Tag Archives: Jackrabbit House

A New Year and then some

While I recover from an exciting bout of maybe-food-poisoning, I’m getting around to some overdue digital house cleaning. I’ve been away since, uh, November. Oops. So, to sum up: I won NaNoWriMo ahead of time, made it over 50k, and then stalled out; December happened, much as car accidents do; and the start of a new year has seen me tinkering with more physically creative projects (jewelry-making, anyone?) and wondering where the past two months went.

Now I’m trying to figure out how to get myself back into the right frame of mind to finish up Jackrabbit House. Even though it runs counter to my usual methods, I’m thinking I will reread what I have so far, not to edit, but to sink back into the world of the story. Meanwhile, I will repeat to myself the new mantra, “Writing is not just for November, damn it!”

Now I’ll go away and dream of the day when I can eat more than plain toast and tea.

JH – 70k and counting

I’ve gotten into something of a slump. I hit 50k for NaNoWriMo on the 19th; this was the first time I finished before the final day and I did it by a wide margin. But now I’m having trouble keeping up with my daily goals beyond that. The impending deadline doom has gone and I’m back to my usual feeling that as long as the book gets written eventually, it doesn’t matter if it’s not today.

Not good.

The worst part is that I keep having ideas. New, shiny ideas that, while jotted down in my running file of new, shiny ideas, will not let go of my brain. And with my interest already flagging in JH, all I want to do is be finished so I can start planning those new stories. That and start reading fiction again. I’ve been on a book-buying spree and while part of it is the good holiday deals available, most of it is a way of coping with my serious withdrawal. I’m banned from reading fiction while actively writing anything more than a short story, on the grounds that it messes with my voice. But hells, I need to read.

Barring some friendly brownies finally taking up residence with me and writing the next three chapters, the only way to get to THE END and all the rewards and freedoms that come with it is to write to it one word at a time.  Time to dig deep and find one more reservoir of stamina. Just 35 scenes left.

50k and JH in haiku

Yep, JH is now over 50k, halfway through my projected length. That is a little over where I would like it to be, only because the next scene is my midpoint, so I’m running a bit long. That’s okay. I have finally reached that point of zen acceptance of anything I write. It will all get fixed when I edit. So, scene that consists of nothing but dialogue and scene that is 500 words too long, I am unperturbed by you. You cannot defeat me. I am too cool to notice you.

On the NaNoWriMo forums, I’ve started watching the Suck Haiku thread, where we condense our fictional failings into seventeen syllables. I used to write haiku often, if poorly. I have even, when I studied Japanese in college, attempted, if very poorly, to write it in its native language. So, in the NaNoWriMo spirit of doing foolish things before an audience, I present:

Jackrabbit House Haiku

Hanite builds beasties,
morals make her work harder,
now I must as well.

The Jackrabbit House,
a story named for Rivem:
she needs to speak more.

Lonet hates being poor
but loves her city too much;
loyalty can kill.

What we do for love:
Oakshiver will marry up
for fame and parties.

Bear got tamed, brought home,
made a scene and won a war–
feral life was fine.

Ebrit and Tonlit:
love the way it should be done
meets its end too soon.

And finally, a little nonfiction:

Needed a new view:
three scenes written in a barn,
mice offer no help.

JH @ 26k words and a light in the sky

Yep, JH is already up to 26,134 words–keeping in mind that this is not my NaNo word count (see graphic at right; support your local NaNo Rebel!), but the cumulative word count for the novel. I’ve been plotting in little chunks by working out the general idea of each scene, one chapter at a time, and then writing a detailed guide to the scenes I will write each day. I’ve just gotten into the territory where my existing notes consist of nothing more than notations of which subplot will get how many scenes in the chapter, interspersed with the occasional plot touch point previously marked out. In a week or two, I’ll move into the even more exciting area after my midpoint, where those plot touch points are all I have. I will admit to being totally intimidated by that, but in the spirit of NaNo, I will plunge on ahead bravely. Or foolishly. You decide.

In other news, I’m out near the Santa Monica mountain range right now and, at or around 7:25 pm, I saw a bright light in the sky. (ETA: Make that last night, because my internet sucks and this post was delayed.) My family all saw it as well. It was comet-shaped (think flaming teardrop), bright orange, and had a smoke tail behind it. I looked at it with binoculars, but I could not make out any details. It faded steadily, ember-like, as it moved south-southeast. But, just before it disappeared behind the trees on the ridgeline, it flared briefly, as though something more on it had ignited.

I’ve been listening to local radio and watching the news, but no one has said anything. I even searched on Twitter to see if someone else had sighted this odd fireball. I’m guessing it was, sadly, some type of plane, with a second engine or fuel tank catching fire to produce that last flare I saw. I was rather hoping it was a UFO. So far, my aunt is the first person I know personally to have some kind of UFO sighting. I think it would be terribly exciting to see one. Still, a plane seems more likely.

