First of all, Happy Thanksgiving! Also, this is a bit of a landmark for me–my 200th blog post!
Thursday, not surprisingly, was not a big writing day for me. I was out of town to visit relatives, but I did bring my laptop and managed almost a thousand words–which put me nearly 600 words behind. I was kind of worried yesterday afternoon, because I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to write next, I knew I was going to have a couple more days in the next week when I might not be able to write much, and we’re practically to the end of the month!
So I took a walk around my neighborhood. Walking helps me think out stories. And I thought up a story for Lyra to tell, and came home and typed away in a flurry of words. It turned out to be a great story (at least, I think so!) and I had my best NaNo day yet–3,300 words! Then today Lyra and Dastan had a very big argument which got lots of words out quickly, and Lyra followed it up with another story, a Grimm-retelling laden with angry commentary. Result: another 3,000 words.
I love having days like this. Barring complete disaster in the next four days, I think I’m looking good for 50,000 by the end of the month.
You know what’s ironic, though? I originally started this novel as a spin-off from my main writing project. That one is about a wandering adventurer, and one of the adventures he wanders into is the story of the twelve dancing princesses. So the two novels are meant to overlap–but I’m pretty sure I’m going to finish the month without actually getting to the part that overlaps! But that’s all right…it gives me plans for December, to actually finish this story that’s definitely going to be longer than 50,000 words.
Excerpt…with a little context: Lyra and Dastan’s argument is because he proposes, but she doesn’t want to get married yet and had thought he understood that. Afterwards, she tells a couple of her sisters a version of Grimm’s “The Maiden without Hands.” (I swear it’s a real story, and I didn’t even make up the strangest parts). This is the end of the story:
The maiden came to a pear tree and, unable to pick any fruit without any hands, she contrived to eat a single pear as it hung on the branches. That must have been a very messy business, which may be why she only ate one before retiring to sleep among some bushes.
The next morning, the king came out to walk in his garden, and noticed that one of his pears was missing. He decided to hide nearby to see if the thief would return. That evening, the maiden ventured out to eat another pear, and the king confronted her.
The maiden told the king her sorrowful tale, and he was so impressed by her beauty and her goodness that he asked her to marry him. She probably should have been wary of marrying a man who actually kept count of the pears on his tree, but then, she didn’t have many other prospects. Of course, he didn’t have to propose to her at all; he could have just offered to be good friends and perhaps a bit more without needing to make it all permanent and binding, but no, he felt he needed to get her into some sort of lasting agreement. So she said yes because she didn’t have the nerve to say no, and they were married.
The king had a set of silver hands made for her, which sounds pretty but also completely useless and uncomfortable. He probably meant well, but that’s the worst kind of trouble, when a man means well and then goes striking off in completely the wrong direction without actually knowing what a girl wants.
According to legend, they lived happily ever after, although you do sort of have to wonder about that kind of legend because life is just so much more complicated than happily ever after would lead you to believe.
When I finished my commentary-laden telling of “The Maiden without Hands,” Talya cleared her throat awkwardly and said, “So, you’re kind of upset with Dastan?”