NaNoWriMo Day 26: Curioser and Curioser

I continue making NaNo progress, though it continues to be in odd directions.  My novel draft stands around 35,000 words and is likely to remain there for the foreseeable future.  I worked on a short story for another almost-8,000 words.  I finished that up yesterday, and thoroughly enjoyed writing it.  It was nice to have a focused story that began and ended with really only one plot-thread–even though I usually love juggling all the different threads!

After finishing the one story, I started another and made some progress yesterday.  But today I felt inspiration was at a low ebb, so to keep my word count up and my hand in, I wrote a scene for a different short story.  That gives me a total of three, one completed and two in-progress, all of them focusing on characters from my current in-progress novel draft, which is in the same world as my NaNo novel.  Follow all that?  🙂

As you can see, I’m getting a little scattered!  This would be a problem in the long-term, but when it’s just for the last week of NaNo, I’m not going to worry too much.  I’ll see where inspiration strikes tomorrow, and hopefully I’ll finish at least one of the in-progress short stories by the end of the month.  And whatever’s left un-done…well, that will give me something to do in between editing my in-progress novel.

Excerpt tonight from the completed short story…for those following along at home, that’s the one with the sleeping beauty curse on the castle, which captured Julie while leaving Jasper outside.  After a rather uncomfortable night in the woods…

Jasper creaked to his feet, stretching stiff limbs, and walked through the trees to the castle.  There were changes.  During the darkness, defying all normal laws of plants, the thorns had blossomed.  There were green leaves too, but far more noticeable were the endless, heavy red roses.  The color of blood, Jasper thought bitterly, and refused to acknowledge them as beautiful.

However Julie might want to tease him on the subject, the truth was that he had always stayed away from sleeping princesses—those girls inevitably expected marriage proposals the moment they woke up, which had always seemed rather like rushing things.  He had heard stories, though, and among the less plausible parts of the stories was the idea that the roses around the towers were intelligent.

Jasper had never understood how roses could possibly be thinking.  Yet as he stood there, he realized with a cold prickle that blossoms were turning his direction.  Not all at once, but a few here, a few there, until he had the distinct feeling that the entire hedge was staring at him.

Jasper squared his shoulders and stared back.  He was not going to be intimidated by an overgrown bouquet.

Maybe it was good if the roses were intelligent.  Maybe they could be reasoned with.  Rule #19 was If you’ll be better served by talking, don’t fight.

He tried it.  He told the roses there’d been a mistake, that Julie shouldn’t be here, that he needed to get past the thorns so he could go in and wake her up.  It would be easy, if he could get past the thorns.  Even the most inept wandering adventurer knew how to wake up a girl in an enchanted sleep.

Getting past the thorns, though…that wasn’t proving easy.  He laid out the whole situation and when he was done, the roses turned away.  It was faster than they had turned towards him, and the dismissal was stunningly obvious.

“I don’t care if you don’t like me,” Jasper growled, “I am not going to just turn around and walk away.”  Not if he had to hack his way through the whole hedge.

He drew a knife from his sleeve and, more in frustration than as part of an actual plan, chopped at the nearest branch of thorns.

The entire hedge shivered when the knife struck.  A moment after that, there was a roar from beyond the wall, and a scaled form leapt up out of the courtyard.

“What the hell is that?” Jasper gaped, leaping backwards automatically.

A dragon.  The castle had a dragon.

Why couldn’t it ever be easy?

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