23 November 2013

Novel Update - Day 23

That's right. I'm still in the game even with a college workload (mind you, all of my big assignments went in the last week of September) and having to do my own housekeeping (washing dishes continues to be my least favourite chore).

So... I guess I have to start at the beginning since I haven't actually posted one of these yet.

It's 1985, and the book opens on this nine-year-old kid named Lucien. He's dancing in a cordoned off and weed-infested parking lot to an audience of decrepit buildings and abandoned sidewalks. We learn that he lives with his dad in a motel room in a seedy district in SoCal (not that I know if there are actually seedy districts in SoCal, but research is what December is for), working in the motel bar in exchange for living there.

One day, a band (who may or may not be Crumbächer under assumed names) comes in and plays the motel bar. Lucien is captivated and the members of the band become his friends -- his only real contacts in the world aside from his father. He convinces the motel manager to bring the band in several more times and each time, his friendship with the band grows.

Then one morning, he and his dad wake up to find that someone staying in their motel has been murdered. Lucien's father is visibly shaken and tells Lucien to pack -- they're moving.

As he's packing, Lucien accidentally knocks over a box of his father's that he is not supposed to touch. As he's putting the contents back into the box, he realises that some of the papers are newspaper clippings -- clippings talking about the unsolved murder of his mother. Lucien is stunned. His father had always told him that his mother had died of an illness. In addition, he finds a contract for a Russian ballet company, signed by his father, and a handwritten letter. It's in the Russian alphabet, which Lucien doesn't know very well, but he gets the drift that it's a threatening letter, though he doesn't know why.

But he says nothing about all of this, only puts the contents back in the box and continues to pack.

The band, by chance, plays their new home motel several weeks later and they reconnect with Lucien. Shortly after that, Lucien is doing his favourite thing -- dancing in an abandoned parking lot -- when he is grabbed from behind, drugged, and taken away.

Lucien's father is left a nervous wreck. Having suffered through the murder of his wife and now reduced to living in motel rooms, living day-to-day, losing Lucien is the final straw. He slowly begins to go mad with grief.

The band, while playing the motel a few weeks later, recognises Lucien's father and asks him where Lucien is. It takes some doing, but they finally get it out of him that Lucien has been kidnapped.

Two of the band members, Daniel and a character known only as Flip, take it upon themselves to start checking in on Lucien's father, making sure he's doing okay, helping where they can.

Meanwhile Lucien awakens and over the course of a few weeks finds himself taking dance classes full time in a studio in Russia. He befriends one of the senior dancers (Mikhail), who tells him that he is being trained to ultimately join the dancing master's company sometime within the next ten years or so. As the gravity of his situation sinks in, Lucien realises that the only way he will ever see his father again is if he can work his way up to be in the main touring company before they next tour America.

In the meantime though, he misses his father. He gets Mikhail to track down a copy of the band's record and sends a letter to their booking agent, telling the band where he is and to tell his father that he's okay.

Upon reading the letter, Lucien father's snaps and goes literally mad with a mixture of grief and rage (the readers don't know it yet, but he recognises the name of the man who Lucien is studying under as the man who murdered his wife nine years before).

The band is now going to attempt to tour Communist Europe all in a harebrained scheme to re-kidnap Lucien back from the ballet company. This will be difficult, as Lucien is not allowed off the property, and if he's going to attend the concert in the nearby town, Mikhail will have to smuggle him out. Plus, of course, there's the issue of getting Lucien out of the country and back to America after that...

As for the actual writing process, it was odd -- I had this very well planned out, but when it came to write it, I had a really hard time getting into the swing of things this time around. I'm blaming it on college -- my brain is so fragmented. At home I could just focus on one thing all day if I had to. Here I focus on music theory for an hour and fifteen minutes, then I focus on getting to and eating lunch fast enough to make my next class, in which I think about theology for an hour and fifteen minutes, and so on... I can never dwell on anything as long as I need to in order for it to sink in, I only have a certain amount of time to think about it before I have to shift into a completely different headspace. It's draining, and the first 25k of the novel (among other things) really suffered because of that. I love this novel and the plot idea, but I just haven't had enough time to really have fun with it. I can never really get into the zone of it because there's always something else that also needs to get done so this is on an hour/minute timeline now rather than just the thirty-day one. It's got a lot of potential, though, and I'm getting a decent framework for it laid down, at least. I was hoping I would be able to have more fun with this one during the actual writing process though.

Now for statistics:

Current word count: 40,098
Official goal for Day 23: 38,333
Number Of Daniel Amos References: 3
Number Of Characters Killed: 0 in story; 1 in backstory
Cups Of Coffee Consumed: 0 (that's right, I'm so skilled I can do NaNoWriMo without caffeine)
Number Of Times I've Played ¡Alarma! Bonus Bonus Disc: at least 4
Currently Listening To: Eternal Teenage Angst by Veil Of Ashes (2013)

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