NaNoWriMo: Day 15: Sneaky peeky

blood-1715010_1920

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.”

Advertisements

NaNoWriMo: Day 10

kent3000000

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

nanowrimo_2016_webbanner_participant

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!

Many Things

blurry-691240

Many things. So many damn things. First off, my 30 day NaNoWriMo post didn’t publish. In fact, it disintegrated in the ether. But I guess all that really needs to be said is that I did it. By the end of November, I’d doubled the target with over a hundred thousand words. December was a write off, what with Christmas and loitering on Pinterest pretending that this would be the year I make all those awesome homemade decorations and epic cakes. It wasn’t. But it was the year I finally gave in and bought Scrivener with my winner’s discount.

I have no idea how I lived before this. One huge bulky file with hundreds of pages. Unwieldy drafts printed out to make paper revisions. That’s how I lived. Utter lunacy. Scrivener has transformed the way I organise my writing and has saved me and the planet a fortune in paper and ink. I’m sure much of it is psychological. I like having chapters and scenes that can be moved about, or worked on side by side. I like how it all concertinas down into one project, then opens out again in beautiful order. I like how I can tell at a glance which characters and artefacts are in a scene, and where that scene was set, thanks to the aesthetically pleasing colour-coded keyword function. I like how much easier it feels to write tighter scenes when I have a clean screen in front of me. I like how notes, links and photos can be added to scenes for inspiration. I like how I can see how the scene word counts accumulate in neat little bundles, making me feel accomplished. It appeals to my mind and my eyeballs.

I started work on the second book in January, with my 100k NaNo words in the bag. A few days before the end of February, I’d finished my first draft. It’s heavy, at 180k, but it’s done. I’m not fiddling with it too much until I’ve finished the third book. I started it yesterday and have bagged 4k so far.

I feel compelled to point out that my thoughts on Scrivener have not been paid for or sought. If they gave me money, I wouldn’t love it more.

Day 20

NaNo-2015-Winner-Banner

I hit 50K on day 18, but couldn’t validate until today, so there you have it. I’m officially a winner.

The very best thing to have come out of this year’s NaNoWriMo is that on most days I’ve been able to ditch my old school ways. I’ve barely written with a pen for the last two weeks. I’ve been typing straight into the PC and it’s been easy enough. I won’t lie and say I’ve written the most brilliant prose ever seen, but it’s no worse than anything that flowed out of my pen.

I had a bit of a strange moment when I realised how different my routine could be. My usual way is to write a few thousand words by hand, type them up at night, then update my word count before midnight. At this point, I would be done for the day and spend the rest of whatever time I had before bed reading trashy historical romances. My new routine is to write straight into the PC, updating my word count often, watching it climb in steady little bursts. I write best late at night, but had previously been using this time for typing, so now I find myself working past midnight, updating before and after. By the time I start writing the next day, I usually have at least a thousand words in the bag, which is an excellent motivation for me.

So this year, because of NaNoWriMo, I’ve changed the habits of a lifetime.

Day 10

800px-Ian_Mckellen-I_rather_think_you_should_be_writing

So it’s day 10 and I’ve hit the halfway mark. Twenty five thousand words. Two new characters. Lots of questions to delve into. A ghastly tour around an abandoned mental hospital. Menace on the underground. An unexpected comedy crush. The return of some favourite but relatively unexplored characters. I’m having heaps of fun, especially as I never intended to write a sequel. I didn’t think I’d bury these characters for good, but I didn’t expect them to be getting up to such mischief so soon either.

Obviously if I continue at this rate, I’ll have 75K in the bag by the 30th, but I don’t want to tempt fate so I won’t.

I hope those of you doing NaNoWriMo this year are enjoying yourselves.