We’re almost halfway through November–but not quite! NaNoWriMo is rocking right along for me. I passed 20,000 words today, which puts me right on target. Next week is particularly busy though, so I’m expecting to slip behind somewhat. We’ll see.
So much for quantity, as to quality…I’m having a mixed NaNo. There are some parts I’m writing that I like a lot. I still like the premise and the world, and I’m discovering more about the world as I go. But this is starting to feel more like very intensive world-building than noveling! I’m writing scenes I can probably use in a final version and probably more or less in this order–but it’s still not coming together as tightly as I would like. I feel like there’s a lot more that should be here, and I don’t know quite what it is yet–like I may not have just the right angle, or have the right scenes to tell the story I want.
So! More clarity may emerge, or I may end up with a rougher first draft than has happened in some previous years. Although with a brand new world to explore, I suppose it’s not that surprising.
In the meantime, here’s a scene I do like reasonably well.
The airlift opened on the seventh level and we stepped out. Gil went to the edge of the balcony to lean over the slender carved railing and look down. I did not join him. I had tried that my first trip here and regretted it. Depths are more dizzying than heights.
I walked purposefully over to the second archway on the left, this one unusual in its carved grating. The silver key slid easily into the lock and the grating swung silently open.
This wasn’t the entire literata section, of course, just the most advanced, most obscure books. Maybe a little part of me was pleased to have an excuse to go exploring here.
“So what exactly are we looking for?” Gil asked as we walked down the hall away from the central well.
“Something about origins of names,” Gery said, and looked hopefully at me.
“Well…” I said slowly, scanning the shelves. “Let’s start in the comparative linguistics section. There should be a subsection about Achernar. Probably…around here.”
I stopped walking and began poking shelves. “These are mostly comparing human languages, but I think…” I trailed my fingers along the shelves, tracing the path through the reference system in my mind. “Can you get me one of the ladders?”
“One of these sliding ones?” Gil said and trotted after the nearest. Of course he felt it was wise to step on the lowest rung and push off, riding it towards me and past me, as I snatched my hand back just in time.
“Yes, one of those,” I said, and pulled it back towards the shelves I needed after he dismounted.
The books here reached up to the arching ceiling above us, as high as the walls stayed flat, which was a solid ten feet. I climbed up four rungs of the ladder, still chasing reference symbols, and finally found what I wanted on the upper shelf. Only a handful of books discussing cross-species word origins, but two were on Achernar. I pulled one off and began flipping through it, balanced with one arm hooked around the support piece of the ladder.
It was an interesting subject, if the book was a little dry, and I read further.
I only realized I hadn’t heard anything from the boys in a while when a bell started ringing. I looked up from my book, then down from my ladder to see Gil standing a little way down the passage with an open book in his hands while the bell went on pealing.
“What did you do?” I demanded.
“It’s not me, the book just started—”
“So close it,” I ordered, “before a librarian comes to find us.”
“But why did it do that?” Gil asked, clapping the book closed and cutting off the sound.
I rolled my eyes. “Clearly it’s a book on auditory terminology, one with powerful enough writing to be expressed multidimensionally.”
“I’ve never seen books do things like that,” Gery said, and yanked another book down from a shelf. “Do they all do things like that?”
“Don’t touch—” I began, and broke off as a gust of frigid air and a puff of snow burst out of the book open in his hands. “Close that before you unleash winter on us. And stop touching things!”
He closed the book and put it back on the shelf, looking sulky. “I was just curious.”
I sighed, climbed down the ladder and pushed the two books on him. “Here, be curious about these.