Wow. NaNoWriMo is great, but it also hurts. I was keeping up with the word count fine until a few days ago, then I had a couple of heavy work days and everything slipped. Now I’ve got to find 5,000 words from somewhere, and there’s none under the bed or in the microwave. Alas, I’ll just up my average word count so I still hit the deadline – perhaps that’s the right way to do it? 2,000 ish a day isn’t too bad, I’ll give it a try.
As for the novel itself it seems to be going alright so far. It feels like I need to throw out another couple of lines to flesh out the story, and the last few days have been difficult because I’m writing some very passive character scenes – revealing histories, showing relationship development, exploring the more human ‘everyday’ side of life in a post-apocalyptic future, and that’s surprisingly difficult to write after finishing a more action-orientated story arc. It sort of feels like my story’s entered the Normandy (a Mass Effect reference – no action ever takes place on the Normandy, it’s pretty much a place where all the players gather and you can chat to them all), which is a little difficult because everyone is sort of artificially ‘there’ and are shamelessly opening up about how they did this and how they did that. I have a feeling these sections will be heavily edited come editing though. I shouldn’t worry. #NaNoWriMo doesn’t give you the time to worry.
The good news is that that section is done, and my characters are now about to go off into the barren landscape once again and engage an awful lot more with the main plot. It’s going to get very interesting in an action-orientated way again, and by escaping the confines of the Normandy there’ll be a whole lot more room for descriptions of mountain ranges, snow storms and crumbling icicles. I’m looking forward to it.
Incidentally, I was reading the other day about an architect that recently had an idea for a ‘walking city’, and it was remarkably similar to the transports being used in my novel. I’d love to show you all some of the images, but I don’t think I can post them here (copyright and all that nonsense), but you can read all about it here.
And here’s a little bit of what I’ve been working on – remember, it’s very ‘rough and ready’ at this stage. Criticisms welcomed. (WordPress doesn’t seem to like inserted lines, so i had to add black ones).
____ ‘Yeh, all it took was one person to do the math. Who was absent from the mess hall every lunch, not just every lunch in our shift, but every lunch in every shift.’
____ I stopped. ‘Who is it?’ I felt Rebecca hesitate behind me.
____ ‘I can’t say.’
____ ‘You see that intersection? I’m pretty sure Cassie went straight on – ’
____ ‘ – Who is he? Who was it?’
____ ‘Kim, it doesn’t matter right now. It’s not important.’ She pushed passed me and lead the way through the wires and past the intersection.
____ ‘So now we’re keeping secrets?’ I said bitterly.
____ ‘You’re keeping secrets from me…’
____ ‘I’m not keeping – ’
____ ‘You are!’ she yelled, ‘what about in that room earlier! What about – ’
____ ‘Rebecca, Rebecca! Shut-up!’ I whispered harshly. Her face dropped. She moved her hands to her mouth. I heard a door open behind us. ‘We have to move, now.’
____ ‘There’s another intersection further up, they took a left there. I can see it from here.’
____ ‘Quickly,’ I said. I traced her steps and movements through the wires. The sounds of footsteps behind us were getting increasingly louder. Whilst Rebecca was carefully picking her way through a dense pocket of wires I took the opportunity to glance back. No faces, just a weave of wire and the occasional hint of a black boot as our pursuers stepped over the wires.
____ ‘Hey! Hey you!’ shouted a male voice.
____ ‘Rebecca…’ I said, ‘We have to move.’
____ ‘It’s too densely packed,’ she said, untangling the wires.
____ ‘Cassie and Brendan got through, didn’t they?’
____ ‘They must have.’
____ ‘Hey! Who are you? What are you doing here?’ said another. The footsteps behind us moved faster. I glanced back again and could make out the sleeve of an engineer’s coat and a suggestion of leg beneath trousers. I crouched beside Rebecca and pushed into the wires, my hands and arms thinned to a point. I felt between them and found a cable thicker than the others.
____ ‘Follow my lead,’ I said, as I pulled my way into the machine. I felt my knees catch on the cables I had pushed through and wiggled them free. I rested my knees on the wires tightening beneath my weight and pushed my hands into the depths once again. The light above thinned as I worked my way deeper into the electrical system. The wires to my right swelled then shifted towards me, I immediately retreated away from them, fearing the walls were moving in on me – but this was quickly replaced by comfort. It must be Rebecca moving through the wires next to me.
____ ‘Where are they?’ said one man.
____ ‘In the wires,’ said the other. This second man had a deeper, more concerning voice.
____ ‘I’m not going in there.’
____ ‘Let’s leave them, there’s no way through anyway. We’ll just wait here.’
____ No way through? The wall of plastic and rubber beside me shuffled. Had Rebecca heard? I dug my hand through the wall and felt for clothing. I reached further, and felt the familiar shape of a shoulder. Not expecting my hand Rebecca whipped it off of her. I waved, and begun digging my way towards her.
____ ‘Did you hear what they said?’ I whispered when I’d reached her.
____ ‘Yeh, there’s no way through.’
____ ‘You were wrong.’
____ ‘Yeah, but couldn’t we just climb up? There’s so many wires here, that must mean that most of the panels above us have been removed, right?’
____ I nodded.
____ ‘And if the above floor is anything like this one, then there’ll be open access to the floor above too. I shrugged. We would be going into the vents again.
____ ‘Hey,’ Rebecca whispered. I turned to her, unaware that I had even turned away. ‘It’ll be okay, I’ve got sticks.’
____ ‘You have?’
____ She tapped the back of her tool belt, ‘yup, never go anywhere without them.’
____ We started shifted towards the right and shimmied up the wires using the wall for extra support, as we entered the vents Rebecca cracked a stick and handed it down to me.
____ ‘Fix it to my leg would you?’
____ ‘Won’t you need the light up there?’
____ ‘I’ll be fine,’ she said. I tore some fabric from the shirt under my jumper and tied the stick above her ankle. The square supports of the vents prevented the wires from both weighing on our backs and obscuring our view, so progress was much faster. ‘How are you doing back there?’
____ ‘I’m fine,’ I said.
____ ‘Is it just the dark then?’ she asked as she squeezed between what looked like a junction box and a humming motor.
____ ‘I… I don’t know.’
____ ‘Don’t worry,’ she said, ‘now is not the time anyway.’ I followed her through the tight gap and followed as she climbed further up to the next set of supports. We passed a series of black boxes installed with LED lights. The colours danced in the dim light from Rebecca’s leg. I watched them with amusement as we climbed. The light above seemed to be growing stronger.
____ ‘Untie it.’
____ ‘Yes,’ I said, I dropped the stick down the way we had come. ‘Is there a way through?’
____ ‘Yeh.’ The white light hit my eyes as she pushed a panel free from the flooring. I squinted and followed her through to the level above.