Saturday, May 31, 2008

MayNoWriMo: The Final Non-Progress Report

So MayNoWriMo is over, and I've hardly written a thing in almost three weeks. Furthermore, I haven't posted an entry here in Spanner's World in almost two weeks. So here's the final word count for the month:
  • Black Science: 7,501 (goal: 50,000)
  • Bad Company: 9,988 (rewrite for second draft)
So what went wrong? I came down with a nasty case of writer's block, that's what. Now it's gone away, but too late to save my MayNo.

I planned to write 50,000 words of a new draft of my '06 NaNoWriMo novel, which I now call Black Science. Obviously I didn't. When I tried to resume writing it tonight, the scene died right in the middle of writing it as the plot shifted right under my feet. Young Jennifer Blair, who was to be kidnapped in the original plan of the novel, now isn't. Now she's being enrolled in a highly praised, recommended, and award-winning school for the gifted that turns out to be a front for a secret military project being administered by the evil Dictel Corporation. And who should be running the project but Willa's ex-husband and bitterest enemy, Dr. Henry Becket! So I scrapped the scene. All that's left of the scene now is these words for an index card: "Willa visits her real father." Just what she's visiting him for is up in the air now, but I'll find a place for that scene somehow.

The scene that broke my writer's block was a rewrite of the "Spork Incident" from Bad Company. Here's a little background on it: John Cameron (Jack) Becket, second son of Henry Becket (#3 man at Dictel) and one of Dictel's most ruthless mercenaries, has tracked down our heroine Charlie (his cousin, ironically) to a fundraising potluck and is trying to kill her. Why? Because she has found out too much about Dictel's plans and is dangerously close to uncovering the company's plot to take over America. So here's the first ever excerpt of Bad Company: the climax of a still incomplete late chapter, told from Charlie's own point of view:
Jack pulls back his fist to punch me. Suddenly time slows down to a crawl. I raise my arms to shield my face just in time. The impact sends me flying into the table behind me, sending food and utensils and who knows what else flying all around me. I don’t get a chance to get out of his way because he jumps me instantly, clamping my neck with his hands to strangle me. I stare up terrified into his hate-contorted face. Only a few seconds left to live: ten, nine, eight...

I flail around desperately, feeling for something to hold onto. I find nothing I can grip but a lousy spork.

I hate sporks.

Oh, well. It’ll have to do. I grab it by the handle.

The world starts fading to black: five, four...

Time slows once again. I raise my newly armed hand past those steel cables he calls arms and aim the business end of my weapon at his eye. Silently I pray my impossible gamble will work. The spork goes “chunk” into his eye.

He lets go.

An instant seems forever. I sit there seemingly paralyzed. He raises his hands to his eye and lets out a feral howl. Slowly I crawl backwards away from him, staring transfixed at him. He tries to take the spork out of his eye, but he yanks on it too fast. The handle breaks off. The spork end is stuck in his eye.

Time speeds up again. I know Jack’s going to kill me. I turn around and get up much too slowly, and run away as fast as I can. I don’t care where I’m headed, only that I must get out now. I run like I’ve never run before.

I don’t know how far I’ve run, or how fast. I lose all track of time and space. The last thing I remember: I collapse from exhaustion, curl up into a fetal ball, and cry and cry and cry.
After this, John Cameron Becket will forever be known as "One-Eye Jack", a name he despises, thanks to Shira, who laughs at him. He'll try to get violent revenge against Shira for that in Spanner, and of course he'll fail repeatedly, since Shira will be a much more formidable opponent by then. His attempt to kill Charlie backfires: now she's determined to find a way to stop Dictel's invasion of America at all costs. She makes her decision while she's lying in a hospital bed in the very next scene.

I also wrote a few early scenes of Bad Company in Charlie's POV (the other narrator is her sister Desiree). Here's the first one I wrote (right after the "Spork Incident" rewrite). The background: Desiree has just run away from Drusilla's house/prison, to half-sister Ruby's house where Charlie is staying. Ever since Charlie got kicked out of the house by Dru, she's avoided her reflection for so long that she no longer knows what she looks like. She's out of the shower and is about to brush her teeth. Charlie tells the story:
In front of me I see a disjointed marionette in the form of a beautiful naked woman: chaotic auburn hair, blue-green eyes, the body well shaped but skinny enough for the ribs to show through. I raise my right arm, and the woman-puppet raises her left; I raise my left arm, and she raises her right; I lean forward, and so does she. In unison we reach out to touch each other, only to hit a glass barrier: the mirror. With a shock I realize that the life-size puppet I see in the mirror is my own reflection. I shriek suddenly and see myself jerk. "Get hold of yourself, Charlie," I tell my reflection. I close my eyes and take a deep breath, then let it out slowly. I open my eyes again and stare in disbelief at the beauty in the mirror. I've always been shocked to see such a beautiful face reflected at me, because I've never felt pretty. I blow a lock of hair off my face.
So this is the first real taste of my fiction that I've given the world (all the excerpts for NaNoWriMo and Script Frenzy are unedited versions from first drafts). I hope you like it and would like to see more.

Meanwhile, I have plans for June. First of all, there's the second draft of the Spanner script (issues 1-4), plus all the drawing that goes with it (thumbnail layouts, character designs, and any self-instruction I still need). I also intend to complete the second draft of Bad Company, from which I took the scenes I quoted above. Now that my writer's block is finally cured, it's time to get back to work...

(Excerpts from Bad Company © 2008 Dennis R. Jernberg.)

Back to Spanner‘s World...

No comments:

Post a Comment