TBAM – Chapter 1: D

Read the rest of the novel so far here.

In light of the incident on the stairwell, Levi made a concerted effort to participate in the lunchtime gossip circle that convened in the break room. In the past few weeks, He’d had a distinct feeling that his title, “Levi, the quiet one who sits by the window,” had been converted to “Levi, the one who got dumped by Laura in HR.” It was a little too pathetic for his taste, and he needed to change the image somehow. Besides, people couldn’t talk about him if he was actually there.

The instant he was sat on one of the aluminium chairs, enveloped in the smell of stale coffee, he began to regret it. Whether it was the late intern, the new exercise regime of their body-conscious manager, the illnesses of their children, Levi felt trapped in a conversation where he had no place and nothing to contribute. He grinned and nodded in the right places, whilst his eyes darted to the clock on the right-hand wall. He internally cursed that sluggish minute hand, as it made its lazy journey from 12:30 to 1:00.

He was almost jealous of his colleagues. Their faces were so animated when they discussed this scandal and that titbit they’d heard from Fred in another department. Levi couldn’t remember the last time he enjoyed talking to someone as much they were relishing this gossip. He eventually ended up staring out of the window until it was finally time to go back to his computer, and the payroll numbers and emails which would keep him busy for the rest of the working day.

Levi supposed he only had himself to blame for the fact he was lonely. Perhaps it was fifty/fifty. His parents were dead and he had no family, which was not his fault. In fact, it was because of this that he’d grown up in an environment that had systematically prevented him from forming lasting friendships. Moved from pillar to post in an uncaring care system, he’d never been able to stay in touch with people he might have grown close to.

However, when he’d turned eighteen and finally inherited his parents’ money and house, Levi had no more excuses for his unsociability. For the first year of living in his own house, he felt like the silence was a greedy indulgence. Instead of getting to know other people on his university course, he rushed to his home and laid in the space that was his and his alone.

He explored the possessions of his deceased parents, and his resentment towards them for getting into that car accident slowly turned into curiosity. He’d felt no drive to discover anything about them before, but he noticed there were no old photos, no information about them before they’d moved here. He didn’t even know what they had done for a living, but the inheritance had been sizable and must have been built up somehow.

Levi’s encounter with Keats occurred within a year of him moving in to his parents’ house. It fragmented his life, and he would throw away the shards in an instant if he could know more about her. He would ditch the job he’d battled to get after his degree. He’d let go of the photos of his parents, and the questions about their past he was sure he’d never find answers to. He would take any excuse to run away from the acquaintances he’d failed to form friendships with.

Unfortunately, that trade wasn’t on offer. Levi had to make do with what he had.

TBAM – Prologue: A

So, I’m finally posting the novel that gave this blog its name. I’m (doing a lot of) editing as I go. I’m thinking of updating this every Friday. Might increase the frequency when exams are over.

“Are you a vampire?” The question had been burning in Levi’s mind for the past half hour, since he’d seen a man fall from a four storey building, land face-down with a sickening thump, and jump to his feet as if nothing had happened. He glanced at the porcelain coloured face of the woman who had dragged him into this grubby café after he had witnessed that incident, not daring to inspect it too closely. He did not want or need any further confirmation that there was something very unnatural about this lady.

“I think someone has been reading too many Twilight novels,” she said, smirking. “I’m not a vampire, no.”

“And the guys you were chasing? The ones who fell from the roof? They weren’t vampires either?”
“No.”

“Who were they?”

“Just bad guys. You really don’t need to know the details. You won’t remember them, anyway.”

Daring to steal another glimpse of her face, Levi saw that she looked severely bored. He did not know whether that was good or bad.

“I don’t think I’m going to forget anything that you tell me, not after… what I’ve seen.” Levi paused in the sentence after realising that it might be a dangerous thing to say. Amusement seemed to play around the corners of her mouth.

“I didn’t say you were going to forget.”

The waitress came within earshot and Levi fumbled for the drinks menu, which stuck to his fingers as he picked it up. Staring hard at the printed letters, Levi tried to grab at some of the questions that were dancing around his brain. Which one would she be most likely to answer? He couldn’t trust himself to look at the teenage girl who had come to ask for their order. She gave a small cough to break the nervous silence which had settled over their table.

“Two black coffees, please,” Levi heard his companion say. He never drank coffee at this time, but he wasn’t about to disagree with her.

He guessed that it was between six and seven at night, but it felt later than that. Levi looked out of the grotty windows at the dark street outside and saw the orange glow of the street lamp illuminating the litter on the pavement. Inside the café, there was only one other customer, a woman with thick make up and peroxide blonde hair. She had been too absorbed by her phone to even notice them come in.

When the coffee arrived in grimy mugs, Levi ignored his and stared at the graffiti on their greasy table. Keats covered it with her elbow.

