#NaNoWriMo, Day 11 – On the road

by Doc Coleman on November 11, 2011 · 2 comments

in NaNoWriMo, WIP

Today’s adventure was the trip south to Charlotte, North Carolina and the Carolina Renaissance Festival. That meant loading everything up in the car and the first test run of  my mobile writing platform. My setup consists of my iPad 2 running Plain Text, and a bluetooth keyboard. Nice, sweet and simple. The biggest drawback is the lack of a way to mount the iPad so that it stays upright where I can easily see it during the drive. And no, I’m not the one driving. But other that that difficulty, it worked like a charm. Plain Text syncs via Dropbox to put the words I’ve written on the road back onto my laptop, and then Scrivener syncs them back into my master manuscript. The other drawback that the system has is that I can’t see how many words I’ve written until I sync the words back into Scrivener. I managed to write 1998 words while out on the road today, so when I did my sync up, I wrote a few more paragraphs to round things out at 2148 words for the day. Now my novel is 44% complete, with 22212 words written.

22212 / 50000

I know some of my fellow NaNoWriMo’ers have put a real push on today to rack up big word counts. I think that is great! And some of those word counts are really impressive. But I find that I don’t have a lot of incentive to push to compete with their word counts. I think I could be really happy to be the guy who just cranks out two thousand words a day, every day. It’s not a Lowell, but being able to produce a fifthLowell with regularity is quite respectable. This is also important because it is entirely possible that I may not be able to write much over the next two days. Most of my day will be spent at faire, so any writing time I am likely to have is probably going to be late at night before bed. But I have been running ahead of the minimums so far. Looks like I can afford to miss a day or two.

Today’s character torture featured being cast out of an airship at an extremely high altitude! Hm… if they’d gone out the window I could have called it a defenestration… And this was followed up with the burn of frustration when our heroes are out searching for clues, only to have the building containing the clues suddenly swallowed up by the earth and forever put beyond their reach. Hee!

And now… a new excerpt! Here is the scene I ended yesterday with, and finished up today.

I had expected Miss Bang to lead me to the bridge of the airship, but when she lead me up another flight of stairs and down another long hallway, I was unprepared for her to lead me into a large laboratory. The room looked as if it had been lifted whole from a university. A number of work benches were scattered about the room, each apparently dedicated to a different scientific study. Along one wall was a table supporting a large and intricate assortment of glass pipets, flasks, and other doohickeys connected in a vast and confusing array. Burners were arrayed underneath several boiling flasks, and a brown liquid dripped into an equal number of insulated bottles on the opposite end of the table. Another table contained a microscope and a variety of weights and scales and tools for handling samples. At the far end of the room were several large pieces of equipment that bore the thick cables and massive switches that marked electrical experiments. Another bench resembled a machinist’s bench, with a number of belt driven devices for cutting, boring, and shaping metal. As we entered, we found Professor Crackle, still in his attire of the night before, working at a table littered with cogs and springs and all manner of small tools.

“Harmonious,” Miss Bang called as we entered. The Professor did not appear to take any notice of our approach. Indeed, he seemed to be very intently studying something through a jeweler’s loupe lodged in his right eye. He muttered something to himself as he did so, but I was unable to make out any of his words.

“Harmonious,” Miss Bang repeated as she laid a hand upon his shoulder, “we need to speak to you about a matter…”

“I know this hand! I know I do. I just can’t remember where I’ve seen it before,” the Professor interrupted, turning to Miss Bang with the loupe still firmly fixed to his eye. “But I know I’ve seen this work before! It is exquisite! How could I have seen someone who could produce work of this quality,” he gestured with what appeared to be the wing of the bird that had gotten trapped underneath my shoe, “and not remember who it was?”

“Harmonious, I need to ask you about our guest,” she said gesturing towards me where I stood near the door marveling at the perplexing array of equipment in the laboratory. “He says that…” she started, but now that his attention had been directed towards me he charged over to me and regarded me through the loupe.

“How could I forget seeing work of this quality? Look at it, look at it!” he said pushing the detached wing at me. “It is a masterwork! Each feather is individually modeled and attached. The articulation is perfect! The attention to detail…” I tried to look at the proffered wing, but the Professor kept gesturing with it and manipulating the wing as he talked.

“Professor!” Miss Bang came close to shouting, “about our guest!”

“Let him rest, let him rest. He’s had a trying evening. I’m sure he must be exhausted.” The Professor continued to fiddle with the detached wing.

“He’s right here, Professor!”

He whirled around in a circle. “He is? Where?”

“Right there, Professor,” she said pointing at me once again.

