19 pages so far today. 1 and a half pages to go to put me back on the track I should have been all month.
Stay on target.
Eighty-five pages in. There’s so much I would want to do to this script; so much I want to cut out, to streamline. But now’s not the time to do that. Now’s Script Frenzy, it’s only 7pm, and I’m just 8 pages shy of being back on track, back on the REAL track, the 3-a-day-to-finish track. Let’s see if we can do it. Latest excerpt:
Jeremiah looks back at her companions, mouth hanging open. Patrick is struggling with the straps of his aerograph.
Why am I lugging this? I should just polish up a sliver of obsidian and pack it with magic—
Settle down. That wasn’t magic. We need to establish our location—
Oh, I know where we are.
But that’s less of an answer than a new conundrum.
Jeremiah and Patrick turn to follow her eyes. Fifty feet away, a weathered archway over a wide road says…
That says … what? You’ll have to wait and see. (Though people who’ve read “Steampunk Fairy Chick” can probably guess.)
Today’s the day I can get back on track. Already 5 pages in to today’s quota, it’s barely past noon, and I’m not scheduled to do anything today except write. No birthday parties, no trips to the park, no ferrying people about the whole Bay Area and Pacific Coast Highway. Just writing. Latest excerpt:
Harbinger motions to an aeronaut to take his place at the console. Jeremiah leaps down into the navigation trench, art deco glass crunching under her boots. She peers about.
Lower us over the shorter tower at our five o’clock. It looks to have a flat roof and a fire escape.
(looks in telescopes)
We’re on it, Commander.
She leaps up the stairs and joins Patrick, who is extending his hand to Georgiana — but with his eyes on Jeremiah.
Just like old times.
Georgiana, as oblivious as Jeremiah, takes his hand and rises, and the three of them are together again.
Just like Austria.
Let’s hope not, you stole from me all the best men.
There are other fish in the sea.
The three of them walk together from the bridge.
We’ll keep an eye out for you—
Here goes nothing. Onward into the seas of time!
I’ve done 6 pages of THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE today, double the needed Script Frenzy rate.
If only I wasn’t already 40+ pages behind!
I don’t think I’ve ever been this far behind on a National Novel Writing Month-like challenge, or with so much else to do in my life.
Time to step up my game.
New late-night coffeehouse detected, spouse alerted, necessary emails sent, distractions out of the way. 3 pages to go to get back on target; a magical 4 pages will put me ahead for the day – a pace that can only lead to victory! What would Jeremiah say?
Oh, dear God, I’m right.
The murmuring now becomes an open free for all. All the characters start speaking over each other.
Hang it all, it’s not possible for him to undo history—
Fine for you, you’re a man, you’ve a place in the world he wants—
So we’ve found him. Excellent. Any similarity to this speculation is surely simple coincidence—
Coincidence? We’ve never gotten a demagnetizer past the Confederates antenna arrays before—
Jeremiah calmly draws her sole working Kathodenstrahl and fires a blast straight up. The unlit chandelier beneath the apex of the dome flickers with lightning and light.
Do I have your attention?
Gentlemen and gentlewomen. The Lady Georgiana has identified an a threat to our very existence, and Sir Alice has just confirmed it.
She holsters her weapon, then looks at the spectroscope.
Sir Alice, I must recommend extreme boldness.
Extreme boldness, indeed.
31 pages in. Stay on target. Latest excerpt:
INSET: she turns her pliers, exposing five distinct sets of wheels with settings at the heart of the navigear.
… perhaps five, though the last might be an imaginary residue—
An imaginary residue, leaving us with a time machine, like Wells’s aerograph romances? Lady Georgiana, you’ve fallen too much in love with young Einstein for your own good!
Be that as it may, the Machine is gone from a sealed hangar, and Commander Willstone, Lieutenant Harbinger, Sargeant Natasha and twenty of her Falconers saw it disappear with their own eyes accompanied by the distinctive ripples I think would be generated by this device—
But why would he even do such a thing? Tomorrow comes whether you want it to or not—
But yesterday doesn’t. If you could travel to the past, there’s a good chance you could change it.
Good God. What would a reactionary like Lord Christopherson do with our history?
