NaNoWriMo Winner! But pre Post-November slump.

As ever, once the NaNoWriMo month is over, you notice a huge chunk of your day is missing – less stressful. Despite having a crazy challenge lifted off your shoulders and leaving you with time to focus on more important things (like university assessments O_O), there’s something missing.

That nagging sensation in the back of your mind that says either, ‘I have to reach the target today,’ or, ‘shit I have homework I should be doing instead,’ disappears and there’s no longer a fantastic reason not to do your work.

But despite this strange, floating feeling, I have reached 50,000 words. Hellz yeah! My novel may well go on hold for a little while as I focus on studies, but I’ve written half a novel. That’s not just me, mind you. Many others are racing over the finish line this weekend. How amazing is that? Thousands of people have written a novel/half a novel this month and it makes me want to cheer. WELL DONE EVERYONE! We’ve all done something amazing this month.

I pegged it this weekend. I stayed up writing Saturday night until 7AM Sunday. I had to reach 50k because this week is crazy assessment hand-in week, and I can’t cope with five deadlines looming over with me. Four is much better. X_x

Admittedly, a lot of my time this weekend was eaten up researching into the Chinese language, different provinces, certain dialects, Chinese fashion, vowel pronunciation (it hurts my brain) and honorifics. It was the first time this month I almost wished I had made my female protagonist Japanese. The Japanese culture and language I’m pretty good at – here be an obligatory fangirl – but the Chinese, despite my interest in it as a child, I know next to nothing about (well, not anymore *French laugh*). It’s a shame, because the Chinese culture is just as beautiful in its neighbour.

The C-honorific system, however, is so much more confusing than the Japanese one, in my western opinion. So many honorific terms! Half of them aren’t even used anymore and some have changed into insults. I suppose this can be said for the Japanese, but at least they have a sensible amount.

Despite the overwhelming awesomeness of the Chinese language, however, I learnt a fair bit this weekend. Many people will tell you to ‘write what you know’, but personally, I rarely do this. I love multi-cultural stories or stories set in another era, because I’m a geek like that. Doing research into something you’re unfamiliar with is half the fun of writing. It’s like learning about a whole new world or magical craft, and once you know at least enough to write with confidence, it broadens your horizons as a writer. You can manipulate your knowledge of the world to form a wonderfully new, in-depth experience.

For my first novel, the story is set in six different worlds each based off of different European or Arabian country (one a mix of the two). The sixth world is basically Earth (except not). Now, not only could I tell you about the country where my main characters live, but I could tell you about the twelve others the reader never visits; including the character’s family tree, their origins and how/why they ended up geographically where they are ‘today’. Know your story more than your reader, it’s OK. I think learning to enjoy research is an important element of good writing.

For example, another thing I had to research this weekend was the Chinese metro train and railway system. I told my father and he grimaced, but I actually found it quite fun!

My overall point is: don’t get caught out. Know your stuff so you can justify your decisions. Now it’s time for me to get back to drinking Coke from a mug and writing essays – ciao!

P.S. I don’t want to give too much away in these extracts. The first one is from my favourite chapter thus far and I would love it to be read as a whole (when I upload it) rather than in parts; even if that’s wishful thinking; but that’s why they may not feel very satisfying.

EXTRACT #1

“Xiao Li-ling, what are you doing?” he asked.

Shadows flickered through the carriage and Li-ling half expected the pond to have returned, but looking out the window, she saw telephone poles whizzing past. “Ah,” said Master Wu, “we’re almost there.” As Li-ling returned to where he was sat, she noticed the origami fish on the floor and scooped it up on her way past.

Guangzhou city was in sight and Li-ling pressed her face against the window. She had never in her life seen anything like it. Tall buildings, taller than mountain giants, glistened in the sunlight. “Wooow!” she gasped, “Zhǔ Wu, can I live here?”

He chuckled and peered out the window with her. “Maybe one day.”

“How did they build those?” she asked. “Are they made out of silver?”

“No, no. They look like it though, don’t they? But they’re made of glass.”

Li-ling gasped again. “Really?!”

“Mmm.” It took a while to convince her that the buildings were made of thousands of windows.

EXTRACT #2
(I wrote the action part of this extract to the Korean song: Hip Song by Rain, if you’re interested.)

Dangerfield puffed another cloud of smoke into the room and took a few paces around the coffee table. “The demon population keeps risin’ because they inhabit innocent people’s bodies,” he drawled, his confidence testing Li-ling’s temper not punching him. “The person that was there dies and only the demon is left. They want to eradicate human life, little Liling, because they see themselves as a superior race.”

“That’s not-” Li-ling bit down on her tongue and ground her fist into her hand.

“There you have it,” said Mr. Redgrave, “very well put.”

Grunting, Dangerfield glomped past and muttered, “That school don’t sound like a bad idea, sir,” and gave Li-ling a manic look.

“You stay out of our woods,” Li-ling spat.

“Silence Liling!” cried Mr. Redgrave and he hit her in the back again.

A dark, wheezing chuckle filled Dangerfield’s throat as he made to leave and Li-ling cracked. Swooping forward, she leapt into the air and swung her arm. Her fist hooked around and smashed into the side of his face with sharp precision – a blow so quick it could have been missed in the blink of an eye.

Mr. Redgrave dived to restrain her but Li-ling landed a smack against his chest, sending him flying back into the sitting room. Dangerfield made to slap her, but Li-ling pre-empted his move. She grabbed his wrist, bent his hand and yanked his arm behind him; forcing the man to spin his back to her.

Centring her energy, Li-ling gathered her strength and drove her foot into the middle of his back with barely a moment’s pause. He staggered forward, dropping his cigar, and at once raised his fists at her. Li-ling felt no fear of the built man, only hate, and dived at him.

EXTRACT #3

The folds of time roared against Frederick’s ears, his body racked with pleasure until his feet slammed into the ground and he buckled. His knees suffered the most as they smashed into the solid rock now beneath him. Rain poured down from the night sky and Frederick turned his face up, exhausted. Thunder tolled behind the clouds and rumbled over the dark terrain. A dull sob escaped him.

He couldn’t take it anymore.

Observing his new surroundings, Frederick saw nothing but black, glistening rock for miles. He paused, blinking against the downpour. This was it. This was the place! The place he had lost.
Forcing his legs to work, Frederick staggered onto his feet, shaking; his hands dripping with blood and covered in cuts. He cradled them against his chest, when lightning severed the sky and illuminated a cave up ahead. “I found it,” he gasped.

A figure lay in the dirt.

“No…” he whimpered. Making his legs move, Frederick limped over the cragged terrain, jumping as a crash of thunder echoed off the rocks. Who was it? Which time stream was he in? Was this the right place but a different thread of time to the one he needed? He recognised the shape of the man’s arms as he came closer. It would take more than a life time for Frederick to forget what Mercury looked like.

EXTRACT #4

When he next opened his eyes, Frederick saw an orange ceiling, or rather, a ceiling made of animal hide that flickered with orange light. He could hear the rain and an unfamiliar peace hugged him. He was wrapped in warm throws, the sound of rain and a crackling fire close by. A young woman appeared at his side, her long brown hair curling around her face. “How are you feeling?” she asked. Frederick closed his eyes and went back to sleep. After a few days, Frederick started speaking to her.

As she propped him up one evening and handed him a plate of raw meat cut into chunks, Mary said, “Whatever your past is, you don’t have one with me.”

He stared at her. The fire light danced over her face and rich brown hair. She did not meet his gaze. As she slipped off the beads she wore on her arms and doused the fire in the tent entrance, Frederick watched her: silent.

Mary lay down on her mat on the other side of the tent. “You don’t have to be afraid,” she said, then rolled over and drew her bear skin up to her neck. “I’m just trying to help.”

NaNoWriMo: the final stretch begins. Welcome Rambo and my ohso poetic banking similes.

Hiya, I’m not dead – yet. Give me four more days and come November 30th I’ll be doing a Frederick and trying to drown myself in the sink basin.

People keep giving me books. This is lovely and I love all my geeky, literary friends for their passionate areas of writing, but I’m drowning in books. So many books. SO MANY BOOKS.

The finer points of today’s lessons, both led by the wonderful Professor Sara, were on how to write good scenes and how to get an Agent (with a capital ‘a’ and everything). I’m going to be concise and to the point otherwise I might as well write up three hours of lectures! My notes on how to write good scenes are what I shall share with you. Here we go.


How to write good scenes

-If story is character then character is dialogue.
REVEAL THE CHARACTER’S NATURE THROUGH REACTION TO SITUATIONS. Don’t tell me that Daisy was sad, show me. Telling me that Daisy was sad reveals nothing and is flat. If you tell me that ‘Daisy fell to her knees, clutched her chest and wept her heart out’ then not only do I know how sad she is, I can guess what kind of person she is.

A good exercise to reveal a character is to know what is in their fridge! Opening a character’s fridge door tells you a lot about a person. The example Sara gave us was when she visited a new friend (in real life) and opened the woman’s fridge, all that was in it was a glitter ball and a bottle of vodka. I think that says a lot.

Don’t blether.
**Dialogue is NOT like real life. Though you may quote people, cut out the boring bits and make every word essential.
**How people speak, not what they’re saying. Writing colloquial language and dialect is perfectly fine, but capture the essence of their verbal ticks; not, like, every, like, verbal tick, like, yeah, like, y’know?
**Know when to shut your characters up.
**Unnecessary formalities. We don’t need to hear all their greetings.
“Hello, how are you?”
“Oh, I’m fine thank you. How are you?”
“Yes, lovely, thanks. Would you like a cup of tea?”
Cut straight to the scene where they’re drinking tea and having meaningful conversation; unless their greeting is riddled with subtext and/or conflict.
**Writing the fight – don’t. You can show conflict in more creative ways that just yelling. Show, don’t tell. Subtext.
**Over explaining or exposition – be careful. Allow your audience to read a situation. Exposition through dialogue is the worst. It’s lazy writing and just bad.
**Don’t say it if we can see it.
**Subtext is a wonderful thing – use it!

