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It’s Camp NaNoWriMo time again and this time I’ve even less of an idea what I’m doing! I’ve written a daily outline, a bit of storybuilding via the prequel MuseFic, and in theory I should have a good grasp on where I’m going. …Only I don’t.
So come on into the madness of a MuseFic while I try and figure out how to get this story up and off the group and back on track!
Read at your own risk/amusement: 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.
Daily Wordcount: 1,859
Total Wordcount: 1,886 (includes Title, Chapter Headers, etc.)
Day 4 – According to the Prophecy
“Looks like we’re running a bit behind,” said the Muse as she wandered into the faux-living room. The story mists were churning sluggishly around them and the whole setup was washed out and half asleep.
“Having my wisdom teeth out was a little more… draining than I expected.” The Writer was curled up in the comfy chair cuddling an armful of napping plot bunnies. “I’ve had lots of time to think about the story and then all the other stories I’ve tried to write and basically mope over every writing failure ever.”
“Mmm, and now you don’t want to do NaNo.” The Muse eyed the endless whiteboard that was now covered with random doodles and plans for a dozen unrelated stories. “You do this a lot for Camp, you know. You get all wound up and then never actually get into the flow of things.” She snapped her fingers and the whiteboard cleared.
“Hey! I was working on that!” The Writer’s annoyance was muffled by the urge not to wake the plot bunnies.
“No you weren’t, you were working on this Camp’s story.” The Muse fanned a hand to herd the bits of excess imagination back into the mists when it tried reattach to the whiteboard. “The whole point to April was to try and get a formula you can depend on to rescue you from the swamps of could-have-beens you love to wallow in.”
“But why start something new when I have all this old stuff that needs finishing? I should finish things, not just start new things!”
“Because the whole point of this Camp is to start a new thing.” The Muse carefully started moving the plot bunnies from the chair to their nest back under the writing desk, “We’re trying out a new technique, which means we need a fresh story to do it with. So stop chasing old failures just so you have an excuse to fail again.”
“That’s not what I was doing.” grumped the Writer.
“Well, what you’re doing now is writing.” The Muse handed the Writer her laptop. “Half of this month is coming up with a story and half is coming up with an outline for writing stories, so pull up Day 1 and let’s see what we’ve got.”
The Muse frowned down at her Writer until she gave in and opened up the story outline. Satisfied that words were finally going to hit paper, the Muse retreated to the sofa and fished out a drink from the interdimensional sofa cushions. This was going to be a long month.
“So, right, Day 1.” The Writer blinked down at the spreadsheet where she has split up a novel’s outline into 30 days chunks. “Apparently, per my notes today’s topic is: ‘Minding My Own Business (aka This Is How It Be)’.”
“So normal life– considering you still have no real idea who the parents are, that’s not a horrible place to start.” The Muse pulled out her own notebook, “I’ll leave you to it then– I doubt you’ll need me to invent a logging town.”
The Writer blinked.
“Trees, axes, horses… gogogo.” The Muse waved a hand dismissively and opened up Archive Of Our Own and settled down to read some fanfic.
The logging town starts at the river, where the logs are gathered and bundled for shipping down to the larger towns. It grows up and out from there, the mountains have a wide variety of trees, some naturally occuring and some cultivated. The soil is very good here and the weather is perfect for trees.
There are larger groups of people working the big trees. Some of it is because they are too big to move safely with single teams and some of it is because the magic they are harvesting takes teams of magic users to safely control.
The parents have their own smaller family group that harvests two year old trees that are grown with a very specific sort of fungus that makes them easier to bend. The trees are used for furniture and decorative pieces, so they are small enough for a single family to harvest. They depend on the fungus rather than magic, so although there is some cultivation there isn’t as much danger to them as there is to the other groups.
The family has seven children, all grown. Five of the seven are married and the sidekick is the second youngest of the group. The youngest is a widower, who had married into a family that farmed the more dangerous trees. She lost her husband to a logging accident and was still living with that family, slightly further up the mountain.
The other siblings had either started their own cabins nearby or were still living in the main cabin with the parents. It was easier to build onto the main structure than it was to clear new land, so only those kids who really wanted the separation built their own.
The sidekick had gone off to adventure in the world, much to the bemused confusion of her parents and some annoyance from her siblings. She’d always been someone who wasn’t as much help as they would have liked, so things were a bit safer with her gone, but they were a bit more traditionalist and leaving home wasn’t something that had really occurred to most of them as anything more than a passing fancy.
