And then November was halfway over, and most of us were left with something like whiplash…
It’s been quite a crazy time here. The days have been hectic, as they often are during NaNo, but this past week seemed to fill up with other things MORE than usual.
Day 8: 0 words
Yep. Day 8 was where everything fell apart and I got super discouraged. Actually, the stupid thing about it was that I DID actually write on this day. I wrote about 1024 words. Just… not on Turrim Archive. I saw that the Dynamic Duos theme deadline at Havok had been extended and I was seized with the irresistible desire to write a sequel story to Space Lanes. So I did.
But I didn’t get much written on Turrim. Which was what I was supposed to be working on. NaNoWriMo or not… that’s my MAIN FOCUS and here I was, wandering off in the weeds.
Day 9: 2304 words
But I managed to get my act together on Friday and pounded out a good number of words in the afternoon – I had to write in the afternoon because the girls and went to see a high school performance of “Shrek: The Musical” that evening and we didn’t get home until late. I was still behind, though… and heading into the weekend, which is not usually a good time for writing for me.
Day 10: 5,001 words!!!
Can I just gush for a moment about how much I love my husband? Seriously. He made sure I took plenty of time to write on Saturday, for two hours in the afternoon and another 2-3 hours in the evening, and I hit an all-time new personal-best record for most words written in a single day. And I really LIKED the words I’d written at the end of the day, too! Felt good to get ahead, too.
Day 11: 2139 words
Derek went out to play board games with a friend in the evening, so I hosted some word-sprints and got a good writing session in, staying more than a full day ahead of schedule.
Day 12: 738 words
Lost a little bit of the momentum I’d gathered. Also just had a REALLY busy day that involved an afternoon visit to the doctor, followed by grocery shopping, which meant that the littlest hobbit did not get his nap AND we didn’t get home until 4-o’clock, by which time, I had been out and about throughout my afternoon writing time and was too tired to spend much time on it that evening.
Day 13: 541 words
Didn’t actually expect to get much writing done on this day, as Wednesday evenings are when we have our mid-week children’s program at church. However, I had a little unexpected time and although I didn’t have my computer with me, I did find a pen and paper and managed to write for a little bit by hand.
Day 14: 1323 words
This week turned into a rather exciting/busy week as we had friends over for dinner and spent most of the day cleaning, but I did get some writing done in the afternoon, which allowed me to stay about a day ahead of the official word-count-tracker. This day of writing also brought me to the end of what I had outlined with Derek back in October (which was a more detailed outline of a specific event) and brings me back to my overall outline for the book, so that’s exciting. The story itself is now 67,000 words long and I’m guessing I have at least another 40k-50k words left before I type “THE END” on this project. My general target for each of these books has been 120,000 words, but that’s just a general goal… I’m more than happy to let the book be however long it needs to be.
Where we go from here
This coming week I am hoping to get more 2k-5k days in and get a few more days ahead so that I can relax a bit over the week of Thanksgiving and enjoy hanging out with family, but we shall see.
I’ve had to do a little back-pedaling on the story… not in terms of erasing anything I’ve written… but in realizing that there’s still a lot of things I need to write back near the beginning of this story. Some threads from previous books that I need to weave in and tie off. And while I have the bare bones of the epic battle-sequence hammered out, now I have to go through and flesh it out more and add another level of epic-ness to it.
Snippets I’m particularly proud of
“Mouse! Mouse, wake up!”
The voice penetrated the foggy world that Mouse had drifted into. Not a full sleep, more of a light doze, the sort where the boundaries between wakefulness and sleep begin to blur and thought becomes dream and dream becomes thought. At first, he could not determine whether the voice came to him from the dream or through it.
“Mouse! Of all the times to fall asleep. Mouse!”
No, this exasperated muttering could only be emanating from the waking world. Reluctantly, Mouse opened his eyes and blinked away the crust of sleep that had already begun to form, trying to make out the identity of the individual disturbing his repose. “Mmm, whatisit?” he slurred around a mouthful of saliva. Swallowing it down, he straightened in the chair he had been dozing in, wriggling the kink out of his shoulders. “Um… Kayda?”
“He’s coming.” Her eyes were wide in her pale face, hovering only a few inches from his own. Even at this range, he could barely make out her features. The lanterns had been snuffed out and the only light came from the eerie way that it did on a cloudy night. What should have been a deep darkness somehow reflected the light of lanterns and torches in the city, giving the night an ethereal gleam. Her fingers tightened on his forearm and Mouse tried to ignore her nails digging painfully into his skin.
“What? Who?” With an effort, Mouse tugged his thoughts across the barrier of dreams and brought himself to full alertness. “The Igyeum?”
Kayda nodded, her lips pressed tightly together.
Mouse leaped to his feet and peered out into the darkness, rubbing his bleary eyes, straining to see anything. “Where? How can you tell?”
Kayda shook her head and shivered, wrapping her arms around herself with a faint whimper. Something protective and fierce rose up in Mouse at the sound. Rising, he deftly transferred the blanket that had been falling off his lap to her shoulders, putting an arm around her as he did so.
“Come on, let’s get you inside.” He tried to make his voice as soothing as he could, but Kayda stiffened.
“I’m not c-crazy!” Her teeth clacked together and her body shook.
Mouse stepped back, startled. “I didn’t say you were. But you’re cold and it’s dark out here. If we go inside, maybe you can tell me what you know and then I can go alert the city watch.”
The girl’s eyes widened. “You b-believe me?”
“Got no reason not to.” Mouse shrugged. “I don’t know what you’ve been through, but I know where Captain Marik found you, and I know what kind of shape you were in, and I’ve seen things all my life that shouldn’t be possible, but are. If anyone can sense the Ar’Molon from a distance, I’d bet all my stin on you.”