“A cup of tea is never just a cup of tea.” – Sara

After being told all of this we were informed to write a very tight, concise scene riddled with conflict and subtext. Here is mine:

INT. ENGINE ROOM

With an agitated growl, JIM finishes her work, throws her tools onto a neighbouring workbench and pushed REMUS’ feet off the table.

JIM
You can go now.

She steps back, hands on hips and Remus slides onto the floor. With a sigh, Jim grabs a hand rag and strides over to him, whereupon she heaves herself onto the workbench.

She slumps over her knees, moping her face and avoiding Remus’ gaze as he moves to stand in front of her.

REMUS
Why don’t you visit the upper city?

She shrugs, playing with the rag.

REMUS (CONT.)
It’s nice this time of year. The colours
in the light are like amber.

JIM
You and your colours.

REMUS
I’ll take you somewhere with clean air.

JIM
How could you possibly know if the air
is clean?

With a smile, Remus taps his temple. Jim slides off the table and throws her hand rag at him. He catches it.

JIM
Let me know if your eyes blank out.

EXIT JIM.

 

Though I wrote it as a script, the same principles apply to writing a novel. I hope you found this helpful!

So, about my NaNo… A new character has appeared! Did you know, ‘Dangerfield’ is a real British surname? It sat perfectly with my new character and I hope it doth amuse you. Also, let me state now, I don’t have anything against Americans (unless we get political, but that’s beside the point). My boyfriend is American, so our relationship would be a bit of a struggle if I did. I’m just saying.

EXTRACT #1

A smile spread across her face and for a moment, Frederick was distracted from the flashing knife.

“You nervous, Freddy?” she asked, raising her knife hand. “You keep looking at it.”

“More for your own safety.”

“Are ya sure?” Li-ling threw the knife over her head, intending to snatch it out of his face at the last second, but Frederick caught it with a steady hand. She halted; her mouth open, and Frederick lowered his arm.

“Wow,” was all she could say. “Where did you learn that?”

Turning the blade into his hand, Frederick held it out for her to take back, staring at the cold metal and patterned hilt. “I didn’t,” he said, “each of us have gifts, my Brothers and I. Mine is impeccable accuracy.”

“Accuracy?” Li-ling wrinkled her nose and resumed walking. “My, what an exciting gift.” She bit her lip to show she was teasing him again and Frederick glanced away, watching the woodland and gave her no reaction.

“I’m teasing,” she said.

“I know.”

With a contemptuous laugh, Li-ling cried, “Hey!” and once more flung her knife into the air. Frederick caught it without hesitation, but he was the one to stop this time. Shrugging her shoulders, Li-ling gave a smile that confused him as she carried on her way.

“Just checking,” she said.

EXTRACT #2

“Oh no,” sighed Li-ling, stopping without warning. Next to Boots, the leading pharmacy chain, she was staring at a Bounty Agency (BA). It was a sleek looking place with sterile colours, large glass windows and a bright interior.

“What?” asked Frederick, hoping she didn’t plan on taking him into a shop crawling with demon hunters looking for a new bounty hunt, or summoned by popular demand for the details of a specific call.

“That poster,” she said, nodding at the full body image of a man dressed in camo trousers, a tank top, and held a machine gun in both hands. A cigar hung from his mouth, the image stuck on one of the BA windows. “That’s Tom Dangerfield. He’s some big shot American.”

Frederick snorted. There was a phone number printed across Dangerfield’s feet and a slogan above his head. Want something done fast and without any uncertainties?

“He thinks he knows what he’s doing,” Li-ling continued, “but he’s just a dolt with a gun.”

Frederick took in Dangerfield’s thick arms, shaven head and square jaw – seriousness etched into his face. “Maybe he does know what he’s doing,” Frederick mused.

“Oh sure,” Li-ling flipped hair over her shoulder, “shoot until it stops moving. I’m amazed anyone hires him, he’s got a damage warranty rated higher than the mortgage of two detached houses!”

“In some places they’d call that a reputation.”

Frederick and Li-ling whipped around to see none other than Dangerfield, garbed up in blue camo trousers and a tight long sleeve top. Despite being the same height as Dangerfield, there was no way Frederick could compare to the man’s presence.

“I like to think of it as a credit rating,” the American continued, “the higher you rack up the points, the more likely they are to give you a big loan.”

Unimpressed, Li-ling folded her arms and tried not to glower. Frederick, on the other hand, felt a sweat spring up on the back of his neck and tried to think of a way to escape. He had learnt never to underestimate any demon hunter, especially the gun-ho types.

With a polite laugh, Li-ling forced a smile. “Oh, hello,” she said in her sweetest voice. “Are you really Dangerfield?”

“Why yes, darlin’. But if you’d just excuse me, I got a call to see to.” He pointed at the Bounty Agency with a smug sneer.

“Oh do you?” said Li-ling, forcing her smile even brighter. “Gosh, I can’t wait for my first call. I’ll be licensed in two months time. I’m Miss. Redgrave,” she clasped her hands together, looking so false Frederick bit on his tongue and hid his eyes behind his hand. “I hope my family’s reputation will be of good use.”

Dangerfield laughed. “You’re a Redgrave? Sure don’t look it.”

A jolt of anger vibrated through Frederick’s chest to peer up and see him assessing her features. Rolling his shoulders and cracking his neck, Dangerfield kept his leering expression in place. “Anyway, it don’t matter what your name is. Like I said, s’all about credit ratings. Gamer points. How many successful hunts do you got to your name?”

“Three actually,” Li-ling snapped. Dangerfield laughed and Frederick had never wished for a hunter to have a high demon-count as much as he wished Li-ling did right then. A grumble tried to rise in Frederick’s throat but he suppressed it, clearing his throat instead.

Dangerfield glanced across at Frederick then, who at once tipped his chin down, not wanting direct eye contact. The sizeable man paced closer, invading Frederick’s personal space so he could almost feel the hunter’s breath. “Say,” he grumbled, “those are some interesting lookin’ marks you got there.”

Angelus and Froxen Blue: have I got news for you!

Hey there cast and crew; fabulous news!

To those of you in participating as the voices of Froxen Blue, we now have almost everyone’s lines and so production is underway. Unfortunately, due to life and various mishaps, two lines remain unsaid as one actor has had to pull out last minute. I’m already working on a solution, however, and I plan to employ my father this weekend when I visit home. It’ll be fine. He’s grown used to me snagging him for various voice acting antics without warning.

To those of you participating as the voices of Angelus, we almost have everyone’s lines in for Chapter Two, which means we’ll have another chapter up before Christmas! I’m so excited, are you? Don’t panic, however, the deadline for your lines is still the 30th of November.

And to everybody, from Froxen Blue, Angelus or both, if you have any questions, concerns or want to say ‘hi’, feel free to drop me a line at: hellolemoncity@gmail.com

ALTERNATIVELY, you can join my Moogle.com page (EDIT: this page has been closed due to buggy performance) where there is a whole forum for you guys to chat, pose questions and be merry. I would advise you to use this page rather than the Voice Acting Alliance forums where auditions are held as this is not a place deemed appropriate for discussion (it saddens me too).

I hope to see you there!

Peace Out

NaNoWriMo Days a Blur and mysterious characters are so mysterious we’re running blind.

I’m back on word target! In fact, I’m just a little bit over target, which makes work less stressful. Gore, rain, horror and rape (in much less quantities than the former three) have swallowed my novel. I’m not sure if I should be concerned that in everything I write there is always one character who gets raped, is raped ‘off screen’ or has been raped in their past. But, as Holly Black said, “You will look up things on the internet that make you look like a serial killer.”

Want a gorgeous piece of music? Good, cause I’m throwing it at you now: Dearly Beloved by Kyle Landry.

Today rain poured over the British countryside. As it happened, I got caught walking home in it. Usually, I hide under my panda hat and ‘assassin’s creed’ hood, but today I realised that I haven’t wandered in the rain without a care for my appearance since I was young. As I didn’t have anyone to meet or anywhere to be, I thus tugged off my panda hat, hood and glasses and enjoyed walking through the bleak fields beyond my hometown.

The rain was unexpectedly warm today, and considering that it’s winter, it was a pleasant surprise. I absorbed the feeling of the rain and talked to myself as I walked, trying to describe out loud how it felt. I ended up drenched and my mother thought I had just stepped out the shower when she came to visit, not long after I returned home! It was good to recall a fresh sense of what it feels like to get plastered in rain water, especially as it keeps happening to Frederick and Li-ling.

I found this picture on Deviant Art the other day, created by one of my favourite artists on the site, Vyrhelle. I love her stuff, nomnomnom. As soon as I saw it, I laughed. Then stared at it for a good ten minutes. This picture is definitely of Mercury, Frederick and Li-ling, in my head. Mercury gets to show his wings this time, not Frederick!

This evening my writing adventures have flown onto the page. I’m quite an action person, I love pace and suspense in my work. For a while I have been dreading an upcoming section of my novel, because I could only see it as a montage and of events that aren’t action-based enough to keep me entertained. But, I’ve been investing time in tormenting poor Li-ling to the point that I’ve set up enough conflict to work my way through the calmer, lovey-dovey section of my story.

Remember: conflict, solution. Conflict, solution. Or in Willow’s case: conflict, traumatic experience, conflict, explosion, breakdown, conflict, solution. Rinse and repeat.

I’ve also had to research into Latin tonight. That was fun. I love Latin, and again, I always find a way to incorporate it into my stories. This time it wasn’t planned. I had written myself into quite a dilemma and there was nothing Li-ling could do to defend herself, when I realised, ‘oh! a Latin incantation! Why the heck not?’ Did you know, the phrase for creating an unnecessary or overly pretentious word by stealing and mixing other languages together (by an English speaker) is known as an “inkhorn term”? You do now.

