Writing Sprints and Finger Splint — NaNoWriMo Week Two

It was the best of weeks and the worst of weeks

Week two was a little rockier than week one.

But I am a glass-is-completely-full person, which means no matter where my word count lands, I am going to call it a success.

I tried different word sprints this week, writing as fast as I could within set times, ignoring mistakes, not worrying about plot changes, damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead.

Some authors swear by 30 minute sprints. Another works for 52 minutes straight and then takes a 17 minute break. Some use the Pomodoro method.

I can’t sit and write for 52 minutes — at least not yet. Thirty minutes is a bit long for me as well. What works best for me now is 15 minutes or 500 words and then a break.

I expect that will change. I expect my writing muscles will develop and perhaps 52 minutes at a time will become easy.

The downside to my second week of NaNo involved a kitchen injury.

I was helping my offspring make breakfast when I bobbled a knife and cut my finger.

It was my right index finger, the one I use for mousing, clicking, and typing. I was out of the game until it healed — or at least until it stopped bleeding and throbbing.

Still, all was not lost. I used the time to re-evaluate the story and plot points and it the story is better for it.

As I did last week, here is a sample of my NaNo project. It is the second in a time-travel series which will be released next spring. In the first book, we meet our heroine Sharon and go on an adventure through time with her. At the beginning of the second book, she is training to become a Temporal Protection Corps Agent. In this scene, she is learning how to infiltrate and assimilate into a new time period:

“We’re going to travel in time for the training?” she asked, raising her eyebrows.
“In a manner of speaking,” he said, with a shadow of a smile, gesturing with his chin that she should do the honors.
She activated the device and the room around them rippled away, but they did not fully emerge somewhere else. She could see people moving around her and hear muted sounds, but it was like they were in a bubble and no immediate sense of their location came through clearly.
“Did something go wrong?” she asked.
“No, not at all,” Caelen answered. “We’re in ‘observation mode’.”
“I remember that,” she said. “Something about using the temporal penumbra to bring us part of the way through time so we can watch but can’t be seen.”
He nodded. “Dr. Ayaan will be pleased you paid attention in his class.”
“When are we?” she asked.
“You tell me.”
She focused more closely at the people passing their “bubble.” They were standing at a cross-roads of some kind, with rutted dirt paths extending from where they stood in four directions. A consistent stream of people headed toward a large city some distance away. The people were dressed in coarse spun fabric and leather, some carrying bundles, some pushing what looked like wheelbarrows or pulling carts. Now and then a larger cart pulled by oxen or horses grumbled by. There were no signs of engines, either steam or combustion, or indications of inventions of the post-industrial era. It looked a lot like…
“Elizabethan England?” she asked.
Caelen nodded. “Very good.”
“Thank you for bringing me here,” she said excitedly, turning her head so that she could study the people as they walked by.
“Well, this was easier than ancient Egypt,” he said winking.
“Because of the language barrier?”
“No, the translation matrix in the temporal amplifier takes care of that for us. Elizabethan England is easier because it is closer to your cultural and social norms than ancient Egypt is. It takes more time and study to assimilate and infiltrate cultures that are vastly different than one’s own.
“Can we move when we are in observation mode?”
He grinned and nodded.
“Then we need to find someone to follow, watch, and listen.”
“Exactly. Well done. Who shall we choose?”
Sharon scrutinized each person as they passed. She saw two men approaching pulling a large cart. The taller of the two had sharp intelligent eyes which scanned ahead and around as he carried on a conversation with his comrade.
“Those two,” she said, pointing as they passed by.
“What made you choose them?”
“Primarily because they are talking to each other. We might learn a lot by listening in on the conversation.”
Caelen nodded his agreement and they trotted to catch up with the two men. It was a disorienting process. The bubble filtered out a lot noise and details which her senses relied on. The effect made her feel queasy.
They fell into step with the men, Sharon next to the sharp-eyed man, Caelen next to her.
“They can’t see or hear us, right?” Sharon asked.
“No, we are not fully integrated in this time frame.”
“So we’re not really here, like ghosts,” she said laughing.
“Did you hear that?” the sharp-eyed man asked his companion.
“Hear what?”
“I don’t know… it was a strange sound.”
“Nah, I didn’t hear any strange sound.”
They continued on, saying nothing more, which was frustrating for Sharon. She had chosen them for their lively conversation.
“Where’d you say we were staying tonight?” It was the shorter man who broke their silence.
“Landford Woolsey offered us a bed for the night. He’s a tavern keeper with an inn above the common room. The lodgings might be loud, but it should be clean and out of the weather.”
“Weather? What are you talking about Hitch Hawkins? It looks to be a clear day. Not a cloud in sight.”
Hitch smiled. “Even so, a roof over one’s head is always a good thing.