Progress Report

In case anyone hasn’t guessed by this time, real post will be a bit sparse this month, both in frequency and length. Creativity does take it out of me, folks. With 15,000 words under my belt, I’m on schedule to finish my NaNo novel well before the end of the month. My twisted little short story and last year’s novel are waiting for me to get back to them.

By early evening, I’m plodding along, just barely hanging in until I can meet whatever count I’ve set as the minimum for the day. I wish I was a more energetic, get up and go person. I wish I could type faster. While I’m at it, I might just as well wish I was 20 pounds lighter.

Just to brighten up your boring day, here’s an excerpt from Privileged Lives. Remember, this is first draft stuff. Spell checked, but otherwise pristine and untouched by editorial hands.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bennett dropped the pamphlet on the coffee table and went to put the pot on. He wasn’t looking forward to the poor excuse for morning coffee, but he couldn’t afford the real stuff anymore, except as a special treat once in a long while. He really wished he had a single-serve packet of the good stuff in the cupboard right now, because he could certainly use it. He sat down at the kitchen table and put his head in his hands, then jumped up. “Damn, why didn’t I bring that thing in here with me?”

He went back to the living room, almost fully awake now, but needing his coffee very badly. He flipped the pamphlet over to the front, read the big, bold letters, and dropped to the couch in shock.

‘Reclamation and Restoration. The municipality of Cyprusville is now under martial law. Read and comply.’

“Martial law? What the hell happened?” Bennett muttered. “This has to be some kind of joke. I knew I should have watched the news last night. We couldn’t have been invaded. Who the hell would invade a little burg like Cyprusville? That guy looked like an American. So did the ones in the jeep.” He suddenly remembered that the men in the jeep had been armed, rifles at the ready.

It wasn’t an invasion, he realized with a sick feeling. The letters on the jeep were for Reclamation and Restoration, a new branch of the military. It had been on the news a few times, he remembered now, but he’d always had the feeling, watching the clips and listening to the talks with officers that it was all propaganda, covering something unpleasant.

He started to open the pamphlet, a feeling of dread giving him a chill. Just then, the coffee maker beeped and he dropped the damp thing as if it had bitten him. He let out a breath that he’d been holding. Coffee! He picked the pamphlet up to take with him to the kitchen and then dropped it again. He didn’t really want to know what was in it. As long as he didn’t read it, everything would remain the same. The words on the front didn’t really mean anything.

“Yeah,” he growled. “And the soldier with the horn didn’t wake you up too damn early this morning, and the jeep in the middle of the street is just a hallucination.”

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8 thoughts on “Progress Report

  1. Well I just drank an unlabeled beer procured from a stranger. Home brew. Makes for a pretty interesting evening, so I read your excerpt with trepidation. Bennett’s a great name. Martial law is exciting. Would you like dubious suggestions now, later, or never?

    Hope you’re able to keep up the rocket-ship pace you’ve set for yourself. 🙂 You’re leaving me in the dust. But it’s all good- I’ll just add the dust to the hellish mess my protag is gonna find himself in a few chapters from now. He won’t even notice it. So thanks. 🙂

    1. Oh, you’re teasing me. What was the trepidation about? I love suggestions, dubious and otherwise. Any time you want to throw them at me. I do make notes of the ones that look useful and/or intriguing.

      I did notice that you’re dragging your feet a bit. But there’s plenty of time to get into the swing of things and catch up. My protags are going to be in hellish messes eventually, so maybe we should introduce them all to each other. I’m slowing down now, as per planned. I’m going to try to keep to at least 3k a day, but I’ll also be taking days off or just cutting back now and then.

      1. Trepidation? I read about the missing coffee and got nervous. I tend to assume the identities of the characters in the stories I read. And I need coffee. (Even though I can stop anytime, I swear.)

        My dubious suggestions: “dropped the damp thing”- is the pamphlet “damp”? or maybe “damn”? Could be either. Or both. And Bennett drops the pamphlet 3 times- twice purposely and once accidentally. (Maybe Bennett’s “drops” are symbolic later in the story and you need to say “drop” instead of toss or flip or whatever. Or maybe I just need more caffeine.)

        Dragging my feet- yes, compared to you who’s doing wind sprints! 😉 I update my word count late at night, so on any given day I suppose it would look like I’m stalling. But no stalling here, not until the day before Thanksgiving. I host Thanksgiving for my in-laws, so hopefully by then I’ll have at least 2 days-worth of word buffer.

        So far my characters are mostly just a bunch of recent high school grads pecking and preening at each other. But the story’s about to focus in on Mark and Dot (hence the title “Mark + Dot”) and their unholy union. Writing that is gonna be challenging. That Dot is pretty sneaky. And disgusting.

        1. Sorry about the coffee. I don’t even drink coffee, but I sympathize with those whose days don’t start until the caffeine fix is in.

          I thought about adding something about “damp,” because it’s out of context. It’s a drizzly morning and when Bennett picks the pamphlet up off the porch, it’s already damp. Three “drops.” Yeah, I’ll have to think about that.

          I see now that you’re keeping up nicely. Keep adding to that buffer and you’ll be okay for turkey day.

          I had an unexpected second wind last night and crossed the 16k line without even noticing. But I went to bed early and still overslept, so I think I’m going to be running on the ragged edge if I don’t slow down.

  2. This reads as a suitably ominous beginning… I am intrigued to learn more about this dystopian future. I can also sympathise with Bennet’s confusion in the absence of morning coffee. Sounds like you’ve been very busy.

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