Remember that job I had early this summer? With all the mice?
Yeah... that kind of scarred me for life.
See, before that job, I had no fear of mice. I didn't like them, but I wasn't scared of them.
And now, since that job, even the thought of mice terrifies me.
I hate the stupid things with a vengeance.
But I had nothing to worry about -- our house had been entirely mouse-free for more than ten years. Our cat had long since proven himself worth his proverbial salt, for which we were continually grateful.
But there were signs that the cat was beginning to settle back.
First was the mouse that climbed up the (outside) screen of my basement bedroom window while I was looking out it. I got very little sleep that night.
Next was the reappearance of mouse-nibbled stuff in the minivan -- which we had only just 'rehabilitated' after spending a good nine years as a safe haven for the rodent population of our area.
And then, the unthinkable.
Mouse-chewed papers -- in the house. A sighting of the thing scampering across the kitchen floor.
We brought in both cats, even one of the dogs. No dice. (No mice either.)
Traps were set. I sealed off every conceivable space in my room -- no matter how tiny. (I overhead my father say once that a mouse than get through a hole smaller than a dime. It's haunted me for years.) Even the crack underneath the door was blocked off and every time I entered or exited my room I kept an eye on the floor, making sure nothing passed between my feet.
For a week I never took a step without looking at the floor. I sat cross-legged on every chair, keeping my feet off the floor as much as possible. My legs have probably spent time asleep and awake in equal parts as I tried to stay on par with the novels.
Since I finished my writing session last night at 45,002 words, my goal for today was 50,000 words. For a change of pace I had brought my computer upstairs, with intent to write there. I've averaged just over three thousand words per day for most of the month, so five thousand will be a bit of a stretch. I hoped the change of pace (and sitting beside the five-disc CD player loaded with Christmas music) would be enough to spur me on to five thousand words.
And then I saw it.
I had been perfectly content to take everyone else's word for it; that there was a filthy rodent in our formerly seemingly impenetrable house. But no, today I saw something move out of the corner of my eye, and against my better judgement I turned to look.
There it was, less than four feet away. It darted back behind a trash bag that was waiting to go outside.
We assumed it went behind the nearby refrigerator. So we put a trap there, although it could easily have gone out the other side and behind the washer and dryer and we would never see it there again as it huddled in the warmth of the hats and scarves.
Minutes later the trap snapped. I can't remember last time I've screamed like that -- it's my 'nerves-are-wound-tight-fit-to-snap-and-they-just-have' scream. My stouthearted farm girl sister looked at the trap and told me that yes, the mouse was dead.
But, said my internal pessimist, what if there's more...?
And unless I can get the stupid thing out of my mind (my internal iPod just called up a White Heart song as I typed that...) I may just end up stuck at my current total. I've written maybe a hundred words today.
Curse the mouse. Curse all mice everywhere. Alberta has accomplished being rat-free; now let's move on to mouse free.
But now for the actual writing updates.
As I mentioned, my goal for today is to hit a collective total of 50,000 words (I'm currently at 45,272), but the goal is a minimum of 46,676; 23,338 per novel. Obviously I'm aiming for 25,000 each by midnight.
Novel One: 22,854 words.
I'm quite excited about this story. It's really starting to take off.
Lucy found a tunnel in her aunt's basement filled with film reels. However, before she could tell her friend and co-worker (not romantic interest) Eli about it she developed pneumonia and nearly died.
After her recovery she tells him about it and they go explore a little farther. They have now told Lucy's aunt about it and are going in for a third time. So far they have discovered a little cinema with only one screen, but appeared to be a rather popular place. Based on the few dates they've seen around the tunnels, it appears that films were still being made and shown in the late 1950's.
Novel Two: 22,418 words.
This one is going horribly slowly.
Daniel, the detective and wife of the kidnapping victim, has been released from his job as he, being her husband, is automatically a suspect. He goes mad with grief and ends up at his in-laws' house.
The best bit of writing lately was actually a flashback -- we have met the villain, though the reader doesn't know who he is yet -- and have seen the death of his wife (the flashback), the event which makes him a little crazy in the head. So far I've managed to stave off the scenes of Alison hidden away, but I've alluded to them.
And then once I've passed 50,000, the trick is not letting my mind take the rest of the month off because I've already passed my usual word count goal.