A Tunnel at the End of the Light : Part 3

Wordcount: 1,388
Summary: In which the Writer, Muse, and fictives hash out (in vague terms) where they live, why they agree to the quest, and just what sort of fantasy they are in.

The pre-NaNo planning for the 2018 April Camp NaNoWriMo continues!

Hammering out the Mom and Dad turned out to be a little harder than expected, but I’ve got a starting point now and an idea of what sort of story it will be. April 1st is on the horizon and there’s still a bunch of worldbuilding left to do! *flails*

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 -5 : Two if by Blood

“This is a stupid idea and I refuse to participate.” The Mom glared down at the Writer who was desperately trying to find ways to rationalize the plot. Both parents were still very hazy ghosts of characters, mostly story mists and vague ideas.

“It’s supposed to be a stupid idea,” pointed out the Muse from the sofa. She’d retreated there with her netbook once the ghost parents had appeared. “That’s the whole point of NaNo, to try stupid things and then maybe get a proper story out of the mess.”

“How can you write a story without knowing what the story is going to be!” the Mom snapped. “We’ve got nothing to work with here, less than nothing. Where do we live? What sort of society are we part of? What do we do for a living? What do I even look like?”

“Would you rather have a story or a world?” asked the Dad, somewhat amused by the whole chaotic mess. He was playing with the mists, trying to figure out what he could build from the proto-story. “We can spend April worldbuilding or we can spent it storybuilding and then hash out the world later. Besides, this way we get to make some of it up ourselves.”

“I’d like a world so I know what I’m doing,” grumped the Mom, but she’s started to poke at her own story mists and solidify her outline.

“No, wait, I’ve got this…” The Writer scrambled madly with her notes. “You live someplace where every few hundred years a big snake comes out and lays waste. Which means there is either no place for you to move to or it’s very profitable to live there in between monster attacks. Although technically you don’t live there, you live closer to the mountains, so you can pretty much ignore the attacks.”

“Which means there has to be something about the river that makes people rebuild constantly,” pointed out the Muse. “Since we already have people living outside the blast radius.”

“You could just make the time between attacks longer,” pointed out the Mom, grudgingly getting into the worldbuilding. “Have it happen every eight hundred years and then we’ve got enough time that folks might have written off the last attack to myth or exaggeration.”

“I don’t know that it would take that long,” said the Dad. “A generation is what, 25 to 30 years. A hundred years after the attack everyone who was alive when it happened would be gone. Then another hundred years and everyone who knew someone who had been alive would be gone. In three hundred years all you’d have left would be damage to stonework, unless you’ve got some really sturdy wood.”

“That’s assuming anyone survived the attacks,” the wolpertinger had sprawled out beside the sofa for a nap, but couldn’t keep his paws out of the conversation even if his eyes were closed. “Unless they’ve got some way of telling when it’s going to wake up, wouldn’t most people die when it attacked the city… or town, or whatever it is.”

“You’re telling me that giant bunnies don’t make a good snake alarm system?” The Muse gave him an unimpressed look. Which didn’t do a lot of good since his eyes were closed.

The wolpertinger shrugged. “Not that kind of magic bunny, sorry.”

“I’d like to file that under, ‘doesn’t matter’,” cut in the Writer. “We need to figure out the basics of the town that the sidekick lives in, not the specifics of the capitol city.” She rearranged the paper on the desk. “So the last NaNo we were in a herding community, so that’s out– what about a logging community? Mining is too obvious and I need you to have some sort of not-dying-in-the-woods skills.”

“Logging community works, that would mean we’d be near a branch of the river and freshwater makes adventuring easier,” said the Mom. “So we’ve got some basic camping and survival skills, axe handling, some work with horses and hauling, unless we’ve got magic or no draft animals.” She looked over the notes. “I’m assuming with have other children who can take over the day-to-day operation while we’re gone. But then why can’t they go with the rabbit?”

The Writer thought for a moment. “…Because they said no. They don’t believe in the quest and they have their own families to take care of.”

“So why do we go?” The Dad had figured out enough of the story mists to summon up a comfy chair for himself. He settled in as the Muse dug him out a beer from the interdimensional couch cushions.

“Because the magic bunny with the giant fangs asked you nicely?” offered the wolpertinger. “I’m not normally telepathically chatty to anyone other than my own people or my bondmate, but it’s more polietness than an actual lack of skill.” He opened one eye. “I can be very persuasive.”

“I’m assuming that’s a ‘last possible option’ sort of thing,” growled the Mom who was not very open to being bullied into questing. Both parents had settled into a rough outline of a logger, well-worn and well-built, but nimble enough to climb if needed.


“So the bunny does something and convinces them to go,” said the Muse, attempting to redirect the conversation. “We’re going with post-middle ages tech, very minor magic, more early colonial america actually.” She poked the outlines. “Little House on the Prairie with giant bunnies…”

“I can work with that,” the Dad said, shifting appearance a slightly more modern wardrobe. “So this means I get to use muskets against monsters?”

“Flintlock and fire demons,” the Writer nodded and doodled in the margins of her notes.

“I still don’t know what I look like,” the Mom pointed out, “or what my name is.”

“To be honest, you’re both really just fuzzy right now… I’m hoping that will change as we go.” The Writer shrugged. “Heck, In Dreams of Trees still has cast who is named for the color of markers I used to write the cards, so you might be Mom at the end of the book too.”

“I hate to ask,” said the Dad, “but do you have any idea what is going to happen after we agree to go on the adventure?” He was playing around with his comfy chair, trying to match the couch’s semi-sentient nature. “Are we going to stick with Man vs. Nature or is there something other than the snake working against us?”

“The snake is a little big and a little far away to do much,” agreed the Muse. “So is there a Cult of the Snake or something? Otherwise this is going to boil down to bad weather and When Animals Attack episodes.”

“Is that bad?” asked the Writer. “I mean, I love a good antagonist, but there are plenty of survival stories, so do we really need one?”

“It would be… different.” The Muse eyed the pile of napping plot bunnies. “I don’t know that we have a lot of those in there though, we might have to start channeling Jack London if you get stuck.”

“There are worse authors to cling to, I suppose.” The Writer rolled back in her chair and stretched. “Hmm, I suppose we could put in some guardians or trials that they’d have to pass in order to ‘win’ the flowers. The darned things are magical after all. But let’s see how the normal dangers pan out first.”

“So this is going to be a fantasy novel with very little fantasy in it.” The Mom frowned, but it was more thoughtful than annoyed. “That could be fun, actually. I’ve never been much fond of using magic to solve everything, it’s too easy to write yourself into a corner where magic would have been the easy answer.”

“The story does have a giant magic bunny,” the wolpertinger noted, “but to be fair there isn’t a lot of magic I can do without my bondmate. So I’m more of just a giant bunny, with extras.”

“Right, so we’ve got a little more idea of what’s going to happen Day 1… what else have we got to do pre-NaNo?” The Writer looked over at her still misty fictives. “Any ideas?”

“Worldbuilding!” insisted the Mom.

“Fine, fine….” and then they did.

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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!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    exciting read!

    1. Martha Bechtel

      I’m glad you liked it! 😀 The last part of the prequel is posted now and the first post for the Camp Novel should be up tomorrow! 🙂

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