Monday, November 19, 2012

National Novel Writing Month

First of all: A number of backers have yet to respond to the surveys about their rewards. All of the rewards that can be fulfilled at this point in time have been; those that aren't yet filled are either in the works, or have not yet been requested. If you're waiting on your special reward, please check to make sure you sent in your survey!

With that out of the way, November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I've been hard at work this month, and I've not only finished rewriting book three ahead of schedule, but I've also written a lot of new short stories for a series of bundles (and, ultimately, a paperback) to be released over the next year.

If you're curious about my progress, you can track my daily word count here. Some days are more productive than others, but I've been progressing at a steady clip. If you want to convert the word count to a page count, 250 words per page is generally held as the standard, as I understand it.

For those interested in this month's project, I'll include summaries and sample covers under the cut.

Short story synopses in current order (*ed stories have already been written):

Weaving*: Unraveling the stars and reworking the spent fibers of time that connect all of the universe—again and again, the Weaver crafts the cloak of reality. Again and again, the cloak is flawed and must be remade.

The Box*: In the dark recesses of an echoing cave, a young girl finds a box. Do not open.

Still Waters*: There is peace in observing beauty. It is not a beautiful world.

Moon’s Child*: In the moonlight, she is whole. A pack of wolves at her back and an unerring bow make her queen of the night—invincible. She hunts by starlight and tears those who catch her to pieces.

Unseen*: Psyche is in love with someone she isn’t sure exists. Notes exchanged in the night connect her with C, whose only request is simple: You must never look at me.

From Dust*: All life is born of the earth. To love beauty—to be captivated by a form you yourself sculpted—is nothing so strange.

Stolen*: Do not eat of the land of the dead. Do not drink its waters. Do not try to save those suffering in the underworld. Nothing can be done for those in death’s cold grasp.

Idyllic*: Glory in life and glory in death.

Beyond*: Those who are neither heroes nor villains are as directionless in death as they were in life.

Fit the Crime*: During their lives, they sowed the bitter seeds of destruction, tainting the lives of those they touched. In death, they reap their harvest.

The Undertaker*: It has been so long since he heard songs of his homeland. But he knows the end of every story: a still heart and cold, empty eyes.

Sins of the Father*: Son of a god, he calls himself. When they come to dine with him, only his own flesh and blood is worthy of becoming the feast.

Better with Time: Kayla doesn’t believe in love at first sight. Everything worth having is worth waiting for.

Do Us Part: Kayla always did want to go first.

Unparted: The truest love never dies.

Discordant: Ellen finds the gaps in space and time and loses the thread of her own timeline.

Remade and Remembered: Second chances come at a dear price.

Through the Keyhole: Had you asked them before they set out, they would have said that they anticipated a glittering world free of the injustices and anti-science mindset that had plagued them in their own time. They would not have anticipated a world coming apart at its seams.

Awakening*: Julie has a talent for slipping unnoticed through a crowd, for fading out of sight while standing still and listening not ten feet from you. She hears a lot of secrets—she doesn’t share them.

Mundane*: Always, out of the corner of her eye, she spots them. They flicker out of sight before she can examine them: a magic she can never touch or reach.

The Nausea of Displacement*: Once, long ago, they belonged. Now they sit, dusty and disbelieved, in the musty corner of old attics or grimy street corners. Unwanted and forgotten.

Summer Pool*: Chlorine isn’t kind to her gills, but she’ll take what she can get.

Unbidden*: They never come when called.

Ill-begotten*: They prey on the human desire for contact—the need to be valued and desired. Their offspring are neither.

Cove Song*: In the end, all are drawn to the sea, willing or no.

Oasis*: The wastes glow at night, and sores spread across the skin of those exposed too long to the irradiated landscape. But there are bastions—safe harbors protecting those who survived. Learning to live again is hardest of all.

Chasing Shadows*: Long stretches of desert part the lingering pockets of human civilization. Not many venture far—those who do never return.

