The trouble with being a writer, is that I end up wanting to constantly be on my computer… something that doesn’t mix very well with the great outdoors. While I love camping, I also end up deeply computer (and internet) deprived by the end of it… wanting my novels, my characters, and my roll-playing back.
So, I decided to go to virtual camp: Camp Nanowrimo. Where most of the time what you do is write, set things on fire in the forums, and trade stories on who’s characters are the worst. This is Camp Nanowrimo’s second year of existence and it’s still relatively small as a group. You get placed in a cabin of six members, four of which never showed up, so Lyn and I live a rather quiet existence in our adjoining bunk beds, writing away. At least I’m note entirely alone.
It’s felt good to be writing again. I’ve picked a pesky novella, on the theory that 50,000 words is far too long so I’m bound to at least finish it before the month if I keep up to word count. Over 18,000 words in however, the end is still not in sight. Good thing this one is intended for an indie publication as a humorous 0.99 novella set in the same world as the Dark Lord Academy series, so I don’t have to explain to anyone else why its so long winded. It’s called ” A Recipe for Disaster” and as a story, it’s certainly living up to its title. None of the characters will behave, the plot won’t get its act together, and Kink, the MC’s pet rat insists on trying to steal the story. In hopes more characters might ease the problem I’ve ended up with villain who wants to be a hero, a hero who wants to be a villain, and a princess who keeps changing her name. Sigh. It’s life as usual, as far as being a novelist goes.
On the bright side, if someone burns the cabin down (as happened last time I was at a real camp), at least my novel will be safely backed up on google docs.
Here’s the current blurb, and a very rough excerpt, the ones I have on the Camp Nano website:
Dark Lord apprentice Cal needs some quick cash, Prince Bueford needs out of an arranged marriage–it’s an alliance built on mutual self-serving motives. Maybe Cal hasn’t completed much of his training yet, and sure his reading skills are a little rusty, but how hard can cooking up a little disaster be?
Cal Experiments in Cooking
Cal peered out the tower window, scanning the narrow streets below. Cartwheels clacked against the cobblestones, and people pushed and shoved their way through while the drivers shouted, but Master Xorgos was nowhere in sight. Dark Lord and Dread Wizard of Renown Evil, he wouldn’t take kindly to his apprentice trying to make some extra cash on the side using his evil spells.
Cal wiped his sweaty palms down his black robe and swallowed hard. He needed some money if he was going to take Loestra to the Dreaded Ball this weekend like he’d promised. She’d dump him for sure if he didn’t.
Pushing the window shut to keep out the flies, Cal turned back to the workroom before him. Master Xorgos had impressed upon him the task of scrubbing the floor while he was gone, in preparation for new evil experiments. He would be gone for the weekend, collecting esoteric new ingredients. Ingredients, Cal was sure, that would require cataloging, pouring carefully into glass jars, and organizing meticulously onto the shelves of the workroom closet. All dull tasks left to him as a dark apprentice.
Cal had plans of his own however. He’d made a deal with Prince Bueford of Buckland to brew him up some sort of disaster he could unleash at the courtly presentation of the Princess of Seaward. Apparently Bueford didn’t want to marry her, and considering the princess’s temper tantrums when she didn’t get her way were legendary, Cal didn’t blame him. But not only did Bueford not have the money to pay for a little disaster formally from Master Xorgos, it was hardly evil enough that the Dark Lord would bother. Wiping out innocent villages with an army of instant minions, setting monsters on capital cities, and instituting periods of Global Darkness was more his style.
“Cal, Cal, you need to think bigger, eviller,” Master Xorgos always told him. “A Dark Lord and Dread Wizard of Renown Evil doesn’t deal in petty pranks. Only potions of mass destruction.”
“Which is why we live in a backwater little port like this, right?” Cal muttered to himself. He scooped up his pet rat, Kink, from the windowsill and set him on his shoulder to keep him out of trouble. “Well, I don’t care about what’s eviller, I care about making al ittle money.”
Kink twitched his bent tail, for which he was named and tried checking Cal’s front pocket for treats.
Ignoring the rat, Cal searched the old, musty books lining the shelves of Master Xorgos’ workroom. Surely one of them had a decent enough recipe for disaster. Heck, now that he’d been an apprentice for nearly two years, Master Xorgos had him restock all the ingredients into their carefully arranged glass vials; he knew where everything was. He eased out a likely looking book and set it gently on the worktable. How hard could this be?
It wasn’t as if it mattered to Cal if he became a Dark Lord himself; he was only here because Ma and Pa had too many mouths to feed and wanted the apprentice money Master Xorgos sent them. Cal never saw a penny of it. If that wasn’t evil, he didn’t know what was! But Loestra went to Dark Lord Academy and had filthy rich parents in an alternate dimension that had year round tropical weather. If he married her, his fortune was made.
“Death. Defeat. Des—truc—tion.” Cal sounded out the recipes one by one looking for the right one. He’d only learned to read after he’d been apprenticed. The fifth son of a tanner didn’t get much education. “Disaster.” He squinted at the ingredient list. The book read:
The amount of disaster created is directly proportional to the amount of mischief and stupidity. And is inversely proportional to the amount of common sense added. For large disasters, also add copious amounts of instability, while for smaller ones use half a measure of miscommunication mixed with half a measure of greed. Procrastination and a dash of irony may sweeten the disaster, but be careful. Too much and your disaster might be postponed indefinitely. Malicious intent can also be used to great effect, but overdone tends to result in too purposeful of carnage for a true disaster.