They loved the forests and the mountains and the trees and couldn’t really understand what she wanted to leave for.
Then when the stories about the river monster started picking up, things got a little more tense. A lot of them didn’t believe in the stories, but loggers have superstitions and they were a little more apt to buy into the tales than the city folks.
Then their sibling turns back up with a wolpertinger, a broken leg, and is asking for them to abandon their lives and take up her quest.
And they all say no.
“That is much further down the story than you needed to get,” pointed out the Muse. “We’re just trying to build backstory and to be honest, you didn’t really do a lot of that.” She flipped to another author bookmark trying to find someone who had posted new fanfic. “So stop, go back, and try again.”
“ASJDFAHGFJHADJ,” said the Writer.
The logging town by the river was called Mills River and the family logging camps were just named after the families. They were spread out quite a bit over the mountain, although none were more than a three day ride.
The main family is the Greer’s and they work a patch of land about a day and a half from town. Since they are harvesting trees that are cultivated, they have more of an orchard. They do go into the deeper woods with the other families, as they are needed, but for the most part have a much calmer and less dangerous life than the other lumberjacks.
Their claim to fame is the cultivation of the fungus that gives their trees the flexibility. There are other families that do similar things, but they’ve pretty much got the market locked up for their niche.
Since the wood they produce isn’t in giant demand some of the kids have expanded to other tree cultivation, although only the youngest daughter married into a wild harvest family.
They are a less adventurous family than some, but are used to being out in the woods hunting for food and exploring a bit. They are fourth generation loggers and have life pretty much settled. It’s too boring for the sidekick adventurer and just right for the rest of them.
The family has little use for magic in their own work. So other than some sporadic work with the other loggers, they aren’t exposed to it much. Magic is still very mild and has very limited use in this world, so other than the cantraps used to protect them and to help cultivate the trees, they don’t use it much in everyday life.
“That’s a little better, but you still haven’t actually described your two protagonists,” pointed out the Dad who had wandered into the room and was looking over the notes the Writer had left on the writing desk. “We’ve got a place to live, a job, and a very rough outlook on life, but that doesn’t say anything about us as people.” He grabbed a marker from the pile and headed over to the endless whiteboard. “So who am I?”
“You’re… the Dad– that’s it. That’s all I’ve got,” said the Writer dejectedly. “I can’t figure out who you are or why you are interesting enough to write a story about. I want to like this idea, I really do, but it’s just not catching onto anything.”
“It’s hard to be interested about a ghost,” he laughed.
“All I know if you’re the kind of person who would head off to possible death because a giant bunny asked you to.”
“Mmm, so I’m not opposed to risk or self sacrifice,” pointed out the Dad as he added that to the board. “Otherwise nothing the ‘bunny’ said would have convinced me to go. I’m also at least willing to believe whatever proof he gives us that the danger is real and that getting the flowers is important enough to die for.” He frowned thoughtfully at the board. “I’m assuming what he does give us is some sort of mental vision, I don’t see how there could be anything physical.”
“A letter from the king maybe?” The Muse offered from the couch. “Or a letter from some sort of retired hero? As much as a I hate the cliche of no one believing the teenagers who come to save the world… no one is going to believe the teenagers who are saving the world.”
“So you’re willing to go risk your life for the cause, but why? Because you wanted to be an adventurer when you were a kid?” The Writer looked over at the growing list of adjectives.
“Because it’s what neighbors do.” He shrugged. “And no, I’ve never wanted to leave the forest, it’s always been home to me. This life is my happy ending.”
“And yet, we’re going into the mountains to find flowers,” said the Mom with a frustrated, but loving sigh and she moved to look at the board with him. “You forgot to put down stubborn and overly optimistic. “
“You don’t want to go,” noted the Muse. “So why do you?”
The Mom gave the Muse a long look. “That doesn’t deserve an answer.”
The Muse shrugged and went back to her fanfic.
“Are you fine without names for a while?” The Writer asked as she frowned down at the laptop. “I think I’ve got enough now to start, but I still don’t know what to call you.”
“We’ve spent most of our lives being Mom and Dad to the folks that mattered most,” Mom pointed out, amused. “I don’t suppose it will hurt to have you call us that too.”
“Cool, cool,” said the Writer, already pulling in a scene from the mists…