Words Before Worlds (2/3)

Welcome to the uncoordinated posting of the world/plot/story-building for my 2017 NaNoWriMo Novel! In which, the Writer, her Muse, and various Fictives (characters) attempt to make some sort of plan for November.

You have been warned…

Post Wordcount: 1,301
Total Wordcount: 2,126

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NOTE: This is a MuseFic in which the Writer, the Muse, and her fictives work to create the rough draft of a story (or just worldbuild). There will be spoilers for the story being drafted, which will most likely contain plot holes, retcons, and other inconsistencies.


A Lay of the Land

The Writer walked back in from the story mists with a yawn and a handful of sketched outlines. She waved a sleepy hello to her Muse, who was lost in yet another fanfic marathon binge and settled into her writing desk.

“Do you always wait this long between updates when you’re outlining?”

The Writer started, looking over at the villain of the story who was lounging in the comfy chair in the corner of the room. He was nebulous person-shaped shadow, wispy around the edges, having settled on nothing but a gender.

“Yes, no, and who let you in here?” The Writer gave the Muse an accusatory glare, but was ignored. “I really wasn’t planning on working on you at all until November actually started.”

“So you are going into NaNo with a dog, a dragon, and a flood?” There was a pause of medium length as he tried to figure out if she was kidding. “Seriously? What kind of plan is that?”

“Which is why I’m a panster,” pointed out the Writer as she squinted at the darkness, trying to figure out what the antagonist looked like. “I just have a very general idea of what’s going to happen and to who… and then I make it up as I go along.”

“I hate to be pushy, but I’m really not okay with that.”

“Oh really.

Yes.” The villain ignored the Writer’s death glare and waved one amorphous appendage at the whiteboard that was still mostly white. “You are going to get two days into the story and have no idea what to do. At least let me add a little to it so you can fail on Week 2 instead of Week 1.”

“You think you can do better? Fine.” The Writer tossed him a yellow whiteboard marker.

He spun it in his fingers and turned it to purple.

“You’re really letting the bad guy write the story?” The Muse had resurfaced from her reading and did not appear overly enthusiastic. “Didn’t we just do this last year?”

“I’m not writing it, I’m just throwing in enough extra world building so we won’t be a spectacular failure.” The villain was already up and out of the chair, moving to the edge of the last sessions doodles. He deftly sketched in a figure between the army and the dragon, dressed in traveling leathers and slightly academic in appearance.

As he doodled his own form began to coalesce and by the time he was done something approximating Daniel Jackson from Stargate was looking quite pleased with himself.

“This isn’t fanfic,” pointed out the Writer, annoyed that Daniel was trying to sneak into yet another NaNo. To be fair he’d only lived through part of the first chapter in When Good is Dumb, but it was the principle of the thing.

“Right, but now you have a much better idea of who I am, don’t you?” The villain gave the board a thoughtful look. “Why am I the bad guy again?”

“Because we already have a good guy?” The Muse pointed out, still wary of having to deal with another sociopath. “You were supposed to be leading the army, not wandering alone.”

“That’s because you don’t have any sort of idea what this story is or where it’s going.” Daniel put on his name like an old hat and pointed at the dog and dragon. “Why didn’t the dragon just kill her?”

“…Because? I hadn’t figured that part out yet.” The Writer shrugged.

“Because he needs her for something, obviously. But why?” Daniel tapped the marker against his lips thoughtfully.

There was a medium-rare pause.

“Because there are no more dragons.” The Muse offered, having run out of other ideas.

“No more dragons in the area,” amended the Writer. “There are plenty of dragons, just few and far between. These things live for centuries, millennia even.”

“So how do you make a new dragon? Eggs? Not if these creatures are so sedentary. I’ll argue that new dragons aren’t born, they’re made.

The Writer and Muse just looked at him.

“Look, we have someone who tried to kill the dragon. Unlike previous attempts where he’s just killed the attacker, he let her live, but turned her into a dog. Why? And why a dog? That makes no sense unless there’s a larger motive here.”

He scrolled sideways to a blank spot on the white board with a swipe of his hand, which was apparently something the board could do now. With a few quick strokes he started outlining the basics of his idea.

“So let’s work with the idea that the dragon is looking to turn her into another dragon. These things live for an insane amount of time, so there’s no way a normal human lifespan would be long enough to transform her. Plus she’d probably object.” He was trying to math out the transformation.

“Ah, so that’s why you’re in the story,” said the Dragon as it wandered in out of the mists. “I’d been wondering what you were up to.”

“What? Who? Where?” The Writer was lost, as was often the case.

“Dragons can turn humans into dragons, but it takes centuries.” The Dragon said, settling down on a beanbag dog bed that he summoned from the story mists. “In order to make a less traumatic experience, we will cloud their minds– distract them with other things until they are ready to learn what’s going on.”

“Which is why she’s a dog,” agreed Daniel. “She can’t go back to the village that way, or if she does she won’t be recognized and she’ll be seeing the world through a much different interface, so she won’t immediately notice that time is passing much faster than she thinks it is.”

“By the time she find out, or is told, at least a hundred years will have passed thus giving her a clean break from the life she knew before.” The Dragon yawned. “I was going to just let her figure this out in November you know.”

“Yes, but then I don’t have any motivation or place in the story,” Daniel objected. “Who knows what sad plot I would have ended up in!”

“But you don’t have a place in the story now,” pointed out the Muse. “So….”

“Of course he does,” said the Dragon, confused. “He’s a failed dragon.”


“I’m not failed!” Daniel objected. “I just ran into some… issues. But that’s why I’m here and why Dog-girl can have the freedom she wants to go back to being human.”

“Except she can’t,” said the Dragon.

“Well yes, but she doesn’t know that yet.” Sniffed Daniel, “And if I can get her to leave, how hard would it be to get you to take me in instead? I’d save you years of work!”

“You do remember I can scry the future?” The Dragon was amused.

“You can scry the things you are looking for and you won’t be looking for me.”

Daniel and the Dragon argued with each other about scrying mechanics for a while and the Writer and the Muse wandered off to huddle in a private meeting in her blanket fort.

“Is this really a good idea? I mean, turning people into dragons? It sort of messes with the ideas we started with,” the Muse pointed out.

“I don’t know that we really had ideas,” the Writer said. “Just more or a general theory on how the dragons interacted with the world. This doesn’t change things too horribly. We can still have the random threat of the army, still have lots of interaction between Dog and Dragon, just a lot less with the village.”

“But it takes the village out of the story, pretty much,” objected the Muse. “Time will ramp up pretty quickly if that math was right and it will be very hard for her to interact with them when they are moving so much faster than she is. This is a temporal headache if you let it happen.”

“But it’s a fun headache, right?”

And lo, they pondered the chaos to come…

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Martha Bechtel

My name is Martha Bechtel and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, paint small model horses silly colors, cast resin and plaster magnets, code random code (and Wordpress plugins)... Come on in and join in the fun!

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