I could have kept writing. I was in the middle of a scene. But I figured writing over 18,000 words in less than 24 hours, I had earned the right to stop. For now. 🙂
I’m proud of myself but I feel a bit underwhelmed by it all. I guess its because I know that even though I got a boatload of words written, the idea of a complete novel is still very far off. Oh well, its been a great experience and I’ve gotten a great start. I’ve learned a lot too. I’ve learned a lot about my characters, my fictional world (even it if is based on 1850s Boston), their relationships, their motivations, their challenges. I’ve learned that the book I thought I was writing, was actually NOT the book I was writing — but will come later in the series. And I’ve learned a lot about how to write — how I feel when I’m writing toward a very concrete established goal, vs. writing just for the pure enjoyment of it. There are pros and cons to both.
Anyway, to all of you who have followed me and stuck it out with me through this journey, I thank you. I also want to thank my husband for his support, even while he struggled with getting his own nanwrimo goal completed. He won, by the way, with 56,000 words. I’m kind of envious of his word count… just a little. 🙂
And most of all, I’m grateful for that little voice in my head — the one that refused to let me give up, even when I had already given up and made my peace with it. Its amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it.
And so, for 2014 Nanwrimo… here is my final excerpt…. Again, please overlook the mistakes. This has received no edits since my main focus in the last few hours was simply hitting the word count.
****McKendrick Saga – Nanowrimo Excerpt Day 30 *****
Without her mother’s knowing, Jo had made several clandestine trips back to Dorthea’s. Had her mother found out, it most likely wouldn’t have been a problem, since Charity would most probably assume that Jo was returning for additional fittings of her debutante ball dress. But Jo didn’t want any problems, even if the chance of discovery was slight.
“Arent you worried that Dorthea will say something to your mother?” Lu had asked.
“Not at all,” Jo said. “Dorthea absolutely loves to try out new and innovative fashions, and what could be more innovative than a pair of bloomers? Besides, I convinced Dorthea that I have mother’s blessing, and I paid her in advance.” Jo smiled, clearly impressed by her own cleverness. “No, I don’t think that Dorthea will be uttering a peep. Afterall, I shall be the talk of the ball and all of the ladies will be wanting to know who dressed me. I’ll say, Dorthea of course, and Dorthea will be booked until the end of the decade.” Jo continued, imaginging the scene. “My mother will be happy about all the attention, I shall be happy to be wearing pants instead of a dress, Dorthea shall be happy with all of the new business – everyone wins.”
Lucinda wasn’t so sure. Jo had a way of concocting plans which on the surface seemed to be full proof, but in actuality were the worst ideas ever.
“I’m not so sure your mother will be happy with the attention you get, especially if that attention is on account of you dressing yourself like a radical suffragette,” Lu cautioned.
“Oh bother, what does mother know about the suffragette movement? She hardly ventures out of the house and cares only for parties, dances, frivolities – all the trappings of gay society.” Jo dismissed Lu’s concerns with a wave of her hand.
“Never the less Jo, I think caution would be wise. Perhaps it is best to save this ensemble for a less – eh – critical moment.”
“Nonsense – this is the perfect moment. What could be more perfect than to let everyone know exactly who I am from my very first moment in society? That way Ill never have to deal with the fakery and show. The endless role playing. Mother wants me to enter society, so fine, I’ll enter society. But Ill do it my own way on my own terms.”
Lu just shook her head. She wasn’t sure her friend had thought this all the way through.
“Jolene, it is time to go are you ready?” Charity called from the foyer downstairs.
Donna descended the stairs and delivered a small hand written note to Charity waiting at the foot of the stairs.
“what is this?” Charity said irritably.
“I beg pardon, Ma’am. But Miss Jolene says she feels just a mite ill at the moment. She’s certain it will pass, but she asks if she can just have another hour before leaving.”
“Another hour!” Charity huffed. “But I am supposed to hand out the carnations to the guests at the start – its part of the fundraising effort by the Boston Ladies Society. I have a very important position tonight!” Charity said, full of self-importance. She looked like a peacock puffing up his feathers as if to prove how important he was.
“My dear, I’m certain that if Jo says that she is coming, she will come. We can go on ahead, and have Watson drive her over when she feels better. I’m certain its just a small bout of nerves. Besides, Lucinda is up there with her. You and I both no there’s not a chance that Lucinda would miss the biggest social gathering of the season.”
Charity looked doubtful, though she knew most of what Charles said was true. “Are you certain? What if she doesn’t come? After all this is supposed to be her first foray into society. Should we wait here for her and go together?” Charity said, uncertain.
“My dear if want to miss handing out carnations we can certainly wait. But I am sure that Jo will be fine and Lucinda will see her safely to the event. If , she does not show up, we can always come back to retrieve her.” Charles said patiently.