Amass an army.
Overthrow the crown?
I know. The blackguard told me. He’s gone to undo Liberation.
Yerk. Still amazingly behind … 23 pages in, need 77 more to go. Need to write 8 pages a day to get back on track. Can you say AAAAAAA! I can. People stare at me when I do. But I can. Here’s a bit more about the script from the Script Frenzy site:
Green crackling fire envelops the whole machine, tinged by a growing blue glow of Cerenkov radiation. The air around the machine ripples, like the machine is dipped in water.
Images begin appearing in the rippling miasma: Jeremiah and Patrick, Natasha raising her weapon, a footman falling. It’s clear these are a jumble of events, past and future.
(tilting her head)
That’s more than an air craft.
Jeremiah, in a ridiculous dress, half undone, lounges in a punt. She waves at the shore, where Patrick walks with Georgiana, who glares jealously on.
Jeremiah plucks a bit of cheese from a basket, strong hands push a pole, and the camera pans back to a young Albert Einstein, similarly disheveled, pushing the punt.
I wish we had more time.
What is time, but another kind of space? Ripples in one move us along the axis of the other.
Jeremiah looks aside, where a dragonfly alights on a leaf. Water churns around the pole, an eddy catches the leaf, and it is whipped back around the pole as it moves forward.
If ripples are time and space, what’s flow? Can we get more time?
(winks at her)
Must I give up all my secrets?
(crooks her finger)
If you want to make more ripples.
The dragonfly alights … and Jeremiah takes his hand.
Poor Albert! Jeremiah will only break your heart. Onward!
I’m so busy I can’t see straight, so that must mean it’s time to take on another project. I’m doing Script Frenzy this month, a challenge to write 100 pages of a script in 30 days, much like National Novel Writing Month, only for film.
EXT. NEWFOUNDLAND – CONSERVATORY. NIGHT
A mammoth complex looms in the night, an airship hangar made of glass attached to a hulking Victorian palace.
Lightning reflects off the glass of the hangar — then flashes of light appear inside the windows of the palace.
INT. STAIRCASE. NIGHT
More flashes illuminate a long, narrow Victorian staircase with wainscoting and elaborate rails. A figure hurls herself backwards down the stairs, firing electric pistols from both hands as she bumps down the steps on her rear, sliding on her tailcoat.
JEREMIAH slams into the base of the stair, gritting her teeth, keeping both guns trained back the way she came. She wears a long tailcoat, an black corset vest filigreed with gold wire, and a pair of airman’s goggles on her forehead.
At the top of the stairs, crackling green foxfire ripples over the metal bands of the stout wooden door. Holes are blasted in it, and light shifts behind them, but JEREMIAH has no clear shot.
She sees sparks coming from her left gun, and tosses it aside with a curse. She glances at her right gun, seeing the indicator bead hover between three and four notches. A creak upstairs refocuses her attention. Jeremiah murmurs to herself as she focuses on the holes in the door.
Very well, sir, show yourself. Three shots? I’ll get you in one.
Here I mumble “J Michael Straczynski’s the Complete Book of Scriptwriting,” “The Empire Strikes Back Fascimile Script,” “other writing resources I’m too tired to mention”. What? I’m only 9 pages in when I should be around 33. Back to work!
That is all.
I’ve a new essay on writing at the Write to the End blog, called “The Rules Disease.” A preview:
Anyone who seriously tackles the craft of writing is likely to have encountered a writing rule, like “Show, Don’t Tell,” or “Never Begin a Sentence with a Conjunction.” “Don’t Split Infinitives” and “Never Head Hop” are also popular. The granddaddy of all of them, “Omit Needless Words,” is deliciously self-explanatory … but the ever baffling “Murder Your Darlings” is a rule so confusing it deserves its own essay.
This is part of my ongoing column The Centaur’s Pen.
Above is a wordle of the near-completed first draft (as opposed to rough draft) of THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE. Wordles are great visualization tools for your texts, and this one reveals … well, yes, Jeremiah is the protagonist.
Actually, now that I think of it, the full title of the book is JEREMIAH WILLSTONE AND THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE so I should have expected that her name would bubble to the top.