So there will be snark and worldbuilding and lots of spoilers and the process of rebuilding a novel from the bones of its former corpse.
50,000+ words (eventually) of Fun!
Total Wordcount: 11,749
Note: Wordcount totals no longer reflect the length of the posts as these were expanded on for clarity after the day was over.
In which the Writer Cowboy’s Up and puts words to paper.
“Well that seems overly dramatic,” said Sebastian as the Writer stormed into the void, waiting her story notes and apparently riled up and ready for wordcount.
“I am NOT going to lose this NaNo!” the Writer declared and then collapsed into her comfy chair that appeared out of nothing right as she sat down. “I am not going to let this stupid story die again. I don’t care if I end up turning it into fifty thousand words of the Traveling Shovel of Death and Wombats, I’m going to make this work.”
“As much as I’m all for the ‘rough drafts are allowed to suck’, maybe you’d be better off not making something you are going to fling into the ‘never editing this again’ bin come December 1st.” Said Jon’s college-age friend (who had apparently gender-swapped to female when the Writer wasn’t looking) with amused fondness for her sightly silly Writer. “Let’s not stoop to using the bag of tricks until we’re looking at 10k left on Day 30.”
“Eh, I suppose,” said the Writer grumpily. “But it’s Day 11 and I am a crazy number of words behind.” She poked at her notes with a pen and then started doodling in the margins.
“It’s Day 11 and that is way too early to be giving up,” Bastian summoned a bottomless glass of sweet tea and the grumpy white cat timer from the nothingness and put both on the Writer’s desk. “Let’s finish the outline for the pilot episode and then do ten minute word-sprints to rough out the missing scenes. Easy enough?”
The Writer muttered something unrepeatable and then shuffled through the rough-draft notes. “I don’t even know where to start.”
“Outline,” Bastian tapped the blank page. “Stat.”
Pilot Episode – Tricks of the Light
Scene 1 : Worksite (Rough draft exists from 2007, will need to be reworked)
Jon meets Winjya and she stalks him
Scene 2 : Sebastian’s Dorm Room (Rough draft exists from 2007, will need to be reworked)
Jon explains to Sebastian, Todd and Keith about the Dogs and they Google
Scene 3 : Jon’s Over the Garage Room (Rough draft exists from 2007, will need to be reworked)
The Dogs attack and then herd the newly-bonded Jon out of the house and into the car
Scene 4 : The Hunting Cabin (Rough draft exists from 2007, but will be extensively changed)
The Dogs bring Jon to the cabin to take care of the captive then Owen attacks
Scene 5 : The Woods (Rough draft exists from 2007, but will be extensively changed)
Jon escapes, but a Dog is hurt, Hunter appears and offers help. Bloodbonds away!
Scene 6 : The Hunting Cabin
Searching for clues, then off to the races!
Scene 7 : Motel 8
They fight! Captured bad guy is very much bad and is killed. Something happens that makes it obvious Owen is not a bad guy so Jon saves him from the Dogs. Owen runs away.
Scene 8 : Jon’s Room
It was all a dream… no wait it wasn’t.
“So three new scenes, two that needs extensive reworking, and three that need tweaking and/or extensive reworking.” Bastian looked over the outline, “Look like there’s still plenty of words left to put to paper there. You have a timer, you have caffeine, let’s start with a sprint to just summarize the important plot points of the bits that already exist —without rereading them,” she cut off the Writer who had been sneakily trying to procrastinate. “10 minutes on the timer, come on, this isn’t rocket science.”
“I need to work on your personality,” muttered the Writer.
Scene 1 : Worksite
Jon is at work, we get a good feel for how his life is now. Throw in some thoughts about his family, no need to flesh them out as much here as we did in the old NaNo level. Have Winjya show up, but instead of just watching him work she needs to stalk him, work the horror angle here. Have the other dogs show up as the day goes on. Basically go from slightly odd to downright terrifying. Maybe have Jon leave work early? Need to push on the fact that he’s willing to ignore the dogs just to keep pretending life is normal whenever possible.
Scene 2 : Sebastian’s Dorm Room
After work he heads over to the dorm room to meet up with the other three people he’s spent most of his life hanging out with. None of them are really ghost hunters, so it’s more of a ‘Google and see what turns up’. They only sort of believe him, but the Dogs aren’t showing up so he has no real proof. Has already tried to capture them on camera phone and it doesn’t work. They do some basic research, but have nothing because these Hounds aren’t documented. Jon almost stays the night, but the dogs haven’t shown up again and he can convince himself they weren’t real.
Scene 3 : Jon’s Over the Garage Room
Jon gets back home, still not much happening— then as soon as he lets his guard down BOOM. Bonding happens and then they bully him out of the house and into the car. They get it through to him that you can’t outrun a ghost and he finally gives, although he’s pretty terrified at this point. This should be the point to hammer in how unearthly and dangerous the dogs can be. Jon is completely disposable, not sure how to get that through if the dogs aren’t talking…
“Feh,” said the Writer as she looked over the summaries. “I have no idea if these are even right anymore.”
“Doesn’t matter,” Bastian said dismissively, “we aren’t here to get things right, that’s what December is for. Besides, we’ll probably retcon whatever doesn’t work after the season is done.” She plucked the timer off the table and reset it for another 10 minutes. “So now we get some new words on paper and this should flow a little easier. It’s Owen now and, you seem to have no problem writing for him…”
The Writer had the honesty to at least look a little guilty. “But he’s shiny and new!”
Bastian gave her a look.
The grumpy cat timer was placed directly in front of her.
Scene 4 : The Hunting Cabin
Same as the last draft, the dogs drag him through the forest, he gets his courage up a bit to fight back a little, but it’s obvious they are still in charge — but once we get to the cabin everything changes.
There’s a noise from the back of the cabin, a scrabbling scratching noise that raises the hairs on Jon’s arms. The dogs are moving stealthily through the darkness dimly glowing blue outlines of hounds against the shadows. Jon has to stumble behind them, trying to make sense of the shadows and not jump at every movement.
They finally round the corner and he can see what’s making the noise.
There’s a a cage in the corner and someone huddled in the back of the cage that’s obviously been there more than a day. Jon is terrified that someone else is in the cabin, but assumes the dogs have brought him here to rescue the guy in the cage. After making sure there’s no one else there he moves into the room so the guy can see him.
There are plates and cups outside the cage, there’s a bucket of water inside and a bucket of something else Jon doesn’t want to think about, much less smell.
“No, no,” the man is trying to move further into the cage, but he’s already curled up against the back corner as far as he can go, cover his head with his arms. He’s dirty, but not truly filthy, so he hasn’t been in there too long, but it’s obvious he’s fought in those clothes. There’s dried blood and tears in the fabric, but Jon can’t tell how badly he’s hurt.
“It’s okay, I can get you out—” Jon’s hand has only moved a fraction of an inch before the Hound is between him and the cage, snarling and snapping to drive him back. “What the hell?”
He trips over a chunk of crate and lands hard on his right wrist. He ends up sitting facing the crate, cradling his arm and trying to figure out if he’s broken anything. “Why the hell am I here then?” He demands of the dogs who are milling between him and the cage. “There’s a guy locked up in a cage! He’s hurt, he needs help, why won’t you let me help him?”
For a moment there’s growling and the weird undercurrent of music and nothing else. Then the man in the cage laughs. It’s a dry brittle sound, just on the edge of hysterical.
“You have no idea,” he says after a moment of laughing that sends him into a coughing fit. “You really have no idea.” It’s not a question as much as declaration on the madness of the universe. “I’m going to die here.”
“No,” snapped Jon, because he might be scared of the dogs and not willing to get bitten to save himself, but he’d not above getting bitten again to save someone else. “No one is going to die, not me, not you—”
“You have no control over them,” the man laughed and coughed. “None.” He struggled to sit up and as soon as he came near the bars the dogs lunged, snapping and snarling, but the Hounds were being very careful not to touch the bars. “They can’t get in, but I can’t get out now that you’ve gone and given them an anchor again.”
“Wait, you locked yourself in there?” Jon frowned, latching onto the only thing the man had said that made sense.
“Of course not, if I had I would have left as soon as those damned Hounds were gone.” He glared at them and they glared right back. “Your predecessor did that, before they killed him.” The man grinned at Jon’s shocked reaction. “He was taking too long to die.”
Ont of the hounds made a dismissive snort, but Jon was too focused on the man in the cage to tell which one. The weird feelings he’d been getting from the dogs didn’t seem to have changed, they still felt relatively ambivalent, but there was an undertone of annoyance.”
“What am I here for?” Jon asked, not sure if he was asking the man or the dogs.
One of the Hounds turned away from the cage and trotted over to a nearby table that was tucked away in the corner. On it were a note and a cellphone. The dog looked at the table and then over at Jon and barked commandingly.
After a moment in which his brain decided that processing everything he’d just heard was too much, Jon stumbled to his feet, still cradling his arm, and walked over to the desk.
The paper was a simple note that said “If I’m dead call this number.”
Jon looked at the note, then the cell phone which amazingly still had battery life left.
“How do I know you aren’t just going to kill me too?” he asked the Hound.
She cocked her head, then gave him not quite growling grin of bone-white teeth. She was glowing slightly brighter now, her eyes vividly blue and Jon already had taken a step backwards without realizing it.
He could hear or feel the other dogs turning to watch them.
“Fine, fine,” he made a grab for the phone as the hound took a step towards him, the silent growl turning into a real threat. “I’m dialing.” Although it was a bit of a pain with one hand, so he resorted to using the wrist he was pretty sure was just bruised.
The phone picked up halfway through the second ring with a man’s angry “Hello?”
“Angry ghost dogs are trying to kill me,” Jon said, because it was honestly the only thing he could think of.
“Put the phone on speaker and stay put, we’ll be there in twenty minutes.” The voice was crisp and commanding without being overly threatening and Jon followed instructions with only a slightly shaking hand. Which he blamed on the injured wrist for his sanity’s sake.
“Who is this?” the voice demanded as background sounds indicated a group of people were getting in a car.
“Jon, but who the hell are you?”
“Right now we’re the ones keeping you from being eaten.”
The dog grinned a toothy grin.
“What am I doing here?” Jon pressed, slightly frantic for someone to explain what the hell was going on.
“You are keeping an eye on our esteemed guest, whom I am assuming is still locked up tight since you’re call us.”
“He’s locked in a cage!” Jon objected.
“To keep him from killing people,” the voice noted.
Jon looked over at the man in the cage who just laughed, and then started coughing again.
“Just wait for us to get there and we’ll answer questions then,” the voice said. “Now how many dogs do you see right now?”
“I’m not quite sure where that came from,” the Writer eyed the sprint with some alarm. “I thought we’d done away with the whole Huntsman organizational craziness.”
“Don’t ask me,” Bastian shrugged and refilled the Writer’s drink, “I just work here.”
“I hate it when prose hits paper, nothing ever sticks to the outline.” The Writer sighed and went off to start another word sprint.