I got talked into doing NaNoWriMo for the first time ever. Though I have an idea, the pressure of writing a certain amount each day is weird. I mean, I have a weirdly scheduled job, and poor sleeping habits, so reaching that daily goal is going to be an interesting challenge. According to my current, rather pitiable word count, I’ll be finished sometime in early December.
Excellent. Oh. That’s not the main goal of NaNo? Well, shit.
But I definitely like what I’m working on so far. Thanks to a little outside help, I have a story brewing already. Obviously, it’s related to Of the Arbour, because, really, what the hell else do I care enough to write about? It skips between the past and present, the entangled lives of two side characters. Who actually happen to be the parents of the main character.
Basically, they had a torrid love affair that ended up spawning the main character, and this story chronicles that time. And since it features my favourite side character – the father, Stride, who knows no limits to his stupidity and love for fun – I’m most pleased so far.
The clips of the past, of the time during said torrid love affair, are light-hearted (mostly) and full of inappropriate wisecracks and irresponsible teenagering.
“I don’t know how to keep slugs alive.”
“Dampness, I figure.” Stride tucked them back into his pocket and gave a casual shrug. “So, what’s your name?”
She pursed her lips and looked away, obviously uncomfortable with either his position being the Master’s son, his proximity, or his presence altogether. He wasn’t sure if he had met someone so awkward around him before. “Carol of the City,” she replied, only briefly glancing up at him. Almost as soon as her eyes met his, she looked back down at the floor.
Well. That could be worked around. Stride stuck out his hand and smiled prettily. Always smiling. His mother had once asked him if he ever got sore cheeks from showing so much dimple. “Now we’ve officially met, Carol of the City,” he said, laughter ringing his voice.
She gazed warily at him, then took his hand and gave it a quick shake. “Apparently so. Was there something you needed? Other than to show me your slug, that is.”
Stride snorted as he held back a laugh. That was one way of putting it. “What man would I be if I didn’t share my slug with the world?” he cooed, struggling to keep back laughter.
Her face turned a sudden alarming shade of scarlet and she gawked at him in horror. “Oh! I, uh—I am so sorry. That was… oh.” Flustered, she looked away and clapped her hands to her cheeks as if it would will away the tomato blush.
The clips of the present – the present being the time I’m currently writing in Of the Arena, when the main character is 30 and his parents are in their fifties and certainly more mature – are mostly reminiscing about the scenes of the past, discussing family, love, life, and regrets.
Behind him, one of the babies cooed, and they both glanced over to see Ash studiously making piles of leaves that were promptly destroyed by his little siblings. Since they seemed to be having the time of their lives without the help of their grandparents, Stride shrugged and looked back at Carol. She was watching them with a tender smile, her eyes glistening with pride and love.
“They’re good kids,” he murmured.
“They are the most precious things in this world. I feel so blessed to have them.” She wiped her eyes despite there being no tears, and fixed him with a curious frown. “Can I ask you something?”
“More than you already have? Ask away.”
“Did you… do you ever regret it?”
Stride sighed heavily and brushed his unruly blonde hair from his face. He hated seeing the silver hidden amongst the gold, proof that his youth was long behind him. “Surely you heard the racket I made when my father forced me to leave after graduation.”
“No. But I was told about it. He let you stay until he was born, at least.”
“Sure, but was I allowed to watch it? No. My own son…” Stride grunted thoughtfully and leaned back on the grass, letting the warmth of the sun move over him. “I think my biggest regret is not fighting hard enough to see him before I was sent away. Or to see you.”
Her hand set on his, small and warm. He gave it a thoughtful stare. Hers were kind and nurturing hands that had touched love and lust, borne the pain of handing a child to other guardians, cleaned and scrubbed, and assisted in bringing new life into the world. Compared to hers, his seemed so large and brutish.
“That’s not what I mean, and you know it.”
“I know.” Stride stole another glance at his grandchildren.
Despite being behind the “official” NaNo word count, I like it so far. Stride and Carol are really precious together, and being two of my favourite minor characters, I can see this working out quite well in favour of gushy romance and happy endings. No badass battle scenes here, no no. That can be saved for their accident-prone spawn.
Weird. I feel a
disturbance in the Force strange sense of satisfaction doing NaNo for the first time, and with this story. So really, once I’m a famous publisher with hoards of fans clamouring to get my autograph, I can thank Elisa and NaNo for this story.
Because, you know, it will be in a short story anthology.
Is it bad that I consider 50 000 words a short story?