So far this year’s NaNo has been the fastest. I usually hit 3000 words a day by week four but this year I was doing that by November 4. Dispensing with a social (& sex) life has been helpful. I’ve stuck as much as possible to the same writing routine. Up to 800 words in the morning on my lap top before I head out for a walk & think at 9. Home by 10:30 to write on the desk top until 1:30.
Some of those 10:30 starts have to make room for things like laundry, answering the phone. I can manage another 1500 + words then. I force myself to stop around 1:30 to do a bit of reading, meditating until 3. back to writing for another hour. Supper prep at four & some TV. Another hour or so on the lap top after supper. Then I stitch the pieces together on the desk top and decide how many words to declare for the day.
I don’t worry about names. I can fill them in on the next level of edits. I’m not overly concerned with time restraints so I may have more happening in one day than is possible. That too can be dealt with in edits.
The one thing that has really liberated my flow has been to more concerned with telling a grand story, than worrying about a tight & somewhat predictable plot. Plot is for writers who want best sellers. Not that I wouldn’t like one but at this point in my writing life telling a story is more fun.
I’ve let things appear – the pyramid house is one of those out of the blue moments. When I live don the east coast a bunch of US draft dodgers did invade Cape Breton, bought land and built geo-dome. Some did A Frames, no one built a pyramid this large. When I started this scene I had no idea of what that house looked like until Dan tuned the corner and saw it.
The Morrison backstory flowed just as unexpectedly. I do connect some previous information at the same time about the RCMP and native children. The house itself, and this is not a spoiler, echoes the Tut-mania sideshow the Happy Hippo toured one summer.
This is the most reward way to plot, if that’s what I’m doing – by picking up a causal mention in one scene and weaving it into a later one. It weaves a story. Is it a sweater or a poncho or a rug? Who knows but what ever it is it’s perfect.
This sample picks up from yesterday’s. Some of the dialogue is sketched in.
“This happened after the boys where born?” Jen asked.
“Earlier. When I remarried. I wanted her to have mother. I didn’t really understand father complexes. She was hostile from the get go.”
“You aren’t my mother!” Jen blurted out.
“Exactly. So when we realized after a week she was gone. Actually gone and not with her cousins we contacted the RCMP. We’d contacted them once before and they were convinced she had run away again. Perhaps with with a couple of the boys who we’re gone from the reservation.”
“Reservation?” Dan asked.
“Oh yes. I figured you knew that too. Rose was full blood Mic.”
“Hmm.” Dan studied the face closer. “Hard to tell here. None of the other photos I’ve seen show that sort of genetic marker. There’s usually something around the eyes.”
“My genetics are pretty strong. The boys other the other hand look more like their mother.”
“You second wife also native?”
“Oh yes. I have some in my background too. Grandmother who was Blackfoot. I also thought a native mother might be good for her. As it turned out it wasn’t. They fought about everything. The last fight was about her need to change her name. She wanted to become Raven.”
“I wanted to change my name when I was her age too.” Jen said. “I was sick of people calling me Beck. I wanted name that couldn’t be shortened. Thus I became Jen. Now people want to lengthen it.”
“You have any other photos for me?” Dan asked.
“There’s albums full of them. But mostly for after the boys where born. Rose wasn’t fond of pictures where as Candice was.”
“Can you remember if there was there anything going on at that time. In the area I mean.” Dan asked as he looked over the family photos.
“Festivals.” Jen explained. “That sort of thing.”
“Happy Hippo?” Dan stopped at one of the photos. It showed Paula being helped into a ferris wheel seat. The helper was clearly Colin Chamberlain.
David took the album from him to check the photo. “That was in Sydney. Hippo never stopped at small places like this. They’d put up flyers as they drove through but never pitch a tent. This was the summer before anyway. I don’t even remember if they came through that summer.”
“If they had we would have skipped it anyway. We did go back to Sydney though but for a couple of funerals at Eskasoni.”
“The reservation outside of Sydney?”
“Sad but at least they had bodies to bury. Some teens were found dead. Alcohol poisoning we were told. Come to think of it they had been reported missing too but were found in the woods a few weeks later.”
“I sort of recall that myself. We lived in New Waterford. My mom said let that be lesson about drinking.” Dan said.
“Break time.” other asst said.
Dan glanced at his cell. he didn’t realize how much time had passed. He stood and stretched.”
“They are right.” David said. “You forget about the cameras quickly.”
“If it’s a good interview you also forget about the passage of time. How do your sons feel about this?”
“They were cool about it. Seal started to write a book about Paula. The truth about the past made him too uncomfortable and it turned into Gone Sister.”
‘Yes I’ve read some of it. More about a sister who was never there than one who vanished.”
“Yeah. For me that was the one weakness about the book. You never knew anything about her. How she disappeared. Not even what happened after she disappeared. It felt incomplete. But critics loved it. The anti-mystery one of them called it. I found it anti-climactic and told him so.”
“I’ll have to read it for myself.” Dan said. “How much of break do we get?” he asked other asst.
“Half-an-hour. We’re changing set up for another location.”
“I’ll be outside if you need me.” Dan walked around the green-house domes. He contacted W.
“W is there any way we can find information about child deaths in eight-four? I don’t mean just suspicious ones but for any reason? …. It’s just a hunch but maybe missing children aren’t the only ones this killer came in contact with …. And could we find out about native children? Would they be included or are their records kept separate? … Yeah I know too many toes to tread on. I’ll be getting our guys on it too.”
He went back to the porch. This time they were set up out side with a couple of the domes in the background.
“You going to tell people what these are?” Jen asked. “Otherwise they’ll think we’re on the set of some scifi movie.”
“All we need is an eye superimposed over us and it’ll look like we’re on the American dollar.” camera guy said.
“True enough but the proportions are wrong.” David said. “The Eye of God on the dollar only takes up about tenth. My roof is exactly a third. It is the only part of the house that maintains the Egyptian ratio as well. The base isn’t pure. But the house does keep my razor blades sharp.”
Dan looked at the camera guy then Jen for some sort of understanding of what David had just told them.
“What no one here up on their pyramid power?” David laughed. “Beside channelling energy to make plants grow, to keep me from growing older any faster than I am, true pyramids supposedly keep razor blades sharp.”
“How about your piano playing?” Jen asked.
“I don’t … oh I get it you’re pulling my leg.” David giggled. “Good one.”
After a brief dab by the make up guys they were ready to continue.
“You were telling us about the days before Paula vanished?”
“Other than the tiff between stepmother and Paula it was fairly routine. Looking after twins was proving to be more of a challenge than either of us expected. Paula was too young to be of real help. Let’s face it we probably need professional help anyway. The boys were squalling and sleepless. Paula had been so much easier to bring up.”
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