Well, lovely people... I did it. I wrote 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo. AND I SURVIVED! *wipes sweat off my brow* It was hard work, guys. But it happened. I am still reeling from it, and honestly do not know what to do with myself right now. It's like coming off a caffeine rush! (Both literally & figuratively.) The world is still spinning, I am still writing, but the crazed madness is over for now.
However, just because I am not living & breathing NaNoWriMo now does not mean I don't want to share some of my story with you! So I thought I'd put together a post containing the snippets I promised... So without further ado, here are some of my favorite bits from my most recent WIP, The Time-Keeper's Apprentice.
“Admiring the view?”
Oliver nodded and asked, “What is keeping us up? I’ve been looking all over the ship and have yet to find a motor or anything of the sort.”
The older boy smiled slightly. “It’s the cradle,” he answered, pointing his chin up at the voluminous net floating above them, “We have to find a Celestone, small enough to tow but big enough to defy gravity, and tie it into the cradle up there.”
“You’ve never been around sky-ships before, have you?” Westley scoffed, shaking his head.
Oliver’s chest puffed up. “I have too—plenty of times! Just haven’t studied them in detail, that’s all!”
It was a lame comeback. And Oliver knew that Westley knew it. Westley smirked, and shrugged his shoulders. “Celestone is a form of a star, only it doesn’t burn up like normal ones do. And these particular stars can be plucked out of the sky, like an orange, but their core is constantly fighting to get back to its home, outside the atmosphere. Thus, generating the upward pull. Anyone would know that!”
“Oh,” Oliver replied. The fellow’s condescending attitude had made him not care much about the stone anymore. Who cares about a stupid, flying rock anyway?
“Where’re you and the old fellow going, anyway?”
Oliver gritted his teeth. “His name is Kearney. And for your information, he’s the Time-Keeper at the Gathering and a friend of your father’s, so I’d speak of him a little more respectfully.”
The older boy rolled his eyes. “No disrespect intended, kid.”
“No disrespect intended, Oliver,” he stuck his hands in his pockets, and slouched against the wall. “Sheesh! Uptight little guy, aren’t you?”
Oliver ignored him and glared off the edge of the aircraft once more. He didn’t like the older boy at all. His stupid smirk and his beady eyes... He found that his face alone rubbed him the wrong way.
“Good morning, Oliver,” Master Kearney said, swallowing the last of his tea, “Glad you could join us.”
“Why didn’t you wake me?” Oliver huffed, rubbing his eyes.
“I told you to wake him before you came down, Westley!”
“I tried,” Westley said shrugging his shoulders, “There was no waking him up. It was like a log of Ironwood in the bed.”
Oliver frowned, but his stomach growled angrily before he could say anything else. Both Master Kearney and Westley chuckled.
“Would you like some breakfast, son?” Kearney asked, “It’s well past nine o’clock.”
“Thanks.” Oliver sat in his chair, pouting a little. But when his plate came out, he felt completely better. He devoured his eggs and toast while his teacher spoke to him.
“I was just telling Westley about how his father and I first met. Did I ever tell you the story?”
Oliver’s cheeks were so full of potatoes and bacon; he could only nod in reply. He had heard the story numerous times. He could have recited it by heart if he wanted to. But he didn’t. Breakfast was too delicious.
“Get in,” Kearney advised, “He will be pulling it up soon.”
“A lift?” Oliver choked.
“Inside a mountain?”
“No... I just didn’t expect it to be like this is all,” Oliver replied, slipping through the crystal door and settling in the back corner.
“What, did you think all of us old men just climbed the side of a mountain once a year?”
“Well...” Oliver didn’t get a chance to answer. As soon as Westley shut the door, the lift began to shake and Oliver’s stomach dropped into his toes. They all clutched at the handle bars to steady themselves. Westley waited longer than everyone else, probably because he wanted to show off how he kept his sky-legs, but Oliver was granted a rush of satisfaction when he saw Westley grab at the bar after a moment or two of standing alone.
Just as soon as they felt that their bodies had acclimated to the shaky sense of rushing through space, the lift came to an abrupt halt. It nearly threw them to their knees.
“That nincompoop, Winston!” Kearney growled to himself, “Can’t run a simple lift after all these years... What do they pay him for anyway?”
“Sails, up!” Westley howled, waving his hat in the air with glee.
The sails unfurled in all their silvery glory. Wind began to tickle at them before they were even off the ground. It was a sweet end-of-summer breeze that gathered them up as they unleashed the Celestone in its cradle. The stone strained for its old home in the sky, the breeze snatched the ship like a tiny toy, and they left the docks. It had begun, and they knew they were headed for hard days. But they were off, and they had a mission. And that was all that mattered.
And as Oliver stood at the stern of the ship, with the fresh air filling his lungs and the leather of one of Kearney’s journals in his hand, he felt reassured by the words of his Master, “If anything happens, good or bad; if you get lost, or if you are lonely, just read my journals, and I’ll be there with you.”
