Saturday, November 6, 2010

NaNo Weekend Wrap- Week 1

Here in the land Down Under, we're approaching Day 7 of NaNoWriMo- and what a journey it has already been for the girls of ATWOP! Between the five of us, at the end of the US Day 5 and the middle of Australian Day 6, we're sitting on a collective total of 75,303 words.

Whoa! Of course, nobody has ever accused the five of us of being cautious or considered, and we've gone out with all guns blazing. Not all of it is easy going; not that you'd believe it looking at Rachel and Kristen stacking on 5000 or more words in a day! We're working hard for our bucks, and those two are giving us all something to chase (and, I might add, little chance to catch them).

Our weekend wrap is our chance to ponder briefly how we've gone, what we've achieved, and share a teeny tiny snippet of the better writing we've managed. I'll add mine now, and the other ladies will be along to add to this soon.


I've surprised myself by managing a steady pace of 2-3000 words a day to bring up my very satisfying total of 18,661. The steady pace has made it feel... easy. Ish. Until last night, after a zero-word day with a feral toddler, when I got all stubborn and refused to go to bed until I had my quota. I wrote 2300, but by the end of it I was literally falling asleep at my keyboard, typing (I kid you not) with my eyes closed. I think the fatigue is sneaking up, quietly.

I've also learned, just today, that the local write-ins are a brilliant idea. I went along to Fantastic Planet in Perth with about eight other Wrimos, and in 2.5 hours managed to get down no less than 4500 words. The afternoon was mostly quietly determined tap-tapping of keyboards from all in the room, with an occasional rupture into writer chat, but all in all the change of scenery was the key to what made it work. I'll be doing as many more as I can.

I'm glad to be no less than 8000 words ahead of target on Day 6, because I foresee difficulties getting writing time over the next week. Fingers crossed they don't eventuate, because I'm about to plow headfirst into four of the most exciting scenes in the whole novel. Just two more to write before I tackle what will probably be the inciting incident of the story- all the chapters I've got to this point are backstory, probably to be incorporated as jumps back and forth in the timeline.

My teeny tiny snippet for the weekend:

The city swallowed him whole and made him forget who he was.

At training, during the day, he ran and drilled and fired his gun like a man possessed, fighting his way through the process, determined to be the best. He was the best. Always.

At night, he prowled the streets, listening to the echo of his shoes on the [concrete] pathways, always looking for the next distraction. There wasn’t a part of the city night life that he hadn’t sampled so far. Drinking holes, houses of ill-repute, brothels- he went to each in turn, chasing oblivion. Trying to be the man he never was, the one she thought he'd been along.

He was the best at that, too.

They came to know him. When he walked into a room, heads turned. People murmured. Barkeeps poured him drinks, ladies fluttered their fans and their eyelashes.

Blokes tried it out more nights than not. Usually he got out of it with a couple of bruises and a few bucks from the punters.

Not last night.

He rolled over and groaned at the sound of the morning bell ringing through the [barracks]. Sunlight was slashing through the gap between the curtains, cutting through the room and his eyes.

God, but he hurt all over. He tried to push himself up, but his ribs were agony. Every breath stabbed him.

Next minute Walsh’s ugly face was hovering above him, grinning. “Jesus, you look like shit.”


He couldn’t even remember how he’d gotten back. Could barely remember the fight. There'd been more than one bloke, he thought. Either that, or the biggest bastard this side of the Nullarbor.

“You’re gunna be late. Whitford’s going to do his block.”

“Whitford’s going to do his block anyway,” he muttered. One side of his mouth seemed glued shut. He put a hand up- raw knuckles, every one- and touched it. There was dried blood in the corner, trailing down through the stubble on his chin, and his cheek on one side was like a hard-boiled egg fresh out of the pot. “Give me a hand.”

Walsh took his arm and hauled him up, making him grunt with pain. He sat for a few moments, doubled over, before he managed to get his legs off the side of the bed and stand up.

Walsh was practically cackling with glee. “Oh, mate. Mate. I’d like to say you should see the other bloke, but he didn't look too bad compared to you.”

He ignored him and hobbled to the mirror. His legs seemed all right, except for a little soreness in that knee, but the rest of him was on fire. He hardly recognised the face that stared back at him. “Jesus.”


Well, what a week!

I'm usually a plodder. A word-by-excruciatingly-slow-word, writer.

Not this week. (g)

With a bit of pre-planning and the permission to write by the seat of my pants, I'm flying through the scenes I have to write in order to finish this draft of my WIP. Today, my day 6, I've just cracked 20k, something I never thought I'd achieve, not so quickly.

