NaNoWriMo is going very well indeed. It’s been a LONG time since I actually finished a novel but this one is going well. I have a solid outline that’s expanding nicely into prose, on par with the goals of NaNoWriMo despite the fact that the month began with a weekend of World Fantasy Convention and then the Epic Sinus Infection of Doom (believe me, this one deserved capitalization). I’ve come up with ways to do things better while writing but nothing so major that it would require an immediate major overhaul which is what has happened in the past three NaNoWriMos. I’m also doing Dean Wesley Smith’s plotting workshop this month which is fun but challenging. Since I’ve been so absent and likely to remain so even after November at least until I finish the novel I’m working on, here’s the first 500 words of the novel I’m plotting, written as one of my homework assignments for the workshop. Hope you like it.
When the acrid smell of rotten eggs hit my nostrils, I knew I was going to have a bad day. The smell could only come from a gargoyle and with the library full of innocent bystanders I could hardly whip out a sword or an emergency portal to send it back where it was supposed to be. I should probably note that gargoyles as you know them are not like gargoyles as I know them. The stone things people like to put on their rooftops are actually a pretty accurate representation of that particular species of dimension-hopping predators but in this case you should totally take the thousand words over the picture. There’s no way to accurately image the smell of them for one.
I herded the young mother and her kid away from the smell under the guise of helping her find the book she’s looking for. I didn’t dare look above the librarian’s station because I knew what I would have seen there. It wouldn’t have been immediately noticeable because gargoyles are ambush hunters, able to adapt their skin color and texture to match the surface they’re waiting on. But in the bright sunshine flooding in from the skylights high above there would have been… inconsistencies in the shadows.
I gave Aasiya, our intern, the hand-sign that means “Come get these civilians off my hands right now”. She blanched slightly, not that it’s immediately noticeable on her dark skin unless you know her.
“Elsa? Sorry to disturb you but there’s a phone call for you. They’re rather insistent,” she said, according to the pre-agreed script.
“Thanks. Do you mind…?” I said, nodding toward the civilians.
“Not at all,” she said, turning to smile at the woman.
Aasiya took over the civilians with her calm, professional manner while I hurried to deal with the vermin problem before it turned lethal. She was definitely not allowed to deal with gargoyles on her own yet, especially not during the library’s opening hours. Under supervision and with civilians safely out of the way she might have been alright. The girl needed to learn after all.
I hurried past the gargoyle to the office space separated by the wall it was hanging on. The stench grew nearly unbearable as I got closer but I ignored it and dug out a flask of single malt whiskey. I don’t understand the specifics of it – chemistry has never been one of my strong suits – but that stuff is like cat-nip to gargoyles. I grabbed a linen handkerchief from my coat pocket, dabbed whiskey on it and for a brief moment the sharp, earthy smell overpowered the natural musk of the gargoyle. I considered the flask for a second and took a quick swig, allowing the liquid to burn in my mouth for a few seconds before swallowing. It left behind the taste of smoked peat and I breathed out through my mouth, spreading the scent further.