 

EXTRACT #1

“Wait,” Frederick cried too late as Li-ling slapped the talisman onto Betty’s forehead. Flames flourished across Betty’s face and an ululating screech arose. Li-ling grabbed his arm and tugged the bolts back on the door. They threw the door open and Frederick shoved her out first into the rain. With only a slight moment of deliberation, they hurled themselves against the wall of the next building along, pressed flat against it as an almighty explosion forced through the antique windows. Frederick turned his head away, fire and splintered glass roaring through the air beside them.

Li-ling seized his shoulder and tugged him down to the floor next to her. Regardless of the puddles, Frederick pressed right down, grit covering his arms, half draped over Li-ling. Glass and wood thundered into the brick wall opposite the antique shop and bounced back over the pair on the floor. His arms and back stung as bits of debris flecked against his body.

A hollow tinkling sounded as the last fragments of the antique shop fell to the cobbled street.

EXTRACT #2

Keen to research her discovery, Li-ling scoured the next page for their names, her finger whizzing over the sentences; trying to absorb the introductory paragraph as quick as possible.

Her lampshade flickered.

Li-ling glanced at the lamp, and then drew the covers tighter to her waist. She carried on reading. A chill trickled over the bed sheets and sent shivers beneath her skin. Determined not to show any sign of recognition however, Li-ling pretended to keep reading. A shuddering breath left her mouth and misted through the air.

Her lampshade went out.

Blackness.

The clouded night bore no slot for moonlight to creep through. She didn’t want to look up. Quivering, Li-ling continued to stare at the invisible book. Her blood was racing again and she wished her heart would not beat so loud. She struggled to hear her own breathing over the strength with which it hit against her ribcage.

“Last night as I slumbered I ‘ad a strange dream…”

Unwilling to the last second, Li-ling slid her gaze across the bed.

“One that seemed to bring distant friends near.”

Peering up at last, a male face with wide unseeing eyes glowed grey on the surface of her wall. It stared at her as if livid.

“Leave…” Li-ling whispered.

The head shot across the room and blood splattered across her floor in a messy trail. There was a slithering, crackling sound, like centipedes crawling over one another; like tiny bones crunching.

“I dreamt of the faces of people I loved…”

Li-ling’s breath wooshed out of her as the end of her duvet rose and a round lump travelled towards her. Her sheets stained a dark red the further up the bed it slipped and Li-ling wanted to scream. Instead, she threw the book down on the lump. It did not flatten it; rather, it pushed the head further up her mattress and, screaming at last, Li-ling tripped out of bed.

She fell into the blood on the floor and her face contorted with repulsion, her entire body racked with shakes at the sight of it on her hands. She could feel it soak into her clothes and around her breasts. A longer scream escaped her.

Something grabbed her leg and she kicked, clawing at the floor. There was no breaking free. Li-ling twisted back to see a pale hand from under the bed wrapped around her ankle. A savage face stared out from the shadows, his other arm bent at an awkward angle.

“GET OFF!” she screamed.

“You didn’t lock the door,” he whispered.

Day 16 of NaNoWriMo… What? Already?

So much to do. Just, so much. I’m struggling to keep up now. I’m only managing to write 1,000 words below the target each day before I fall asleep, willingly or not. But, I shall press on. I am determined to complete NaNo. My war paint is now on.

My writing plan has degraded a little more from, ‘write anything that comes to me’ to ‘tell me anything and I’ll put it in’. Mitch and I attended a Write-in at our friend’s house last night, which ended up being a mammoth conversation about Lord of the Rings, Tolkien and eventually a few games of poker. One friend in the house (Sam), who kept coming in and leaving again (he’s not a NaNo’er), came sat next to me and was very helpful with the ‘tell me anything’ plan. Apparently there is an antique store in my story. Luckily, Sam knows what a creepy antique store looks like.

I made another trailer not long ago. This one actually required me to use masking, colour scheming, flow and thought! I was so dissatisfied with the last one that I simply couldn’t let that be it. New tab for trailer [here]!

On Sunday I poured over a scene I’ve been looking forward to; a horror scene, mwuahahaha! I love to listen to atmospheric music while I write, so I thought browsing the original Silent Hill soundtrack would super get me in the mood. Mitch also introduced me to the uber creepy short film, ‘The Cat With Hands’ on YouTube. I got so in the mood, my new horror music on repeat, that I scared myself something stupid as I was writing the scene. It got to the point that I just wanted it to end! But I suppose that’s what happens when you put your own fears into your writing.

I learnt in class last Friday that Mandarin is easier for dyslexic people than English. How insane is that? Children naturally read from right to left, which sounds familiar when I think about it. Our symbols (a.k.a. the alphabet) are not logical but we have trained ourselves to express thoughts with very few squiggles and punctuation. I just thought I’d share that with you.

Last Friday we were introduced to ‘intertextuality’ as defined by Julia Kristeva. Intertextuality is the relationship a text has with other texts, which I found quite interesting. “It can refer to an author’s borrowing and transformation of a prior text or to a reader’s referencing of one text in reading another.” The following list is of the categories that texts tend to fit into. Perhaps you can find which category your NaNo fits into.


Pastiche –
pasting together various genres in a homage to or a parody of past styles.

Irony, playfulness, black humour – as if the text were in ironic quote marks.

Metafiction – writing about writing, often used to undermine the authority of the author.

Temporal distortion – playing around with time, using analepsis (flashback), prolepsis (flashforward) and Ad Infinitum (time-loop/never ending).

Minimalism – a focus on surface description where readers must take an active role in the creation of the story.

Maximalism – disorganised, sterile, focused on signifier, empty of emotional commitment.

Magic realism – combines realistic and fantastic/surrealistic elements.

Faction – fiction based on and combined with fact, which you must be very careful of. Get your facts right!

 

I’ve so far written a ‘minimalism novel’, ‘magic realism novel’ and my nano this year is a ‘temporal distortion novel’. What category does yours come under and what have you written before?

EXTRACT

It was silent. The only thing he could hear was Li-ling’s breath and a feint ringing; a slight high pitched drone that was induced by the intense silence. “You like it here?” he asked, his voice softer than normal.

“Not on my own,” she replied, pushing past. “Follow me.”

Not fond of creaking, pitch-black houses, Frederick tried to stick as close to her as possible without tripping her up. He felt wary of the unknown at the top of the staircase, and he scuffled past the open doorway on their left. He stared into the room. A smudge of light was visible through the curtains and he could depict a sofa. A soft wind made the curtains ripple and Li-ling’s cautious footsteps made him uneasy.

“Where did you get a key for this place?”

She stopped and he bumped into her. Her clothing ruffled as she reached out to push against a door Frederick had not even realised was in front of them. “I bought it from the antique store,” she said in a meek voice. “The woman behind the counter showed it to me. She told me that it was for this house. Really creeped me out, but I kept thinking about it.”

Frederick glanced behind him. The place did not feel swept, which surprised him. If Li-ling used this place often, and if she was smart, protecting this house and cleaning out its past would have been the first thing he’d done.

He knotted his hands together.

“It just seemed like an important opportunity,” Li-ling continued. “I kept thinking about it… So, I went back one day…and I bought it.”

They shuffled into a kitchen, the grime ridden windows illuminated the sink beneath it. The cupboard doors were loose and a broom stood in the corner, but aside from that, it was empty. Nothing but the black and white tiled floor. Frederick studied the shadow-swallowed corners, wishing they were someplace else. His back tingled.

“The cafe is through there,” Li-ling said. She pointed to a door on the far left. “The ground floor is almost like a circuit.”

“Li-ling…” She turned to face him, her eyes shaded in the gloom. “You haven’t swept this house, have you?”

The girl paused, standing very still. “She told me not to,” Li-ling whispered.

Frederick went cold. “What?” he breathed. He edged further into the room so the distance between them was less.

“The antique lady, she said this house had something to tell me.”

A door slammed upstairs and Li-ling grabbed his arm. He seized her shoulder without hesitation and pulled her close.

“But I don’t understand them,” she whispered. “Demons can see life, can’t they?”

Frederick twisted out of her grip and turned to face the black corridor, sliding her hand to his lower back instead. “Life, yes, but the dead are dead, Li-ling. They have no light.”

“Aren’t demons from beyond the grave?”

“Sometimes,” he sighed, “I wish someone should write a book called ‘Interview with a Demon’. We are not dead.”

Floorboards creaked above their head and slow footsteps paced in the room above them. Li-ling stood close to him. “Perhaps you should teach me the secrets we humans don’t know,” she whispered.

“We need to leave first.” Frederick stared at the front door down the other end of the hallway, but he couldn’t move. That would mean having to pass the stairs, having to pass the dark sitting room. A wet noise started in the far corner of the kitchen behind them and they scuttled away.

“Can’t you tell me what they want?”

“Not unless they speak. What were you expecting?”

The noise in the corner sounded like someone was opening and closing their mouth. Frederick hoped beyond life that it would stay in the corner.

“You said you were one of the Immortals. Don’t they have the power to speak to the dead? Can’t you fight them, seal them, or trap them? ”

Frederick shook his head, beginning to shake and he wrapped one arm around her shoulders. He was torn between staring at the corner and down the corridor. “No. We can only bend time. Our main power is knowledge. We retain information, we each have certain skills but – this is really not the time I want to talk about it.”

A flickering, juttering, static sound made his heart plummet and he stared down the corridor. He grabbed Li-ling’s arm, keeping her close to his back, and forced her against the sink. She didn’t question his decision to pin her behind him. The dark abyss of the corridor was in front of him.

“What’s wrong? What do they want?”

“I don’t know,” he hissed. Frederick’s teeth sharpened and his top lip curled. Something moved in the edge of his field of vision. He wanted desperately to escape from whatever stood in the corner, opening and closing its mouth. “Why do you trust that old woman? How do you know she’s not a demon?”

“I…” She gripped the back of his shirt. “Well, she’s always been there.”

“Are you sure?”

Li-ling gasped and wrapped one icy hand around his bicep. “Don’t say that,” she whispered. “Betty has always been there! She’s an expert on everything that keeps us safe.”

“Can’t you feel how hostile this place is?” Frederick was feeling angry. He would have expected better from the daughter of the Redgraves.