“Oh?” He looked at me again through the loupe. “Oh?” He opened this left eye and regarded me again. “Oh! My boy, are you feeling better now? I know I promised to return you promptly to your uncle, but you were so tired, I figured that it wouldn’t hurt any to let you get some rest. And I’ve made such amazing discoveries! It is a pity our only sample is so damaged, I would have loved to…”

“Professor, will you pay attention?!?” Miss Bang appeared to be on the verge of losing her temper.

“What is it now?” he asked. “Can’t you see I’m working?”

“Harmonious, do you know our guest’s name?”

He looked from Miss Bang to myself and back to Miss Bang. “What? Yes, yes, of course I know what his name is. Don’t be silly.”

Miss Bang carefully composed her expression before continuing. “Harmonious, would you please introduce me to our guest?”

He looked at her, clearly confused, and I had to do my level best to keep from laughing. “But you’ve met. He’s been with us all evening.”

Her tone was utterly calm, and she spoke with the measured precision that indicated that the listener had better satisfy her or he would be in an immense amount of trouble. “Harmonious, would you be so kind as to tell me our guest’s name?”

“Why certainly. His name is…” and he stopped suddenly, unable in a moment’s realization to speak the name my great-grandfather had bestowed upon me. His eyes opened wide in the realization of what he had been about to do, and the loupe tumbled from his face. I dove forward and was able to grab the loupe before it hit the floor.

I straightened and handed the loupe back to the Professor. “I did try to explain to Miss Bang that my name wasn’t exactly fit for polite society. I am afraid she didn’t quite believe me.”

“Ah. Well, I am afraid that, our young friend is… um. I am afraid that he is quite correct about the offensiveness of his given name. It would be… horribly improper for me to use such language…”

“You’re serious!”

He blinked at her. “Of course I’m serious. Such a joke would be in very bad taste!”

“I don’t believe that anyone ever accused my great-grandfather of having good taste.” I commented ruefully.

“He actually was quite a thoughtful fellow in his youth. I never did find out what it was that made him so bitter and anti-social. I’d often wondered… Wait! Wait, I was going to tell you something. Something I’d just discovered.” He looked down at the wing in his hand. “Yes! That was it! You remember the birds, the clockwork birds?”

I nodded. “Yes, Professor.  It was just earlier this morning.”

“Yes, they’re a perfect recreation of the living creature. Or at least as best as I can tell, given the damage the sample sustained. If only I had an intact specimen to examine.”

Miss Bang spoke up. “You’re drifting again, Harmonious.”

“No, no, no, no! This is important. Did you get a good look at the singers? The male and female leads?”

“At the opera?” I wasn’t quite sure where he was leading with this.

“Yes! Did you get a good look at them.”

“Well, I am afraid I wasn’t really concentrating on them for most of the performance. And then when things livened up at the end my attention was, well… elsewhere.”

“And you, Tit?”

“Other than the final song, they seemed quite capable, although somewhat uninspired performers.” She paused in thought for a moment. “I’m not sure how to describe that final performance.”

“Drat. I had hoped that one of you had taken a better look. Now we shall have to find what is left of them.” The Professor moved back to his workbench and put down the wing and his loupe.

“You want to go find their bodies, Professor? Isn’t that a task better left to the police?”

He turned. “Their remains, yes. But their bodies, I think not.” He lifted the wing again. “I think they were clockwork.”

“A clockwork man? How is that possible?” I looked to Miss Bang, but she seemed fascinated by the idea.

“But that kind of detail, Professor… and such a complex series of actions, to perform upon the stage. And they were actually singing. It wasn’t a phonograph recording. Even with the latest equipment, one can tell the difference.”

“Yes!” The Professor looked like a child who had been promised a new pony. “Exactly! Such perfect duplication of the living form! When I went down on the stage and examined the woman, she looked otherwise normal except for the side of her face. That had shifted down sharply. Like a plate had detached from the underlying support structure. I think the same person who made the birds made the opera singers as well. But I need more evidence. We need to find what is left of those performers.”

“So we’re going back to the opera house?” Miss Bang asked.

“Yes! No! We’re already there. I’m sorry about this little detour, my boy, but I’m certain that your uncle is going to want to see whatever evidence we can find.”

“And the police, Professor?”

“Yes, we must get there before they do! The last thing we need is for them to tromp all over everything and destroy the evidence we need.” He grabbed a pair of goggles off of a bench and headed towards the door. “Come along!”

I had to hurry to catch up to Miss Bang as she swept out of the room in the Professor’s wake.

All right. That’s it for me. See you tomorrow!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 James Keeling November 11, 2011 at 11:01 pm

Very nice! Sometimes, it’s good to plug away… Steady and true reaches your destination.


2 Doc Coleman November 11, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Thanks, Jim! I won’t argue that it feels good to hit those scenes where the words just flow, but it is nice to know that I can produce when the words aren’t just flowing. Maybe someday I can make a decent living off of this! 😀



Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: