A Tunnel at the End of the Light : Part 1

Wordcount: 886
Summary: In which the Writer and Muse both have no idea what is going on, but it’s NaNo Prep so that’s pretty much par for the course. A plot bunny is chosen and an idea is had!

As has become my normal insanity, I am spending part of the month before the 2018 April Camp NaNoWriMo using MuseFic to world and story build for my project. There will be snark and sass and lots of chaos as the Writer, Muses, and Fictives-Yet-To-Be try and get a handle on their new world.

You have been warned…

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.

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Day -16 : And We’re Off!

“So… all we have is that it’s going to be Fantasy?” The Muse looked down at the tiny scraps of an outline for April’s Camp NaNoWriMo adventure that littered the writing desk. “I mean, it’s nice that you went and made a generic ‘this is what should happen today’ story beat outline for April, but we’ve got no actual story.”

“Fantasy and I’d like to do something new– or at least new-ish. Established universes with brand new characters maybe.” The Writer leaned back in her chair and stared at the mostly empty writing desk hoping an idea would magically appear.

It didn’t.

“Right, so what sort of story do you feel like reading?” The Muse offered after it was apparent her Writer was hopelessly mired in the Nothing. “High fantasy? Urban fantasy? Mild suburban fantasy? Happy endings? Bitter endings? Give me something to work with here.”

The story mists churned around the pseudo-living room as the Writer tried valiantly to come up with something. Bits and pieces of old stories faded in and out of existence, from stark outlines to faint ghosts of ideas, all hoping for a spark.

“I dunno, magical companion animals again?” she said finally. “I like those… but something outside of trope.” The Writer looked under the desk at the napping plot bunnies who were still sound asleep in a pile around the plot dragon. “Not that I ever write anything in trope, but still. Maybe urban fantasy instead of high fantasy?”

“Okay, so existing ‘verses would be Tales of the Drunken Unicorn and Dogs of the Never Never. Oh and the ghost mice one that never went anywhere.” The Muse summoned the filing cabinet from the story mists and riffled through the poorly organized universes. “There’s actually not too many of those in here, so something brand new?”

“Gah, that means I have to pick an animal to be magical.” The Writer looked away just as the plot bunnies started to stir. “Are magic bunnies a thing?”

There was a pause.

“Technically? …Yes?” The Muse was not enthralled with the idea. “There’s plenty of mythology that we could dig into for that, but writing a NaNo novel about magic bunnies seems a little too in-joke-y.”

“Well, there’s always wolpertingers and jackalopes, but those are more hares than bunnies. Still, we need some sort of plot to be able to tell if bunnies will fit.” The Writer summoned up some paper from the story mists and pushed aside her outline.

“Generic trope is that a young teenager is chosen by a magical companion animal because they are meant to save the world, somehow.” The Muse reached down to help one of the plot bunnies escape from under the tail of the snoozing plot dragon. “They are often at some sort of disadvantage, so that being partnered up isn’t the solution to their problems, but together they learn to overcome the issue and save the day.”

The Muse plopped the plot bunny on the writing desk where it gave a few grateful hops and then sat down to wash its face.

“So what is the opposite of that?” The Writer mused, doodling chainmail bedecked war bunnies in the margins.

The plot bunny hopped over and nibbled on her pencil.

“And old person isn’t chosen and ends the world?” The Muse rolled her eyes which was totally lost on the Writer who had stopped staring at the blank paper to play with the plot bunny.

“That works.” The Writer shrugged and summoned a handful of clover out of the story mists.

“…What? No, it doesn’t!” The Muse glared at the plot bunny, who ignored her. “Besides you already have one ‘failing to save the world’ ‘verse with Whistling in the Dark. Something a little more upbeat would be good.”

“So we keep the ‘saving the world’ bit… just not with the protagonist?” The Writer looked down at the plot bunny who was turning quite a bit more hare-ish.

“Ah, okay,” the Muse finally caught onto the faint story thread. “So this is a background character to the whole ‘saving the world’ story. I vote that means no magical companion animal.”

The plot hare looked quite offended.

“No, no, that works,” the Writer said. “There’s still a bunny, it’s just not the protagonist’s bunny.” She started doodling out a middle-aged married couple. “I think it’s time for the parents to save the day…”

The hare was somewhat modified, but grew wings in protest anyways.

“Your idea is to recruit the hero’s parents to save them?” The Muse was less mollified. “That seems like cheating– plus don’t hero’s tend to have tragic backstories with dead parents?”

“No and yes,” said the Writer, “which is why this is a sidekick’s parents and not the hero’s. This is a side quest that needs doing in support of the main quest– something happens to the sidekick and now it’s up to their parents to pick up the slack.”

“That… doesn’t sound bad actually.” The Muse watched her Writer doodle various stabs at characters and started pondering plot threads. “We’ve still got a long way to go before April 1st, but at least we have something now. I can work with this. I think.”

The plot hare was very quietly smug.

And lo… it began!

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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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