For National November Writing Month, I'm going to bust my ass and get a good chunk of my novel done, and catalog my progress for you guys with this thread. Why? So I can be accountable on this you can hold me to it! I guess. If you want. I would really appreciate the encouragement. Critiques are welcome, too.
So here, I'm going to make a post every day to show you my progress. Every post will include an excerpt of what I've written for that day, and statistics like word count and completion percentage. And another fun little thing unrelated to the project.
The goal set by NaNoWriMo is 50,000 words, or 1,667 a day. That's a lot, and for this particular story that's almost a chapter a day. I think. We'll see.
“Here,” said the woman, handing him his backpack and shoes. “They cut your shirt off, so I grabbed this for you, too.” She handed him a stolen scrub top. “You like black, right?”
Walter scoffed, “Not quite my choice,” he said, pulling it over his head. He noticed it was more of a dark velvet. Perhaps she thought he wouldn’t catch it, nor care. He didn’t. “So what’s this opportunity you mentioned?”
“Where do I start?” she wondered. “Have you ever heard of Navei Island?”
Who hadn’t? Walter said to himself. Navei Island was one of the better known natural wonders of the world. It lay in the center of the Agdab Ocean, leagues away from any major land mass. Inhabited for thousands of years, it was first discovered by outsiders when the Frisoddian Empire found it. When settlers charted the island, they’d found that the shape of the island was of a human’s right hand, formed naturally. In recent decades, geographers admitted that they couldn’t determine how it formed that way, only that it had simply risen from the sea in that shape. Since then, it had become a popular tourist attraction, though admittance was limited to the wealthy and fortunate due to the difficulty of the journey.
To answer her question politely, Walter nodded. “What’s there?”
“Uh…everything!” she said. “I would go so far as to say that your future is there.”
Walter folded his arms, squinting at her. “My future, huh? You sound pretty confident.”
“I am,” she grinned. “This may be hard for you to believe, but, you’re um…how should I put this…” She paced back and forth as she considered her words. “Let’s just say you’re very…important?” She put a question on the word as if unsure. “To a lot of people.”
He caught her ogling at his birth mark again. “Right. So what does this birth mark have to do with it?”
Culpable, she looked away. “It’s different from the rest,” she answered, placing a hand on her abdomen like her breakfast wasn’t agreeing with her.
“The rest of what? You’re not making any sense.”
“I’m sure you’ve heard of them! I mean, some people have.”
“You’ve never heard of the Star’s Generation?”
Walter groaned, pinching the bridge of his nose as a flood of painful memories crested the forefront of his mind. This, ‘Star’s Generation’ she mentioned referred to a phenomenon that affected a select few people in his age group. They were children born with extremely similar birth marks, all of them depicting a five-pointed star. Never in his life had Walter associated himself with this group, though that didn’t stop anyone around him from assuming he was part of it. He gave her the same argument as he did them. “My mark, as it so happens, is not a star,” he said, a smug smile across his face. “You’ve got the wrong guy.”
I feel like I'm dropping a lot of information at once here. Too much at a time, so it's not very subtle world-building. And yeah, definitely not 1,667 words--I started way too late.
Day 2: 1,097 words, 1,927 words total, 4% complete.
Spoiler for Meet James:
“Your wound’s opened up again,” she observed, breaking out a fresh set of gauze and tape. “Here, let me help you.”
Walter looked away from her, trying to ignore the way she touched him. His eyes landed on James, still smirking at him from that hood. The instrument held by his left hand rested on his back: a long, silvery staff that ended in a jagged hook shape that rose like the crescent moon above his opposite shoulder. No words could be exchanged in this awkwardness until she finished.
“There,” she said, smoothing out the last strip of tape and pulling down on his shirt like she was his mother. A handkerchief appeared from thin air to wipe the blood off her hands, and then vanished again through another one of her rings. “Walter, this is James. James…Walter.”
