct her and bring her to Salome’s heart.”

What? Did I hear him right? Here’s where the guy loses me. What the hell could this little girl, Rabbit, have to do with heavy arms manufacturing? This can’t possibly be relevant to Bleak’s work. It’s got to be something personal. I clear my throat and glance at the Muscle’s red knuckles again before I careful enunciate my response. “Well, Mr. Bleak, that’s not really my area of expertise. I’m more of a drugs and gambling type of entrepreneur. You know, the money makers… And to be quite honest, I’ve always found trafficking in little girls to be somewhat distasteful.”

“Oh, I as well. Don’t think I want the child for any kind of unsavory purposes. Mr. Cheshire and I-” he gestures to the mountain of death with the screwed up face, “-are disgusted by the human trafficking groups. Aren’t we, Mr. Cheshire?”

Mr. Cheshire looks disgusted. It’s terrifying.

“I think the girl would be invaluable to my research, is all. She’ll be very well cared for.”

“All the same, my men and I… we don’t really have any experience with abduction. You might want to call in the experts.”

“I’m afraid I could never fund such debauchery,” says Bleak firmly. “You’re endeavors on the other hand are… a pillar of modern society. I see nothing regrettable about giving you more money.”

“How much money are we talking about?”

“What are the going rates for kidnapping now? It’s gone down a bit in the past decade… How about ten million? That’s always seemed such a tight, decent but not ostentatious amount of money.”

I have no problem with Bleak being ostentatious. It’s too much to pass up, especially since it’s bound to be cake—just snatching a little girl. “When do you want her?”

“As soon as possible.”

Tonight, I’m a bad man.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Occupy Wall Street

Here's my admittedly flawed, but humorous and 'more-true-than-some-people-want-to-admit' understanding of the situation...

Say I’ve got ninety-nine friends and we’re all hanging out at somebody’s house. Not that of one of the 99, probably something like the house of a friend of a friend, who I’m not really acquainted with, but I think he might have dated someone I know. Anyway, this guy whose house me and my 99 friends are hanging out at decides to go get pizza. He gets a dollar from everyone there, except me, he asks for 20 bucks from me and I go ahead and give it to him because I want pizza, and I did ask from Hawaiian toppings even though I might be the only person eating that pizza. Anyway, 119 dollars isn’t enough money to get pizza for all of us, especially not from the trendy pizza place that this guys goes to (I told him 5 buck was edible, but he didn't believe me) so this guy uses some magic invisible credit money to cover the rest of the bill.

We all eat the pizza, but after it’s gone some of my ninety-nine friends start bugging this guy to give them a dollar. They let him borrow a dollar, now they want a it back. He says he’s run out of magic invisible credit money, so he can’t let them have a dollar. Most of my 99 friends go home, but there are a few who won’t let this dollar thing die. Finally, someone suggests that if this guy can’t give them back the dollars they loaned him, then he should take my money and give every one of my 99 friends a dollar.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, guys. I don’t even have 99 dollars. But then they say that they’ll take whatever I have and distribute it equally among my 99 friends.

No, guys, I’m seriously not giving you any money.

They’re all like, you have to! You don’t deserve that money, plus you ate a ton of pizza, you’re way fat and gross and you definitely have 99 dollars, I saw.

Que es eso? I respond. Peace out, I’m taking my ball and going home.

But then they totally follow me home and hang out on my lawn for two months.