Day Six #nanowrimo

IMG_6177Words for the day: 1302
T-shirt: Totoro
Best song vibe: “They Blind The Stars, And the Wild Team” Decoder Ring (2010)

The aim was to hit the 20K mark today. Life had other ideas. The main focus wasn’t writing, but to get everything in order for my first Writer’s Surgery at the QWC. The Writer’s Surgery is a 90 minute, face-to-face mentoring session. As it was my first, I wanted to make a good go of it. And the writing suffered as a consequence. I got an early session in but that was all.

Nothing like the pressure of having to get words down to ensure they piss off on you (I was grateful to catch 1300 of them). Plus my body is one large ball of angry, painful hatred after my massage yesterday. You can’t roll with it every day.

I did manage to find a way to mask Christian’s entry into the house by changing the POV to Ramsey. Tabitha steps out of the dark and after a few lines of dialogue, Christian steps out too much to Ramsey’s fury. It will be fun to go back and amp the tension up in the scene in the second draft

So no 20K for me today. There’s always tomorrow.

A little from today following.

* * *

“Love me or hate me, both are in my favour,” she said, pushing the chair out.

“If you love me, I’ll always be in your heart,” he joined.

“If you hate me, I’ll always be in your mind.”

“We understand each other then,” Ramsey said holding the door open for her.

She nodded and he watched her lover’s face relax when she walked toward him. Ramsey followed several paces behind.

“Thank you,” he said, extending a hand.

Ramsey looked at it and walked past, his heels chipping sharply on the tiles as he went deeper into the house to find Marie.

Day Two #nanowrimo

IMG_6148Words for the day: 2745 (across two sessions)
T-shirt: The Book Was Better
Best song vibe: “Pressure” Billy Joel (1982)

Today’s goal was to hit the 7500 in total. I stupidly thought it would be easy because I knew exactly what was going to happen today. Tabitha was off to meet Ramsey for the first time, to set foot inside Dalhousie on the orientation evening she speaks about in her email. What took up perhaps a paragraph in the jettisoned emailed fleshed out most of today’s word count.

It totally sucked and emphasised my previous thoughts about me not ever being a plotter. it took forever to get the 2700 odd words out.

The introduction to the house and to Ramsey is dodgy at best, but it is there to be honed in the future. I can see the bare bones of what it will be. The house looming up all spooky and Ramsey materialising from the shadows looking at his fobwatch.

Tomorrow it’s what goes on in the room and the Tabitha’s realisation she can have it all and more.

What struck me as I reached the end of the word count today was Tabitha’s diary says she took Christian with her into the house so they could play out their affair in the relative safety of the house. But writing tonight, I saw that wasn’t the real reason. Tabitha takes Christian into the house so she won’t be alone or outcast in the midst of people who are confident in themselves and their art.

She’s not the strong sassy woman she writes as in her diary. She is full of self doubt, riddled with fear. She is endlessly lost in fantasies of a different life and always coming up short when her fantasies fall well beyond that of reality. In this, she will have a good character arc as the time with Christian will empower her to believe in herself, to be stronger. To strip away the version of herself she detests. She refers to herself as a disaffected mother, a scared wife, bored part-time tutor and disillusioned writer.

Oh, and the sculptor finally introduced himself: John Hardgrave. But as we know, he will always and only ever be, ‘the sculptor’. Not surprising, within minutes of him and Tabitha meeting they are at each other!


Here is a small taster from today:

Tabitha swallowed hard, clutching the purse to her stomach as though she could push the dread brewing there back in.

“I have a family. It isn’t possible for me to spend all night here. They –”

“What if I were to ask you to trust me, Miss MacLeod.”

Never trust a man who says, trust me. Especially if he has it on his tie. Joel had that fucking Garfield tie with trust me on it and look where that ended up. Jesus, what was I thinking in coming here?

“I’ll need to make a phone call,” Tabitha said, knowing it was a lie but one that would buy her five minutes to think. Enough time to, at the very least, send Christian a message in the event she became the next victim in a mass murder or disappeared off the face of the earth never to be seen again.

“I say we trust, Ramsey,” the sculptor said. “What do you have to loose, Miss MacLeod.”

She hated the way he emphasised the Miss in her name, as if calling her out in the ruse of a double identity.

“There is no we here,” Tabitha bit back. “You don’t speak for me.”

The sculptor shrugged. “Call a taxi then and let the rest of us get on with the business of being here.”

Tabitha rankled at his suggestion that she was somehow expendable, inferior to the rest of them.