James nodded at him as he approached, then extended his right hand. “Let’s see it.”
“It’s on his arm,” she told him, hushing herself when Walter glared at her.
James grabbed him by the elbow, lifting up his arm to where he could see it closely. A loud clanging rang through the air as he dropped his staff to take off his hood, revealing the rest of his face. Above a long, sharp-ended nose and under a messy tangle of jet black hair were two narrow eyes, both of them clouded and blurry with grey. Was he blind? Walter wondered. No, there was intent in his eyes, darting around to inspect every detail.
“Interesting pattern,” he observed, looking up at Walter’s face. That’s when he noticed; James’ eyes weren’t totally featureless. In his right eye was a thin, dark shape that circled around like a sickle—a crescent moon.
I hit a thousand today! That's progress. My day won't be as busy tomorrow, so hopefully I'll hit much higher number.
Revision notes: In the last excerpt, I mentioned geographers when I should have mentioned geologists. I get them mixed up when I'm sleep-deprived.
Spoiler for burd:
No changes yet, but it seems just as thick now as it was by the end of November last year. I'll have to check.
James emerged from the kitchen, sipping Walter’s last root beer. “Are we at the airport yet?”
“Yep, just reached it. You guys ready to go?”
“Let’s do it,” James burped, crushing the can and dropping it to the floor.
Before Walter could respond, his world changed around him, replaced by four black walls in a cramped space. Stumbling backwards, he bumped into something and landed on his seat—a toilet. Gathering his dropped supplies, he exited the stall, finding himself in a large public restroom. A middle-aged man stood at the sink, in the middle of shaving. When they locked eyes in the mirror, he joked, “It’s almost like you live in the airport sometimes, huh?”
Walter gave him a forced smile, “Yeah.” On his way out, several of the urinals to his right inexplicably flushed themselves. As the man paused to consider the strange occurrence, James appeared—from the same stall, he noticed.
James gave him a polite nod and a smile, leaving casually. He met Walter in the terminal, and Kriskin shortly joined them from the women’s restroom. Her face was beet red. “What happened?” he asked her.
“Don’t worry about it,” she muttered, swiftly walking past them. “Come on, our flight is this way.”
Early entry today because I work tonight. I had a lot of unexpected housework to do today as well. And more tomorrow. Bleh.
“Fellas.” James had snuck up behind them, placing a hand on Walter’s shoulder, making him tense. “Change of plans. Kriskin, you see that plane over in gate C-8?”
She stood up to search for it. “You mean the one that’s already leaving?”
“That’s the one! Can you get us on it?”
“But what about…?” He only had to smile to change her mind. “See what I mean?” she said to Walter as she opened a portal.
“He will,” James commented, smiling at Walter before vanishing as the ring swallowed him whole.
“Your turn,” said Kriskin as the portal floated over his head like a halo.
Walter looked at the people around them. “Won’t they—” For the fourth time today, his world changed around him, shifting into a smaller, cozier space. “…see?” He had reappeared inside the cabin of the plane. James sat in front of him, reclining in a leather chair.
“We’ve been upgraded to first class! Take a seat, Walter.”
He did as he was told, crooning at how comfortable the spinning bucket seat was. Kriskin appeared seconds later. Hands on her hips, she looked at James expectantly. “So…?”
“James?” called a voice, “Kriskin?” To Walter’s left, a pretty young flight attendant with a stylish haircut emerged from behind a curtain. A sweet smile spread across her face as she recognized them. “What are you guys doing here?”
“Robin!” Kriskin exclaimed as she rushed over to hug her. “What a coincidence!”
“Hey Bright Eyes,” greeted James, “just thought we’d catch a ride.”
“Oh,” she gasped, prying Kriskin away from her. “In that case, I’ll be right back.” She crossed the cabin and slipped through the curtain on the other side. Walter could only sit there, wide-eyed at everything that was happening.
