I’m pretty sure the months are actually passing faster than they used to. It feels like this year’s NaNo event just started, and here we are several days into December. It’s madness, I tell you. Final wordcount for this year came in at right about 56K, which is not too shabby, though definitely not the 100K I was going for. Maybe next year!
Also, as is often the case, reaching the 50K goal doesn’t always equate to finishing the story. It certainly didn’t this year, so I’m still chipping away at it, and will hopefully have a completed pre-rough draft before the month’s up. And then! On to the editing!
I’m back! Mostly! Problem is, I’m also thoroughly distracted, because there’s a billion and one things that don’t quite work on the new laptop, and right now my brain is far more interested in fixing those than writing a novel. But! I’m writing this post from the new machine, which is a huge step in the right direction.
Also! Here’s a (short!) snippet from my current project:
I can’t imagine what Paul thought when he saw me. Or rather, I could, but I would rather not, as it wasn’t bound to be flattering. I was covered in dust, grime, sweat, possibly a few tears, and definitely a little blood– mine as far as I knew, but I couldn’t be certain. It’s a testament to the relationship he had cultivated with me and Tanner over the last two years that he didn’t reach for his gun and point it at my head as soon as he caught sight of me.
It wasn’t like Tanner to go it alone. Not usually. Not unless my brother was feeling like a white knight, at any rate, and there was nothing about an old wrecked ship that should have been attracting that particular part of his personality to the fore. Which was why I was confused. And curious. And concerned for Tanner’s wellbeing, of course.
But also kinda hoping that he had gotten himself into the sort of trouble that would give me teasing rights for the next month after saving his butt.
I was still a little surprised we’d been asked to investigate the wreck. Even on a colony as young as Verdant, crashed ships were hardly uncommon. It was a little odd that no one had any idea what ship it was, sure, but between the wildcatters and the outlaws, there were a lot of possibilities for an unregistered ship. The weirdest thing about it was that the flyover scan that turned the thing up had suggested that the ship was old– seventy five years old. Old enough that there was no way it should be on this side of the galaxy.
And that’s when everyone with a ghost story to tell crawled out of the woodwork. Serves me right for talking about it while Tanner and I were goofing off in the big common room at Teddy’s.
“You know they say there was a mutiny aboard an armadillo-class like that one back in ’43. Its last transmission was cut off right after her captain started cursing the traitors with some sort of old world hocus pocus.”
“I heard they’d tried uploading an honest-to-god AI to a private freighter back when all the big corps were still messing around with thinking and feeling computers. Could be a real ghost in the machine, you know?”
“Galaxy’s a big place. Could be aliens.”
And those were the most well-thought-out theories presented by our fellow denizens at Teddy’s: stuff and nonsense everyone one. Which made the fact that I found myself actually a little spooked as I started out for the coordinates of the wreck on my own all the more annoying. When I found Tanner, he was going to get a piece of my mind.
If I’d thought it would be better as soon as I got to the coordinates, I was wrong. Wrecks are always a little creepy, especially once you get to thinking about how they used to be functional, beautiful vessels– some of them, at least. Or, maybe, a home. Or maybe just a place that used to see living, breathing humans every day. Seeing empty ships like that just felt wrong, like a graveyard without the bodies.
I stopped just outside the wreck and gave a disgusted snort. Now I was creeping myself out.
Not that the remains of the ship in front of me were making that hard. Of all the derelicts I’d ever seen, this one might have been the most derelict. The hull was worn through in a dozen different places, and the sand and the sort of scrappy vegetation common on Verdant were sneaking their way inside. The hatch had fallen open what must have been decades ago, and while I suspected I could probably find it in the dirt below my feet if I dug long enough, I wasn’t about to put in the effort. So instead, the hatch just stared at me with a sort of death’s head grin, and I stared back and tried to remind myself that I was a stone-cold badass of a freelancer, and I shouldn’t be scared of some old empty ship.
