Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Finish Line...

Day: 30
Time: 10:37 p.m.
Expected Word Count: 50,000
Current Word Count: 50,086

Typing or writing "THE END" just feels good, doesn't it?

I've really missed reading books, and so I think I'm going to go indulge in that for just a little while today.

I hope you feel like you've made a significant effort this month, and feel the feeling of accomplishment that you deserve. I know I do.

~Mrs. W.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Good Day, Ended

Day: 28
Time: 9:50 p.m.
Expected Word Count:  46,667
Current Word Count: 45,037

Two more days to go!  And I had a 5,000 word day today.  It was good timing.  I'm nearly through Chapter 22, and the Megari have Duncan, and Thane has abducted Beata, Mia, and Dominic in order to trade them for Bodie Wallace and to be left alone by the Megari.

Well, I've run out of words for today except these:

Go get 'em, Wildcats!

~Mrs. W.

My Favorite Line Written Today...

"Beata's panic was beginning to creep up the back of her throat, and she strongly suspected that if she didn't get some answers soon, the doctor would be wearing her fear all over his shoes."

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Nineteen
In case of attack, hide immediately, wherever you are. Do NOT go running out in the open. This makes you the fish in the barrel that the Megari aircraft will be shooting at.
(Dr. Oettel's Rules for Encampment Survival)

The ground shook beneath her feet, and she lurched towards the wall of the ramp to steady herself before running towards the reception area. Before she could get to the doors, though, the man with the shotgun snagged her by the arm, using her momentum to wheel her around and hustle her into the security office, down on the ground behind the desk. Two more explosions rocked the air, sounding closer this time.
Beata wasn't sure which direction the first bursts had come from, but these two had surely landed somewhere to the East of the building, between here and the library she'd come from. It was only a few blocks. What about the kids? Mia and Dom were underground, but that courtyard room that Dom was in had a glass wall, any one of the concussions from the explosion could have turned that wall into a million pieces of shrapnel. And Duncan, she wasn't even sure where he was right now. He'd said he was headed out to help Bodie check the solar panels for the Encampment's electricity. He could be anywhere on campus or in town.
She tried to take a few deep breaths to calm herself and think logically. The two youngest were surrounded by responsible adults who would make sure they were safe. Duncan was very smart and Bodie knew his way around, so he was probably just pinned down like she was right now.
Another explosion, this time to the West. As this one happened, the reception area guy, a forty-something dumpy guy who looked like he'd be more at home holding a remote control than a shotgun, actually released his held breath.
"They missed us."
"Missed us? What are you talking about? They're freaking BOMBING us right now!" Beata's panic began to rise as his was apparently ebbing.
"No, it's okay, see...they've already passed over. They usually just take one pass over the city then move on to the next city. They come up from an air base down in Florida, make strafe runs on all the non-Megari held cities as far North as Milwaukee, then head back. They'll hit Bloomington next, then Peoria, then swing up to Chicago. Listen, you can hear them moving away even now."
Beata listened. Sure enough, the sky-splitting roar of a phalanx of fighter jets was getting fainter by the second. She wrapped her arms around her knees, and lay her head down on top of her arms. It sounded like this happened frequently enough that he wasn't too worried. She wasn't sure she'd ever be able to find bombs and explosions "normal". This is just the beginning of what freedom was going to cost from now on, she thought. I'd better suck it up and find some courage.
"When can we go back out? I want to check on my kids." Beata's voice was brusque with fright.
"That's right. You're the lady with the kids. We have to wait an hour. If they're going to send in follow-up vehicles, it will probably happen by then." He picked up his romance novel with his free hand, closed it, and placed it face-down on the floor as if he was embarassed to be reading a bodice-ripper in front of a woman.
"Follow-up vehicles?" Beata asked.
"Yeah, every great once in a while, usually during the summer, though, they'll send in a bunch of Army trucks with Protectors in them to do a building search. We usually have one every couple of months. We're just about due, but since it's snowing, it's pretty unlikely."
"So, an hour. We have to wait an hour?" Beata clarified.
"Yeah, so get comfortable. I've got some books back here if you want to read..." he offered.
"Can I go back downstairs to the kitchens to help out there instead of waiting here?" she wondered.
"I guess so. Just so long as you don't leave the building." he shrugged.
So, for the next hour, Beata helped the kitchen staff clean up the spills caused by the bombing and get lunch ready rather than gnawing off her fingernails with worry over her kids. She kept an eye on the clock, though, and the very second the hour was up, she waved good-bye to Jessie and the rest of the kitchen staff and sprinted out of the building to get back to the library a few blocks away.
The snow was still coming down lightly, covering the ground more thoroughly now, but not enough to cover up the smoking ruins of a building she passed on the way back. She paused long enough at the rubble to see if anyone was hurt or needed help. There, under the plasterboard and brick detritus of an East-facing outer room, she saw what looked like the sleeve of someone's blue coat. She began to stumble and pick her way over to the spot, digging with her mitten-clad hands until she reached the source of the clothing. Pulling it out, she saw the brass buttons and distinctive coloring and shape of a marching band uniform. Looking around her, she recognized a few twisted bits of brass and steel that might have been instruments once. There was nothing here for her to save. She needed to get back to her kids.
She brushed off her mittens and jogged, slipping in the newly fallen snow from time to time, all the way back to the library. She arrived just as someone else was leaving and took the stairs down two at a time. As she arrived back at their room, she could see Dr. Oettel, Mia, and a few other people gathered inside. She could hear the frightened, high-pitched screaming that meant that Dominic was panicking. What was wrong? Was Dominic hurt?
She pushed through the crowd, shouldering her way through the silent crowd of adults. Dorothy was holding the screaming boy, her body blocking their view of him while Mia blocked them both from their stern-faced library neighbors. As she spilled through the front of the group, Mia immediately grabbed Beata around the waist and clung to her, her own tears spilling over.
"Mama! Don't let them take Dominic!" Mia's voice was reaching towards panic as well. Beata looked around, confused. Was someone hurt? Were the Megari in the building? Nothing was making sense. She checked over Mia, who wasn't bleeding anywhere and didn't seem to be hurt, but was crying so hard that she was barely breathing. Between that and Dominic's screams, Beata could barely put two thoughts together.
"Baby, baby! It's okay! The planes are gone! They're not taking anyone away. Is everybody okay? Has anyone seen Duncan yet?" She turned around to take the still screeching Dominic from Dorothy and as the older woman turned with him in her arms, Beata suddenly understood the strange scene unfolding in front of her.
Dominic's one-piece pajama's were dangling around his waist, and he had a small amount of blood smeared across his back from the slits where two tiny, down-covered wings were now protruding.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Flying Fingers and Tiny Wings