The noise in the corner ceased and the pair of them went ridged.

“Why did you want me to come here?” he whispered.

“Because I’m afraid.”

The sitting room door down the corridor slammed shut making them jerk and Frederick could not have felt any less enthused to make a bolt for the front door. “So am I,” he whispered.

NaNoWriMo and the end of the Week Two death wish

Well, I have been so very busy. I feel quite satisfied with the amount of STUFF I have been able to achieve this week. I’ve attended more fabulous lectures, pitched one of my novels to a room full of people for the first time (practise run), told the Tories to fuck themselves, finished a fifteen page comedy/horror sitcom (the opening) with my assignment group and managed to hand it in before the 4pm deadline.

Yesterday evening was the first chance I had to sit down and write NaNo since Tuesday. I forgot how painful getting into the 20k word count is. But, I wrote for roughly nine hours and managed to squeeze out 4,200 words, which means I should get back on target later today.

I did not think about what I was writing. I found a piece of music that instantly inspired me, stuck it on repeat and wrote whatever came to my head. It remained plot consistent and in fact, writing that way meant my brain worked out a lot of little details without me realising. The brain is a lot smarter than we think it is and when we trust our instincts, more often than not, things work out for the better.

So, after writing until five AM this morning, I decided that what I needed to do as a reward was make a trailer. It’s not as epic as I wanted it to be but I did make it in a mere half hour. I’m not trying to make that an excuse; I’m just saying I had fun playing around with creepy music. Right click [here] and open in a New Tab if you would like to view it.

I’m feeling quite upset today, however. I found out this morning that my ex-Commanding Officer died in the earlier hours of this morning. He had a blood clot in his lungs and there was nothing they could do. Sergeant Major Pugh was a passionate and inspiring man. During my teenage years, he was like a second father to me. I went through quite a lot of shit for various reasons, but he and his wife always looked after me. I even came to call his wife ‘mummy Tiggs’ (she loves Tigger). Pughy taught me everything I know about radio protocol and how to be a signaller. He made my name famous up and down the country in the Army Cadet community because of my ‘radio voice’, and I was proud to call him ‘sir’. He was an exceptionally fair man and always pushed cadets to be the best that they could be, myself included. We will remember him with smiles.

I’ll make another cup of tea in a minute, because I’m British and tea makes everything better. I just wanted to give him an honourable little section in my blog.

So, back to why you’re here, extract time!

EXTRACT #1 (if you would like to listen to the music I used to write the following extracts as you read, open [here] in a New Tab. It’s not a distracting song, I promise. It is night time in all of these extracts.)

A river now chased across their path and Frederick decided to sit. Mercury settled next to him, arms draped over his knees. The soft light illuminated the scars in Mercury’s back, though his were not as bad as Frederick’s. He, like Frederick, had two, webbed patches stretching down most of his back from when his wings had torn through his skin. Other than that, his body had evaded permanent scarring.

Frederick shuffled closer, shifting so that one of his legs was behind Mercury, his body facing him, and traced a few fingers over the marks on Mercury’s back.

“What is worrying you?” he asked.

“Leaving you behind.”

Frederick rested his forehead on Mercury’s shoulder, hiding a cringe of remorse. “Why?”

“What do you mean why?”

Why?”

Mercury shook his head and gazed up at the sky. “Last time we left you behind it took two-hundred years to find you again.”

“I told you,” Frederick looked up and gripped his arm, “that wasn’t my fault!”

“I know,” Mercury jerked his arm away and grabbed Frederick’s hand instead. “But what if we are altering the time stream to such a significant extent again?” He took a deep breath. For a moment he was silent and played with Frederick’s fingers, massaging the skin between them and rubbing circles in his palm.

Frederick dropped his forehead back onto Mercury’s shoulder, enjoying the feeling. “I am sorry I am such a nuisance,” he whispered.

EXTRACT #2

Li-ling traced a finger over one of the window panes. “Freddy… Frederick…” Did he have some kind of illness? Did he recognise her at all? He showed no sign that he knew Li-ling had tried to help him the other day. What did he want? Li-ling wanted to question him, to sit next to him for a while until she understood why he was familiar to her. “Like a dream…”

A flicker of movement caught her eye in the distance. Li-ling stopped tracing patterns and narrowed her eyes. Sprinting across the third field like ants, were two figures. Confused, Li-ling tilted her head and leant against the glass. One was ahead of the other but with impressive accuracy the man behind dived and tackled the other to the ground! They rolled and for a moment scrabbled at each other, their bodies merging.

Worried that it was a demon hunting a human, Li-ling sprang onto her knees and pressed her face to the window, trying to get a better look. Who was it? Was it one of the new demons or one of the Schillers? The flailing stopped and for a moment the figures were almost still. Maybe it was two humans?

She watched, debating whether there was reason to be worried. They seemed peaceful now, gentle.

One of the men was launched into the air by whoever was on bottom and there tackling resumed. Li-ling jumped off the sill, seized her jeans, did not remove her nightdress and stuffed on her boots. She kept her eyes on the figures as she hopped around the room, tying up her boots.

EXTRACT #3

With another surge, Frederick pounced at Mercury and caught him without fail, hands on his shoulders. Mercury laughed, stumbling forward as Frederick locked one arm around his chest. He chewed playfully on Mercury’s neck, making the man growl and expose more of it.

Scuffling backwards though, Mercury smashed Frederick into a tree and winded him. Letting go, Frederick managed a weak laugh as Mercury spun around and bit across his shoulder, up his neck and then licked his cheek. Frederick managed to land a punch on the others back as Mercury ran off once more.

Frederick gnawed on his lip as he carried on in pursuit. His trousers were still damp, now covered in grass stains, and his legs were beginning to sting, but a part of him felt that it added to the sensation of their game. Nine-hundred years old and he hadn’t lost his touch. Playing fair, Mercury had not used his gift to run fast, but that did not stop Frederick from using his gift. He knew that it secretly pleased both of them when he did.

Vanishing into the shadows, Mercury hid from view. Frederick almost let his nose morph into its true form so that he could smell the gunpowdery musk of his blood, for he could not smell it unless Mercury bled, but that would lessen the challenge.

He crept through the glowing terrain, eyes narrowed; searching for any dust that was perhaps not moved by the wind and by something else. He emanated a bass purr, hoping to coax Mercury out of hiding.

London Demo: the BBC doth lie but at least I wasn’t arrested.

2010, November 10th, London: remember that date. Today was the biggest student demonstration seen in London in twenty years, 52,000 students, and I was proud to be a part of it. What were we fighting for? The right for younger generations to attend higher education. Education is for everyone, not just the rich. If the Tories want to keep out the poorer people of society, they will have many to answer to, as proven today.

Our coach pulled up at Whitehall around 11:30 and we were raring to go. The street was already packed with people, banners and the invigorating sound of chants against cuts. Mitch and her boyfriend (Phil) are familiar with the rally scene, shall we say, and we instantly snuck away to join the Pompey squad and their megaphone. It’s alright, we know them. We didn’t just gatecrash their group.

We wove our way right up to where the speeches were being made, surrounded by the incredible architecture of Whitehall, inventive slogans (or slanders) and Socialist Workers flaunting their newspaper. Being a person who is vertically challenged, I never saw the speakers and their microphone quality was awful, so we barely understood a word that was said; but the passion of each sentence was most definitely not lost. I couldn’t help but cheer with the crowd every so often or make ‘Native American Indian calls’. Someone up there was pissed off and so were we.

After the rawr, rawr speeches: on we marched! Phil has probably killed his voice with all the rallying he did without a megaphone today. I was quite impressed. He and the Pompey leader bellowed out chants that many around us were inclined to join in with. Here are some of the chants today, mostly those that were my favourites:

“Phil: They say cut back.
Crowd: We say fight back!
Phil: Cut, cut, cut back.
Crowd: Fight, fight, fight back!”

“Nick, Nick, get of Cameron’s dick!”

“Nick Clegg, we know you, you’re a fucking Tory too.”

“No ifs, no buts, no education cuts.”

[song]
“Build a bonfire, build a bonfire,
Put the Toooories on the top,
Put the Lib Dems in the middle,
And we’ll buuurn the fuckin lot!”

“Tory scum, GET. OUT. We know what you’re all about.
Cuts. Job losses. Money for the bosses.”

“1, 2, 3, 4,
Nick Clegg is a whore.
5, 6, 7, 8,
He can’t keep his back straight.”

There were many more and all were creative. Three banners I must mention read as: “Dumbledoor’s Army”, “Hogwarts is FREE” and “Nick Clegg I fucked your mum”. I don’t know about you but those certainly make me smile.

So yes, down Parliament Street we marched. People towered above me waving their signs, and it felt amazing to be united in voice with so many. The BBC and other news helicopters circled above the buildings and reporters lined the streets. One woman even thrust a microphone in my face and proceeded to question me. I was slightly intimidated by the huge film camera that was on her co-worker’s shoulder, but she adamantly walked along in front of us, camera trained on mine and Mitch’s face. I’m quite an opinionated person, I won’t lie, but the one chance I get to voice my views and all my prepared statements for the day vanished. Luckily I had Mitch and a friend to jump in with helpful comments, not that I remembered my prepared statements until after the woman disappeared. Typical.

When we reached the houses of parliament we of course joined the sit-in! One of the group leaders with his megaphone was inspiring. In one shout out he managed to make twenty people join the sit-in. He must have been only eighteen and looked like a chimney-sweep, it was kind of adorable. The street gradually filled, blocking off most of the walk-way and spreading back an exciting distance. It didn’t turn out to be that great of a sit-in in the end, but we tried. The only reason Mitch and I left was to join an alleged (though fictional) larger sit-in right outside the parliament steps. A few men leaving the building walked past us however, and Phil thrust the Socialist Workers newspaper at them saying, “Would you like to buy Socialist paper, sir?” Oh man, that was hilarious.

As we trundled on down Millback Road (yup, still chanting and singing) we found ourselves charging into what would become the most talked about event on the news.

We had found the Tory HQ.

Squeezing into the centre of the so far accumulated students and anarchists and whoever the heck else was there, we knew we were in the midst of the action. A bonfire had been lit not far to our left using banners and a large burnable doll of ‘David Cameron‘ was passed through the crowd.  Our voices echoed, I tell you, they vibrated off the glass walls. Mitch and I constantly gave each other faces of disbelief, joy and excitement. We were united. Our chants rarely ceased.

Admittedly, we watched in awe as the anarchists smashed through the ground floor window and proceeded to pour into the building. Ten minutes later and they were waving down at the crowd from the roof top. I realise that from TV footage and news reports, it doesn’t look good, but when you’re actually stood there pumped with energy, adamant that your voice will be heard, “NO CUTS,” it was a brilliant moment. They waved down to us lining the railing with their flags, and it truly felt as if we were sticking our middle finger up at government.

Flares were lit and a boom-box started playing outside the courtyard loud enough for us to hear. For a few moments it was like being at a gig, I tell you, but power-to-the-people-like. I was almost given a go at shouting into the megaphone, but the crowd overpowered us with another chant! Plants were ripped up and passed over the crowd, showering one poor girl next to me in soil; though she found it amusing. We could see the reflection of four hovering helicopters in the building’s surface and the air buzzed with success. It started to go a little downhill from there.

The anarchists inside found their way onto the second floor to look down at us before proceeding to almost smash three windows. For a moment I was worried they would pound until the glass fully splintered, because I knew that the glass would have rained down on those below. Luckily the windows were severely cracked and nothing more, so for the moment, few people in the crowd minded; me included. In fact, I thought, ‘fuck yeah we smashed their freakin windows!’

Not long after that, they found fire extinguishers and set them off over the railing which was oodles of fun. I got covered in foam, although Mitch got more of a dousing than I did! And then, to everyone’s horror, they threw a fire extinguisher over the railing and into the crowd. No one was injured, thank stars. We proceeded to ‘boo’ them, but Mitch knew it was time to escape.

Hand-in-hand, we struggled and squeezed our way out as the crowd chanted up, ‘stop throwing shit! Stop throwing shit!’ which was a relief to hear. The last glimpse I caught was of those on the roof throwing either books or newspapers off the roof – I’m not really sure which.

Once outside, we saw we had made the right decision as we spotted the riot police getting ready to crash the uprising. Off we trudged back to our bus (we may have got lost, although Mitch will say that Phil got us lost) and London is quite wonderful when the roads are empty of cars/tons of people. It didn’t last, of course.

Despite being stuck in TWO HOURS OF TRAFFIC – WTF? the end of the day was just as fulfilling. Our student union president gave a speech on all his antics and what more we can do to stand up against the cuts. Everyone had stories to tell. Though I fell asleep (bloody hell I am drained) I managed to hear that one girl from our group had snuck into the building, too. Just goes to show, the BBC talk shit. The students didn’t leave early; hello we were there for most of it! and some students, not just the anarchists (though I’m not exactly thrilled), even broke into the building.

And that, in as concise as possible a nutshell, is an account of this uni student’s day. If you’re planning on going to university, I went out for you today even though I may not know your name. I want you to have the education you have dreamed of, because I LOVE university. It is your right. “The people should not be afraid of the government; it is the government who should be afraid of the people.”

This is Suzuki Scribble signing off.

Pictures from demotix. I’ll be posting the pictures we took at a slightly later date 🙂

Day 7 of NaNoWriMo and I’ve noticed my characters like to play ‘musical shirts’

Mercury and Frederick like to play this game, that is. For the second time this week, Mercury has had to swap his shirt with Frederick’s; but this time Freddy is the one with blood stains and not the other way around.

I am not ashamed.

I noticed in my previous extracts that I’ve been trying to keep description so concise that I’m beginning to think half of the description is missing! Description is not a bad thing, dear writer, it’s not. In fact, description is an amazing thing. Learning how to tart it up with adjectives however, is not so easy.

There’s not necessarily a correct way to write descriptive scenes, but there is such a thing as ‘purple prose’. I have been so worried about purple writing that I’ve in fact cut out some of the most enjoyable parts – some of the most icky parts or flourishing moments from my novel.

So today I properly immersed myself in the blood and puss; wriggled my toes into demon entrails. I let the acrid smell of fear scrape against my teeth until I felt satisfied that I was embellishing my paragraphs just right, for now. Just right for me.

Don’t pick up a thesaurus and replace every word you can find with something that sounds intelligent. That’s just painful and I know someone who does this. That’s bad writing. Do be adventurous though. Don’t be afraid to write something truthfully, and don’t be afraid to let your reader guess the subtext. Most readers are intelligent people, honest, and they love to feel intelligent for figuring something out.

EXTRACT

Panting, Frederick glanced at Li-ling…then crumpling to the ground. His wings vanished, a few feathers drifting in the air, and blood pooled across his back. Li-ling saw her chance to flee. Pressing her good hand into the grass, she attempted to heave herself up, cringing and clamping down on a whimper. Managing to heft her weight only a meagre amount however, Li-ling thumped back onto her bum, cradling her arm and touching the cut beneath her hair line.

She glanced back at Frederick.

As swift as she could manage, Li-ling dragged herself over to the demon who lay as if dead. “Freddy?” she whispered once next to him, her head spinning. She noticed her voice was hoarse. “Hey Freddyyy.” Li-ling watched the dark blood spooling over his back, tufts of black fluff floating across the glossy surface. What was he?

Ignoring the intense pain in her knee, Li-ling crawled to fetch his coat and shirt. When she returned with them, she began attempting to mop up as much of the blood as possible.

“Ow!” she cried. A coating of his blood covered her fingers and it burned. “Ow, ow, OW!” she said, shaking her hand up and down. Li-ling looked at her fingers and saw her skin was bubbling. A searing pain flashed through her hand, the kind of pain that electrocuted bones and devoured a person’s sensibilities; like the only way to make it better was to smack it and rip the flesh away until the poison was gone. “I’m such an IDIOT!” she shouted with tears in her eyes again.

“FREDDY!”

She jumped at the unexpected cry, but if it was calling for ‘Freddy’ it was bound to be one of his friends. Mercury appeared charging over the hill. He bounded down the slope with terrifying skill, his lean arms propelling him from tree to tree, and took in the scene before him in seconds. He knelt in front of Li-ling and grabbed her wrist.

“You stupid girl,” he said and without hesitating, stuck her fingers in his mouth.

She stared at him as she felt Mercury’s hot mouth suck the blood away. The burning sensation stopped at once. His tongue rolled across her skin, smoothing over the damage, until he almost seemed to gnaw on her fingers. It was a strange sensation. A mixture of sting and relief. He removed her fingers and held them close before his eyes, checking there was no serious mutilation with spindle-like fingers of his own.

Satisfied, he snapped at her, “Did your parents never teach about demon blood?”

Though her cheeks flamed with embarrassment, Li-ling felt a little warmer towards him and did not reply. A part of her wanted to give an excuse, but she could not think of a decent one. Silence seemed most dignified. Of course her fucking parents had told her about demon blood.

Mercury turned his attention to Frederick and spat a large amount of saliva into his hand. Li-ling stared, disgusted more than anything else. He then began to smear his spit over the gaping wounds in Frederick’s back, his hands covered with blood in seconds. It did not affect him as it had Li-ling.

She watched him scoop blood onto the grass, the once green blades curling with a feint hiss, and spat again on Frederick’s back. The blood flow reduced to a dribble. As Mercury massaged the edges of ripped skin where Frederick’s wings had torn out, it became crusty. Puss and off-colour layers of skin hardened over his wounds, until two long scabs stretch down Frederick’s back.

“That doesn’t look sanitary,” Li-ling muttered.

Mercury did not reply. He seemed angry in fact, and Li-ling hoped his anger was intended for Frederick. Why was she still sat there, waiting for him and Frederick? Li-ling studied her burnt fingers as a dull throbbing caught her attention. They were going to hurt beyond reason in a few hours time and Li-ling already knew that she wasn’t going to let her parents see the injury.

“Is it burning again?”

Li-ling snapped her gaze up to Mercury. He wiped the back of his arm over his forehead but still managed to leave a bloody streak behind. Sitting back on his knees, Mercury sniffed and waited for her to respond. Her answer fell quiet however, as Frederick let out a pathetic inhuman moan that made Li-ling jump, having not expected him to move for another hour at least.

But her attention returned to Mercury when he held out his hand to her.

She put her throbbing fingers into his palm. “A little,” she replied, “not proper burning like before…just, y’know.” He peered down his nose at her fingers, brushing his thumb over her knuckles.

“They’ll be fine then.” He did not pull his hand away. Instead, he held his hand fully open, waiting for Li-ling to remove hers. Wrinkling her nose she withdrew it and stared down at Frederick.

“What are you going to do about him?”

“Give him a chance,” said Mercury.

Li-ling glanced at his face for an answer. He raised an eyebrow. Rolling her eyes, she decided Mercury was one of those demons. The type she often didn’t mind her father smacking in the mouth every so often.

Frederick on the other hand, did not look so lively. She tilted her head to the side, not sure what to expect from leaving him alone. “Hey,” she said giving his shoulder a poke. With a mumbling grumble, Frederick began to move.

He dragged his hands over the ground until they were either side of his chest, wiggling his shoulders to test that they worked. The scabs on his back cracked, blood dribbling through the crust, and he hissed. His arms shook as he raised his torso, head too heavy to lift. With harrowing effort, Frederick dragged one leg in, every part of him shaking, before he buckled onto his right forearm. He did not try to bring up the other leg. Instead, he rolled with a thump onto his side to face them.

He looked so ill that Li-ling could not control the pout of her lips or the tense knitting of her brow. Frederick stared up at her, his head lop-sided. Li-ling could not look away. She was so horrified by his gaunt, pale face that she did not know what to do.

Frederick’s gaze slid over to Mercury.

