NaNoWriMo and the Red Rocket Express 2012

Come Home Muffy

The first few days of NaNo have been a struggle to stay on top of things. One can clear the decks but someday they refuse to stay cleared. Thursday has always been a hectic day for me anyway but why can’t NaNo start on a Monday every year – much better.

I prepared for NaNo a little differently this year – I created 30 separate pages, one for each day of November. I also made a list of 30 story points/scenes I wanted to explore for the novel and put one each of those pages. Already day 1’s story point took two days and over 3400 words, so I have a spare story point already for next year 🙂

east end wild life park

The story points are sort of in chronological order but that structuring can wait till I’m done. With the last novel I found the sequence changed once I was done. Writing out of sequence doesn’t bother me – if the point I have slated for day 23 fired up in my fevered brain on day 12 then I’m going to do it.

The word count I post on Facebook and on NaNo is never the actual count – I round it down and ‘bank’ the rest of the words. Once I build up a buffer of 3400 words I won’t feel so panicked if I miss a day.

Muffy Was here

Last year I mentored a couple of new to NaNo-ites. I enjoyed that a lot but this year I decided to try ‘hosting’ a writing session in my neighborhood. There was nothing in the east end last year nighttime or daytime. I picked the Red Rocket – five minutes from my house & even closer to Greenwood Subway station. I opted for Friday 1:30 – 3:30. Had to pull myself away from the keyboard to get there but was glad I did, got to meet some east end NaNo-ites. made a good start on my day 3 story point.


Knowing his way Birk moved quickly over the uneven surface to the crease where he was working. He could hear Clancy stumbling behind him. that’d teach the big mouth who was the big man.

“Watch yer head here.” He muttered as they came to the final turn. He ducked down and then up avoiding the staving joist that was holding the ceiling.


“Y’d think y’d never been in the dark before.” Birk chuckled as he heard Clancy bump the rafter.

“Never so deep.” Clancy was trying to catch his breath.

“Better get used to it quick like, as yer going t’be spending most yer awake time in the dark, just like your sleep time. Day light’ll not be your pal again.” He stored his lunch can behind the upright paling that helped to support the weight of the ceiling.


Birk stopped and Clancy stumbled into him.

“Watch it.” Birk pushed him back. “Tight nuf in here ya know. Here’s yer rake. You know how to handle one.”
“Christ yeh. I rake, pile and when pile is big nuf we shovel in into the cart, when the cart is full we get it to the line to dump it into the shuttle.”

“Trick is to keep up wid me boy.”

Birk tied his face rag around his mouth and nose, tuned his headlamp on and starting hammering with his pick axe at his crease. As the shards and chunks of coal loosened he pushed them behind him for Clancy to rake away.

After a few minutes his shoulder muscles loosened and his mind stopped thinking about anything except what he was doing, how fast he was doing it. Steadily he deepened the vein as he followed it along. He could feel the change in vibration in his pick as hit different types of rock, sulfur, granite, different strata of the vein, even different harness of the coal itself. He had no sense of time but of quantity. Once he felt he had dislodged enough coal to fill the hopper he wriggled out to help Clancy push the cart to the main line. Before they dumped into the shuttle he relived himself on the coal.

Clancy was about to do the same. Birk took Clancy’s free hand and peered at in the light of his headlamp. The skin on the hand was rubbed raw, bleeding along the thumb.

“Just as I thought soft. Piss on it.”
“What?” Clancy tired to pull away.

“Yeh it’ll help toughen the skin faster. Took me a week before m’hands could take it.” He watched as Clancy rubbed his hands in his own urine.

the lunch room
the lunch room

One thought on “NaNoWriMo and the Red Rocket Express 2012

  1. I was left thinking of Muffy. Priceless. Really Duncan. When you write prose I truly get the most excited. Just a personal preference. The names, the activity, and last but not least the accents. Priceless.

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