29 Nov

Hitting the Checkered Flag at 50,069 WPM

That’s Words Per Month. Happy to hit the number. Very happy. A lot more to do and, really, at least another 50k words to finish this draft of Eating the Balrog (which is a damn silly title that pleases me and will likely change to something like Sword of the Malraugin or Bombs and Volcanoes and Balrogs O My! or What’s All This Then About Ballllrogs? or the Balrog with Nine Million Tongues.) I’ve been mighty afeard of writing something with fantasy critters init, but I’ve taken a practical approach, a thing of magic simply being ┬ásomething we haven’t managed to capture (but will) with science. That’s not what the story is about anyway.

Here’s the synopsis I typed into the National Novel Writing Month site: I started with memoir combined with family folklore, and mixed in real history and fantasy elements to tell the story of two boys growing up in the foothills of the Oregon Cascades in the late 60’s. The main characters are young and it’s the story I want to tell, but I’m not sure if the end result will be a “YA” or adult novel (and don’t know there’s an important difference yet). I’ve written it by hand (164 pages in two college ruled notebooks and 4 pens later) backed up by a photocopier, to be typed during a rewrite. I did error on the conservative side of the count, so there’s more words than what’s listed here, but again, that doesn’t matter. (I’m not remotely a Luddite but paper and pen kept me focused and were incredibly portable). The draft is rough and tumble as hell and really not finished. It’s more episodic than I expected–there were plenty of surprises, most of them nice. It’s my second novel–the first took years and was a meandering mess. With this one, I spent a month churning out what I know now is mostly well structured exploration, and, with a lot of revision, will be the basis for a grand novel-length story possibly of interest outside family, friends, and captive cats (who I can’t keep off my lap anyway).

Other good news: our programmable thermostat has fixed itself after toying with me last night at 3 AM for a delirium-filled hour where it randomly thought the house temp was anywhere between 52 to 96 degrees F and wanted to hold it at 65 (which means 70 upstairs). After researching the problem thoroughly on the appliance webs, I learned that the best approach is to blow it out, shine the battery connectors for the LCD display, and whack it. That advice was given by a grizzled repairman who shut up the guys who were telling others with this problem everything from their furnace had died to their house circuitry was overloading and they were risking death by thermostat-induced fire. Now, it’s almost certain that my old thermostat, the Honeywell Chronotherm mark III, is past its prime and needs replacement with a touchscreen device that reads my secret temperature-based desires, but that can wait. Yes, the whack worked. A gentle whack.

Also, today at my house of workship, we received news that our paycut of the last 18 months was being rescinded starting Jan 1 (without the need for layoffs or other penalties to compensate). Debby did the happy dance when I sent her this news in a text. She was volunteering with Sophie’s kindergarten class and, she said, received some very odd looks. I love her because she outwardly expresses the things like happy dances that other people habitually keep inside themselves, taped over with a polite chuckle and a “rather.”