The search for an answer did make me realize how, well, out of touch most of our news seems to be. I ran the gamut of sources, starting with radio, then television, then internet for newspaper and television sites, then Twitter for amateur reporting. With all these resources, shouldn’t we be able to get answers faster?

Part of me (not the part that wants to live on an island or in a cave for maximum solitude) longs for the science fictional world where we can create a video capture of anything we see and upload it from our technology-enhanced brains to the net for near instantaneous communication with the digital world. I long for a world where I could stand outside, watching an unknown object in the sky, and immediately record what I’m seeing, get satellite images of it, check news reports, make news reports, and generally plug in to the world around me.

Part of me (possibly the part that does want to live on an island/in a cave) is content to look up and wonder.

JH-8232 words, and November approaches

That word count would be a lot more satisfying if it hadn’t taken me since last Friday to get that far. I’ve switched myself to a schedule of five days a week writing, two days off, because I ultimately feel a lot better if I get a little time away from the words. I revised my schedule for JH slightly today as well. This was a result of cutting 32 scenes from my planned length; my scenes are ending up longer than I expected and it was ballooning my total length unacceptably. I’m still working on filling in all the gaps in my planned scenes, but a lot of that will happen as I write to those points.

I realized belatedly that I had not given any sort of introduction to JH, as I did for Figurehead, so here goes:

Friendly rivals are reunited by war, but when the cruel beast tamer turns its own ultimate weapon against a monster-beset walled city, it is up to the reclusive craftsman and her beast-house to stop him.

I’m not in love with that sentence–apart from some stylistic awkwardness, it fails to mention the various subplots and the critical parts of the cast who are not the hero and villain. But it hits the basic notes of war, double-cross, and built-beasts, the last of which are the whole reason I want to write this. As for the characters:

Hanite was trained as a master craftsman, but never passed her certification test, as she has one little weak point in her skills: she is incapable of building a beast without giving it human speech in the process. So Hanite lives in the Wilds and works for farmers and traders who only care about results, not certificates. But she dreams of settling down with her house in the safety of a city, where walls will protect her and Rivem from the feral beasts with whom she shares the Wilds.

Rivem is the Jackrabbit House. Tall as any building in the city, Rivem is a jackrabbit crafted to huge proportions, modified with plants, animals, and metal to make her more resilient, and outfitted with a small cottage on her back. Rivem owes her life to Hanite, who rescued her and spent months creating the beast-house she is, and Rivem would lay her life down for Hanite. That might just be necessary, because Hanite has just been drafted to serve in a war and where she goes, Rivem is sure to follow.

Oakshiver trained under the same master craftsman as Hanite and at the same time, at least for a while. From opposite ends of their society, Oakshiver aspires to the upper class lifestyle Hanite abandoned and he considers a life of luxury to be no more than his due. They haven’t seen each other in years, but Oakshiver answers the same call Hanite receives. But his circumstances and his skills are both special, so he is given a seemingly impossible task: use those skills to attract and tame one of the feral beasts which menace the trade routes and the walls of the city. He must deliver the ultimate beast of war to save his own life, but Oakshiver has never taken orders from anyone.

Lonet isn’t a craftsman at all, but she’s just been taken on as an apprentice in the history of the craft, her field of study at the University. But Lonet has been keeping secrets from everyone who knows her there: she hails, in truth, from the poorest section of the city and no matter what the official policies are, that kind of background will get her dismissed from school if discovered. But Lonet has something worth lying and stealing for–her grandfather, suffering from an illness ravaging the poor community–and the university is the only place she can hope to discover a cure. But even if she does, she’ll need to find a craftsman willing to break the taboos of their own craft to make use of it.

Ebrit comes from the city across the plains, the underdog in the war for territory. He’s a career soldier, whose wife and in-laws depend on the housing his job earns for them. But Ebrit is sick too and walks a fine line between providing for his family and infecting them with his own death sentence. Their lives are made more precarious when he is reassigned to serve at the new wall, the city’s grab for territory, which puts Ebrit, and his family, at the edge of the Wilds and right in the line of fire.

In other news, it’s October, which means it will soon be November, which means NaNoWriMo is on its way for another sleepless, word-filled month. I am tactfully classified as a NaNo Rebel, as I am starting my novel in October and writing the final 50k words during NaNoWriMo. So the first draft of JH should–no, will, damn it–be completed before December. I bask in my optimism and my foolishness and my blissful amnesia regarding the ease, or lack thereof, with which I finished those fifty thousand words in years past. Nonetheless:


Let’s get our write on.