NaNoWriMo Excerpt #4

I finished WIP #1 with 105,000 words, the first time I’ve ever finished a first draft of a novel. I also passed 50,000 words on my NaNoWriMo novel this past week, sitting now at 53,000. On the writing front, everything’s going well. I’ve developed a 3k-5k daily writing habit which I hope will serve me well for a long time.

Here is excerpt #4 of Darkfall.

By the time light started to leach from the heavily overcast sky, the rain had not abated and water was beginning to trickle, a little at a time, into Ada’s boots. She could tell from Kieran’s expression, from the guarded pain on his face and the way he winced with each step, that the same was true for him. The poison in this water was not so concentrated as it had been in the lake–the water here, at least, was diluted by rain–but there was still enough to do great damage, especially to Kieran.

“We must take shelter!” Ada called, over the steady roar of rain.

Kieran looked back at her and nodded, and the two of them glanced up, toward the tops of trees. They found nothing tall enough to climb and shelter in, save one dark slick-barked tree, which had no limbs low enough to grasp. Panic clutched at Ada’s chest. It was like the day she had lost Sakar, when the trees had all been short and thin and twisted, and only the ripping thorns had saved her from the blindwolves’ teeth.

“We have to keep going,” Kieran said.

Ada nodded, and took his hand, and they went on through the flooding forest. Ada’s feet burned as though she had dipped them in boiling water, but her fear was stronger than pain, and she kept up the pace. Kieran did the same, though he limped heavily on his damaged knee, and made small sounds of pain that twisted Ada’s heart. She wished that he was back in Blackstone, safe with his family.

At last they reached a thick grove of high trees, whose branches wove together to form a solid canopy overhead. Because the ground here was high, and because the rain could hardly reach through the woven-together branches, the forest floor was damp but not standing in water. If not for the threat of blindwolves, it would have been as good a place as any to camp.

Ada and Kieran searched for branches low enough to take hold and pull themselves up. Their urgency grew, so that they weaved back and forth among the close-growing trees, walking on blistered, bleeding feet, skin shearing away inside their boots. Still they found nothing. The spreading branches grew high on the straight trunks, so high that a person thrice Kieran’s height would not have been able to reach.

Above their heads, the downpour began to ease, the roar lessening so that they could speak without shouting. After a time, just as darkness fell in truth, the rain stopped almost completely, all but a faint patter on the leaves and branches high above.

When Ada saw the lights, she thought at first that they were firebugs, tiny and bright, rising from the forest floor in celebration of the break in the rain. There were always firebugs, though fewer during the deluge season.

She thought they were firebugs. And then she saw that they moved in pairs of two, and that they blinked and slid silently around the trunks of trees, and she grabbed Kieran’s arm so suddenly and so tightly that he gasped.

“Kieran,” she said, her voice shaking. “Kieran, look.”


when the coffee trees bloom

Selamat malam from Java!

It is dry season here. Yesterday morning we woke up and all the coffee trees had started blooming, at the same moment, like someone had flipped a switch. The air smells of coffee blossoms. Beautiful.

Good news on the ulcer front: Apparently it was indeed caused by h. pylori. The treatment worked, and I am back to eating everything except coffee, tomatoes, and citrus. (I’ll stay on omeprazole for a few months, just to ensure that the ulcer heals fully.) Being better means that I get to enjoy awesome Indonesian food! Lunch yesterday was satay, one of my favorites.

On the writing front… I’ve fallen behind, due, I think, to pacing problems. I hit a part of the story that drags, and if it’s too boring for me to want to write it, I can’t imagine anyone would be interested in reading it. I think I’ve managed to power through to the interesting part. I’ll revise, re-structure, and cut during editing.

As for tonight, I need to write at least 1,000 more words before I go to bed, or my nieces might disown me. They’re about out of patience.

Of Novels and Ulcers

My novel-in-progress, The Mirror Veil, has hit 16,000 words through 4 chapters. The first draft is going to be longer than planned, which will mean cutting stuff later. Fine with me. I’ve been told by many writers that editing is where the magic happens, and as I’ve never edited a full-length novel before, I’m almost looking forward to it. (Yes, I know I’m crazy.)

I’ve done a lot of recent work on my plot and character-arc outlines, and I’m feeling pretty good about them right now, which necessarily means that they are crap and will undergo more changes later. I’m also okay with this. The Mirror Veil is my first novel, and while I love it and am excited about it, I’m also prepared to trunk it and move on if/when the time comes. It’s 1) a learning experience and 2) a gift for my nieces. As long as they like it, and I learn many things that will make me a better writer, I’m happy.

In non-writing news: I have a stomach ulcer, and it is less fun than you’d expect. There are six foods I can eat, in small amounts: whole-grain bread, oatmeal (no milk or butter), scrambled eggs, boiled squash, cooked beans, and plain boiled chicken breast. On the bright side*, I’ve lost ten pounds in the last eight days.

*There is no bright side. I want my active, kinda-chubby body back, in place of this skinnier one that never has energy. Also, I WANT COFFEE. *weeps*