I don't know if I'd have been this successful, word count-wise, at an earlier stage of my book. The fact that I've been writing and massaging this WIP into shape for a good three years means I know my characters and plot very well, and I know what I need to write much more clearly than I ever did.

What I do know is this little black duck is a dyed in the wool outliner. I need to have a map to follow or I get lost and curl up in the foetal position and hope to die. Quickly. Having an outline gives me the boundaries to work within, the grounding I need, so I keep my plot in line, and don't fly off into soap-opera craziness. (g)

Anyway! I'll analyse it all when the month is done. In the meantime, here's a little snip of what I've written in this new, heads down, fingers flying, stage of my writing ..

The parlour was a explosion of gaudy rococo gilt, insipid Dresden shepherdesses, and metre upon metre of magenta and violent green velvet fashioned into flounces, drapes, upholstery and, God forbid, anitmacassars. The English truly were devoid of taste. Shifting aside a fat, green, toad of a cushion, Philippe perched on the edge of a love seat and waited for his hostess to compose herself.

“Really, I am sorry to be in such a flap, Monsieur Garmont. We are leaving today and everything is half done, half packed. I’m afraid I’ll forget one of the children …” Madame Athelstone’s hands fluttered to her hair, tucking up a loose curl as she wound her way through the maze of packing trunks that thankfully covered the truly awful carpet.

“Now.” She sat with a woosh of canary yellow skirts. “Did I understand correctly? You are here about my friend, Isabel Knight?”

He nodded. “Indeed. My employer is a surgeon at the Hotel Dieu. He has heard whispers … that a female physician is here in Paris. He is quite fascinated and is keen to meet her. He is very progressive, and keeps a close eye on the future of the medical profession.” He formed his lips into a smile. “Who knows, he may just have a position to offer her.”

Madame Athelstone clapped a hand to her mouth. Her eyes widened, and when she pulled her hand away she was grinning like a mad woman. Then her face crumpled.

“Oh, of all the dashed bad timing!” She thumped a small fist into her palm. He edged back a fraction, his mouth twitching with the need to make a moue of distaste. These English, they were as excitable as hares.

“She’s gone, monsieur. And I have no time to send for her. My husband has come over quite the tyrant and insists the household go to [] for the month - today. Absolutely intractable, he is. We are to leave after lunch …oh, she will be so annoyed if she misses this opportunity. Annoyed with me. And I’m already in her bad books.” She pulled at a long, golden curl, stretching it out as she thought. Her bright blue eyes narrowed and she let the curl bounce back into place.

“I’m really not supposed to say anything …” She looked over her shoulder. Only a plump, wall-eyed maid in the corner, packing books and magazines into a trunk. He suppressed a grimace at the thought she might be Lenoir’s conquest.

“But I think I may be able to help. One moment.”

The little pink-faced Englishwoman rushed from the room. The maid shut the lid of the trunk with a thud, hefted it to her ample hip and followed her mistress.

He sat alone in the room that hurt his eyes. Slowly, he splayed his fingers over the hideous velvet seat beside him, pushing his fingertips deep into the pile. Perhaps she’d sat here; listening to her friend rattle like dried peas in a jar. How had she borne it?

Suddenly there was a tug at his sleeve. A small creature stood before him, all blue eyes and golden curls. Its thumb was in its mouth, and it pulled it out with a moist plop.

“I’m Lucinda Grace. Who are you?”

He arched an eyebrow.

It stamped its foot. “Tell me!”

The creature’s skin was so very pale. The veins of its neck ran blue, and pulsed with the beat of its heart. He leaned forward. Grabbed it by its wrist, ran a finger down its throat, closed his hand over its windpipe.


“Je suis le diable.”

The sprat’s eyes widened to saucers, and it pulled free and ran from the room, nearly toppling the Englishwoman as she returned. She clucked her tongue at the child’s back, then thumped a leather bound ledger book on the coffee table at Philippe’s knees. “It should be here, in the household accounts …” She licked a finger and flicked through its pages. “Ah! This is it. Now ….” She scanned the upended room, then turned a rueful smile on him. “Do you have a pencil and paper?”

He flashed her a charming grin. “Indeed I do.”

She read out the address and he jotted it down. Strange. A rather untidy part of the city.He closed his notebook. “You think she will be interested? No obstacles, should my employer offer to mentor her?”

“Oh, none, none at all. In fact, I think you’ll make her the happiest girl alive.”

They rose. His hostess bit her lip. “You may think my request strange, but … if you do call upon her, would you tell her I am sorry?”

Curious. “What could you possibly have to be sorry for, a beautiful woman like you?”