“That was Robin,” Kriskin elaborated as she took her own seat behind James. “She’s another one of us.”
“Don’t look into her eyes!” James warned, his voice a hoarse whisper.
“Okay,” Robin huffed as she returned. “No one should bother us now…oh, who’s this?”
“This is Walter,” Kriskin introduced. “He’s the reason we’re here.”
Robin gasped again. “Is he the one with the…?”
Walter nodded frankly, lifting up his arm so she could see it.
“Nice to meet you!” she smiled. Walter stood up to shake her hand as she approached him. “You don’t need to avoid my eyes,” she assured him as their hands locked. Leering at James, she added, “I can control myself.”
“It’s nice to meet you, too,” Walter reciprocated, now noticing her brilliant, violet eyes. He could see the tiniest blue shape in the sclera of her right eye; another star, doubtlessly.
“Would you guys like anything to drink before we take off?”
“Root beer,” James didn’t hesitate to request.
“Apple juice?” said Kriskin in turn.
“Just water for me,” said Walter as he sat back down. “Thanks.”
“No problem. Be right back.” With that, she returned to the curtain from which she had originated.
“…What is her talent?”
James groaned. “You’re killin’ me, Walt! You’ve already fallen for her?”
Time to leave for work. You guys are still welcome to comment, so please do.
“You thought I was kidding about the sky-diving?” James smiled on him from above.
Walter groaned. “Where’s Kriskin?” He didn’t see her in the cabin.
James flicked his head to one side. “She’s outside the plane. Don’t look at me like that, see for yourself!”
Skeptical, he looked out the window. There was nothing to see but starry skies until his eyes found the wing of the plane. There was a dark, flowing shape laid prone atop the structure. He couldn’t make out what it was until a blinking light illuminated her face for half a second. Walter gasped, “What is she doing?!”
“Nothing she hasn’t done before!” Robin assured, “She’d getting ready for the jump.”
“Should be any moment now,” added James as he looked at his phone.
Walter swallowed a yawn slapped his cheeks. “We’re really doing this, then. Do we have any parachutes?”
“Don’t need ‘em.” As if on cue, a new window appeared in the cabin next to James; a portal that opened up to the nighttime sky. A howling wind rattled them, turning the seats and scattering litter. “Come on!” He extended a hand, beckoning Walter to join him outside.
“That easy, huh?” Walter mumbled. “It was nice to meet you!” He yelled over the wind for Robin to hear.
“I get off work in a couple of weeks!” she shouted back, clinging to a seatbelt to hold her gorund. “See you on the island?”
“Uh…maybe!” While Walter waved goodbye, James yanked on his arm, pulling him out onto the wing. The differences in pressure made the air seem calmer; though still incredibly windy.
“Lie on your stomach and scoot over!” James commanded, getting down on his belly.
Walter followed suit, leading the way as they shimmied toward Kriskin. “Can’t the rest of the passengers see us?”
“So what if they can?” James jibed.
“Robin can make them forget about it,” Kriskin reasoned. “See that?”
Walter looked down toward where she was pointing, then immediately regretted it. He jumped back, and they both grabbed his shoulders to stabilize him. Far below, amidst an endless canvas of blackened waves, was a large grey dot; a swirling circle of clouds. “You mean the thunderhead? Yeah, I see it!”
“That’s home!” James exclaimed, smiling with giddiness.
“Hold hands,” Kriskin instructed, “We’re going to let go on three, then slide off the wing. I’ll take care of the rest. Ready?”
Walter gulped, staring wide-eyed at the open sea.
“Are you ready?!” Kriskin shouted.
“Yes!” he cried, shutting his eyes tight.
1,000+ words! That definitely makes up for yesterday. I had to go back on some other plans I had made to do it, though.
Dang. I was hoping I could get home in time to put more work in before midnight. Aw well. I am absolutely free from any responsibilities tomorrow, so I'm going to shoot for 2,000+ words again. And this time I'll have an excerpt for you...if anyone here is actually reading this. Probably not. I'm so lonely.
