On Your Marks, Get Set, NaNo!

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Well, Day One of NaNoWriMo has come and gone, and I have successfully put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard at least) to the tune of just over 2000 words. In all honesty, it wasn't too difficult. I've been thinking about plot lines and character development more or less constantly for about a week now so the first scene was a scene that has been playing in my head for a few days. It felt good to get it out and written down finally! However, the second scene surprised me - I found myself introducing a character I hadn't given much thought to at all, and the scene really did roll itself out, which was extremely satisfying. I have posted the first scene up on my NaNo profile for all and sundry to read, but for the sole benefit of those few who wish to read on (and I have no doubt that it *is* but a few!), here is the book as it stands right now, in it's glorious unfinished, unedited, unspell-checked state. Please don't shoot!


Sunday Afternoon

Elouise lay in bliss on the sun-drenched balcony, sunk down on her chair with her feet up on the railing and her eyes half closed with sleep and sun. She had a book out - a Marion Keyes - but she wasn't reading it. The book lay opened flat across her chest, face down. From this perspective, all she could she of the cover was a gaudy red cartoon-smile watermelon. Elouise wasn't thinking about her book, she wasn't thinking about the lovely sun-drenched summer day, she wasn't even thinking about the barbeque dinner she had planned for that evening with some old friends. Like a love struck teenager, Elouise was thinking about the love of her life. Zach set her heart fluttering - even after all this time. He was tall, much taller than Elouise, with a solid build. The kind of guy who simply emanated strength, support and confidence - a typical Mills and Boon hero. That was where the similarity to a romance novel ended, though. While the masculine heroes in those novels were either outdoor working men or polished, educated doctors, Zach was an artist. Mostly, he painted oil on canvas, and Elouise had never confessed that his paintings made little sense to her. But also he was a poet and and an astonishingly good songwriter. Zach had written her countless little poems over the years they been spent together - pressing handwritten little snippets of paper into her hand as she boarded the train. She had lost her mp3 player for an entire week once, had been just about to give in and buy another when Zach presented it to her one morning - completely filled with songs he had written and recorded just for her.

As she trawled through these glamourous, rosy memories of the moments she and Zach had spent together, Elouise smiled and reached out lazily for a drink. The ice cubes rattled in the bottom of the glass as she picked it up and as she rose it to her lips she realised that the only liquid left in the bottom was melted ice. With a regretful sigh, she left her memories on the balcony without her for a moment, put the book down on the boards beneath her, and rose from the chair to refill her glass.

Elouise would have described herself as 'average', were you to ask her, and were she to answer frankly. From an outside perspective though, she was disarmingly attractive. Slightly overweight, although only Elouise noticed, she was 36 with dark, slightly curly mid-length hair and olive features. She stood slightly taller than a lot of women and it was this height that allowed her to carry the extra weight - with it, she simply looked healthy and curvy, without it she would look under-nourished.

The kitchen seemed very dull and cold after the bright sun and warmth of the balcony. She automatically reached out for the light switch, before realising that her eyes would adjust soon enough and pulling her hand away. She went to the fridge, found the orange juice and poured another drink on top of the half-used ice cubes in her glass. She found fresh icecubes and topped it up and while she was putting the tray away in the freezer her eyes found the vodka bottle she kept stashed there. She briefly considered adding a splash to the glass, but then decided to hold out until her guests arrived for dinner. She didn't want to be half drunk before they even got there, and she knew that as soon as she had one, there would be no more plain orange juice for her. She picked up the refreshed glass in one hand and headed back out to the balcony to pick up her daydreaming where she left off.

As she stepped out through the sliding door to the balcony, she heard activity in the garden below - ominous clanging and banging of the barbeque and associated paraphanalia, then the hiss of the gas bottle as it was connected. She heard the pilot light ignition click once, twice, three times but didn't hear the whoosh as the gas caught. More clicking, still no luck by the sounds of things. Now fully shaken out of her lovely romantic day dreams, she walked over to the railing instead of sitting back down, hanging right over to see into the garden below. As she did, the man tending the barbeque looked up at her and smiled sheepishly, "Hey El, there you are! It seems as though we're out of barbeque gas. Would you mind running down to the petrol station and getting another, hun?"

Eloise sighed, put the drink down, and straightened slightly, fixing her husband with a steely glare. "How many times this week have I asked you to check that thing, Robert? I hope you have some cash in your wallet."

Her good mood now totally dashed, and thoughts of Zach now horribly far away, Eloise stamped back through the house, grabbed her handbag, and got into the car to get a gas bottle.

* * *
Lawrence had had his eyes on Ariana all weekend. So far, he thought it was going pretty well too. He had thought that she had been impressed by his degree - a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Law that he invariably told people was a "Law Degree". He had finished midway through last year and graduated in September, and he considered it the most amazing achievement of his life so far. As such, it ranked highly in his conversation with Ariana. What hadn't featured quite so highly in the conversation was the fact that he had just started a new a job in the city - as a dogsbody for a personal assistant. How embarrassing. At least he got to wear a suit to work, anyway. And at least it was in the city. This way he could at least spend the train ride to and from work every day, holding his briefcase which contained nothing more than a sadnwich, an apple and a broken ballpoint pen, imagining that he had a high-powered and very stressful executive positioin on the board of directors. What Lawrence didn't realise was that, even though this little fantasy played out well in his head, to the others that shared his commute, he was still a 22 year old kid with a cheap suit and a cheaper briefcase. Nevertheless, and never one to let the truth get in the way of a good fantasy involving power and riches, he maintained the fantasy for as long as he could, and tried to potray this character to his new found friends, Ariana included.

