Summary: Word war. Gray and Tan find a wild subplot.
NOTE: This is a very rough draft with no editing at all (per National Novel Wiriting Month rules) and is presented for amusement value only. Think of it as a periscope into my writing process rather than a coherent story!
There will most likely be spelling and grammatical errors afoot as well as flat out bad writing, info dumps, plot holes, contradictions/retcons, uneven characterization and pacing. These snippits are also posted out of order, so please refer to the Outline to figure out where it’s supposed to fit.
A Sea of Grass [PLOTBUILDING]
But the door doesn’t open when Gray tries the next morning and after a few hours of frustration she gives up. There’s some sign that there are people to the west, campfires or something else than Tan can scent—or maybe they run into foragers that lead them back.
Either way the two of them end up back at the small nomadic town that is only a few miles away and are assimilated into the local culture. For some reasons the folks are welcoming to outsiders and to people who seem horribly out of place. Might be another world that has had tree people before? Timelines are getting wonky now, darned Muses.
The grass plain stretches out for further than anyone local has traveled and most people stick to the forest. They give her some vague warnings about things that live in the grass that will kill and eat her but no one has ever gone out and come back again, so it’s all conjecture.
They don’t want her going out to the tree again since it’s so close to the plains, so she has to sneak out at night and try knocking on the door. She does this more frequently at first but then fades off as time passes.
Gray is worried that the world that they are in will be destroyed when the next ring opens since it is in an inner ring. She’s not sure how much time has passed since they left, at least in city time and she’s nervous but can’t explain why to the villagers.
So they settle into life somewhat in the world and they need to find something to do as a subplot otherwise there is no point them being there. The whole point of Gray is that she has to learn that sometimes change is good even if bad things happen, or at least to acknowledge that good things can come out of bad situations.
Tan needs to find some other way to have a purpose in life now that he can’t be a CSI dog anymore. Well I suppose he could, but there are rarely as many people needing rescue in the very specific way he is built to find them. So he could help out with hunting or guarding or something, but he’s still a little itchy since he needs a job to be happy.
So let’s say that someone goes missing, a child or young adult—probably a young adult, someone these folks would consider grownup but that Gray wouldn’t. They manage to get themselves hurt badly trying to do something stupid, but something that would have given them great advantage if he has succeeded.
Which means Gray gets into an argument with the locals because they don’t need the advancement to survive, even if it would improve their lives. They think she is crazy, she thinks they are crazy, she leaves to go back to the tree.
She is at the tree trying to get in when one of the things from the sea of grass attacked her. Tan and Gray are fighting, but losing when the friend of the young adult shows up to save them using the same method that had almost killed the other kid.
Gray is furious with the kid, even though it saved her life and the kid gives her whatfor.
When the kid is done, they tell her to go back to the city, and Gray says she can’t and the kid just points at the now open door.
And so they do.