Day 6 of NaNoWriMo and I’ve never wished so much for a decent synonym of ‘blood’

Man, this city knows how to party. Another night full of a thousand fireworks. Mitch and I started yelling our prayers to each other across the flat whenever we heard the ones that sound like gunfire. Y’know, the ones that are so loud your windows shake.

Today consisted of trying to write characters that can explain the plot. By this I mean, my Walton’s family (those demons). I have also decided upon the ‘language of demons’. English is not their first language, which is why they do not use contractions, e.g. don’t, I’m, haven’t. I will give you brownie points if you can guess what their mother language is.

When you come to the part of your novel where your characters explain to each other what is going on; which is called ‘exposition’ in our household; it’s a good idea to write the important parts out beforehand. Bullet points.

I would not advise you wade in knee deep, unless you really want to. Like I said, I only ‘advise’ it. This is just my method.

Bullet pointing the information you need to tell the reader beforehand helps you to A) structure all the techno-babble and information into a coherent chunk and B) stops you (usually) from going on an unnecessary tangent. Tangents are messy and irritating. Not all of the time though. Sometimes tangents are rather fun, but they often make me want to beat my face against a wall.

Rambling before and after you get to that important part of the conversation, however, is immense fun and can help build suspense.


EXTRACT #1
(dedicated to ninablues)

Foreword: This chapter is told from Li-ling’s point of view. She refers to Mercury as ‘the handsome one’ before she learns his name.

Garridon licked his lips and glanced at the handsome one. “We are here to see you,” he said. Li-ling drew her feet together and stood tall.

“You are?”

“Yes, are you Miss Redgrave?”

Li-ling cringed. She supposed there was no way of hiding her identity, then; no way to pretend she was someone different, for once. “I am,” she sighed. “What do you want; to kill me?”

They laughed.

“I don’t know why you’re laughing,” she said, “I’d kill you first in the blink of an eye.” She whipped out her knife, the warm blade in her hand, flicked it into the air so it somersaulted over her head and landed with the hilt in her palm. At the same moment, Li-ling withdrew a fire-talisman from her pocket. She held it up with two fingers for them to see the ancient symbol on the card.

“Easy now,” purred the handsome one and Li-ling stared at him.

“We most certainly do not wish to kill you,” said Garridon. The conviction in his voice made Li-ling lower her arms.


EXTRACT #2

“Why do you want to help humans?” she managed.

Mercury tipped his head back. “Think of it like the RSPCA, but the Royal Society for the Protection and Care of Humans, instead.”

“Oh gee,” Li-ling sneered, swinging her arms, “I feel so valued.”

“You should,” said Garridon, “no one else will help you.”

Beginning to feel testy and aggravated by their grave purpose, Li-ling decided she didn’t want to make friends with demons anymore. They were trouble, especially for her, it seemed. A harsh wind sent a tumble of leaves through the woods and dishevelled her hair. For the briefest of moments, Li-ling thought see saw Coventina hovering behind Frederick and her ears filled with a strange, ancestral echo of sounds.

“Ai…” sighed Frederick with a dopey smile. “Laurië lantar lassi súrinen.”

Garridon chuckled and replied, “Yéni ve lintë yuldar avánier.”

Li-ling had never heard a language like it. Their mouths seemed to fill with vowels and roll from their tongue in an enchanting, fantastic way. The world was spinning. Could she hear chimes? Those echoes! They were terrifying – EVERYWHERE.

“STOP IT!” she screamed and stumbling over her own feet, she sprinted away.


EXTRACT #3

Branz Schiller, first son of the famous Lord Schiller, stood grinning before her. He had a manic face, yellow eyes, sharp teeth and her knife in his hand. “How lucky for me,” he hissed.

Her right arm felt like it was broken and her right knee bruised. She began to quake, choking on suppressed tears, panic, breath and blood. With a reptilian screech, Branz dived through the air, ready to plunge the knife into the side of her head.

She screamed as hard as she could.

A wicked screech pierced the air, followed by a thudding crunch. Branz flew to the left as someone pummelled into him. They hit the ground with a bouncing roll. Too shocked to move, Li-ling watched fascinated as the demons scratched and bit at each other.

It was Frederick. He received three long scratches across his chest and in a spray of blood; Frederick swiped his claws over Branz’s face. Branz kicked Frederick off and he shot through the air to crash into a tree. Leaves sailed from the branches. At once on his feet however, Frederick tugged off his coat and shirt, his face so terrifying that Li-ling wondered why she had ever thought he was pitiful.

Black wings split from his back. The feathers were dripping with blood.

A sickening gasp left Branz, almost like he was choking. His eyes were fixed on Frederick’s wings.

“Heca ulundo!” rasped Frederick.

“Rhachon le!” Branz spat back.

“No dhínen! Heca ulundo!” Frederick’s wings flicked and a spray of blood hit Branz in the face.

Paralysed for only a minute longer, Branz bolted away without looking back.

Panting, Frederick glanced at Li-ling…then crumpling to the ground. His wings vanished, a few feathers drifting in the air, and blood pooled across his back.

Angelus update

Woo! Chapter one of Angelus is at last complete. I had two severe computer viruses and ended up not only boot-scanning (which took seven hours) twice, but executing a System Restore, which means I lost all of my lines as narrator and Mai Kinase. I thought I had them backed up, but alas. At least I did not lose everyone else’s hard work. I’ve finally redone them but I think you can tell I have a stinking cold. Especially during Mai’s lines. Mitch and I super hope you enjoy chapter one.

View on YouTube
or
On the Angelus web page


The Actors

Narrator: Willow Wood
Ada Luther: Mizura
Erin Kastoria: Elliot Skywalker
Nic Xian: Robert Wright
Ryan Haynes: Robert Thomas Hawke
Kristian Senft: Bryan Reid
Mai Kinase: Willow Wood

Day 5 of NaNoWriMo and the Oxford Dictionary put my name as the definition of ‘procrastination’

Not much happened yesterday. I got back from archery around 5:30pm and still tried to avoid my NaNo. But in the end, Day 4 did turn out to be productive.

I always collect pictures for my stories whether for NaNo, Froxen Blue, Scars in the System, mini-scripts, screenplays – always. Professor Sarah, before I joined her class, told students to browse through a magazine and tear out pictures (without thinking about it) that made them think of their novel. All those pictures were then arraigned onto a giant piece of paper. According to eyewitnesses, Sarah then proceeded to read everyone’s mind just by looking at their mood-board.

I made my own mood-board yesterday and my flatmate (who is also on the same course as Mitch and me) psycho-analysed it. Woah scary. She pointed out things just from the arrangement that made me feel very naked and figured out – even though I had not considered or realised half the things she mentioned. Not all of it is true though… I think.

Emma mentioned:
-You have very strong females or a female.
-All your females surround the character Mercury. (I based Mercury’s looks off a picture)
-One lady is reaching out to Mercury.
-Your girl is a lesbian because you’ve angled her to look at this lady’s boobs.
-You have lots of white space because you’ve not figured out all of your story yet.
-Everyone overlaps in time-travel more than you first thought.

My brain is going to hurt, it seems. Here is a picture of my mood-board, tacked above my pillow:

NaNo mood-board

My printer is playing up, so the colours are a bit warped but never mind. I’ll be adding to this when I go home to visit my family, so I’ll show you this again at a later date.

Which brings us to Day 5. Even though I’m a lazy son-of-a-gun, I got up and walked to university to hand in deposit money. Now I can go on a demonstration next Wednesday against education cuts; yay revolution! When I came back, I emptied the rubbish and recycling (I live on the 7th floor), scrubbed a pan almost clean because I recently defaced it by burning rice (you’ve never seen anything like it), anti-bacteria cleaned the kitchen surfaces, cleaned my shower and then decided to try and write.

I’ve written out a few more timelines because even more time-travelling does indeed happen. When you’re writing a time-travelling novel, be sure to write out everything that happens in separate lines. I learnt this from Mitch.

1)    The series of events in correlation to time, e.g. The saviour was born – the Timeless Brethren go back in time – the saviour is killed – the saviour marries her lover – the Timeless Brethren decide to go back in time.

2)    The series of events as they unfold in your plot, e.g. The Timeless Brethren decide to go back in time – the saviour marries her lover – the saviour is killed – the Timeless Brethren go back to the year the saviour was born.

3)    Then timelines of all the alternate realties you create. Write them all the way out. Then you know exactly what happens, even if your reader doesn’t.

My timelines: (it doesn’t matter that you can’t read it!)

NaNo plot time-lines

Aaaaand finally: happy November 5th! As I write this, Mitch and I are sat in the living room watching fireworks crack up all over the city from our awesomely huge windows. Unfortunately, someone has a gun-salute firework display and we can’t see it for the other apartment block in the way, but never mind. Free firework display (all night) for the win!

EXTRACT TIME!

He opened a few of the mahogany draws, tied back the sun-bleached window nettings, and moved his cloak from the corner chair to the end of his bed, until finally feeling satisfied with it hanging on the corner of their dresser mirror. There was no way of avoiding the patch of blood in the middle of his bed any longer. Heaving a sigh, Frederick stripped off the outer sheet and took it into the bathroom. He was pleased that the bath filled at a decent speed.

Taking the free bar of soap from the sink, Frederick settled on his knees and began to scrub. Pink foam massed between his fingers and the bath water tainted a slight pink, too. Wisps of blood curled around the bed sheet like smoke, but Frederick did not feel appreciative of this little display. He noticed black mould was growing around the edge of the bath. He suspected some form of fungi was breeding in the tap nozzles, and he hated to think what insects were crawling around in the crumbling skirting boards.

Frederick scrubbed and scrubbed at the sheet, his arm muscles beginning to burn, getting more violent the longer he knelt there. His torso was still shirtless, so he did not care when the water splashed him.

By the time the others returned, Frederick was considering using the bleach behind the toilet.

“Come and see what I have!” cried Mercury.

“Are you alright, Frederick?” asked Charles, poking his blond head into the bathroom. Frederick drained the bath and slopped his pink bed sheet over the shower rail.

“Yes,” he said, “I’m fine.”