A flush stole across her cheeks. “Ah, well, we quarrelled. And I wish we hadn’t. Would you? Please?” Limpid blue eyes mooned at him.

“For you, madame - anything.”

“Oh, thank you.” She extended her hand; he took it, and pressed her knuckles to his lips. She smelled faintly of milk.

“Charmant, I am sure.” He slipped his fingers from hers, grazing the inner side of her wrist as he did. “Bon jour madame. Et, merci.”

“A … a pleasure …” Her voice trailed off, and he left her, the fingers of one hand pressed to the wrist he had touched, wide blue eyes staring after him.


Hello all! Well, it's been a rough week for me. My writing muscles have been seriously neglected and churning out the words again has been TOUGH. I'm exhausted! LOL.

That said, I'm doing it!!! YAY. :) I'm ending the first few days with just over 7K. Nothing compared to the other ladies here at ATWOP, but it's still excellent for my first few days out of the gate.

Here's a short snip from me -- hopefully without any major, major spoilers. (One name has been deleted to keep some things on the DL. lol).

“The way I see it, you two got yourselves messed up in some nasty business.” He stood abruptly, brushing the seat of his jeans. “Only question is, vampire or werewolf?”

My heart thrummed against my chest.

He’s playing with you. He doesn’t know.

I feigned shock, dropping my jaw to the floor. “God, you’re good. But what if I said Jackalope?”

I turned on my heel, but he stopped me with a firm grip on my upper arm. “Don’t play with me, Princess. I’m not stupid.” He smiled then, no humor in his expression. “And I’m not above using whatever means necessary to get the answer.”

We locked eyes. His were hard, unyielding, and seemed to penetrate down to my very core. I was the first to break away, dropping my focus to the top button of his shirt.

“Tell me the truth. That’s all I want.” He removed his hand and blood flowed through my arm again. “Otherwise, I’m sure there are more than a few people who would be interested in hearing about how I found you and your boyfriend…that night.”

I met his eyes again. “You wouldn’t dare.”

The corner of his mouth tipped up further. “Try me.”

I licked my lips, my pulse quickening. I had no doubt he wasn’t one to make idle threats. He was just the type of guy who would get enjoyment out of watching other people suffer. And suffer we would. Placing Ty and I at the scene of {X’s} death would have unimaginable consequences. Even in my darkest hour, I hadn’t allowed my mind to go down that road. Just a few words spoken to the wrong person, and Caleb would destroy us both.

“I don’t know what you want me to say,” I said, feeling like a caged animal. I knew my face was red, and I swiped the hair out of my eyes, not caring that I scratched my cheek in the process.

“Sounds to me like you’re saying no.” With that, he started back towards the school. I watched him go, his stride purposeful, measured, not once letting up.

“Shit,” I hissed through clenched teeth. He was a good twenty yards away. Thirty. Forty.

Damn him. Let him go to the police. I would rather that happen than confide in a low-down dirty piece of pond scum like Caleb Martin.


“No,” I said, setting out across the grass towards the football field. “Not gonna do it.”

I didn’t get far. By time I turned around, Caleb was a good hundred yards ahead of me. I shouted his name, my voice coming out a little hoarser each time. I had no doubt he could hear me, but he let me yell out for a good thirty seconds before turning back in my direction.

“Fine!” I yelled. “You win!”

I’ll give him credit for not smiling in triumph. He simply strode back towards me, digging out a cigarette in the process. He had it lit by the time he reached me. On a slow exhale, he took in my angry, slightly crazed expression. “Now was that so hard?”


I've never written so much, so fast. I'm still the pony here, running far behind these magnificent racehorses, but I'm happy. I'm happy because I'm proving to myself that I can do it, I can write fast and get the ideas down on the page. Sure, a lot of it is NaNo-Crap, but there are some very usable scenes as well. Speaking of scenes, here's mine:

When Carl didn’t return from the vineyards in time for breakfast, Carrie just sighed and muttered about how hard that man worked. She wrapped a plate of toast and bacon in towel, filled a thermos of hot coffee and set off for the winery.

From his place at the kitchen sink, he watched her leave the back porch and walk toward the trail that lead to the winery, her bottom swinging seductively in her blue jeans. He stared out at the window, watching until she faded into the morning fog and disappeared altogether within the rows of vines.

When he turned back to the kitchen, Katherine was watching him. Before she could lower one of her mother’s level looks at him, he busied himself at the sink, filling his coffee mug with water and rinsing it out.


He looked at her then, expecting a mother’s rebuke. But her face held only sadness and her words were gentle.

“I hate seeing you like this.”

