Friday, November 5, 2010

Day What? Day 5 Already?! (an excerpt for you!)

Today when I emerged from my NaNo daze at 12,634 words, I felt like skipping. Yesterday I mentioned the many-branched growth that is my NaNo word collection, and which I was uncertain would yield anything coherent. Remember? I was asking myself how my character would go from being left behind in her classroom to being sent home sick to taking a trip to the mall with her mother to finding a mystery to solve, and today the mystery presented itself. The Good Dad side of Husbandguy showed up in my text today and solved that problem for me. Here's a taste:

Ducking down behind the arm of the couch, Tallulah pulled out her magnifying glass and peered at her father. He was blurry so she stood up just a little and looked closer. He still didn’t seem to notice her. Whatever was on the news must have been very interesting. Tallulah held her magnifying glass over his arm and peered closely at the hairs there. Then she made another “cursive” note in her notebook. Standing up more, Tallulah peered at her father’s ear. Ears look weird close up, she thought. He still didn’t notice her.

“Hmmm…” Tallulah said, squatting down to write in her notebook again. Then she stood back up to look at her father’s ear some more and was surprised to find his eye where his ear should be.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” he said loudly and suddenly.

“AAAAA!” Tallulah was startled. She fell backward onto the floor, dropping her notebook. Her father laughed. “Daddy!” she said. “Did you know I was there?”

“I did,” he confessed. “What are you doing looking in my ear? And where did you get that hat and the magnifying glass?”

“From Mommy,” Tallulah answered. She picked up her things and climbed up on the couch next to her father.

He took her notebook from her and looked at it. “I can’t read this!” he declared. “Is it some sort of code? What did you write about my ear?”

“It’s cursive?” Tallulah said. “Duh?”

“Oh. Cursive?” her father said, taking her magnifying glass and looking again at Tallulah’s notebook. “I see… Well, I still can’t read it. You better not have said anything bad about me in there.” He tried to look stern, but Tallulah could see that his eyes were laughing.

“Of course not!” Tallulah told him. “You’re Daddy!” She took her magnifying glass back and looked at him through it. “I’m a detective. Detective Tallulah! Do you need any mysteries solved?”

Tallulah’s father raised his eyebrows. “Mysteries? Hmm… I don’t know… Are you a good detective?”

“Yes!” Tallulah declared. She told him about discovering the way the pictures in her books were made and the dirt on the counter at the mall and the sales lady’s giant eyeball, but she didn’t know if that counted as a mystery. “So?” she said to him. “Any mysteries? You can hire me!”

“Hire you? I don’t know. How much do you charge?”

Tallulah hadn’t thought about that. “I’m free!” she announced.

“Free? I think I can swing that,” her father said. “Although you won’t make much money if you solve all your mysteries for free.”

“Good point,” Tallulah said. “The first mystery is free… Then after that…” She thought about it and said, “After the first one, it costs eight thousand dollars!”

“Wow!” her father exclaimed. “That’s steep! You must be good. I hope I don’t need more than one mystery solved.”

“Steep?” Tallulah asked.

“Expensive,” her father said.

“Okay, maybe not that much. Let me think about it. The first one’s free…” she coaxed.

“Right!” her father said. “I know just what mystery I need solved.”

Tallulah took out her notebook and flipped over the top page to a blank one. “Go ahead,” she said, her pencil ready to write.

“When I got home today after work, I changed my clothes like I do every day,” Tallulah’s father said. Tallulah didn’t think this part needed to be written down so she waited. He continued, “I took off my shoes and my work socks, which are black, and I went to the bathroom.” Tallulah still didn’t hear a mystery so she still waited to write. “When I came back from the bathroom,” her father concluded, “one of my socks was gone from where I had left it on the bed. Can you help me find it?”

There was the mystery! Tallulah wrote in her notebook with real letters this time. She wrote, FIND DADYS BLAK SOK. “Got it!” she said, jumping down from the couch. Then she stopped. This was a real mystery. She wasn’t sure where to start.

“What’s wrong?” her father asked.

She didn’t want him to think she couldn’t solve his mystery so Tallulah said, “Nothing. I’m thinking.”

“Okay,” her father said. “Good plan!” He smiled at Tallulah and then went back to watching the news. “Let me know when you find my sock.”

“You’ll be the first to know when I solve your mystery,” Tallulah answered.

It's cute, right? Remember, it's very raw, completely unedited, permission-to-suck stuff, but it gives my story some continuity. I was pleased. This is good. And it helps that I know how her search is going to go and made a big bold note of it at the end of my document, since chances are good that I won't get much time for writing this weekend. I'll have a starting place on Monday.

I'm a little concerned about something new, though. What if my story is finished before I reach 50,000 words? It's for elementary age children, just starting to read chapter books, like a Junie B. Jones sort of thing. I looked it up, and it seems that 50,000 words is actually about 10 JBJ books! Hmm...

So today's lessons:
  • Keep writing. It does work itself out in the end.
  • Keep writing, even if you end up with 4 or 5 books in the end (that's my answer to my new concern)!
Are you using my lessons for inspiration? Just wondering...


septembermom said...

I love how you're using this writing exercise to get all of your creativity and authorial voice on the page. Tallulah is a great character for the reader to connect with. Keep writing and writing and writing and writing and writing...I'm always cheering for you bel!!

The Write Girl said...

Your story is very cute. What about a 5 book series with all of little Tallulah's adventure. By the way I love that name and she's a winning character. Nice start for a story! Take Care.

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