So, after nearly a week of NaNo, how’s everyone doing? Are you happy with the way your novel is turning out? Do you still love your characters? Is your wordcount skyrocketing? If so – congratulations, you. If not – rev your engine! You can do it!
My novel stands at 19,000 words at the moment, almost exactly. Before you get jealous of the wordcount, let me be clear: I’m going to be gone for a fourth of this month, and so I’m pushing myself as hard as I can to get Disconnect finished before then. Will it work? Here’s hoping! Besides that, around the middle of week two, I usually go through my Crisis Slump. So I’m storing up words like a chipmunk.
My beta team has been fantastic so far, giving me feedback, encouraging me to keep going, and adopting my characters (really, there aren’t many things more fun for a writer than to see her characters being showered with love). So, all in all, this has been a brilliant NaNo – so far. I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed that it will continue to behave for the reset of November.
But enough gilding the lily – on to the fun stuff! I made a Playlist for you fellow music-lovers out there, and decided to post some of my favorite snippets (‘snippets’ meaning ‘larger than usual snippets’ because during NaNo I can’t post as often on here). If most – or all – of them end up including Chopper, it’s through no fault of my own. He even put himself on the playlist. Since when did main characters’ best friends get so pushy?
I stood and let the students flow around me while I waited for Chopper. He was always last. Most people thought he was so polite he just wanted to wait until everyone else was off the bus, but really he was so lazy he didn’t want to have to fight his way through a crowd.
I saw him at the back, a good head and shoulders above everyone else. His hair, long, wild, and sticking up all over his head, was the color of tomato juice, and his entire tall body was covered – from the mask around his nose and mouth to his platform boots – in black, skintight leather.
I cupped my hands around my mouth and shouted, “Oi!”
His head turned in my direction and his stride quickened. As soon as he reached me, he gave me his customary greeting. He smacked me upside the head. “Yo, baka. What’s up?”
The murmuring of student voices quieted down as the doors closed and the bright, white light shone onto the homeroom stage. A different person gave the orientation speech every year, but they always had the same personality. It was like they had to fill out some sort of requirement sheet – ‘must be a Really Enthusiastic Person.’
The orientation speakers may have changed from year to year, but the speech itself hardly varied at all. Chopper and I amused ourselves by quoting entire sections word for word while the Hatsune Miku doppelganger below. When she smiled adoringly up at the gathered students and said, “And remember,” Chopper and I nodded and intoned, “The best game is a fair game!”
I said, “However!”
Chopper said, “The best game is also a surprising game!”
“So be a good player, and give the fans a good game!” we finished in hushed voices.
“Would you two be quiet?” the girl next to me asked, shooting us a poisoned stare.
Chopper leaned forward so he could look at her. “You aren’t showing good sportsmanship,” he said, paraphrasing a middle section of the orientation speech.
She glared harder. “Pay attention, freak.” She returned her attention to the speaker, scooting as far away from us as she could without sitting in the next closest students’ lap.
“Itai,” Chopper said. “Ouch.”
“Don’t take it to heart.”
“I won’t,” he said. “My heart is carefully guarded against both name-calling and feminine wiles.”
“One of those is deployed in your direction more often than the other.”
Chopper tucked the information packet between his knees and cracked his knuckles. “I need to stretch my legs.”
I tugged the packet free. “You always need to stretch your legs.”
“It’s a curse.”
“You know I can barely hear you with that mask on,” I said.
His eyes still on the wild chaos below, he patted my shoulder. “Don’t cramp my style, tiny.”
I smacked the packet against his leg. “Call me that again and I’ll rip your lungs out through your nose holes.”
His eyes, rimmed with heavy black eyeliner, slid over to me. “You’ll what?”
I amended my statement to be a bit more realistic. “I’ll attempt to rip your lungs out through your nose holes.”
He tossed his head back and laughed. “It’s nice that you dream big, Q. It really is.”
“I love your mom,” he said. Even sitting, the top of his head came up to my elbow.
I let one arm dangle down over the rail. Needless to say, I couldn’t reach very far. “Careful. She’s married, and my dad might have something to say about that.”
“Bummer,” he said. It was one of the American words he’d picked up, mainly from my mother. One of these days I had to remember to thank her for giving him more slang words than he could ever really use.
Our attention was captured by the door to the roof as it flew open and banged into the wall. There was a surprised exclamation, and Gummy stuck her head through the doorway. Her eyes scanned the rooftop and when they landed on us, she smiled and stepped through. “Domo! I was wondering if you’d be up here.”
Chopper waited several seconds for me to answer, but I was in too much shock about the fact that the girl of my dreams had actually sought us out and after a moment, he said, “Well, here we are. Sorry about Q. He’s got lockjaw.”
Gummy peered at me. “But his mouth is open.”
“Yeah,” said Chopper. “It’s locked that way.”
“Sou ka?” he said. “Still. Listen to your senpai, kid. Girls like scars and muscles, and since you’re lacking in the scar department, muscles are the way to go. Unless you want to take a knife to your face.”
“Do you think I should?”
“Only under adult supervision.”
“I said adult. Not responsible.”
“Seriously.” He gripped two fistfuls of my hair and pulled it upward until I socked him in the side and told him to stop. “You need to get your head out of the clouds. I know you’re hopelessly in love with your dream girl, and all that, but one dinner and a half-hour conversation or whatever isn’t basis for a successful future.”
I rubbed my head and snorted. “Since when are you concerned about successful futures?”
“I don’t care about mine,” he said, standing in front of the homeroom door. “But you’re going to end up wrecking yours if you keep driving it like you stole it.”
“What is that even supposed to mean?”
He paused. “Not sure.”
The press was everywhere; swarming through the halls, clustering in the genkan, and trailing students. “I hate this,” I groaned in the cafeteria, after staring down a girl who reminded me suspiciously of Uranus from Sailor Moon. When I realized I was making the comparison between a reporter and an anime character, I turned to Chopper.
“I’m worried about me,” I said, putting a few protein blocks on my tray.
“That’s no big deal. I’ve been worried about you for years.”
“I just thought that reporter looked like Sailor Uranus.”
He looked over my head at the reporter. “Short blond hair, confident face, and mandatory micro-skirt – I can see the resemblance. You’re fine.”
I moved up in the line and took a bottle of mineral water. “It isn’t the similarity that worries me so much as the fact I knew who Sailor Uranus was.”
He frowned and rubbed his knuckles along the side of his mask. “Oh, hang on. I’ve got it. You and I used to watch Sailor Moon reruns on my dad’s old computer.”
“I have no memory of that,” I stated.
“Sometimes, you make me sad.”
“I make you sad? I’ve just discovered that my best friend forced me to watch Sailor Moon reruns when I wasn’t looking!”
“You were looking,” he said.
“I still don’t remember this.”
“You were nine.”
“That would mean it was my second year at this institution, which means you were thirteen and definitely too old to be watching something like Sailor Moon.”
“You had a crush on Jupiter.”
I turned around and jabbed my fork at him. “Shut up now.”
“You wanted to marry her. Actually, you also wanted to be a Sailor Moon yourself so you could fight all the bad guys.” He made exaggerated punching gestures in the air with the last five words, and then looked at me with a squint in his eyes that let me know he was grinning.
“Urusai uzai ni ii kagenni shiro.” I gave him a warning glare. “Shut up and stop being stupid.”
“Hey, I’m not the one who wanted to marry a planet.”