Friday, November 11, 2011

NaNoWriMo Day 11: Backtracking

As I was writing today, I began to feel like I was drawing to a close on this particular portion of my story, and I realized that I can't continue going forward, I'm going to have to go back and flesh some things out further.

Normally, I'm the type of writer who does everything in chronological order.  I write my work from start to finish.  I've been experimenting more with jumping around in the narrative, because there have been times when I've had what I thought was a brilliant insight about my novel but, because it didn't come up until later in the story, I'd push it aside, waiting to write it until I reached the appropriate point in the manuscript.  Then, when I'd be ready to write about that great idea, POOF, it's gone.  I really, really hate when that happens.  Hence, the jumping around.

Even so, I kind of hate to move around to different parts of the book.  It's just outside of my normal comfort zone, so it's something that always causes me more angst than necessary.  What's also freaking me out about it is the narrative is working out differently from what I'd plan, which is also stressful.  I do think my new idea is a better one that will make for a more solid story, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to sweat about it.


They walked into another concrete-lined room like the one they’d just left and, yet, this room bore no resemblance to the other.  For starters, two of the four walls were lined with wooden shelves that looked as though they’d been cobbled together with scraps of whatever someone had been able to find.  On these shelves sat rows and rows of books.  Two wooden structures stood against one of the other walls, large pieces of some blank substance balanced on them.  A long table stood against the final wall, its surface scattered with a strange combination of materials; everything from bits of fiber and fabric to containers filled to the brim with shiny objects.  Curious, Dara moved closer.

            “What the...  Are those, are those insects?” Dara asked in disgust, leaping away from the table.

            “Yes,” Tasha said, sounding rather amused.  Indeed, as Dara turned to look at her, she could see that the other girl was studying her with a smile tugging at her lips.

            “Why would you have containers full of those?”  

            “We use them for making pigments.”

            “Pigments?” Dara asked blankly.

            “For paints.”


            “Is there an echo in here?” Tasha asked lightly.  “Come on, Dara.  I mean, I know this isn’t exactly the kind of stuff that they teach you in your fancy Job Creator-sponsored school, but surely you know what paints are.”

            “Of course I do,” Dara snapped, offended.  “We use paints all the time at Magnum.  They’re meant to help seal and protect metals from corrosion.”

            “That’s not exactly what we’re using them for here.”

            “What are you using them for, then?”

            “For painting, of course,” Tasha said.  The amused expression on her face was making Dara even angrier, and the other girl must have noticed because she stopped smiling and looked seriously at Dara.  “Damn.  I sometimes forget how little people on the inside know.”

            “We know a great deal,” Dara said stiffly.  “In fact, Magnum’s known for the top-notch education with which is provides all of its students.”

            “They all say that, Dara,” Tasha told her gently.  “What they don’t teach you about is artistic expression.  That’s what we use the paints for.”

            “Why would you waste your time with useless pursuits?  There’s so much to be done and so few resources that...”

            Tasha held up a hand and sighed.  “Look, I don’t want to get into philosophical arguments with you at the moment.  What I’m trying to tell you is that the reason why Mal, Raj, Letizia, and I know each other is because we and people sometimes gather in safe places, where we can pursue our interests.”  Tasha gestured around the room, and Dara followed the arc of her hand.

            “How did you get these things?  I’ve never even seen a book before,” Dara said, walking over to the shelf.  She reached her hand out, but found that she was too afraid to touch the books, and so she pulled it back.

            “We gather them, whenever we find them.  But a lot of what you see here—especially when it comes to the books—are things people have had hidden away for years and years now.”

            “They should be recycled,” Dara said.  She couldn’t say why, but she found that she didn’t like the way she sounded, as if she were some sort of scolding schoolteacher or something.

            “And that’s why they’re here,” Tasha sighed.  “No one here will try to recycle them.”