NaNoWriMo: Day 21

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NaNoWriMo 2016, I completed you.

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I’m still going though. Since finishing book 3, I’ve written six scenes for book 4. Hoping to get at least one more in today.

If you’ve written more words in November than you have all year, well done. If you’ve won, well done. If you’re still going, well done.

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NaNoWriMo: Day 19

So I typed these words today.

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The end of part two came a bit faster than I thought it would. It leaves me somewhere between a tiny pickle and extreme happiness. I’m only at 43.5 thousand words, leaving me 6.5 thousand short of the NaNoWriMo target. This in itself is not a problem. Book four is ready to go. It doesn’t have a full outline yet, but I know where it starts and I know where it ends. I have some early scenes well-outlined. I don’t foresee any problems with wading straight in.

The problem begins when I try to stop writing at the end of November, which I will have to do, since the end of November heralds the start of December. December is the time for cleaning frantically, watching shitty movies that would cause me to kick my telly in the face at any other time of the year, and pretending that I’m going to make all that Pinteresty stuff. I’m totally going to make all the things this year. So yes, I’m going to start enthusiastically writing a new book later today, then after eleven days, I’m just going to stop. I’m not going to stop, am I? My house will look like Primark on Boxing Day. But it’s okay really, I’ll be way too happy to notice.

 

NaNoWriMo: Day 18: Sneaky peeky

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Another first draft extract from book 3. The scene is a long one so I’ve just included a few paragraphs about the experience. Violet finds herself in the Himalayas for what War calls “pinballing” but the local wildlife has to get used to their presence first.

The sun cast its gold over the mountains in the distance, dripping down slowly like yolk from an egg, swallowing the shadows made by the mountain beneath my feet. Part-buried lumps of snow-striped rock leapt from the mountainside like giant, angular zebras. Wispy clouds hung above them like puffs of breath.

*****

I was about to ask who they were when I heard them. Just a few at first, warbling and chittering. Fat little birds, round and speckled, with pale brownish bodies, veering towards a rusty red at their upturned tails. Then more came, chirruping and whistling so fast they vibrated. A wall of puffy little birds, yellow diamond mouths open in chorus, sang to us. In the mountains. Musicals begin this way.

*****

“What are all these other birds?” I said, waving my hand delicately to our left, trying not to offend anything. I turned at movement behind us. “And what the hell is that? Is it a yak?”

A golden, shaggy thing stood on the rock above us, about twenty feet away, all horned and majestic.

“Some kind of goat, I think. Or maybe a sheep. But those over there…” He pointed to our right. “Those are yak.”

They looked like horned, black cows that had been over-fed, squashed until their shoulders humped over, then draped with shaggy carpet. They slouched away, unimpressed. The majestic enormo-goat still stood behind us, staring down in silent rebuke.

“So what are the birds?” I said.

“Do I look like David bloody Attenborough to you?”

*****

NaNoWriMo: Day 15: Sneaky peeky

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Another extract from the first part of book 3. It’s still in its first draft, but I’m pretty happy with it. It’s hard to fight an enemy that’s become part of someone you love.

Caleb was in the lounge, sitting beneath the window in a puddle of glass and blood. His black hair was wet with it. Rusty red streaks had dripped and dried on his chest, his arms and his cheeks. His abandoned t-shirt crouched at the edge of the puddle, sucking like an animal.

“Jesus, Caleb,” said Daniel, squatting down in front of him, his boots grinding the glass into dust. “What the fuck are you doing to yourself?”

Caleb didn’t even look up. He drove a shard of glass into his palm, then pulled it out again, letting the blood drip onto the floor. And when the wound healed, he did it again. And again.

Albert and Daniel exchanged a look and I stepped back. They each grabbed one of Caleb’s arms and hauled him upright. His eyes were dead. His mouth flatlined. He crushed the glass in his fist.

“Can you get rid of the glass, Violet?” said Daniel, as he held Caleb against the wall.

I peeled his fingers away and the shard hit the floor. He seemed to notice us then. His head rolled back and his eyes blazed with something wild and untameable. Sobs tore up his throat, shoving past his gritted teeth. He pistoned his shoulders into the wall, trying to shake Daniel and Albert loose. While they struggled to keep him still, he threw his head forward and nutted Albert, knocking him on his butt. I rammed my head under Caleb’s chin, then dug my right shoulder into his chest, and wrapped both my hands around his wrist. He wriggled, but he wasn’t going anywhere. He tried to kick, but I stomped on his foot.

Daniel grabbed my shoulder and the world blinked. The three of us landed in the bath. It felt like an ugly poem. We pushed Caleb down, smearing blood across the tiles. I sat on him, pinning his arms with my knees, while Daniel stepped out and turned on the shower above Caleb’s head. He spluttered beneath the spray, shaking his head from side to side, as his legs cycled furiously behind me. When he tried to buck me off, I grabbed his throat and squeezed. He went still. His face was hopeless. The sadness in his eyes carved its way into my chest, hollowing it out so that every heartbeat felt raw and unloved.

“Pins and needles,” he whispered, wriggling his fingers beneath my shins.

“If you try anything funny, Caleb, I swear I’ll murder you,” said Daniel.

I rocked back a bit, releasing Caleb’s hands. He gave them a shake then ran them through his dripping hair. Together we washed the blood away. I laid down, resting my head next to Caleb’s, letting the water cool me down. It was too damn hot anyway. He wrapped his arms around me, and Daniel sighed. Then he wandered off to perch on the toilet.

