That's right, I won Nano.
It was a crazy kind of November, which I talked about in my last post to some degree. I made 50K words on Day 29 after restarting from 0 on Day 14. Not too shabby. Of course, I wasn't actually done with the first draft at that point. I finished the first draft today actually, after staying up into the wee hours of the evening/morning. Final word count was 62.5K words in 19 days. I'm calling that a win.
This book was an unusual one for me. For one thing, it was scifi, and I haven't written science fiction for years. I've never finished any of the scifi projects I've started either, so finishing this was sort of a break through for me. Getting out of my usual genres was good for me.
Admittedly, writing without any supernatural or magical creatures had me missing them, but I'd conceived of this world some time ago and I knew that I wanted it to be science fiction. It let me flesh out some concepts I'd been toying with in some of my old, unfinished projects as well as dig into my technological interests.
Scout's Honor turned out to be one of the more honest books I think I've written. There's a lot of myself in it. It is, at it's heart, about a girl trying to put her family back together. The fight against a tyrannical government, prison breaks and espionage are all fun to write, but Dinah really just wants to get her mom back home.
She makes some great friends along the way, including (against my better judgement) falling for a grumpy medic named Eddy (short for Edwina). Romance was not in my plan for the book, but Dinah took one look at Eddy and was like, "Oh, that is mine." What can I say, characters do have a will of their own.
Set in a world where gene-modifications, micro-computers that can implanted into the body, and body modifications are common place, Scout's Honor is basically my take on the rise of technology, the rise of a very bad man to power, and what happens when the Girl Scouts of all people become a force for resistance.
I'm going to let it rest for a bit, but I plan on tackling revisions in 2017.
I've talked before about being ready to write a certain book. The WIP I tore apart to write this had long been resigned to the scraps folder. A few thousand words that petered out with no real direction. I'm glad that I found the place and time to write this book. I needed to write this book.
And, an obligatory excerpt:
Nothing about my room had changed while I was gone. The soft green of the walls I’d insisted on after I turned fourteen and could no longer live with dancing ponies on my wall. The half-chewed pen I’d left on my desk. It was a bit surprising there wasn’t a film of dust over everything but my bed was still half-made, my uniform was still hanging up in my closet. I wandered over to it, eyeing my wings. They couldn’t ever take the wings, I’d earned them, but the power that went with them was gone. I swallowed and gritted my teeth. I took hold of the pin, but jerking it off would only damage my uniform.
Fingers shaking, I let it go and turned away.
“Do you think you’ll be ready to go back in three weeks?” Papa asked, leaning in my doorway.
“I don’t know.” I shook my head. “I didn’t think this far ahead. You know? I didn’t think about what would happen when I got back.”
“You weighed the probabilities. You didn’t think you would be coming back, did you?”
“I couldn’t be sure. I didn’t want to think too hard about it either way.”
“Well, now you’ll get your chance. You know they won’t let you out for field work until you come to majority.” Papa’s tone told me the truth. I won’t let you out for field work.
I couldn’t exactly blame him. I couldn’t let that get me down though, could I?
“Lunch in fifteen. I picked up a new ear piece for you and an upgrade module for your chipset. Do you need anything? I’m putting in the grocery order.”
I wrinkled my nose. “I need my birth control refilled.”
“Done. You have your first therapy appointment tomorrow afternoon, by the way. Dr. Kaplan has agreed to remote sessions to start, but she may want you in her office at some point.”
“Okay.” I nodded.
“Okay.” He managed a smile. “Shout if you need me.”
I nodded again and he headed off. I could smell food—specifically Papa’s goulash which was the only thing he ever made. It was his grandmother’s recipe. He always made it when we he thought I needed comfort food. He wasn’t wrong. I stripped down, changing into my worn favorite pajamas, gray with little black crows on the pants and a gray tank-top. The familiar smells of laundry soap and the lavender sachet I kept in my drawer.
I sat down at my desk, picking up things and setting them back down again. My sharpshooter award from camp. The tiny owl figurine my mom gave me when I was six. Random pieces of jewelry, pens and hairpins. A small photo of my parents and me in Berlin when I was ten. I was never very good at keeping my desk tidy. My room wasn’t too bad, but my desk was always cluttered.
I picked up a screwdriver tucked under my monitor. I couldn’t even remember why I had it on my desk to start with. I sighed and set it back down. I was feeling a little bit at ends. Uncertain. Alain was right about me putting together a plan.
If Scout Command couldn’t get Mom out, I would. I had to be prepared for that. Having Alain on my side would come in handy, but I was also going to need someone from R&D. Extraction and smuggling experts.
Like Maxwell Reed. Max had one of the best records for extracting dissidents. He’d participated in other prison breaks. From the outside in other instances, but still. He was good at what he did. I’d been counting on myself as the pilot no matter the circumstances, but now?
I had to put another list together that included a pilot.
But I’d have to solve that problem later.
I sure as hell would have the time.