“So we have to abandon ship and cross a mountain range on foot?” Westley choked, frowning at the map on the cabin table.
“Yes, but only near the very end,” Talitha stated, pointing at the paper once more, “We are here, just beyond the one-eighth mark of the journey. We still have plenty of time before we have to worry about that.”
“Are there any docks around there?” he huffed, irritably.
“No, not within a several mile radius,” she replied, “Won’t the ship be fine on its own if we tie it up or something? It’s not like it could fly away or—”
“—There is no way I am leaving an Airship in the wilderness with no one to look after it. The second half of our supplies will be in it for the return trip.”
“We will just leave some of the crew behind to stand guard,” shrugged Talitha, “It’ll probably only be three days into the mountains; five tops.”
“It would be better to take it to a docking station and get a storage unit for the extra supplies,” he returned tightly, “Something as simple as free reign on limited supplies can turn someone’s head inside out.”
“Are you talking about mutiny?” Oliver faintly interrupted. The two of them bickered nonstop. It was driving him to distraction.
“I know you think it’s all a big joke, but it’s not,” Westley crossed his arms defiantly, “I’ve seen it first-hand. My dad had to get ugly a few times to chill crew members down.”
“But we will waste valuable time with walking to and from the nearest village dock. The closest one to the range is two days away by foot,” groaned Talitha, “How will we make that up?”
“Walking quickly,” Westley replied with a straight face.
Talitha rolled her eyes and blew auburn curls out of her face. “You’re hilarious.”
“I try,” Westley grinned.
“Maybe we will be ahead of schedule,” Oliver mentioned in an attempt to smooth things over, “And we might make it through the mountains faster than you had planned, Talitha. You never know.”
“Hmm…” Talitha seemed dissatisfied, but she eventually agreed, “I still don’t like it, but West knows his stuff. Let’s just be sure we make good time and don’t take any side-trips or anything.”
“Done!” Oliver smiled, peering into a freshly opened journal.
He tried not to smile at the vivid description. It sounded very much like something Westley would say. He wanted to laugh, but he knew much better than that.
“I try not to be annoying. It’s just kind of hard when you are around people like Westley, who think they know everything and try to rub it in your face, but you know deep down that you have learned much more than them. It’s hard to not be uncivil." [Talitha said.]
“I can relate to that…” he replied, shifting in his chair, “I think I wanted to toss him overboard the first time we met.”
“Oh, heavens, yes!” her unfamiliar laugh rang out. It was golden and rich, like an aged bottle of wine, hidden in a cellar for a special day. It was the first time Oliver had heard it. It was startling.
“Was that a laugh?” Oliver chuckled.
Talitha only giggled harder. Tears began to pool at the corners of her eyes. As she wiped them away, she grabbed her stomach and gasped for air.
“What’s funny?” snickered Oliver, staring wide-eyed.
“T-t-the idea of W-Westley…” she was laughing too hard to say any more. After a few more moments of hysteria, she took a shaky breath. “Oh, goodness. I’m sorry. I think the stress of everything has built up over the past few days.”
“That’s the first time you’ve laughed since I’ve known you,” stated Oliver, “You should do it a little more often.”
She sighed and shook her head. “Ah… It’s been awhile. I can’t remember the last time I had a laugh like that. And to think it was because of that idiot, Westley.” She rolled her eyes and tugged at an auburn curl, “Can’t decide if I love him or hate him for it.”
Oliver grimaced and felt his ears go red.
She noted the sudden change. “Not like that, of course!” she snapped, coloring and adverting her eyes, “Ew… Really, Oliver!”
“B-but you s-said… I’m sorry, I t-thought…” stumbled Oliver awkwardly. He couldn’t find the words he needed to fix it. He wanted to run out of that room. Girls were scary. One minute they talked about wanting to throw you overboard, and the next they tried to decide if they were in love with you or not. It sounded like a perfect equation for a disaster.
“Just… ugh… Never mind,” Talitha dismissed, hoping to get back to their previous subject, “But honestly, I don’t mean to sound unkind when I give advice. It’s really just how I show that I care about something. I want things and people to be at their very best. Does that make any sense?”
“More than you know,” Oliver gently smiled, stroking the cover of his Master’s journal. He knew many people who gave advice because they cared. Maybe that was why Talitha didn’t rub him the wrong way as often as she did others.
Soooooo... Those are a few of my favorite bits from The Time-Keeper's Apprentice! I still have a few thousand more words to scribble before the draft is complete, but it's nearly there. I am over-the-moon excited to be so close to completing the very first draft of any book I've ever attempted. It feels so strange, yet so right.
How many of you participated this year? Did you meet your personal writing goals? Wanna share some of your favorite snippets with me? Feel free to comment down below! I wanna hear all about it!
Currently Reading: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorn
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows
Just Finished: Silas Marner by George Eliot
Listening to: Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling via Audible.com