When I originally set up this page in November 2011, the plan had been to switch out the content on a monthly basis.Today — July 23, 2013 — is the first time I have updated this page since then.
Nevertheless, here is a selection from another National Novel Writing Month entry: 2009′s “The Stenogrpaher”. I was in a particularly silly mood with this portion. I hope you don’t mind my dropping in right in the midst of things. but I think that adds to the fun. If you would like a bit of a framework. let me know and I’ll do my best to provide it. ’09 was the year where I jumped around a lot with story ideas.
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Owen was sitting in Dr. Christie’s private office, pacing, as he waited for the doctor to finish his examination of Alice. Dr. Christie had told him there was no need too, as with such extraordinary circumstances the social conventions of the early 1900s seemed rather moot, but Alice was still Owen’s boss and he didn’t want any any lines to be blurred. He had enough to keep track of, never mind adding an awkward working relationship to the mix.
So given his present location and present sense of worry, he wasn’t paying much – if any – attention to the front portion of Dr. Christie’s waiting room. He heard the door open and absently wondered if Dr. Christie would need to move Alice out of the examination room or if he simply had another room. Figuring it would be the latter (it just made more sense), Owen kept pacing and trying not to worry. But the pacing and the worrying came to abrupt halt when he heard another door bang open and Dr. Christie demanding the person who had presumably opened the door return to the waiting area and he would be with him shortly.
As Owen dashed out of Dr. Christie’s office, he heard the other man say to Dr. Christie he didn’t need a doctor – he needed the stenographer. Casting about for something heavy or something to at the very least serve as some sort of a weapon or distraction just outside of the examination room, Owen settled on, well, nothing as nothing was there that would be of any use. Swallowing a curse word, he dashed into the room to find Dr. Christie slumped down by the examination table and Alice slung fireman-style over the shoulder of Mr. Ian Woo.
“Whoa, Woo,” Owen said, holding his hands out in front of him. “What do you need with Alice? Especially an unconscious Alice?” He silently willed Alice to not pick now to return to consciousness.
“Ah, what do you know, Secretary Boy?” Woo said with a derisive sneer. “There are only, what, eight thousand words — nine thousand max, I bet — to this story. No way is any of this going to be wrapped up in time! There will be no time for you and your friends to rescue The Stenographer from my clutches! Not before I brainwash her to do my bidding and fulfill my plans and desires for the nation — for the world! And even galaxies beyond!” Woo let loose with a loud maniacal laugh, almost dropping his precious cargo in the process. Thankfully, this caused Dr. Christie to return to consciousness. And Alice, too, but she was letting on. Or she had been given another whack on the head by Woo. Who knew?
Owen and Dr. Christie both winced, looking at each other, plugging their ears, and wondering how in the world they were going to get out of this mess. The evil Woo was right. Did they have the time, much less the resources, to see this through? Well the doctor didn’t really need to worry so much about the last part, but Owen sure did.
Flash fiction — would that do the trick? Owen quickly tossed that idea aside. Most forms of that style were not even one thousand words in length. A novella was what was being worked on at present . . . Think, think, think! What could he throw at Woo?
“A short story!” Owen jumped slightly, pointing a finger at Woo who was on his way to the window as he was one who always preferred to make as dramatic of an exit as possible. “We can get you with the short. Story.” Relaxing his stance, balancing his weight on his left foot, Owen crossed his arms across his chest as Woo came to a halt and slowly turned around.
“You think you can beat me in a short story? You? A newbie?” Woo threw his head back (nearly dropping Alice) and laughed. Once he had managed to compose himself, he wiped tears of laughter from his eyes. “Right, sure,” he said derisively. “And yet, in spite of the intense action and noise of this scene, The Stenographer isn’t even awake yet.”
“Of course not,” interjected Dr. Christie. “That’s because we will shortly discover something.” He paused for dramatic effect. Once a sufficient amount of effect had been effected, he continued. “You have somehow injected Alice, also known as The Stenographer, with a very strong sedative. One from which she will not awaken until it best suits the dramatic arc of this now-short story.”
“Ooo, I’m good,” said Woo before turning and hopping out of the window with more grace and ease than, frankly, any of the three men thought to be possible. But such was the fourth week of National Novel Writing Month, Owen was discovering. Amazing things could happen.
Like great big leaps in the plot . . .
© Michelle Woodman