“If they weren't solidly real dragons... it wouldn't have been worth doing.”
Jo Walton

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

Day Eight: Having Skipped Days Six and Seven
Tue 2011-11-08 22:33:21 (in context)
  • 11,842 words (if poetry, lines) long

I spent most of the weekend fighting with a mild but obnoxious intestinal bug, with the result that I've eaten very little in the past four days and, owing perhaps to the dearth of energy that results from eating about half a meal per day, written even less. On the 6th and 7th of November, in fact, I wrote precisely nothing. Argh, damn, and blast. But today I wrote more than 2,000 words. If I keep that up daily, I'll be caught up by the 15th.

THIS JUST IN: Make that just over 3,000 words. Because I just got challenged to a word sprint, and one can't exactly take that lying down.

As I've enthused to everyone within earshot, the Boulder Public Library has given us Wrimos a dedicated space three times a week through the month of November. So I've been there quite a bit since NaNoWriMo started. This not only makes 2K-word days more likely, but also results in my returning home with library books more often. I mean, they keep putting interesting books in various face-out displays! This month I've taken home John Connolly's The Gates, Gregory Maguire's Out of Oz, Jo Walton's Tooth and Claw, and, today, Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling's retold fairy tale anthology Black Swan, White Raven.

(Ah, John Connolly. One of these days I must rant about John Connolly. Such a clever, satisfying narrative voice, but once in a while such strange and harmful social ideas that can't quite be passed off as "This book takes place in the 1940s." Mostly I'm troubled by that bit in The Book of Lost Things where the omniscient narrator tells us about the consequences of learning about sex at too young an age, and what this implies Connolly believes about A) cultures where there's less barriers to kids witnessing their parents' intmacy, and B) abuse survivors.)

Anyway, the novel crawls onward. You may laugh at the word "crawl" after the today's word count, but I assure you that's what it feels like. Still, I did progress, thanks to a couple of random shots of inspiration in my daily life.

Filed under "wildly omnivorous," there was that guy at the Baker Street Pub on Sunday. My usual brunch group was gathering at a booth with a good view of the Saints/Buccaneers game, when we noticed one member of the staff circumambulating with an odd, slow, deliberate step and a strangely spooky look on his face. I supposed he was waiting for tables to bus, but in the meantime he was... pacing? Practicing for the next zombie crawl? Doing walking meditation while getting into character as Evil Overlord's Minion #2?

In my novel, he is waiting for a signal from... well, I'm not sure yet. Maybe the mothership. Maybe his cybernetic body's manufacturer. Maybe Dracula. In any case, it's all one with the interdimensional bats.

And filed under "yet another magical item," there's this tweet:

Quote of the day: "Never trust a man who, when left alone with a tea cosey, doesn't try it on." –Billy Connolly

Clearly the next chapter-story's magical item purchased from the magical shop will be a tea cozy. But of course I needed to set up my character such that he would be left alone with it.

"Hey, thanks for having me over, Linda," the man said. He was pacing up and down the ample kitchen, around and around the large food prep island that was itself bigger than most people's dining room tables. He was obviously ill-at-ease, searching for something to say.

The woman he was addressing smiled a comfortable smile. She was in her own home, after all. She was the one calling the shots. "My pleasure, dear. You're new in the neighborhood and in need of introductions. It would be an act of sheer, unmitigated rudeness to leave you out in the cold."

It was July, and Linda's central air conditioning unit was going full blast. If anything, she'd invited him into the cold, not extracted him from it. But the man, whose name was Hank, refrained from correcting her metaphor. He shifted an electric can opener from its stance towards the back of the counter and brought it forward, opened and re-closed a floating cabinet, moved magnets around on the fridge. He was aware that this was rude behavior for a guest only newly invited into a stranger's home (and face it, everyone was a stranger these days, Linda and her neighbors only more so than most), but he couldn't stop himself. He'd always been burdened by nervous tics and fidgets.

He was spared having to think of something else to say when the front door opened without even a knock. "Yodel!" called out a distinctly non-yodeling voice. "Anyone home?"

"Francis!" Linda dropped the knife amongst the finely sliced celery on the cutting board and sprinted for the door. Her path took her counter-clockwise around the gloriously large refrigerator (with its double doors and ice maker) and out of sight. Hank could hear her pleased squeals reverberate off the low foyer ceiling. "I was hoping you'd make it! How was Spain? Didn't you just get in this morning?"

"Oh, tut. I can wander from my bed to here as easily as to my own kitchen, and this way I don't have to cook. Spain was wonderful. Full of sun and beaches and Spaniards. But it's good to be home."

Hank's inappropriate explorations found him the cabinet with the large tumblers at last, and he took one down and tried out the ice maker. Then he opened the fridge, found a pitcher of something that looked like iced tea. Linda had told him to make himself at home, after all. Maybe he'd pour glasses for everyone; wasn't that how one made friends? By making oneself useful? He was out of practice.

It took about 1,500 words to introduce the tea cosy, and another 750 or so to get Hank to the point of putting it on his head.

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