Ramsey walked over to her. “I appreciate your concern and your reluctance. But I cannot emphasis how important it is to me, to have you as part of this residency, Tabitha. For what you will bring to this group.” He offered his hand to her. “May, I ask you reconsider and come with us upstairs.”

The young maid reappeared and her tray was quickly filled with empty glasses and she was gone again.

“Fuck it,” Gordo-Ham, the one in the seventies shirt, said. “I’m in.”

“And me,” Becca and Ham-Gordo said in stereo.

All eyes were on her, as though the entire thing would fall apart if she dared to say no.

“Lay on, McDuff,” she said, attempting to lighten the mood, drawing on the fantasy version of herself who was radiant and socially adept but failing dismally in quoting McBeth’s death words.

“And damn’d be him that first cries, ‘Hold, enough!’” finished Ramsey, the curve of his moustache going up with the smile punctuating his words. He closed his hand around hers and together they lead the group  toward the sweeping staircase at the end of the foyer. As they climbed the heavy-carpeted stairs he leaned in to whisper in her ear, “You are the first to not misquote the bonnie bard, lassie.”

“The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

“Aye, lassie. Protest too much indeed.”

NaNo Bound

nanowrimo2It’s time. Time to return to the madness that is the National Novel Writing Month.

Last year I had spent most of the year writing and had just completed the final edits on Elyora/River of Bones and didn’t feel NaNo was the thing for me. I also spent the first ten days travelling and I just wanted to enjoy the time away. In 2011, NaNo was the straw that broke the camel’s back (so to speak). When I had to concede I just couldn’t write and I pulled the pin less than half way through it was like pulling the pin on a hand grenade and I imploded. It was the start of the second serious bout of depression I suffered through in 2011.

Ironically, what I wrote in the year I didn’t ‘win’ provided the only published work from a NaNo adventure to date. A section of the opening story in Seeker Lover Keeper became the vignette ‘Intersected’ published in the first issue of Vine Leaves Literary Journal.

In 2013

So this year, I’d been toying for a bit as to what November would hold for me. Would I? Wouldn’t I? It was seeing that Rus Vanwestervelt was planning on doing it, that pushed me over the line. I needed a writing buddy. Someone I could confide the dark corners of the story to. Someone I know who will be an awesome inspiration. And that’s Rus and more.

The plan is to write a novella length adaptation of my steampunk romance ‘Between Minutes’. From my NaNo pages:

A passionate love affair.
An impossible house.
The opportunity of a life time.

The six-week creative programme offered at “Dalhousie” is like no other in the world. Tabitha’s offer of a place in the programme is the opportunity she and her secret lover, Christian, have dreamed of. A chance to escape into a Bohemia of naked passion for music, words and each other, where the pressures and frustrations of their suburban lives have no place.

But Bohemia has its limitations. The claustrophobia of the house and it’s Victorian workings, fuelled by Christian’s obsession with the future, Tabitha’s entrenchment in the past and the competing motivations of the other residents, threaten to unhinge their sanity and commitment to each other.

When Tabitha is called to honour the undefined debt in her contract, the cost of the residency will be more than a minute of their mundane existence on the outside.

Born between the promise of mad machines and crumpled sheets, “Between Minutes” is a dark, erotic meta-steampunk novella of cognitive dissonance.

It’s not a perfect little (*cough*) blurb but it is a start. I haven’t yet decided if I will go toward the romance, happily ever after bent, or the darker horror version. The original short story walks the path between the two.

Ready, Set…

With less than half an hour until kick off I am happy to say I have:

  • an extensive playlist of early 80’s music (it all started with a single Kids in the Kitchen song!)
  • a tidy writing space
  • the relevant bits of the original story (and it’s plethora of earlier drafts) printed off
  • ‘What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew’ bought and loaded onto my Sony

And the best bit of all, this close to things starting… the characters have begun to talk. I always imagined it beginning with Tabitha talking with her closest friend Mish and that’s where I’ll be beginning tonight.

Throughout November I will be snapping a photo a day, noting the tshirt d’jour (sadly I don’t have 30 different ones but it will be close!) and hopefully putting up a snippet of work.

The plan is to write every day, in the morning. I know it is possible.

Do I want the 50,000 words? Well yeah, that would be nice but more important to me is a completed novella. I am aiming for 30,000. It may end up at 40,000. It may go all the way to 50,000. Anything is possible. If I finish with words to spare I will jump back in to my birthpunk novella.

Now… time to go boil the kettle, do a dozen start jumps and wake myself up, ready to put the opening pages down before bed tonight.