Shadows Turned: Mirages on the desert horizon turn nightmarish and tangible. To defend the last vestiges of human civilization, there’s nothing for it but to take a last stand.

Marred: Badly burned in the wars, she hides herself from those she knew before.

Fractured Glass: Nothing familiar can be reflected in a shattered mirror.

What Remains: Beneath the waves, the survivors hide and wait. An old magic has waited far longer, slowly turning to foam on the glowing shore.

Mutation: She’s researched radiation poisoning and fairy tales alike.

Confined: To keep her safe from wars and radiation, she was imprisoned. But, as her supplies dwindle, she has no choice but to escape.

Home Before Nightfall: The sirens demand that all citizens return to safety within minutes of sounding.







The Weaver ran her hands over the frayed ends of her cloak. So many loose ends—so many torn hems and patches worn thin. It held no heat any more, though it had once been wild and rich and vibrant. She had spent so many long eons crafting galaxies and nebulae that spread from the universe's heart.

A stunning, glittering cloak had faded to a cold, congealed mass. The Weaver unwound the tapestry, unraveling the stars and reworking the spent fibers of time and space that had bound all the matter into a coherent picture.

How many times had she woven reality? Each time it had been flawed—different patterns did little to change the inevitability of destruction. Despite this, the Weaver always took up and reused each strand again, binding hundreds, thousands, infinitesimal of realities into each atom.

Maybe the flaws were beautiful, in their own way. They distinguished each cloak she made for herself, defining it with rough edges and imperfect shapes. The cloth matted when she grew distracted from her knitting, forming dense pockets that tugged on and distorted the surrounding space. Many had been bright baubles before they'd turned themselves outside in. Pocked and still lovely.

Life spread throughout the universe beneath her fingertips, as it almost always did. The Weaver loved to watch life flicker into existence and spread. It began so slowly—just a breath and a pinch of earth. At that point, it was too touch-and-go to reliably thrive. Once it caught, though, it spread like fire across the surface of hundreds of thousands of planets. It took more forms than she could count over the course of her knitting sessions.

Some of the most powerful life forms dipped their hands into the fibrous bundle just beyond reality. They might draw themselves through gaps or bring forth reality-bending powers from universes that had once shone and now lay, dormant and perpetually hidden in sleep, within the twisted strands of her latest reality. Most often, they held a code of silence to avoid disturbing their less assuming neighbors.

The life sometimes acted to spite itself in perplexing ways. The Weaver she watched them often, fascination driving her to distraction. Some might offer her pleas, curses, bargains—when it suited her, she could nudge a strand or pull tight a loose seam, but there was often little she could do to fix the most minute of errors in the design without unraveling the fabric altogether.

As each life extinguished itself, she eased it back into the cloak itself to live again, albeit in a new form. What they experienced at death's was beyond her imagination; ageless and eternal, without a beginning or end, the Weaver found the in-between moments unfathomable. Each reformed in its own way—and sometimes that, too, was beyond her. The souls evaded her gaze, reappearing inexplicably in the wrong part of the cloak of reality or disappearing when nothing ought to truly vanish. The Weaver was scrupulous, and never left good material go unused.

Powerful beings developed near certain worlds, calling themselves gods and goddesses. They existed within the nooks and crannies of her fabric—the in-between spaces that so confounded her and eluded her attempts at smoothing. Some doted on their favorites and sternly judged those left wanting; others lived among them, indiscriminately spreading chaos and order; still others, much like her, merely watched. Their powers were varied, and each drew from a different, ineffable pocket of space-time to perform feats beyond the pattern she'd lain out before them. Out-of-place and out-of-time—powerless or powerful—she loved them all.

The Weaver laid aside her knitting needles and cocooned herself in her cloak, surrounding herself with uncountable galaxies that blossomed from the knotted core of her weave, extending as ever into the limitless distance. Someday, she would draw it back to her, ease the time-worn and unraveling ends, and build again. For now, she curled up and rested, watching the cloak unfold in ways that, delightfully, she had never intended.

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