 

EXTRACT #2

“Look!” squeaked Charles, making them all jump. The smallest of them rushed to put on his glasses and then pointed across the street. “Look there! She has long black hair, a tan – I have not seen anyone else like her today!”

“Goodness, you are right,” said Garridon in an excited whisper. Mercury tilted his head to the side and stared with prying eyes. It was a moment before Frederick located her.

A cold flush swept through his body. Her hair was indeed long. Segments of it had been twirled into two buns on top of her head, held in place by strange clips and ribbons. Her face was round, cheeks plump, lips deliciously pliant and eyes shaped like no one else’s in the village.

“She looks this way!” hissed Garridon, “Quick!” He fled down the street and the others followed though Frederick could not help but chance another look. She was staring at him, her eyebrows knitting together. At once afraid that Miss Redgrave would recognise his shedding marks, Frederick jogged after Garridon. They raced up a street on the right and saw before them a car park and field.

“She follows!” hissed Frederick.

“For the woods then,” said Garridon, already on the move.

Like a carnival parade, the four sprinted across the field in their colourful clothes.

“I feel like an idiot,” said Mercury as Frederick raced by his side. Glancing over his shoulder to see Miss Redgrave charging after them, her breasts bouncing, Frederick agreed.

Day 3 of NaNoWriMo and the sex/gore increases, as does fictional coffee consumption

Remember when I said I probably wouldn’t blog about each day? It’s a good way to procrastinate, actually.

Man, did I wake up feeling like the back-side of a badger today. Cousin Mitch (click here for her blog) and I have colds from beyond the grave, but luckily our fevers have gone down. Again, I poured some of my train-wreck despair into poor old, abused Frederick who is increasingly turning into me and less like the soft-spoken German boy I was looking forward to love.

Oh. Well.

I managed to pump out 2,000 words this evening because I wrote nothing until about 8pm today. Just, bleeeeeeh with all ma homework and sickness. But, I am writing a parody of Perseus and Andromeda for class, which I will post to my LiveJournal once finished. It’s pretty fun.

My flatmate and I hindered Mitch from going to the toilet this evening by yabbering on about how crazy our  family is (mine and Mitch’s family, that is). Mostly the old folk. And my mother. Sometimes you could reckon my mother is dating me. She rings up my father to say, “Caaarl, I texted Willow and she hasn’t replied yet!” And then we just went on about our grandparents who are terrifying, hilarious and swear a lot.

Granny Doom: I – I –I don’t think it’s a good idea sending your brother to school with £1! He could be buying drugs!
Willow: With a pound?
Granny Doom: You never know these days! Him and his friends, you don’t know, they could – they could  – I don’t trust him!
Willow: But with a pound, Granny? One pound? No, I don’t think so somehow. He’s going to buy sweets.

During the winter, Mitch and her family had a barbeque in the snow, and our dear crazy, now deceased, Nana (a different one) opened the window to yell: “You fucking idiot bastards!” and then went back inside.

Anyway… My badass demons from chapter one who all interrupted each other, shat on one another’s opinions and generally annoyed each other, have turned into the Waltons. I swear to god. Hardor (whose name I simply HAD to change), now known as Garridon, is the father and the other three morons are the children.

It’s quite fun, I’ll be honest, but I’m just wondering what happened. Mercury and Frederick need to stop flirting, but I know they won’t. I don’t really know why Charles is there any more. I think it’s just to make up the numbers. He was originally meant to be ‘the bumbling one’, but that’s only happened at the beginning so far – which you’ve still not read.

So yesh. Today I only managed to churn out words by venting my frustration through Frederick.

EXTRACT TIME! (#1 remember Frederick was dying? He’s now being rescued by some random new inn keeper called Malahide. Mercury found him.)

The windows filled with shadows as Malahide drove around the back of his inn. All Frederick could see now was light; he could not even hear the car engine purr or the slam of the driver’s door when Malahide got out. A blanket was thrown over his struggling body and he felt himself dragged across the seats, then hefted over someone’s shoulder. He could not smell who it was for the blanket smothering his face.

Each jerking movement struck him with misery, were they going up a flight of stairs? He was lumped down onto something soft and a feint light reappeared. “Garriiiii –“ He began to rasp Garridon’s name but it turned into an inhuman screech. Someone’s hand clamped down over his mouth.

“Shut up!” he heard from very far away.

A few seconds later, and Frederick tasted blood dribble over his tongue. A carnivorous growl gargled in his throat and he snapped at the raw meat he knew was dangling over his lips. He nicked the luck warm flesh, his teeth slashing through, and as it was lowered for him, Frederick chewed and hacked into the lump as fast as he could. Blood squirted down his cheeks and into his ears, sticky bits of flesh clung to the skin around his mouth. His palette remembered the tangy, metallic taste even when Frederick had finished what was offered to him and he licked it; feverishly wanting more.

Another chunk was lowered into his mouth, bit by messy bit, until shapes appeared in the light and sounds filtered through the darkness. Without warning he sat bolt upright and seized the third dripping hunk that Charles had ready for him.

When he was done cramming it into his mouth, Frederick gazed at his Brothers, a grateful smile on his face. Mercury crossed his arms as his body moved with an incredulous laugh. “I have not seen a man eat like that for a hundred years,” he said.

As one voice, Garridon, Charles and Mercury said, “you idiot.”

EXTRACT #2

“You need to wash your face, brother,” Mercury sniggered. “I cannot take you seriously.”

Grumbling, Frederick struggled to his feet, his legs tender, and slugged into the bathroom. “Guh,” he hissed upon seeing his reflection. He looked an utter train-wreck. Not the kind of wreck that came from drinking more than his body weight in alcohol, throwing up and then sleeping in the corridor. No, the kind of wreck who looked like he had swigged more than his body weight in alcohol, been in a fight with King Kong whose fist had found his face quite often, then crawled off to chew on the back leg of a dog until it bled all over his head, and then decided to knock himself out with a few vodka shots to the eye. Both eyes, in fact.

He twisted one of the rusty taps until cold water spluttered out.

“The Schiller family are the demons in charge of this county,” Frederick heard Mr. Malahide say. “Them and the Redgraves have been hunting each other for centuries. If you’re lookin’ for ‘em, don’t get in the way of their business, thas all my advice.”

“Thank you,” said Garridon, “we will be mindful.”

“One more thing.”

Frederick splashed his face with water before deciding to fill the basin. Maybe he could drown himself in it.

“The Redgrave’s daughter, Miss. Redgrave…”

They went still. Frederick removed his face from the bottom of the basin.

“She visits the village often. She got long black hair, tanned skin, er, kinda lean shape… Pretty lookin’ anyway. Watch out for her. If you see her, pretend to stutter or something, I dunno, make out your meek travellers.”

Mercury laughed and Frederick snorted, sticking his face in the basin again, but the sound died as Garridon cleared his throat. “We will keep an eye out. We do not want any trouble.”

There was an awkward pause as Mr. Malahide did not leave. “Where you lot from? You got strange accents, like, way of talking.”

“We do?” said Charles. Frederick rubbed water into his thick, blood-sticky hair.

“It’s not bad. You got nice proper voices. Does you good around here.”

“OK.”

Taking the hint, Malahide finally left.

A hand thumped on Frederick’s back, making him choke on water. The hand took a fistful of his cloak and yanked him up, spraying water up the wall. His head bounced against Mercury’s shoulder who was grinning at him in the mirror. Frederick sighed. “What?”

“What are you trying to do? Pour your brain down the sinkhole?”

“Something like that.”

“Bleh, I’m getting wet,” he said, letting Frederick go and shaking water off of his hands. Charles then bounded into the tiny bathroom space and gave Frederick a look that spoke volumes.

“Oh Freddy-boy,” he said, biting his bottom lip, “it’s going to be a while before your face clears up.”

“Only Merc can call me Freddy-boy,” Frederick muttered. But he took another gander at himself in the mirror and observed the many red burn splotches on his skin.

“Oi,” said Garridon from the bedroom, “get in here.”

The three in the bathroom shuffled out and sat on the end of Frederick’s bed, staring up at Garridon, waiting for him to speak.

“Right, after Frederick being a pain in the arse, it is time to familiarise ourselves with the local area, find clothes that blend us in, and learn the Saviour’s daily habits so we can single her out.”

Charles raised his hand. Garridon gave him a withering glare. “Yes?”

“Do you really think she’s as dangerous as Malahide makes her out to be?”

“Of course,” cried Mercury.

“She is the daughter of the Redgraves,” Frederick added.

There was a steady pause, each man realising for the first time just how deep they were digging their own grave by intervening with historical events. “I need a coffee,” Frederick mumbled.

“Make mine an espresso,” said Charles as Frederick plodded out the door.

Day 2 of NaNoWriMo and everyone is either gay, masturbating or starving to death

The title says it all. No you did not misread it. No I did not typo ‘procrastinating’ (someone asked me if I had). It’s been an interesting (I’m lying) day.

Oooh, ‘Rawhide’ by the Blue Brothers just started playing on my iTunes. You needed to know this.

After waking up and panicking that I had missed my first class of the day, when really I had forgotten most lessons are cancelled this week, I settled down to reread where I had left the story at 2AM last night/this morning.

Oh good heavens.

Well, newest surprise: demons only have to eat every three days or so and Frederick hasn’t eaten for three weeks. When this happens, the demon starts to get very weak and, soon enough, the human skin they’re wearing will melt off. And then they’ll die. In like, minutes. But because Frederick is a special-cake, he can travel through time and this has made him even weaker.

Everyone is in an uproar as he suddenly clocks over and the Group Leader tells hot-sub-character to change his blood-stained shirt with Frederick. In all honesty, I think this was just so Mercury could undress Frederick. I ain’t gonna lie. There is an excuse for it, however. I swear. I have a reasonably valid excuse, I think.

So, after pouring some of my worst fears into Frederick I quickly got stuck. I decided I’d hop straight to a character we weren’t supposed to meet for another chapter or so. She was masturbating in the woods. I’m planning to have her run into one of those Celtic gods I mentioned last blog or something. I dunno, the spice of life is bullshit.

