Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Gasp! Novel excerpt!

In November, I participated in National Novel Writing Month, further damaging my claims to sanity. The idea behind NaNo is to start on November 1 with a blank page, and finish the month with 50,000 words of a novel. I made a weak start, gained some momentum mid-month, and, well...

I'm quite pleased with what I did accomplish, though. I don't know if I've ever written this much for a given story. Ever. I plan on finishing the story, too, once I've planned it out a little better. I haven't been writing new material for it for the past few days, but I will be.

In celebration, I'm posting excerpts from what I managed to crank out during NaNo. These represent the roughest of rough drafts, but that's a lot of what gets posted here anyway. Heh. As yet, the story has no title, and will henceforth be referred to by its codename, Heartbreaker. A few of you will recognize a character, a name, or a setting, here and there.

Please enjoy, and feel free to comment.


A gentle swelling of light, and a gradual crescendo of harp music, and Elaine Singer awoke. The soft white light of the wall panels spread over the room, soaking the coffee-and-milk tan covers, the small lampstand, the many-colored ensembles just visible through the slightly ajar closet door. It took her a solid ten seconds to realize she was awake, ten seconds of staring at the red behind her eyelids. Subtle, embedded speakers in the wall above her futon grew slowly louder, insistently spreading the mystic sound of plucked strings. A vague memory of dream drifted away from her on a mental breeze, replaced quickly by another image.

In her mind, she was choking a harpist. Singer half-growled, half-groaned, rolling onto her stomach and burying her quickly-waking eyes in the pillow. A strand of her short red hair flipped into her ear. Itchy.

Have to minimize movement. We're not waking up. Not right now. Just gotta... oh, hell. She reached up at swatted at her own rebellious hair, knowing the battle was lost. Singer rolled over with a huff, tugging the covers off half the bed. Her voice was groggy when she spoke. “House. What time is it?”

The harp music quieted for the house computer's response, in a factual, but pleasant male voice. “It is 8:45 am.”

“Why would I get up at 8:45 am?” she mumbled, rubbing her eyes and trying to remember. Right. She had to finish her report on Schwartzsten for Fletcher before the meeting today. Because she had put it off until this morning so she and Suq wouldn't miss The Judicator last night. And it hadn't been that great an episode. She had no idea what they were doing with Starlight this season. He was supposed to become the next Judicator, they said that in the last season finale, but they kept-

She had almost fallen asleep again when she caught herself. “Mmn.” She had to get up. With one last sigh, she gathered her thoughts. Her mental focus slid into place, though a little slower than usual, since it was morning. Singer turned one hand palm-up under the covers. With a little ripple out from her hand, the covers lifted, nearly flat, until they were nearly grazing the ceiling. Singer sat up, popped her neck, and stood, slumping toward the bathroom. She let go her focus, and the blankets drifted down to the futon with a flop.

If she had a more consistent morning routine, maybe her mind wouldn't take so long to warm up. One of her mentors had insisted that was critical: being able to wake from a deep sleep and be at her telekinetic threshold a second later. Thus far, that ability hadn't exactly been mission-critical. Thus far, Elaine Singer had thoroughly enjoyed taking mid-afternoon and late-night assignments and letting the mornings drift away like fog.

The harp music was still going, and had followed her into the bathroom. The waterproof speakers were a little tinnier. If she had to be awake, she was going to actually wake up. “House. Playlist “punching the walls,” on random. Play.”

Per her settings, the volume ratcheted up three levels, and thundering drums and distorted electric cellos hammered the walls. That intro she knew. “Rending the Gates” by Praxis Maleficus. Good stuff.

One lingering shower later, Singer padded into the kitchen in her loose, broken-in jeans and a tank top that had once been black, and was now faded gray. Outside, only minimal traffic sounds, since the commuters had been at their desks for a little over an hour. The woosh-pop of flash welders echoed from the construction yard down the block into her apartment. The charged glass door leading to the minuscule patio was halfway opaque, tinting the bright city light down to a manageable shade. She peered out into the world and saw, ten stories down and eight blocks away, they were setting up for some sort of big event in Koral'ia Park.

Oh, right. Carpenter's rally. Knowing Carpenter's following, she'd probably be able to hear them across the distance. The man new how to draw a rabble. Which wasn't why she was voting against him, but it certainly didn't help his case with her.

A familiar, soft guitar line filled the kitchen, and the wallscreen by the cutting board lit up with an alert. Singer smiled. “House, answer it.”

A video window sprung open. On the other end of the call was a scaled blue face, with a line of tiny horns running up the nose ridge and over the hairless head. The eyes were a yellow-orange, with vertical pupils. It had the beginnings of a snout, which smiled with pointed carnivore teeth. It was wearing, she noticed, the t-shirt she had bought him last week.

“Morning, love,” said Suq. Suqarin Myssir. Her fiancĂ©.

[more to come. thanks for reading.]

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