“I’m fine.”

“Of course you are. You’re fine until she walks out of the room. Then you follow her with your eyes like a puppy following his master. You’re fine until she walks back into the room and you’re suddenly star struck.”

“I am not.”

“Yes, you are, son.” She paused, then gave a little snort. “Relax, nobody else sees it. I don’t think.” She swirled the remains of her coffee in the mug. “Isn’t there anyone you’re interested in?”

He picked up the coffee pot and refilled her mug, and then his as an afterthought, giving him a moment to think of an answer. Then he sat down across from her and said with as much humor as he could muster, "You want a run-down, the dirty-low-down graphic details of my love life?”

He expected her to decline graciously, maybe with a blush. But she didn’t. She never did the expected thing and she didn’t do it now.

“I want to know someone has loved you. You haven’t been around for me to do that, Nate, to give you some motherly love at least. It’ll break my heart to hear you’ve gone without anyone caring for you.”

He could dodge her easily enough with a well-timed joke, but he didn’t. “There’s been a few who loved me.”

“And you them?”

He shrugged, suddenly interested in his mug. Then he said out loud what he’d never dared acknowledge.

“I tried.”

Truth be told, he did love a few, but it always ended badly and he was to blame for it.

Katherine reached across the table and clasped his hand in hers. It was warm and soft and as comforting as a mother’s love can be. She gave his hand a squeeze and let go.

Ooh, I'm late. Time changes and husbands working all weekend has left me behind on writing. I did manage this little snippet last night. I don't think I'm writing more than usual, more like writing more consistently than usual -which is a very nice thing indeed!
Silly snip:

“Pack a valise, Monday.” Hunt strode into the breakfast room. An implacable expression of indifference hardened his precise features into something resembling sculpture. Fierce, strong, with the visage of a Roman centurion, he really was a beautiful man. “We are going on a trip,” he said, oblivious to her study.

Olivia put down her egg spoon. “Where and when?”

His mouth closed on whatever retort he’d been prepared to say. A pair of tickets landed upon the table with a slap. “France. Two hours from now.” Frowning, he pulled out his pocket watch to consult it. “Gads, one hour fifty-five minutes. Look lively, Monday.”

He put away his watch and lifted a brow in her direction, waiting for the imminent female explosion, she supposed. What was he about now?

With care, Olivia dabbed her napkin to the corner of her mouth then set it down. “Well then I had better go pack.”

His eyes darkened for a moment, disappointment thinning his lips, before he forced a wide grin. “That is one of the things I admire about you, Monday. Practicality. Highly irregular for a female.”

Olivia glanced from him to Peter who sat next to her, valiantly trying to keep a straight face.

“Has he received a crack to the skull?” she asked Peter.

Hunt’s straight brows rose. “What?” he asked with false innocence.

Her eyes narrowed on him. His lean form, despite its careful repose against the serving table, was tight as a notched bow. “You are awfully…chipper, Hunt.”

Peter snorted. “Hunt always acts the chipper lad when he’s scared shitless.” His snicker trailed off into a subdued cough when Hunt glared at him.

“Watch yourself,” Hunt said. “Or I’ll take you along as well.”

“Oh-ho, no.” Peter pushed back from the table. “I’ll stay here where it is nice and safe and crawling with Ordermen, thank you.”

Monday took the moment to glance at the tickets. “The Victoria. First class seating for two.” She looked up at Hunt. “A dirigible?” Excitement lifted her voice. How very excellent. She hadn’t flown in years. Not since her honeymoon tour.

Hunt’s mouth twisted. “Yes.”

“Tough luck, mate.” Peter clasped at hand on Hunt’s shoulder as he passed by him on the way out the door.

Hunt’s square jaw bunched tight. He actually looked green, she realized in shock. Tiny pearls of sweat beaded along his temples. For a moment her mind was blank then understanding hit her.

“You are afraid of flying.” Tender sympathy hit her in an unexpected wave.

His head reared back as though she’d smacked him. “I hate being confined for two hours,” he corrected then gave her such a false smile she actually saw his molars.

A strangle laugh bubbled in her chest at the sight of that painful grimace but she wisely swallowed it down. “Of course,” was all she said.


  1. If I could just get a few days ahead, I'd be pleased. You ladies are kicking a$$!

  2. Wow. SOoo great! I'm going to share your blog with my students.

  3. Wow, very intense snips both of you - methinks le diable is in both, after all [g]
    And congratulations again on the word count!
    Okay, let me go type up those last few hundred words so I can finally see what my week one total is...

  4. Yay, more snips! Hope you guys are going to keep this up each week [g]