NaNoWriMo Update: 12,373 total words. Wow, what a week this has been! Somehow for the first six days I managed to have the time and words to shoot past the 1667 goal and I am truly thankful to have that experience of satisfaction and accomplishment. However, it seems life is reminding me that it exists this week. Yesterday I only had twenty minutes to sit down and write, but I added 635 words! Tonight I added another 1030 words while trying to not sit and stare at the live election coverage. So if you mesh those two word counts together I'm two words short of a day's goal. That's respectable and I'm happy. Most of what I wrote today is, I think, worth keeping. I could envision the Thorberta. I felt the Thorberta. I was the Thorberta. I'd forgotten how much fun it is to be inside a character's head. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping I get more days like this! Even if I don't make the word count, I want to live those words I write. Like I used to.
As a thank you for your enthusiasm and encouragement this past week, have a good portion of those good words while I still feel good about them:
Captain Blakeney bit his lip to keep from laughing at the gnome’s question. It was either laugh or bristle with indignation at the very thought that his beloved ship could have such egregious shortcomings. He decided not to go with the latter, for he knew that gnomes in general detest water and therefore probably know or care to know very little about water transport. Besides, the innocence he espied in those large brown eyes seemed incapable of intentionally insulting. Much like a child’s wondering look, now that he came to think of it.
“Fall through the floorboards?” he repeated in a patient tone, much like a parent explaining something to a child. “Now, Miss Bertie, what kind of ship would this be if there was a chance I could lose my entire crew between the cracks? I can assure you the deck is solid and whole and even if you chanced to fall through, there are three decks below to catch you.”
Of course that had been a silly thing to think, believe, even suggest. Thorberta suddenly felt extremely foolish and utterly relieved at the same time, though she did visibly relax at the feline's answer. Three decks between her and the liquid of death. She could handle that. What she could not understand was why this knowledge only reassured her to press on with this outrageous trip and not turn on her heel to march off the ship. It wouldn’t take much effort at all. In fact, it would save a lot of future grief and anxiety if she did just that. All she had wanted to do in the first place was study the sea from a distance, perhaps from the safety of a comfortable blanket while peering out of a window in a nearby inn. It had been Lorna’s greedy scheming that suggested this voyage, Sir Hildifons’ irresistible glimmer in his eye that got her to agree to this, and her own inability to pry herself out of her editor’s stony grip that deposited her here on the ship. This had never been her idea. So why was she the one here?
But there was something else, too. Something that nagged in the back of her head and insistently tugged at her curiosity. A small expression of that something lodged itself in the captain’s eye as he stared at her as only a cat can. He was watching her, waiting for her to turn around. She could see it as plainly as she could see the wood under her feet or the sun in the sky. There was a challenge there. He did not think she could do this. He thought her ridiculous, perhaps. Or ignorant. Or both!
Thorberta squared her shoulders and drew herself up to just above his waistline. Thorberta Ivytoes, queen of the quill, ignorant? Never! She knew Grunkelheimer’s Encyclopedia of Nautical Things and How They Might Function inside and out. A ship’s diagram was as familiar to her as the back of her hand. High Seas thrillers were her domain. She lived on boats in her imagination and thrived on the challenges they had presented her. But no more. There was no challenge on the open waters in her head. No characters jumped out from the sea of faces, begging for their stories to be told. Maybe she needed to prove to herself that there was nothing here for her anymore, that she truly had exhausted her niche.
A few days, Lorna had said. No more. A few days on board a ship with three decks separating her from peril couldn’t harm her, could it?