Sunday, December 01, 2013

National Novel Writing Month 2013 - Winner!

I was a winner for National Novel Writing Month 2013, meaning that I managed to write a novel of at least 50,000 words during the month (November). I completed it, at least the rough draft, on November 29, 2013, about 6:55 PM, and validated it at the website later that night, about 10:30 PM. The Open Office word processor, which I wrote it in, put the word count at 51,043, more than last year's, but still relatively low compared to the other years. The website put the word count at one less. The book for 2013 was a sequel of the 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009 ones. I joined National Novel Writing Month [ ] on March 20, 2009, as user Stephen_M_99.

The novels' word counts, mine and the website's, and the date the novel was finished:

2013: 51,043 and 51,042, November 29, 2013
2012: 50,147 and 50,147, November 20, 2012
2011: 60,973 and 60,977, November 21, 2011
2010: 53,076 and 53,077, November 26, 2010
2009: 52,110 and 52,111, November 28, 2009

Below are the smaller winner web badge images for this year. There were two others, but they were large banners. Though the display on my computer showed them shrunk to fit when doing a preview of this post, I couldn't be sure that all browsers would do that, and thought it would be safer to leave them off. If forced to make a choice, I would probably choose one of those large banner ones, if enough space existed for them. If forced to choose from the ones below, I would probably chose either the top one or the long bottom one.

My novel is science fiction, and though I did not put a synopsis or excerpt in the Novel Info section this time, here they are for this post:

The time traveler-in-training is still trapped in another dimension where reality is more pliable, and thoughts can sometimes become real, even hidden thoughts, and even good intentions can have unforeseen consequences. In this novel he runs into more adventures and tribulations, finding out more about himself in the process, and more about the world in which he is trapped.

As night was approaching, they got to the next shelter. She slowed the car down, and instead of trying to back in went in forward, the headlights on bright. They saw in the area of the door five of those creatures, or perhaps it would be better to say five creatures that looked like each other, but it would be hard to say whether they looked like the one before, since they hadn't gotten a good view of that one. The ones here narrowed their eyes and blinked, raising their arms to try to block the light some. It was difficult to say exactly what they were. They looked somewhat like skinny man-size monkeys, but also had some wolfish features, and even looked somewhat demonic. They were covered with short dark hair, and had almost hand-like front paws, which had claws on them.

She stopped the car, staring at them. "I guess we can't get to this one, either." She started to put the car into reverse, but Jack stopped her.

"What if they're all like this? We might have to keep on driving indefinitely, never able to stop at any of them."

"What should we do then? Surely you're not suggesting that we get out and fight them?"

"Try honking the horn at them."

"Where's that?"

He paused. He hadn't had to use the horn before. He assumed that it had one, but that was just an assumption. He could be wrong. This was, after all, an alien car. "It should be somewhere on or around the steering wheel," he said lamely.

"There are some concentric circles on the hub area, but they don't look anything like horn symbols."

"Try pushing on that." He remembered seeing them, now that she mentioned it, but hadn't really paid much attention to them. He guessed he'd thought they were something like a manufacturer's logo.

She pushed, and a loud blast went out. They weren't isolated from it either, since the car had no doors. He hoped it was pointed more toward the front, so it was louder to those there. It was plenty loud enough in the car.

The creatures jumped and milled around, and made whining and chittering and growling noises, but didn't leave.

"What now?" she asked.

"I guess now we fight them."

"Not really."

"If we want to get into a shelter, we may not have a choice."

"But they're wild animals! They're as big as we are, and there are five of them!"

He turned around to rummage in the back, and after a bit resumed his former position, but this time holding the sword and a shield. "You stay in the car and honk the horn. I'll get out and wave the sword around and yell. Maybe we can scare them off."

"I don't think this is a good idea, Jack. It'll be five to one out there, and if they decide to come after you, they can get around you and there won't be much you can do. I can try to drive at them with the car, but I don't have room to get up much speed, and I'd have to actually run over them to do much damage. In the meantime they can be trying to get in at me through the doorways, and I wouldn't be able to do much to stop them."

Jack realized that all she said was true. Still, what choice did they have? "They look pretty skinny, and not too intelligent. If we can really scare them, really intimidate them, I should be able to fight them. And after one or two are killed, that should scare them off. Or at least give them a lot more caution."

"Jack, please, don't do this. The shelters don't matter, they're nice to have of course, but we're more important than they are. We don't have to do this, we've got plenty of food, enough for several days, or a week even, if we have to. Don't do it Jack. I don't want to lose you. Think of the baby, if you won't think of yourself, and if you won't think of me."

Jack paused. He turned to look at her, and saw tears running down her face. He started to say something, but she interrupted.

"You don't understand, Jack. After the motel, sure, you could have taken them all, with no problem, killed them all with one swing of the sword even, even just sent the sword out with your mind to do it. But not now. Look at you! You were struggling under the weight of them, when you dragged them from the back. You can hardly even lift them, much less fight with them! They'll tear you apart."

Jack looked down, then turned back toward the front, staring out at the creatures. They weren't milling around as much, though they still seemed bothered by the headlights. "I can do it," he said somewhat stiffly, trying to give himself confidence at the same time. "If I go out there appearing confident, that will make them believe I can do it, and belief counts for a lot." It sure did here, anyway. And did a lot in the normal world he had come from, even if it couldn't normally be used there to suddenly change the fabric of reality.

"Jack, please...."

"It will be alright. Don't worry. When I get out, start honking the horn. A lot." He paused, and took a breath, and tried to summon whatever strength he could, whatever resources he could still muster. He got out of the car, the weight of the sword and the shield pulling him down. The point of the sword dragged along the gravel. The sound of the horn was loud in his ears, but not quite enough to hide the pounding of his heart.

He took a deep breath, then another, and then swung the sword high above his head, the weight of it unbalancing him some, so that he staggered backward a bit, but then he caught himself and charged at them, roaring and waving the sword.

They shrank back from him, but the rock outcropping of the shelter was behind them, blocking them. They scattered, going in different directions. They didn't go far, though, getting out around him in a big circle. They were about ten feet or so from him, circling, slowly making their way closer. He swung his sword and yelled at them. They watched him and the sword, their eyes narrowed. This was a game they knew how to play, he felt. A game they had played many times. A game they knew the ending to.

He swung the sword and yelled some more, and the horn was blowing insistently. Still, they made their way closer. His arms ached, and he was sweating despite the coolness of the weather. The sword was feeling slippery in his grip.

Suddenly, one was coming at him from the right.

The previous years' novels:

National Novel Writing Month 2012 - Winner!
National Novel Writing Month 2011 - Winner!
National Novel Writing Month 2010 - Winner!
National Novel Writing Month 2009 - Winner!

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