And I had almost managed to convince myself when I heard someone behind me…
Happy Halloween! Looks like they still celebrate the holiday all the way out on Verdant, much to Miranda’s probable chagrin. Not much else to report, save that I’m equal parts excited and terrified for NaNo to start, since I’m not sure how my personal goal of 100,000 words is going to treat me. We shall see!
Anyway, good luck to everyone participating next month! May your writing be swift and your editing minimal!
One of these days, I’m going to figure out how to get used to what month it is before the darn thing is a third gone. I mean really.
Between work and a mild cold, the draft of the Tanner and Miranda Chronicles is moving slower at the moment, but it’s still moving, and I’m happy with the ideas coming out of the explosion of words on the page. I’m still trying to figure out how the last couple of stories work into the greater arc, but if the last few have been any indication, it’ll sort itself out on its own as I work them onto the page.
I’m also trying to plan out more of the story for November, since it’s going to be a bit longer than the individual Tanner and Miranda stories I’ve written up previously, and the nature of the premise means I’m going to have to have things more planned out than usual if I hope to maintain any sense of continuity. It’s a tall order, particularly during November, I know, but who knows! I’m already trying to figure out how to put up string and flash cards somewhere in my room to make a sort of makeshift and readily changeable timeline. It could work!
Not much new to report, so in lieu of an update, enjoy this quick snippet of Miranda waiting for something. Impatiently.
I groaned and slumped back in my seat. Orbital docking procedures were the worst. Actually, let met fix that. Orbital docking procedures on a colony planet that thought it was a big deal were the worst. There is nowhere in the galaxy that can quite match it for petty bureaucracy. Okay, fine. Anything remotely related to government procedures on Earth ran a close second, but Earth politicians weren’t the ones telling me it would probably be another hour before I got to dock with a space station that couldn’t have seen more than a dozen ships a day. It was nonsense.
Objectively, I could admit that the tone I had taken with the poor soul in Docking Control probably hadn’t helped my case. Problem was, I had lost all interested in being objective about forty-five minutes ago. At this point, every minute I had to wait was just another minute to practice the most scathing insults I could imagine.
Funny how the months just seem to keep going by faster and faster. I swear September just began!
Writing has gone a little slower, both because my brain and body needed a bit of a rest after August, but also because a couple things came up and kept me running around a little more often than usual. Which made me feel less guilty about taking the aforementioned writing down-time.
I’m still plugging along, though, and while I only have around a thousand new words written, I’ve also made some really good progress on figuring out a couple of major plot points that had been giving me a bit of trouble on the next story I’m working into this draft, which is really nice. I’ve been problems figuring out this particular story since last November when I tried to fit it into my NaNo draft, and I’m happy to announce that I’ve already gotten farther with it now than I did then. Progress!
The results are in: I wrote 55,097 words to my dad’s 824 miles ridden, so my dad wins! By a lot! It would have been closer, but he decided to ride over a hundred miles(!) on August 31. Because he could. Basically, he was the Captain America to my Falcon.
As we had agreed, this means that I owe him a finished manuscript of the Tanner and Miranda Chronicles, and he gets to choose what my project is for this upcoming NaNoWriMo. Which he has already done, so November will see more Tanner and Miranda– probably a single novel-length adventure instead of the episodic and semi-linked mini-adventures in a bigger arc that this first one is.
So! The plan is to use September to finish the rough draft, which I’m expecting to come in at roughly 125,000-150,000 words. Which is about twice as long as I’m hoping it to be when I’m done, meaning I’ll have lots of material to work with and cut from. Then, in October, I’ll break type and actually try to fully plan out the beats for the November project, in the hopes that I come out of NaNo with an actual rough draft as opposed to the… pre-rough draft nonsense jumble that I usually end up with. Or maybe that’s wishful thinking. I guess we’ll find out!
In the meantime, here’s some stats from this last month that I found interesting!
