Today was a hard day, but mostly for mental reasons. I’ve already detailed the mental blocks I had about this story and why; today, I had to break through them and keep going.
I had an unofficial, unstated goal that I’d like to hit 10K before tomorrow, but after starting this next section shortly after church, and struggling, for at least an hour, and only having 216 words to reflect that work, I was obviously worried. I’d run out of previously-written sections, you see, and had only my ridiculously extensive outline with which to proceed.
I know my characters, my setting, my story. I simply had to find the words. It took much longer than usual today. But I pecked at it off and on all day, throughout laundry and catching up on That Man’s TiVo’d shows while we folded said laundry. I had a tiny bit from the old first draft that I wanted to save, but I had to write TO that point and make it all fit and make sense.
Finally, I reached the end of the scene. I did write it in a separate file so I can revise it later — it’s mostly new “first draft” words, with very little more than a few sentences saved from the original draft.
Total: 10,169 (whew!)
Snippet: Violet is Lilias’s younger sister (by 6 years) and she has one very precious story goal. She’s young and headstrong, only 17, very pretty, and she feels terribly trapped and helpless at Nocturna. Not a good feeling for a mage of her ability. I’m struggling to balance her youthful mistakes with making her at least sympathetic. While Lilias is the protagonist, her sister is a very important character who pays quite a steep price in this story. I want that price to mean something, so if you hate her, then who cares about her sacrifices?
This snippet happens early in Chapter 1, shortly after Violet is introduced. She’s been misbehaving, as usual.
Violet smoothed her skirts and bit her lip, until she finally apologized. “Lily, I’m sorry that I made such a scene. I know we must hide our gifts, and that the school must be a success, but I’m so terribly bored! When your grand idea was to reopen the Nocturna School again, I didn’t realize that we’d be nothing more than governesses to a bunch of silly geese!”
“You know the day for the Nocturna School of Arcana is long past. Society has no wish for their young gentlemen to admit to any such outlandish behavior, let alone their ladies, for shame! We must–”
Violet rushed to quell the lecture before it started. “Don’t explain why mage ability is in decline in England. I’ve heard it all before, from Father and now you. It was his favorite lecture and he constantly bemoaned the death of magic since the school closed its doors in the 1500s.”
She fell silent, and both sisters paused at the uncertain territory into which they’d wandered. Their father’s death was still a difficult subject. While Violet had put away the mourning gown at exactly one year, Lilias still wore black.
If it would ease the guilt she felt, she would wear black as penance for the rest of her life.
“You look tired today,” Violet whispered, worry darkening her brilliant aquamarine eyes. “Was your sleep troubled again by… er…”
Lilias smiled wryly. Even her beloved sister didn’t quite believe her. She didn’t quite believe herself. Nocturna Castle might be ancient with dozens of legends involving curses and magic, but those stories had never included a ghost. “I stayed up very late last night so that I would sleep unhindered when I finally retired.” She neglected to mention the dangerous encounter in the Great Hall. The tall neck of the mourning gown hid the bruises on her throat. “If the ghost appeared last night, I was too weary to acknowledge him.”
Violet toyed with the bright green ribbon that outlined the high bodice of her muslin morning gown. “Are you sure it’s Edmund?”
Ah, even more dangerous territory. Here be dragons, after all, horrendous beasts which blasted her constantly with fiery pangs of guilt. “You may not believe in ghosts, Violet, but I assure you that Edmund does appear in the room we once shared as husband and wife. He appears more often than not. I know it’s him.”
“Pick another room, then, any room in this monstrously large castle. Why do you refuse to simply move to a new bedchamber so that you may rest?”
“I considered that very alternative, but if he’s truly a ghost, he would follow me to any room in the castle.”
“Exactly! It will prove whether…well…”
It will prove whether I’m beginning to succumb to mage madness. Lilias calmly bent to pick up the papers from the floor, while inside, her mind shrieked with terror. Am I mad? Truly? Will I die writhing in agony like our mother?
“I refuse to let nightmares frighten me from my room. My room was mine long before Edmund came into my life, and it is mine still, no matter how many horrific dreams I may have.”