This seemed to mollify Charity some what.
“Yes, yes of course. We can always come and get her, its not too far away. And, I do so want to be there to hand out carnations. It’s a very important task you see. I shant wish to disappoint Ms. Ellis.”
Ms. Ellis was the president of the Boston Ladies Society, and Charity had only just made her way up enough amongst the ladies to actually receive an assignment. Re integrating back into society had been a much tougher challenge than Charity had expected. Charity had thought with her name and connections that she would be accepted, welcomed with open arms even, back into the bosom of the ladies of the Boston Brahmins – so called because they resembled so closely the upper caste of Indian Society. But Charity had been surprised to find their friendly affection not so forthecoming. But Charity was determined, and through her grit and determination she had finally made some inroads. She had found many of the ladies had become very passionate about the issues of the day, slavery, abolition, temperance, and heaven forbid, suffrage. Charity had pretended to be interested in it all, or just enough so, to sercure invitations to sewing circles and ladies meetings, the she found the pretense exhausting. She was glad to have been asked to be part of the planning committee for this fair, as it signaled a new development in her efforts. Her peers were finally accepting her. She was especially keen to impress Ms. Ellis – a young widow in her early thirties with a tremendous amount of money and power.
“well if youre sure, Charles. Donna, please tell Miss Lucinda that we are counting on her to deliver Miss Jolene to the fair in precisely one hour, and if they do not show, we will promptly return for the both of them.”
“Yes Ma’am,” Donna said, turning to ascend the stairs.
Jolene looked at herself in the mirror.
“Did you ever see anything so glorious or divine?” She said, twirling to get a better look from all angles. “Dorthea is a veritable genius!”
Lucinda had to admit, Jo looked divine. The beautiful and very modern ensemble suited Jo’s lithe figure impeccably. Even without a corset, Jo’s slim waist was highlighted to perfection. The top, rather than the modest linen version worn by Amelia Bloomer to the suffragette convention, dipped low across Jo’s neck line, and hung just off her petit shoulders. The blouse puffed out in soft billowing ruffles around her bosom and down her arms, cinched in at her tiny waist by a very wide ribbon, not unlike a more feminine version of a man’s waistcoat. A full, split, yet short skirt billowed out from under her ribboned waistline, falling to her knees. The front of the skirt was split to revel delicate, shapely “bloomers” which hugged her legs with every movement. Lu couldn’t decide if it was brilliant, or scandalous.
“Lu, do you think that anyone will understand this? I mean, will they know what I am doing?” Jo asked hopefully.
“I daresay a few ladies are in the know, but no one is near brave enough to pull it off. I happen to know a few of the older ladies were at that very convention. Though I can’t say for sure if they approved or disapproved of Mrs. Bloomer’s attire.” Lu said. “One thing I can say for sure, is that you’re sure to cause a stir.”
Jo smiled even wider, “I think I’m ready.”
A knock sounded at the door and Donna’s voice drifted through. “Miss Jolene, your mother says that if you’re not at the fair at the promised time, they’ll be coming back for you as right as rain. And they says that Miss Lucinda best make sure you turn up.”
“Do not worry yourself Donna, we are nearly ready to go.” Jolene called back to her.
Jo took one last look in the mirror. Lucinda came up behind her, placing Jo’s cloak gently over her shoulders.
“Are you ready for this?” Lu asked, smiling at her friend in the glass.
“Ready as I’ll ever be,” Jo responded happily.
“Good, then lets go stir things up,” Lu said, as they both turned and headed out the door.
Jo and Lu arrived at the fair in plenty of time. The fair was being held at the huge estate of Ms. Ellis, Calvin and Robert’s very wealthy, very powerful widowed aunt. Jo had never been here before though she had certainly heard of it. Ms. Ellis’ home was the very center of the Boston social scene, and parties, fairs, and fundraisers were a regular occurrence here. This was Jolene’s first official “society” event, and she was excited despite her professed dislike of society and all its annoying conventions.
The house was brightly lit with the newest of modern conventions – electricity. While most of Boston’s homes still relied on gaslamps. It was a wonder to be sure. The line of carriages waiting to enter the portico was at least a good block long, and Jo and lu chatted happily as they waited for their turn to disembark. Happy music drifted brightly from the open windows of the home out into the night – and a beautiful night it was. They couldn’t have asked for better weather. Though the humidity was a little higher than normal, it was not too warm and a light breeze blew in from the bay. Jo could feel the color in her cheeks, she felt like every inch of her buzzed in anticipation. She hadn’t completely given up the idea that being a lady was useless, by like any one addicted to excitement she truly did look forward to the night’s adventure that awaited her.