I’m trying to build a habitual plonking-down of 1,000 words every morning when I first wake up. Doesn’t matter what time it is when I wake up or what scene I start with. Just: 1,000 words in any direction.
Like any habit building that isn’t mind-numbingly fun, this one has been a series of fits and starts. (Just like my blogging attempts, but let’s not examine that one too closely.) Getting there, though.
To help keep me on track, I’m gonna go back to putting down rough patches of lines that I write (non-spoilery, I promise). It’ll be an every-so-often treat for myself to help mark some randomly-set-and-achieved goal. You win by me winning. (And if you have constructive comments, feel free to leave them! Standard rules of etiquette apply.)
This one is from my current work-in-progress, a project that was whipped up the intention of completing during NaNoWriMo… but life has a way of intervening.
What in Christ’s name was she doing here?
Her dark hair – in the dim light coming through the tavern windows it looked almost jet – was certainly more coiffed than it had been the last time he’d seen her. Then, on the side of the road, the fine wisps had torn free from either side of her tight updo to waggle frenetically in the breeze, making her appear like a wild druid bent on equally wild magic. Now, her tidy bun sat back, twisted from an array of equally tidy braids and twists, and pale blue eyes stared at him with cool detachment.
“Who, exactly, are you?” she demanded. She clutched her valise tightly in one hand, her parasol hooked over one arm as she paused in the removal of one glove to peer at him.
It wasn’t so much that he didn’t understand the question; rather, the existence of it took him by surprise.
How could she not know him?
The last time they’d seen each other, she’d cursed him… cursed them both. Why else would she be standing in front of him, in an establishment well beneath her reputation – and with a lobsterback to either side of her – if not to arrest him for her brother’s murder?
More importantly, a small voice chimed in, belatedly catching up to the swirling chaos rising in his brain: How in the hell had she found them so quickly?
Someone had probably given their likenesses to the officers who’d authorized Andy’s broadsheet, and now here she stood – like some avenging bloody harpy. And all she needed was a name. For the particulars.
Her question wasn’t in the least bit rhetorical. She cleared her throat in as prim and ladylike a manner as he’d have expected from the rich, English widow. Arching a delicate eyebrow, she asked, “Are you deaf or merely simple?”
Behind her, presumably for reinforcement – or perhaps only because he realized that they’d best do something to indicate their purpose of presence – one of the pie-faced soldiers said, “Mistress Simpson here asked you a question, young buck.” He wasn’t any older than Rab was, but Rab wasn’t particularly minded to point it out to him just now. “Tell ‘er your name and purpose, an’ be quick about it.”
Rab blinked. The soldiers’ hands rested near their shoulder straps, but so far neither of them had lowered his gun to bring to bear… Had he got it wrong?
There was too much he didn’t know here. Better to play it safe.
He took careful inventory of his posture, his expression… He was a barman. He posed no threat. He was the epitome of service and solicitude.
Mistress Simpson turned from her hostile scrutiny of Rab to give the bland-looking redcoat – and really, Rab thought, a man that uninteresting in appearance rendered bodily insult to the color itself – a dour look refined through the veneer of practiced gentility. “We’re in a taproom with him on that side of the bar, where the ale is kept. I can guess at his purpose.”
Sensing his opportunity for high ground slipping quickly out from beneath his feet, he quickly said, “Robert, mistress. Will you be staying on tonight, then, or just wishin’ a hot meal?”
This had not been the correct thing to say.
“Your unbridled nerve, sir!” She thrust her valise into the arms of the slightly-more-featured soldier to her right and took her parasol in hand. She brandished it in the air between them as if to strike… though he wasn’t sure it would be him; the angle wasn’t quite right. The bartop, maybe? Would do significantly more damage to the— “You think to stand there and make a mockery of me in my own home?”
He wanted to ask her to repeat that – claim a bad sea ear or something… that was something that happened to people that lived near the ocean, wasn’t it? – to say that part about her living here again… But Aline’s blessed sense timing interrupted them.
“Oh, thank God, ye’re safe home!” she called out from the upper level. Stabilizing herself between railing and wall, she made her descent.
“Stay there, Aline,” the widow Simpson said sharply, holding up her half-gloved hand in a ridiculous-looking warning.
Aline waved off her concerns and continued, pinning Rab with a look when he instinctively twitched a step in her direction. “’M fine, you can see that well enough. The bairn’s not taken stairs from me, yet.” Reaching the bottom, she pressed a hand to her belly, paused with an air expectance, and then – in a mixture of breathless befuddlement and annoyance – huffed, “Well, dinna hurt yourself with any overt displays of affection, Janet; we’ll have none o’ that nonsense, of course.”
Stay tuned for more as I get it done!
What’d you think of this bit? (And please don’t ask me to go into detail; you’ll just have to wait until it’s assembled in order.)