“What was I saying before?” She paused. “Ah, yes. I’m going to erase your memories. Tomorrow morning you’re going to wake up like this never happened.” She smiled as if this was something Levi had been waiting for.

“What if I don’t want my memories erased?” Levi eventually replied. Her expression changed to one of pity.

“Okay. So if I don’t erase your memories, you’d be perfectly okay with living the rest of your life knowing that people like me exist, that stuff like the things you just saw can happen, and you’d be fine with that? No. You’d go insane. Trust me on this one.”

Levi didn’t really know how to respond to that.

NaNoWriMo – Disaster strikes

I have to admit, one of the major appeals of Camp NaNoWriMo for me is the cabins. The idea of being able to talk, support, and be supported by people who are undertaking the same goal seems like one of the best features of the camp.

In the forums, I found a small group of people who were in my time zone. This was great news, as it meant they wouldn’t all be sleeping when I was awake, and would probably be working at the same time I was. You can imagine my disappointment when the sorting bot failed to put me into the group! I was ridiculously gutted, as if it were a real life camp and all my friends had been put into a different cabin.

However, I’ve been sorted into a new cabin, and my new cabin-mates seem really nice. We’ve created a Facebook group and they’ve already given me feedback on an except of TBAM. I can’t wait for the actual writing to begin.

Unfortunately, new problems have arisen. I had to go to my G.P. today about some various pains etc. I’ve been having. They’re not very bad, but it’s been going on a while now so I figured it’s about time I stopped ignoring it. My G.P. was a little bit baffled, and sent me to have some bloods taken and asked me to make an appointment for a chest X-Ray.

I think this has spooked me a little bit. It’s ridiculous I know, but I think because they want me to take these further tests it makes me feel that I must be sick, and so I now feel a bit ill. It might just be an after-effect of having my blood taken this morning. I’ve never considered myself to be scared of needles, but I have to admit that staring at those little vials as they filled with my blood made me feel just a little bit queasy. In hindsight, it might have been better for me to look away rather than fixing my eyes on them with morbid fascination.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this doesn’t affect my ability to write in July, and that the good people working in the NHS will know exactly what’s wrong with me by the time I have my second appointment.

Good luck to all you other NaNo-ers!

NaNoWriMo Dry Run

ImageToday I did a dry run for National Novel Writing Month. To hit the target of 50,000 words in thirty days, I’ll need to write approximately 1700 words per day.

I timed how long it took to write 1700 words. I often found myself distracted, but I was pleased when I managed to reach my goal within three hours and forty minutes.

Given that I’m now into my summer holiday, and I don’t have much else planned in July, I think it’s a fairly realistic target, although I can see it taking longer and longer to complete each day as I get more tired and I get into parts of my novel that I haven’t fully planned out yet.

I’m working the first three days in July on a residential summer school, where I will never be “off-duty,” so to speak. I probably won’t have access to my computer. That means I’m already going to be behind as soon as I start. I imagine that there will probably other days where I don’t manage to meet the target. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll catch up without too much difficulty.

The novel I’ll be working on is the sequel to TBAM. I’ve already written 11,900 words. I’ve accordingly adjusted the target on my NaNoWriMo account. My major concern is that I’ll run out novel by the time I hit 62,000 words!

Here’s my Camp NaNoWriMo Profile Page.

Running Out Of Steam – Need Opinions

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Some diagrams are worth drawing out. Others…

I have one more exam left, and I’m feeling exhausted. I’ve already had five exams and I’m at the point where I just don’t care anymore, I want it all over with! Unfortunately, after my exams are over, I don’t have as much time free as I thought I would. Firstly, I have to go on a trip that’s compulsory for my course, and I signed up to be an ambassador for one of the university’s summer schools, which I need to be trained for.

On top of that, I’m desperately looking for work this summer as my maintenance loan/grant gets cut by about £2000 next year. Thankfully, the university pays students to clean Halls Of Residence and I’m really hopeful that I can earn money that way, plus I get paid for the Ambassador work I’ll be doing. Another thing is that I’m going to have to do research and prepare for interviews I’ll have at the beginning of next year for Industrial Placements.

Instead of revising last night, I ended up working on the “short” story I’m planning to post here when it’s finished. It’s going to be based on one of the back stories from my novel. I’m finding it really enjoyable to write about, but it’s going to be A LOT longer than I expected. In the end, I could write a full size novel about this storyline. You would have thought all the practice in Friday Fictioneers would have helped me condense things down, but so far I’ve written 3000 words and I’m only about a quarter of the way through my story!

In the end, it might confirm my suspicions that WordPress is not the right place to post my novel. Even if I managed to segment TBAM into small, blog-post size chunks, I don’t think people are interested in reading anything longer than 5-10 posts.

I really want to know your opinions on this. Do you think people would be interested in reading a full length novel on WordPress?