“It’s not even lunchtime, Caleb,” I whispered, rubbing the last of the blood from his hair. “What time did you start drinking?”

“Before I got up. It’s the only way.”

His voice was ragged with whiskey burn.

“It’s not the only way. I’ll find you a better one.”

“You can’t fix everything, angel.”

“I can fix you.”

“I’m not broken, I’m dead.”

“That’s the exact opposite of what you are.”

“Do you have to argue?”

“Do you have to ask?”

He chuckled into my hair. “I didn’t drink all that much today.”

“You were unresponsive, Caleb. You were making holes in yourself.”

“I know. I was trying to go somewhere else.”

“Where were you trying to go?”

“I don’t know. Some place where nobody expects me to hold on. Where I can get washed away in peace.”

NaNoWriMo: Day 10

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Today was a good day. I managed to hit 20k for NaNo and 100k in this project as a whole. I also managed a 2016 personal best of 4k, my highest daily word count for this year’s NaNo. And let’s talk about Kent. My region is in the south east corner of England, and we’ve hit three million words here today. It’s such a creative place and I’m happy to be contributing to the crackle in the air tonight.

UPDATE: Make that 5k for today.

NaNoWriMo 2016

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This year I’ll be working on the second part of book three of a young adult series. I’ve been working on this project for two and a half years now, some months productive, others not so much. My girl, Violet, has come a long way from the catalyst of a car accident that happened just weeks before her fifteenth birthday. Two and a half years have gone by in her life too, and her new family continues to grow. The first part of book three introduced us to an “uncle” with a fondness for going topless, his son who makes three times as much noise as he should for one so small, and his grandaughter with her fuse-lit eyes and querulous pout.

I’m thinking of being extra brave and posting a few scenes from the first half of the book here over the course of the month.

In the meantime, here is a little excerpt from the first draft of Book 3: Part 1

I pushed my sunglasses onto my face as we stepped back into the sunshine. Amethyst’s building was the second to last one. We glanced between each building, then Albert set off round the back while I took the front. I hit something fast and solid as I rounded the corner. Pain seared through my forehead as I fell backwards. I was so winded, I didn’t even have time to cushion my butt as it hit the ground. An agonising jolt tore its way up my spine.

“I’m so sorry, are you okay?”

I moved my head slowly from side to side, but couldn’t shake it properly. I couldn’t look up either. My neck was too stiff. I couldn’t see much of the man who was talking to me, just his baby-poo-coloured skinny cords and highly polished, battered brown boots. A drop of blood hit the ground between them, then another.

“Shit! Shit!” He made a frantic search of his trouser pockets, then the dripping stopped. “Let’s get you up,” he said.

The first thing I registered as he reached down for me was the slate-blue, cable-knit cardigan. I decided this man must be an imbecile. It was thirty degrees out. He did look a little red-faced, but that could just be the nosebleed that my head had given him. He had thick, messy dark blonde hair and a beard, and he reminded me of a younger Boxer. Except for that cardigan. I stared at him, as he led me to a bench. My back was stiff and my butt protested a bit as it made contact with the wood.

“I waited for forty minutes,” he said.

“What?”

“Forty minutes. You know, it doesn’t have to be so hard.”

“What?”

“Shit! Do you think you have a concussion?”

“No.”

He reached for my sunglasses and I batted his hand away. He sighed, then stared into his blood-stained tissue.

“Has it stopped?” he said, tipping his head back so I could see up his nose.

“Yes.”

I stretched my neck, turning my head in slow circles. It wasn’t stiff anymore, but my head felt a little fuzzy.

“I think your head’s made of concrete,” said the man, prodding gently at his nose. “How bad is it? It doesn’t feel broken. Does it look any different?”

I shrugged. How the hell should I know? It was a nose. What was it supposed to look like other than a nose? The heat was making me sleepy. Or maybe I did have a concussion. I tried to concentrate. The man was saying something. Words. Words were falling out of his mouth. I stared at it. It was very close. I could feel his breath, and his lips. I pulled away and touched my mouth. I think he kissed me. I swayed on the bench.

“I see you’ve met my sister,” said Amethyst.

The sandy building swam past my eyes as I slowly turned my head. I smiled at Amethyst. She was standing with her hands on her hips, glaring at the man sitting next to me. She was gloriously furious. So was Albert. Still, silent and furious.

“This is Violet?” the man said. “This is… this is Violet?”

“You’re repeating yourself, Noah. Yes, this is Violet. The question is why were you kissing her when you haven’t even kissed me yet? And why did you let him?”

She was looking at me. I smiled. I tried to get up but my head wasn’t having it. I fell back onto the bench.

“What did you do to her?” said Albert, as he dropped onto the bench. I slid sideways into his body.

“Nothing,” said the man called Noah. “We bumped into each other on the corner there. She gave me a nosebleed and I… gave her a concussion.”

“And a kiss,” said Amethyst.

“I thought she was you,” he said. “She looked like she wanted me to kiss her, but I think it must’ve just been the concussion.”

“I didn’t want a kiss. I want to go to bed.”

I was shouting. God, why was I shouting?

“I wasn’t going to take her to bed, I swear.”

“Take me to bed,” I wailed.

Good luck NaNoing everyone!