They neared the rest of the group by the pool; a strange looking bunch. Sitting on a bench was the largest among them, a very tall young man with dark hair and…horns protruding from his temples. Next to him stood a much shorter guy in comparison, wearing gym clothes and running shoes. His feet didn’t touch the ground—he was floating in place. Behind them, standing alone was a girl in darker clothing and makeup. She was a bit hard to see, due to her uncanny translucency.
They heard a splash in the pool. Walter looked over, spotting a pair of eyes watching him from the water. Timid, the creature vanished under the water. Curious, Walter went to investigate.
“How long have you guys been waiting?” Kriskin asked the group.
“Not long,” said the floating guy. “It’s been about ten minutes since we got here.”
“Typical,” Kriskin sneered as she pulled out her phone again. “Let me call him, see where he’s at.”
Gazing into the water from the edge of the pool, Walter spied what at first he thought was a mermaid. It seemed to be a very fish-like creature, darting from one end of the pool to the other faster than any swimmer he’d ever seen. The person must have noticed him, because it stopped to stare at the intruder.
Walter could feel himself blush when he realized it was a girl. She was a petite young woman, and at first he thought she was naked. Thankfully, he realized, it was just that her blue one-piece swimsuit almost matched her bright blue skin. She had soft green hair at ear’s length and piercing pink eyes that just…stared at him.
Not sure what else to do, Walter simply waved hello at her. Unimpressed, the girl dashed, racing a full lap around the pool until suddenly, she lurched up at Walter, bringing with her a surge of cold water that doused the boy and knocked him backwards.
Everyone’s attention turned to him as he cried out in shock. Embarrassed, Walter got back on his feet, ignoring the smiles and stifled laughter.
“Jeeze, Walter, are you okay?” Kriskin asked, her phone pressed to her ear.
“I’m fine,” he snarled as billows of steam rose from his clothes and body. “See? Already dry.” He scowled at the fish girl, who snickered silently at him from the other side of the pool.
“Hey.” The ghostly girl piped up. “What is that?” Her eyes were skyward, prompting everyone to look in the same direction. High, high in the morning sky was a single beige dot that seemed very out of place.
“Oh my stars in heaven,” Kriskin muttered flatly as she put her phone down. “He’s actually going to do it.”
While everyone wondered what she meant, the water in the pool began to move on its own, churning and churning until it gradually became a swirling whirlpool—but in reverse. Instead of swirling down like a drain, it swirled up, rising into a point toward the sky.
“Get out of there!” Kriskin shouted at the fish girl, who had been oblivious, clinging to the edge of the pool. Once she snapped out of it, she was sucked into the water. However, she quickly reemerged, leaping out and sliding across the concrete until she came to a stop at Walter’s feet.
Finally, the falling star reached ground level, a blur that hit the water like a missile. It was almost as though the water in the pool had risen up to catch who or whatever it was that dove into it. The resulting splash was vast, affecting everyone, to Walter’s satisfaction.
“WOO!” The diver came out of the water as quickly as he’d entered it. He was a tall man with dark, curly hair, wearing nothing but a black Speedo and a pair of goggles. He stood proudly before them without any apparent shame, showing off his star mark, which was just below his navel and above the waistband. “Good morning, everybody! How are you enjoying the island?”
My best day yet! If I can keep this up, I'll be back on track to finish this before November ends.
I got to a, uh...really romantic scene today, and now I'm going to lie in bed and think about it while staring at the ceiling.
And then I'll remember that I'm supposed to be at 25,000 words by now and hate myself.
Day 19 & 20: 1,354 words, 19,875 total, 40% complete.
I neglected to update last night, so here's two days' total.
My progress has been steadily declining, but now it's gonna sink since Smash is out. Oh well! There's always next year. And any free time I have, really.