Sitting in a bean bag in a corner of his mate Ben's living room, Lawrence surveyed the clutter and detritus that surrounded him. The television was on, blaring a music video DVD to the room at large. The cheap speakers in the discount-brand widescreen television had come to the end of their life approximately two months after purchase, and now spouted a terrible crackling and hissing version of growled and snarled lyrics to what should have been a familiar tune. It didn't matter too much, no-one was paying any attention to the aural abomination. However, the room was far from empty - at least four bodies lay around the floor and couch, in varying degrees of alertness. Ben, the ever-gracious host of the party last night, dominated the couch - head thrown back, mouth open, legs wide and arms spread wide - snoring loudly, but not loud enough to drown out the music from the television, unfortunately. Two other men were passed out in the room, one on the recliner and a second on the carpet, none of whom Lawrence recognised, although he vaguely remembered having a very indepth conversation with the guy who now seemed passed out on the rug with his hand still in a bowl of nuts. What were they discussing, he wondered, and eventually recalled it had something to do with the possibility of the Malaysian's invading and forcing everyone to eat rice and speak a different language. Lawrence heaved a sigh and hoped he was mistaken in that recollection. As for the fourth body, from Lawrence's position he couldn't see anyone, but he could hear snoring from behind him somewhere, forming a tenor counterpoint to Ben's bass.

The other person Lawrence couldn't see was Ariana. He mentally kicked himself for drinking way too much last night. If he hadn't had the last five or so bourbon and coke's, he would have been able to get her into bed, he was sure of it. Ariana was beautiful - long, pitch-black hair straight down her back, and a pair of the loveliest breasts. Lawrence tried to remember what she's been wearing last night, hoping to catch a glimpse of her through the door into the kitchen, but he struggled and couldn't recall. He had spent a large amount of time looking down her cleavage, but he would be damned if he could remember what it had been housed in. Damn shame about those last few bourbon's, taking Ariana to bed would have given him bragging rights to his mates for weeks. Months, even, maybe.

Slowly, and with the variety of sluggishness only an A-grade hangover can provide, Lawrence performed a personal physical inventory. He still appeared to be in possession of all his major appendages. He didn't dare try to move them any more than a few centimetres, but upon inspection they all seemed to behave in an appropriately proper manner. He didn't seem to have sticky patches that couldn't be explained away by alcohol, so he figured that he hadn't, despite his best intention, gotten anyone (Ariana included) into bed. This was a minor disappointment, but one that he was pitifully accustomed to. Lawrence turned his head slightly to see if his neck was working properly, and a light-sabre of sun sliced through the venetian blinds and hit him square between the eyes. He closed them and instinctively reached to his head for his sunglasses. They weren't there - damn it. Normally a permanent fixture day or night, he must have lost them off his head when he collapsed on the bean bag. He carefully weighed his options - he could sit here with his eyes shut and wait for the light to fade, which could possibly take hours as he had no idea what time of the day it was and whether this was morning or evening sun; or could haul his sorry ass out of the bean bag and go looking for his sunglasses. After careful deliberation and a small alcohol-induced slumber, he decided, however foolishly, to try and extricate himself from the clutches of the bean bag.

He started by rolling to one side, hoping to roll right out. The bean bag was obstinate however, and held on firmly, refusing to tip him out on to the floor. Lawrence was nothing if not persistent though and rolled the other way, at which point the bean bag decided to give up - suddenly and reasonably unexpectedly, at least to Lawrence's alcohol-addled mind. He landed, splat, on the carpetted floor, finding his nose in a suspiciously sticky patch on the carpet, and his shoulder hard up against the foot of the couch. His left leg appeared to have taken up residence under the coffee table. If it wasn't for this unfortuate series of events, Lawrence may have decided to remain there until more of his hangover had passed, but the stench from the carpet was enough to make even him move and, very carefully, he rose to his feet.

Once the room had ceased the most wild of the careening it was currently undertaking, Lawrence stepped gingerly over to the blaring television and punched random buttoms through blurry eyes until the noise mercefully ceased. He watched with interest as the picture faded to a single pinpoint of light and winked out, and revelled in the silence that can fall only after a dvd that has been on constant repeat for close to ten hours has been silenced. With this problem solved neatly, Lawrence dug around the bean bag for his sunglasses, finally finding them, bent and with a lens missing, He stared at them, deliberating, and then decided to put them on anyway. Something was better than nothing, right?

Lawrence padded gently into the kitchen to find a coffee. After that, he decided, he was going to order a pizza.


Susan said...

very good start Loquacious one!

Lana said...

Thanks Susan, your comments mean a lot to me! Can't wait to read yours :)

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