“Evening, myrthn,” he said.
The man lifted his lantern and his eyes flicked to Ioan’s collar. “Evening, corporal. What can the city guard do for you, tonight?”
“Nothing arduous, I assure you,” Ioan grinned. “I spent a long day training my new company and though by all rights I should spend a few hours in my bunk, my mind is restless. Might I quietly spend a few minutes up here with you, keeping an eye to the horizon?”
The older man’s face filled with shadows as his wrinkles deepened in wry grin. “We got the news of the sighting, too, captain. I understand your anxiety. But our scout was able to estimate their speed. We won’t see our enemy for a day or two, yet. More if they intend to be any kind of intelligent about a siege. A wise man would get the rest he needs while he can.”
Ioan gave a jerky nod. “You’re right. I know it. But I can’t quite get the message to my nerves.”
The older man waved a hand at the railing. “You’re welcome to stay as long as you like. Want a biscuit? The wife just brought me dinner a few minutes ago.” He pressed a crumbly, buttery mess into Ioan’s hand. “I’m guessing you haven’t eaten either,” he raised a hand to ward off Ioan’s protests. “The wife keeps me well fed,” he patted his well-rounded stomach with a chuckle. “You youths never eat or sleep when you ought to. I know you think you’re not hungry, but take a bite. You might change your mind. There’s a pot of beef stew I can share if you find your appetite.”
Ioan’s stomach rebelled at the idea of food, until he brought the biscuit up to his lips. The scent of baked bread and melted butter and the warmth of the freshly cooked biscuit vetoed his entire worldview. A second later, he was licking the crumbs from his fingers and his stomach gurgled loudly, demanding more.
The elder guard chuckled and Ioan joined him, laughing ruefully at himself as he gratefully accepted the proffered bowl and a heaping pile of hot, savory stew filled with large chunks of beef and generously chopped vegetables. More biscuits materialized from a large basket and they set to with a will, each keeping a wary eye on the horizon as they ate.
“Good of you to come by and keep me company,” the man said after they had both eaten their fill. “Alia means well, but she always brings enough food to keep a garrison of men full on the nights I have watch.”
Ioan smiled. “You are a blessed man, to have such a caring wife.”
The guard nodded an affirmative, but in the dim light of the lantern, Ioan could see that his eyes were full of worry. “I tried to convince her to leave. We have family only a week’s ride to the southeast. Great caravans of people left, she could have gone with them. But she wouldn’t. Said if she left, I’d likely starve to death, and did I want to leave that kind of blemish on the good name of the civic defenders here in Dalton?”
Myrthn Brin Foley stood on the wall, waiting while the two men assigned to his contingent loaded the massive coria shell into the ember cannon they were manning. Sweat dripped down the sides of his face and his breaths came with an effort in the dust-filled air. The Igyeum weapons had just blasted a new hole through the wall a few meters down from where they stood, throwing rocks and debris skyward. Brin had been struck in the shoulder by a shard of the wall. If the wall had not shaken so much that he had taken a step up onto the platform to which the cannon was affixed, it probably would have hit him in the head and killed him instantly. A part of him wanted to sit down and ponder his narrow escape from death, but the more disciplined part of him continued to bark orders while he focused on his duty. There would be time later to consider his good fortune.
She glanced at him and grinned. “Feels a bit like the old days, doesn’t it?”
He chuckled. “What? You mean way back in the days when we used to hire out our ship to hunt treasure for wealthy or desperate patrons?”
“You were treasure hunters?” Grayden stared at them, his mouth slightly agape.
Raisa laughed, a wild laugh that danced away on the wind. “For a short time. That was back when I first signed on to Marik’s crew with Oleck, about… oh, thirteen years ago.” She eyed him. “I was a few years younger than you, actually.”
“I’ll bet it was exciting!”
Now it was Marik’s turn to laugh. “We thought it would be. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of actual treasure in the treasure-hunting business. And a lot of times, our patrons couldn’t pay us for our time.”
“So you turned pirate.”
Raisa tossed her head. “We started as pirates, kid. The treasure hunting business was more of a side hobby.” She turned to Marik. “But it did give us a chance to explore some amazing places.”
“And introduced us to a few of our later marks,” Marik replied, grinning.
Grayden shook his head. “So what was it that made you decide to become a pirate? You don’t seem like the kind of people who take pleasure in hurting others.”
Marik’s mouth went dry. His eyes suddenly found Raisa’s and the levity of the moment and the fond memories disappeared, replaced by painful ones, filled with fire and death. Images swirled before his eyes, images he could never seem to outrun, no matter how far he fled.
Raisa looked away, her expression clouding over.
Grayden glanced between them, clearly expecting a story, but Marik couldn’t face those ghosts. Not while soaring over the place where it had all begun.
“Sometimes life tosses you a bryukva, kid,” Marik muttered, “and there’s nothing you can do but hold your nose and swallow.”
Grayden raised an eyebrow. “A what?”
His confusion pulled Marik out of the dark spiral of thoughts that threatened to pull him down into a vortex. “A bryukva. Don’t you have those in Dalma?” When Grayden shook his head, Marik clicked his tongue against his teeth. “Lucky you. Bryukvas’re the only unappetizing things that grow in Vallei.”
“They don’t taste that bad,” Oleck rumbled from his spot at the wheel.
Marik rolled his eyes. “If you can get past the smell.”
“I’ll keep my distance,” Grayden commented.
How about you? Are you ready for WEEK THREE? Do you have any Thanksgiving plans? Are you getting enough sleep? Are you reading anything particularly awesome? I’d love to hear from you!