Just a quick update tonight. I am well and truly into Part Two of the novel now. As hazy as some aspects of Part One were, Part Two is even more so. Things are starting to come together–or spiral all apart, it’s a little hard to tell.
I have been discovering plot bunnies, as the NaNo community calls them, those threads of ideas that have a way of multiplying. I had been without any real plot for the second half of the book. Now I seem to have fallen into two plot threads, sort of three, and I’m not quite sure how they’re going to fit together. Either this is great, or I have completely lost control. I can’t tell which yet!
So I am trying to trust the process, and we’ll see what happens…
One thing I am enjoying–I’ve found a way to bring in a character who originally only existed as a throw-away line in my other novel draft. For that story, I had to explain why Prince Randolph was on a quest when he had neither the skill nor the inclination for the task. So he mentioned in passing a battleaxe aunt who had pushed him into it.
Randolph himself is not in this year’s NaNo novel, but I decided I was getting too many royal families and it would be wise to make the princess of this one Randolph’s sister. Which means she has the same battleaxe aunt…and I’ve decided the aunt should appear in this novel, and be responsible for one of my new plot threads. Whatever else I do with these plot bunnies, I’m pretty sure the aunt is staying in some form!
For tonight’s excerpt…how about meeting the Battleaxe? There have been a great many developments since my previous excerpt, and Maggie is traveling to the castle in Rokinley, Michael’s country, with Michael and his brother Laurence. They’re about to meet a traveling party from the royal court, which sends Maggie into something of a panic because she’s still pretending to Laurence that she’s the Princess Evangelina, and has no idea how she’s going to get out of that once she tells it to the entire court. Michael’s only advice is to keep smiling…
And Maggie smiled, and kept smiling and promised herself she would ask for an audience with the king immediately when they got back to the castle, that was the only way to handle this now, and Michael had better come because she was really going to need some kind of support now, especially if it all came to throwing herself on someone’s mercy, and all she had to do right now was just smile and…
And then the door to the largest of the carriages, which had rumbled up a few minutes behind the faster horses, opened. A woman stepped regally out, and Maggie stopped smiling.
The woman who came out of the carriage did not take the help of the footman standing ready to hand her down. She was a tall woman with severely pinned-back hair, wearing a gray dress cut on stern lines. She was not unusually large, though people tended to forget that when she’d been out of their sight for any length of time. Her eyes were a startling blue. She had a kind of beauty, but the word people more often used was imposing.
Maggie stared at her, paralyzed.
It was Lina’s aunt. The king’s sister, the one everyone knew really ran Giramm, the one everyone in the court—but never to her face—called the Battleaxe, with equal parts respect and terror.
The Battleaxe stalked directly towards Maggie, and the laughing, cheery court of Rokinley parted like the sea to let her pass. Maggie knew that courtesy demanded she get down from her horse, but she clung to her perch as the only possible high ground she could command. At least she was above the other woman, and could make a galloping escape if she had to.
The Battleaxe stared up at her in silence for a long moment, and Maggie wasn’t sure if the rest of the group had fallen silent or if she just couldn’t hear them over the pounding of her heart in her ears.
Then the Battleaxe smiled and said, “My dear Evangelina, it’s so good to see you.”