Day: 27
Time: 10:47 p.m.
Expected Word Count:  45,000
Current Word Count:  40,294

So, I had a good word count day.  WOOT!  I needed one. : )  I've three days to pound this out, and I think I'm even going to make it without cheating by adding song lyrics and poetry recitations by the characters. I must remember to wear my glasses, though, since I'm getting some wicked eye fatigue from staring at the words and screen for too long.  Glasses, must remember glasses.

I'll be honest, I was feeling a little low about the storyline before I started writing today, but then I suddenly got caught up in the intrigue available to my characters, and surprised myself.

There was a surprise attack on the city by Megari forces (at least it was a surprise to Beata - apparently these happen frequently enough that the rest of the encampment's residents take them pretty much in stride.)  But it wasn't the Megari who were the biggest danger at the end of Chapter Nineteen that I just finished - it was their human neighbors.

Apparently, in the stress, chaos, and panic that the bombs caused, little Dominic Lorio showed his first Megari power - or, rather, it showed itself.  The chapter ended with Dominic having sprouted a perfect pair of little wings.  This is not going down well with the other residents of the Encampment, all of whom are 100% human (allegedly).

Here's to fingers that fly with the pen or the keyboard and little boys with wings!

~Mrs. W.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Underground Undergrad

Day: 26
Time: 10:40 p.m.
Current Word Count: 36,847

A good word count today.  Started and finished chapter seventeen. It helped that I enjoyed and understood both the place I was writing about and what is going to happen while they are there.

The Lorio family has now joined an encampment of nomadic survivors who mainly winter in the Undergraduate Library of the University of Illinois in Champaign.  It's a fascinating place, built underground to both accomodate the symmetry of the campus (it needed a wide open space in order to work with what the University's board and architects wanted) AND - this is my favorite reason - it was also built underground so that it wouldn't cast shade on The Morrow Plots - North America's oldest agricultural testing ground. 

Yes, that's right.  They built an entire multi-level structure underground so that they wouldn't kill a field of corn.  Only in Central Illinois.  That's ingenuity.

There, they've met Thane McInerney, Bodie Wallace, and now Dr. Julius Oettel.  Two of these men will be heroes to the Lorios, and one will betray them to the Megari Authority - but which one?

It's time to do a bit of a fast-forward in the story.  The Loader will have to make another appearance, and so will the Death Angel, Michael.  All of that coming up in chapters 18-20. 

It also helped my writing today to walk away from it for a while to do something else fun, talk to a friend, go shopping, and then come back to the story refreshed.  I'm planning a marathon writing session tomorrow night.

Here's to the last few days of NaNoWriMo!  May your wordcounts be large and your frustration small.

~Mrs. W.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The End of the Road?

Day: 25
Time: 10:52
Current Word Count: 34,201

So, the Lorios have arrived in Champaign where they've met a new suspected good guy, Thane, and his sidekick, Bodie as they pulled up to the security checkpoint outside the encamped city.  He may very well become a romantic interest for Beata, he's certainly charming enough - and Irish to boot.  Of course you know what they say about those charming Irish fellas...they've got the gift of Blarney.  Time will have to tell, won't it.  They haven't run into the loader or any other "bad guys" this chapter, but they were warned by Kate not to tell the people they encounter anything about the kids.  She's made it clear that they needed to more actively cover up their special skills and talents.  I've also alluded to the fact that Dominic, the three year old, is very close to sprouting a pair of wings on his back, which will make hiding their ancestry impossible once it happens.

I feel like I should be fretting about my word count right now, but I find I'm not bothered much by being behind.  This, in many ways, has been a more difficult story to right from the very beginning.  The characters haven't spoken to me as clearly as the characters from MoJo Fingers (last year's book).  I'm thinking that I'll be glad when this project is over so that I can get back to the other projects screaming at me to write them right now.  It's gotten so bad that I've actually had to stop taking a shower long enough to clarify a point of knowledge that a character in an unrelated project needed to make a piece of dialogue work. 

Well, it's late, and I'm travelling tomorrow - so I'll be back to the grind in the afternoon as I'm watching my best friend put up her Christmas tree!

Don't forget that the page is it at YOUR mercy, not the other way around!

~Mrs. W.