Sunday, November 29, 2009




I did it again. For the 5th year in a row, I wrote 50,000 words in the month of November.

And this year... this year...

I did it in 29 days!!! I don't think I've ever finished a day early. Indeed, I think the earliest I've finished is about 8 hours before the 11:59pm deadline on the 30th, and sometimes I cut it even coser than that. Also, considering I only actually wrote about 12 or 14 days out of the whole month, 50,001 words in that amount of time is pretty impressive, if I do say so myself!

The word count validator on the website, used to prove you really did write that much, is always a little off from the word counter I use in MS Word, but I was surprised by how MUCH it was off this year! Word said I had 50,117 words when I stopped this evening; the website told me I had 49,999!!! So I went back and added freakin' TWO MORE WORDS, for a total of 50,001 (or 50,119) words. Woohoo!

I don't really like my story, and I don't intend on doing anything with it after this month is over. I don't even know if I'll add anything to it tomorrow, since it's technically still November. Rather than the feeling of "Yes! This is great, I want to actually finish the story!" like I've had the last couple of years, I'm feeling more like, "Ughhh, thank goodness this is over!" Oh well.

To celebrate, here is an excerpt, a sort of fairy tale within a fairy tale:


When Sleepy was very small, barely able to walk, his father, a woodsman, crossed through the garden of a very powerful witch, and took something from it. (This was the second time in just a few days in which I had heard about a woodsman being married, but I did not remark upon it at the time.)

Sleepy's father had gone into the village to buy such things as sugar, a bolt of fabric for his wife to sew into a new dress for herself and new shirts for him and their boy, and some eggs, since chickens did not last long among the beasts in the forest where they lived. He brought smoked and dried bear meat to sell, along with the skin and teeth. Laden with his new purchases, he headed back through the village, along the way passing nearby the castle which lay in the center of the town. There was a high wall all around it, but as he had taken a less-traveled road in order to avoid much of the market day foot traffic, he found himself privy to a view inside the wall through a tall, iron gate. The gate provided a view of a beautiful lush garden filled with every fruit tree one could imagine, and more types of flower than the woodsman could name. In the center of the garden was a beautiful apple tree, laden heavily with the reddest, juiciest-looking apples he had ever seen in his life. His mouth watered just looking at them.

His wife baked the finest apple pies in all the land, which was part of the reason he had married her. (Some of the other reasons were her apple-red and apple-round cheeks, so full when she smiled, and the way her long, dark hair waved its way down her back like the waterfall he had seen once in his travels as a young man; and some of the other reasons were not fit to repeat in earshot of company, though he would whisper about them into his wife's ear now and then, and her apple cheeks would grow even fuller and redder as she giggled.) However, the scrawny little apples they could gather near to their cottage on the edge of the forest did not do her baking justice. These apples in the garden, the man felt sure, would make the finest apple pie out of all the fine apple pies his wife had ever made.

Driven by greed and hunger, Sleepy's father put down his pack and squeezed himself through the iron bars of the gate. (He was very slim from eating little and working long and hard in the forest, felling trees which he dragged into town every few weeks to sell.) He filled all his pockets with the lovely red, fleshy apples, then caught up the tails of his shirt in front and filled that as well. On his way back to the gate, however, he was stopped in his tracks by a beautiful young woman. Her eyes were as pale and cold as the ice on the peaks of the mountains far to the north, and her skin paler still. Her white-gold hair streamed out behind her like a cape, and on her head sat a thin, silver circlet.

"Why have you taken the apples from my uncle's garden?" she asked haughtily.
The woodsman stammered and stuttered, too dumbfounded with shock, and by her beauty, to answer properly.

"Come here," said the young woman, and the woodsman found himself stumbling toward her as though she had flicked a fishing hook into his flesh and was pulling on the line. "Give me the apples," she commanded, but the man was frozen by her gaze. She took an apple from the basket made by his shirt, and brought it up to stare intently at it. Her pale, thin lips moved as she whispered, in words the woodsman could not understand. They were musical and deadly and intoxicating all at once. Then she kissed the apple and placed it back with the others.
"You and your family shall pay for your greed and theft," she murmured, and when the woodsman blinked, she was gone.

He returned to his cottage at the edge of the woods, hardly knowing what he did or seeing anything in front of him. In a daze, he emptied his clothing of apples, unable or unwilling to answer his wife's questions about where they came from. He dandled his young son on his knee as his wife baked the apples into a pie. Her greed, too, was raised by the sight of such perfect apples, and she could hardly wait to taste the pie.

Mouths watering, the couple stayed up late into the night, waiting for the pie to bake. The aroma, sweet and spicy and tangy, filled the cottage til they could hardly stand it. At last, the woodsman's wife pulled the pie from the oven. Its crust was sugar-sprinkled and the most perfect light brown color. Steam rose from the vents, driving them mad with hunger. The little boy had fallen asleep long before, but they woke him to taste the pie, which they both felt sure would be the best thing any human had ever tasted.