Most words written: 10,081 (August 28) Most miles ridden: 106 (August 31) Fewest words written*: 63 (August 1) Fewest miles ridden*: 9 (August 14) Average words written*: 2395 Average miles ridden*: 36
You know that scene in Tangled right after Rapunzel gets out of the tower? The one where she bounces back and forth between thinking it’s the very best and the very worst thing ever? I’m definitely feeling that a little bit (a lot a bit) right now. Because I’ve finally hit a groove. The words are coming. The story is coming together– sort of. (Oh BOY does it need all the editing ever.) And I have actually started writing fast enough that my hands have gotten tired. Since this time last week, I’ve written almost 35,000 words. I know where I want the major story arc for the Tanner and Miranda Chronicles to go, and I think I have some idea of how to get it there. I have so much raw material to work with. And most of the time, I’m not even panicking about the fact that the quality is… aggressively rough draft right now.
Most of the time. Haha.
Check back in next week to see how this crazy race with my dad finishes up! Right now he’s still ahead, but I’m gaining! Is three more days enough? Is his competitive spirit going to beat out mine? Only time will tell!
Guys! I’m so excited! No, I haven’t caught up to my Dad. (Yet!) But I’ve got a writing momentum that I haven’t had in months, and that I can’t remember having outside of NaNoWriMo. Which isn’t to say that everything I’m writing is gold– because I’m not a superhero. Or Ray Bradbury, which is basically the same thing. In fact, it’s kind of terrible– in a distinctly rough draft-ish sort of way. Which is great! Because that’s what this is.
Because you can’t edit it if it’s not on the page first. And for the first time in way too long, I’m okay with that.
It’s so nice to feel like the bones of a story are decently solid. Most of what I’ve been doing so far this month is “editing”/fleshing out some sections that I’d already done some scribblings on, and the result has been very encouraging, if still moving slower than I’d like it to be, ideally. I’m proud of a couple turns of phrase in particular, actually, so by way of showing off, I’m including a quick excerpt below. Those of you who have been following me for a while might recognize this as very similar to the beginning of The Verdant Wildlife, which is because I’m in the process of completely reworking it so that it can take its place as the first story in the upcoming novel.
Anyway, without further ado, here is the promised snippet.
Our client had arranged to meet up with us at a small mining outpost near the drone’s last known coordinates and had offered to transport us out there on one of her company’s atmo-sprinters. It was a welcome gesture that cut our travel time down to a fraction of what it would have been otherwise. I spent the half-hour ride alternately teasing my brother and staring out the window as semi-developed plains gave way to wild cliffs and canyons.
Even before the sprinter’s pilot started edging the craft down between a couple of jagged cliffs, there was little doubt in my mind that our destination was less a spur of civilization than a small collection of humans trying to do without it. In Coville, I’d gotten the impression that the occasional showdown at high noon was a distinct possibility. Looking down at the approaching outpost, I would have been more surprised to find that such confrontations didn’t happen there with some regularity.
I leaned towards my brother. “I thought you said we weren’t going to get shot at. This looks like the sort of place that gets us shot at.”
“What, the mining camp?” He looked out his own window. “Good thing we won’t be spending much time there.”
I scowled. Now that our hike was more imminent, I found myself less excited about the prospect of tramping around the wilds of a new planet than I had been the day before. And given that I hadn’t been all that enthusiastic about it in the first place, that was saying something.
Tanner winked at me. “It’ll be fun. Like those trips we took growing up.”
I grunted, non-committal. “I hadn’t spent the last eight months crossing the galaxy when we hiked the Sierras.”
“We won’t be moving too fast. There’s a ton of nooks and crannies out here, and that drone could have crashed in any of them. You’ll be fine.” The look on his face was the same one he’d worn when he’d suckered me into exploring an old “haunted” warehouse with him. At night. About three weeks after I’d pranked him in front of all his buddies. But bringing that up wasn’t going to do me any good.
“Congratulations,” I said. “You just managed to make me feel better and worse at the same time.”
He winked. “I aim to please.”
Lucky for him and despite my complaining, I did still enjoy a good hike, if not under these exact circumstances. Not that I’d be caught dead admitting that to him just now.