NaNoWriMo 2013!

So it’s not the end of November, but I’m calling my annual NaNoWriMo contest with James early on account of… well, it’s just embarrassing. I got to 50,000 words on the 15th, and finished up my story four days later. I haven’t heard anything from James in a week, but assuming he’s not going to write 41,000 words in the next 8 days I’m going to say results are pretty much the same as last year:

nanowrimo2013

Well, maybe I went a little nuts on the 14th, but it was only because this year National Novel Writing Month felt like a chore I just needed to be done with. It wasn’t fun, and it was keeping me from stuff I actually should be writing, and like to be writing. This is my 6th year doing it, so I wasn’t worried about finishing–of course I’ll finish. Maybe it was because I once again went with a Pick Your Own Adventure style, which is fun in that people get in to reading it when you’re finished, but a little more of a headache from the creation side. So this might be my last year of NaNoWriMo, at least for the foreseeable future. I think it’s a great experience, especially for people who need that push to actually get writing, but it’s something I already spend all my time on–for work, for fun, while doing the dishes, while driving–maybe I need an intervention where I spend a month trying to stop.

Whatever, I didn’t mean to get all depressing on you. Here’s a wordle for your trouble:

As you might guess, this year there are ghosts

As you might guess, this year there are ghosts

Once again, Steven kindly used his skillz to make it accessible online, looking all sleek and fancy, so if you want to try not to die, feel free. There are 3 main parts, and also an alternate vampire punk storyline, because Rob and James Fox each responded to the very beginning by screaming “KILL HIM!!” at me in all caps, instead of the more conventional choices I provided. And I’m pretty easily coerced into things. Some things. Here are the best parts [spoiler alert?]:

As always, random excerpts of terrible romance novels are my forte:

…its teeth! They’re dripping with dangerous acid, but something about the way the moonlight hits those hideous fangs is somehow… sensual. Darkly so. I feel myself growing wet at the thought, and it’s not just the fetid swamp I’m half-submerged in. I came on this mission to hunt chupacabra, but now… it’s hunting me! At first, I thought it was trying to eat me, but if so, wouldn’t it have attacked already?

Instead, it lowers its gaping maw, and sniffs. Then howls at the moon and reaches one of its six mangled limbs out to gently caress my mud-encrusted hair. There’s such hunger in its eyes, such passion. Possibly to suck the blood of goats, but maybe also for me? It’s a slim chance, but I’m so worked up I’m willing to take it. I launch myself at the monster, pressing my lips against his growling mouth. His acidic saliva burns where it touches my flesh, but these are just love bites, and I will wear them proudly.

As we tumble together in the stinking waters of the swamp, I can’t help but think of Francois. I regret doing this to him, but he never gave me what I needed—he always held himself too aloof from me, like some kind of swamp version of Mr. Darcy. Even though we’re betrothed by ancient swamp custom, how can I love a man who never lets me near him? Or near… his heart? Or near any other part of him for that matter. The chupacabra has no such compunctions—already its acidic saliva is splashing over my bared breasts like a delicious and sexy second degree burn.

And as I gaze up into the beast’s flaming orange eyes, so filled with rabid hunger, I recognize them. Those are Francois’ rabid burning eyes!

“Francois!” I gasp. “Can it be you?”

The beast howls and I know it to be true. This is why Francois could never let me get close! He was too ashamed to reveal… his true form.

“Why would you hide this from me?” I ask, tenderly caressing his twisted horns. “I like you even better this way.”

He howls again, and rips off the rest of my clothes with one swipe of his poisonous claws.

The next day I’m in the hospital on life support, but it was worth it. Francois the chupacabra is the hottest mythical creature I’ve had sex with yet—including that time I met the Jersey Devil at a Quizno’s.”

Sometimes I draw diagrams to remind myself what I’m doing, but they’re not very detailed. Usually I’ll just write a word like “closet” and then draw an X if it’s a terminating path. Sometimes I don’t write them right away, come back later, and wonder what I was even thinking. Does the closet eat you? Do you die? What’s your deal, closet? That’s probably how this happened:

You open the closet, and it’s full of old coats. They smell bad, but you guess the best place to hide anything valuable or important would be near the back, so you push through them. They seem to go on a lot longer than they should—how deep is this closet? Is there a secret passage back here? Then you step out into sunlight and there’s snow all around you. A freaky dude with goat legs is capering in front of you with an umbrella.

“Welcome to Narnia!” he greets you jubilantly. “It has been many a year since a human found their way into this land!”

“Crap,” you say. “I don’t need this land-of-whimsy shit.” But when you try to head back through the closet, there are only fir trees.

“Come to my house for tea!” the goat man in the scarf keeps offering.

“No, you perv, get away from me,” you say, sitting down by a lamppost to contemplate your new life, chilling with talking animals and maybe becoming some kind of heavy-handed religious allegory. It’s too much to bear. You decide to find the Ice Witch Queen Whatever the Hell and pledge your services to her since talking animals are really not your thing.

“I will reward you with Turkish Delight!” she proclaims grandly.

“What? No!” you say, flinching back as it starts to rain weird, old-fashioned candy. “I do not want some gross thing made of flowers and gelatin—I don’t want to be paid in candy. I want money. And booze. And maybe some kind of convertible if it ever stops snowing, I mean, goddamn.”

“I’m an ice queen,” she points out.

“Whatever,” you say. “Is there a bar?”

Of all the magical alternate realities in all the world, you had to end up in the one whose main population group is talking, whimsical chipmunks. You drown your sorrows in whimsical cordials, wishing to Aslan that they were vodka.

There are a lot of different endings, most of which are your death, but in a few you get to open the haunted house as a tourist attraction with an adorable puppy or face middle age with the sinking knowledge of your own depressing mediocrity. In my favorite, you win a vampire duel with the world’s most well-crafted pair of topiary shears, and set off into the woods to live your immortal life far from humans, occasionally stopping to carve random bushes and trees into topiary masterpieces. I like the idea of wandering through the wilderness and suddenly… a topiary fish, or whatever.

Other highlights from this year include: a bunch of legit recipes, the Legend of the Siltmaid (like a mermaid, but grosser), a buddy cop drama with a mummy, and a genie who just might give you a puppy. Or cannons for arms.

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