Ending note: who the frack is Mary?

EXTRACT #1

“Mercury,” Hardor barked. “Change your shirt with Frederick. Head into town and find us a place to stay. Charles, you and I are going to have to steal some food. Gah, our first day here!”

Frederick did not hear Mercury approach, his hearing beginning to muffle, but he did not have the strength to lurch away when he felt Mercury’s hands grip his arms. His friend pushed him into the kneeling position and he felt Mercury’s weak fingers fumble with the clasp of his cloak. It dropped from his shoulders the moment it unclipped.

“Come on,” muttered Mercury who had intended to sound sympathetic.

It caused Frederick more effort than imaginable to lift his arms above his head. Sweat broke out across his face. His shirt was lifted away, a vague feeling of the material gliding over his skin. He dropped his arms.

“No, no,” said Mercury, “I have to put mine on you yet.”

“Leave him,” said Hardor. Their voices were so far away. “He’ll be fine, just put his cloak back on in case he gets cold.” Mercury reached around him and Frederick was tempted to fall backwards into the grass.

“No, sit up,” said Mercury and he felt his cloak reattached. It was itchier than he remembered. With Hardor’s help, Mercury was lifted to his feet and pointed off in the direction of the village with a name to search for.

Frederick felt very alone as Hardor then dragged him back into the trees, tugged Frederick’s hood up to cover his face and left. “Mary was sick,” he garbled to himself.

EXTRACT #2

Stuck, cramped, locked in someone else’s skin. If only he had known they would be travelling tonight, last night – however many nights into the future ago – Frederick would have eaten.

*
Certain that she was alone, hidden in a crater between two fallen trees, Li-ling dropped her head back and let out a lustful moan. Her eyelids fluttered, gaze not seeing the leaves above. Her breasts felt hot and cold all at once, her body wedged in the small, secretive place with her fingers stroking beneath her tight jeans. A smile flickered across her lips. She had known this was a perfect plan.

Li-ling used two fingers now, wanting to feel the surge of satisfaction that the village people deemed unholy, quivering her fingers back and forth and around. Her cheeks grew hotter, drawing air through her teeth. “Come,” she breathed to herself; urged to herself. “Come, come, come.” Coils of heat filled Li-ling’s stomach, her hips arched in want of more.

—–
P.S. I totally keep forgetting to mention that Birth by Sleep is amazing. I’ve finished Terra’s story now and despite all my attempts to hate Ventus, I kinda love him. It’s a wonderful game. I feel cheated of my CGI though, but that’s all for another review at a later date.

Day 1 of NaNoWriMo…and someone has already been stabbed with a pitch-fork.

Wooo! So, our Professors are encouraging my class of budding writers to start a blog. I have achieved this. Level up+1 for me!  They have also suggested that we blog about how we handle each day of NaNoWriMo. I probably won’t do every day. Jus’ sayin’.

What is NaNoWriMo? It stands for: Nation Novel Writing Month. What do you do? Write 50,000 words in 30 days. Doesn’t that sound like fun? I agree (Yes or No, I agree).

I’ve had my novel planned for quite a while; since the end of September to be exact. The story came to me in a dream. No it really did. I had this acid trip of dream. There was time travel, demons, a psycho Priestess, a guy called Frederick, a Chinese girl, nuclear bombs, a prophecy, death by hanging, epic love and Cernunnos knows what else I’ll add to it this coming month.

The day started pretty hopefully. Classes are cancelled because the third years are graduating this week, so I spent that hour with William and Rory who provided great entertainment. Both of them are book worthy. I sit right in from of them and simply write down anything marvellous they say. A few quips:

Rory: I’m not little. I’m 6”2’!
William: …You’re little in mentality.

Me: William doesn’t look gay, he looks smart.
Rory: Old before his time. I’ve got the student look going for me.
William: Just because you look like a wreck, doesn’t mean the rest of us have to join you.

I’ll give you more in another blog perhaps. Anyway, met with my cousin, Mitch, and Professor Sarah and we set out to start. Twenty-five minutes later and I had only 175 words down. I got distracted trying to think of a decent name for one of the characters.

By-the-by, my characters ended up holding their secret meeting of awesome in the ruins of King Arthur’s castle. No questions. Mummy’s drunk (on caffeine I hasten to add).

Soon enough, Mitch and I trudged home but I still could not write until I had found a bloody name for this one bloody character. I tried typing ‘awesome male names’ into Google but the results were pretty shit. Next I tried ‘fantasy male names’ and found a rather wonderous website. It has an abundance of amazing names and for the next hour I was absorbed in reading the histories behind ‘Celtic names for cats’ and ‘Roman Cat names’.

The result of this was: my story will have Celtic and Roman gods within it. The Celtic goddess Coventina sounds adorable. She is the goddess of waters and springs and is said to travel the rivers and lakes upon a leaf boat. Isn’t that cute?!

Anyway, I found a name for my elusive unimportant character and the words started to kind-of flow. The main male character and his friends are demons. They are the only demons of their race that can time-travel. Now, a friend raised a very good question not long ago: ‘How do they time-travel?’ which I hadn’t thought about. Thinking about it today, I knew it couldn’t be non-consequential because A) that’s not fun and B) they’d be prancing around all over the place if there were no consequences.

The result: they have to slash their hand with a boline and then fling slashed-hand so the blood sprinkles on the floor. Next, they must close their eyes and think of the desired time and place… And then when they do the ‘travelling’ part they pretty much have an orgasm.

As I was poking at the NaNoWriMo site, I knew I needed to give my novel a working title at least. To get said ‘working title’ I poked at the pictures I have been accumulating as my inspiration. Most of the picture titles were either really cliché, dull or nonsensical; until I found one called ‘Drown in a Bottle’. Now, that’s quite a cool title in my opinion. So I stole it. Then I thought, ‘it needs something more’. So I added ‘of Keys’ to the end after seeing one picture of a girl swimming in keys. I have some weird pictures.

Despite how hash NaNo novels are allowed to be, I’ve uberly been concentrating on not using adverbs in prose. Besides, if you properly think about the action and don’t use adverbs, it totally boosts the word count. I hope Professor Sarah will be proud.

I won’t harp on any longer. To wrap this up: my eventually-named-unimportant-character, Mercury, got stabbed with a pitch-fork by the end of the chapter. I like him though, so he probably won’t die yet. NaNo is going good. I’ve met the word count for today, now I’m going to see what the gang does with a bleeding comrade. Time for another bowl of coffee.

EXTRACT IN ALL IT’S NANO GLORY:

“That is the Page of Advice, written by the Saviour. She gave it to me for safe-keeping, but it needs to go to you now so that you can go back in time and save her.” The intruder stood up again. “Don’t look so surprised, Hardor. You wanted this. I’m handing it to you on a platter.”

Frederick noticed that Hardor’s hand was shaking. He tightened his grip on his revolver and Hardor began to read the page aloud. Mercury joined them now, glancing at the paper too.

“Hey,” Charles started, “there are two sentences missing. The bottom has been ripped off.” But the intruder had nothing more to say. He had returned to the centre of the table. “Frederick,” he said. A boline knife was in his hand and his other was raised; ready.

“Yes?” said Frederick.

“Trust your instincts.”

None of them knew what to say, unsure what he was doing.

He slashed a shallow cut in his hand and as soon as he flicked his blood across the table, they shouted for him to stop. Mercury leapt onto the table and dived at him, but the stranger vanished, and so Mercury sailed through the air and clattered off the other side of the table.

“What did he mean?” asked Charles. Frederick shook his head.

Mercury stumbled to his feet, groaning in pain. “What does it bloody matter what he bloody meant?” he said. “How do we even know that scrap of paper is the real thing; it’s written in pencil for Minerva’s sake!”

With a jerk of his head, Frederick tutted. “Go back to licking your wounds, Mercury.”

“I’ll give you-” He stopped himself, biting hard on his tongue, and Charles made a cooing noise.

A distant cry made each demon freeze. For a moment, nothing but the wind could be heard. Then again came the angry shout. A layer of sound. More than one voice.

“Humans,” breathed Charles.

‘I heard the screech this way!’ they heard one human say.

“Let’s go,” said Hardor striding around the table, unable to stand still. “Let us save the Saviour. We’ll go back one-hundred and ninty years; five years before she was killed.”

“Hardor you’re crazy,” whispered Frederick.

“Do you want to kill those approaching humans then, or shall I?”

Frederick shuddered and replaced his revolver. He had shed so much blood during the course of his life that he worried he was becoming immune to the act. Plus, blood was never easy to wash out of clothes. The smell lingered on his fingers for days and his dreams were terrifying for weeks.

“I haven’t eaten in a long time,” said Charles.

“Exactly,” said Hardor, “we’re not as strong as we should be. Either we die or they die but neither result is a win.”

“Yes, yes,” groaned Mercury, removing his boline again. “Can we just go already? Where are we travelling to?”

A nostalgic urge swelled up in Frederick and he hoped without reason that Hardor would say Germany. He had not been home for many centuries.

“The year two-thousand and ten, England, Atwoodshire.”

Frederick sighed, removed his boline and slashed his hand as humans began to rush into the room with homemade shotguns and flames. He closed his eyes and thought of the time and the place, sprinkling his blood on the floor. At once, Frederick felt as if he was flying. His head was light with pleasure, heat was rushing through his veins and his breath was hard to catch.

As always, the folds of time began to roar against his ears with a sensation that he was falling. Still tingling with pleasure however, Frederick’s feet pounded against solid earth and sent a terrible shock through his system. He collapsed to the floor and rolled a few metres away from where he had landed; gasping, swollen and dazed.

There were similar sounds of ‘oof!’ soon around him. The sun was shining here. A cry of pain made him focus harder. Trees, lots of trees; the smell of summer. His eyesight returned in full and Frederick felt his skin crawl at the sight of Mercury writhing in the forest debris.

“Merc!” he cried and scrabbled to his feet. Blood was splurging from between the man’s fingers, his hands pressed hard against his side.