The woman put three steaming slices on three plates, and everyone was seated around their small, wooden table. Without a word, the woodsman and his wife devoured their slices, then each had another, and a third, til the whole pie was gone. The child, however, was so sleepy that he only took a bite or two before falling fast asleep with his cheek on the table.

As the woodsman and his wife sat rubbing their full bellies and licking their lips, something strange began to happen. Thick brown fur, long as a handsbreadth, sprouted all over their bodies. They began to grow in size until the chairs on which they sat collapsed beneath them in piles like matchsticks. In horror, they watched each other as their faces elongated, their ears migrated to the tops of their heads, and their teeth grew long and sharp. Their fingernails sprouted into thick, black claws, as did the nails on their toes. Their skin rippled and shuddered as their bones and their insides changed and grew. They were covered in a thick layer of fat. They were full-grown grizzly bears.

At the same moment, their eyes fell upon something in a basket by the stove. One last, shining red apple. In their haste and greed, they destroyed the cottage, knocking over the table and the bed, smashing the remaining chair to tinder, tearing down the thatched roof. They fought each other to the death for that one, beautiful apple. Finally, bleeding and broken, they both fell to the floor and died.

Their son, too, had turned into a bear, but since he had only a taste of the cursed apples, he had not been filled with rage and bloodlust, but cowered, whimpering, in the corner. As the cottage burned down around him, he cried out in a little bear voice and ran off into the woods.

Another side effect of eating only a bite of the pie was that during the day, he returned to his normal human form. Miraculously, he stumbled upon a cave of bears during his second night in the wild, and miraculously, the mother bear accepted him into her family, consisting of the father bear and two little babies about Sleepy's size. He grew up with them, eating berries, fish, and whatever else the bears found for him, even nursing at the mother bear's teat when he was still very small. He learned to climb trees with his bear brother and sister, how to catch river trout, how to ignore the stings of a thousand bees when in pursuit of the sweetness inside their hive. He did all these things as a bear and as a human boy.

The wizard said the bears must have seen him as two different beings, a human that went away during the night, and a bear that went away during the day. One day when he was about seven or eight human years old, the wizard found him wandering the woods and took him in to heal the cuts and stings he had sustained. When he woke in the night to find a huge bear slumbering in front of his fire, he investigated, following Sleepy to the place he very faintly remembered as coming from. The story of his parents, he divined from talking to the inhabitants of the town nearby and by a couple of spells. (He did not expound upon how, and I did not ask.) Sleepy had lived with the wizard and his fairies ever since, and they all did their best to educate Sleepy on how to be a proper young man, though not very much of it stuck in his fuzzy bear-brain.


Not the best thing I've ever written, but I wrote it fast, and it gave me almost 1,500 more words. Though a good half of the story could probably be trashed, I did have some fun writing it, and I like saying that I've won NaNoWriMo five years in a row! :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hello again

Today is my Friday, sort of. I'm only in school two days this week (both schools) because of Thanksgiving break. It won't be too much of a break, but oh well. Wednesday I intend on catching up and (hopefully) even getting ahead in my NaNoWriMo novel. I'm at just over 36,000 words right now, and by the end of today I should be at 40,000, so I'm somewhat behind. (I did write a little over 6,000 words on Sunday, though, which was awesome!) Most of the story is trash and I don't think I'll do anything with it, but for the last week, it's at least been fun to write. I'm making new characters and my MC is seeing new places, and I always love writing description.

I've also been knitting a lot (not at the middle school, but in my college classes), and I currently have 6.3 pairs of wristwarmers knit up (but not sewn--bleh, don't like that part much). I'd like to sell them at the vintage store/art gallery downtown, but if they sit there for a long time and don't sell, maybe I'll open up my old Etsy store and see how they do there. They're all diferrent sizes, colors, and patterns, and by "patterns" I mean stitch patterns. I didn't actually use patterns for any of them, just invented them off the top of my head depending on what kind/color and how much yarn I had. Most of it is leftover little balls after I finished knitting socks, though some of it is from various other projects. All of them are at least partially wool, for warmth and because the shop doesn't seem like a place that caters to people who would like cheap acrylic.

Totally rambling now. After today, I have to be on (the college) campus four more days, and two of them are for finals. AUGHHHHHHHHHH! In a way, I'm really glad, but I'm also kind of freaking terrified. There's still a lot to do between now and then, but I'll get it done! As for the middle school, I have 15 more days, though of course not much will get done the last couple days before Christmas break. I have my last observation on the 9th, and I'm using the lesson plan I wrote for another class, so whew! One less thing to worry about.

Matt and I will be back in our hometown for Thanksgiving with my family, then we both work all weekend. Black Friday I'm working just over 9 hours, while Matt works 12. ICK. (But yay for him, he gets commission!) Then Saturday for both of us, and likely Sunday, too. Freakin retail. I'm glad we have jobs, but we will both be soooo glad when we don't have to go through this ridiculosity every holiday seaason.

So let's see, writing, school, knitting.... That about sums up my life these past few weeks! No promises, but I would like to post here more over my breaks. We'll see how that goes. (Need to work on a new header, too.)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009