First of all, blessings to all the vets out there who fought the good fight. Part of me thinks we shouldn’t celebrate their accomplishments for one day or one month. It should be always. So thank you to the vets!
Onto the writing: I’m sitting pretty at just over 21K. Once again, I am thrilled to pieces with what’s been happening. I thought I lost focus for a moment in some scenes. I couldn’t seem to find my way to get Drew and Cassie past breakfast. I got over the hump, though. She was able to show some spirit by telling her asshole boss off. Drew is revealing his interest in her a little more with each smile and look. Cassie still doesn’t consider herself worthy. That will change soon enough.
Another thing about this story that has taken me by surprise is the interest it’s garnered. I’ve always had a small following for particular stories. Why was this one so different? Easy, according to my sister. She outright told me that all my previous ideas were trope-y and uninspired. She had no interest in them whatsoever. She felt I had confined myself to what I expected sci fi to be- aliens, space exploration, that sort of thing. And she’s right.
The main theme of my NaNo is about freeing oneself of complacency and preexisting expectations. It’s also a direct reflection of myself as a writer. Let’s be honest here: people are invested in human stories. It’s what allows us to connect with characters despite their origins, setting, race, gender, whatever. The sci fi I had originally planned to work on for NaNo? It wasn’t a human story. Sure, it had humans in it. But I was far more invested in the aliens. I loved Mass Effect so much I wanted to try to recreate it in this story. It didn’t work. I think I knew it wouldn’t work despite all the effort I put into crafting the characters.
Now I’d like to share with you what I consider the best paragraphs from the story. It was one of those EUREKA! moments where everything clicked. Enjoy! And keep up the good work, WriMos! Take every written word as a badge of accomplishment.
“But I can’t do it alone. I need your help, Cassie.”
I don’t think I’d ever gotten over hearing him use my name. But this little thrill paled in comparison to the enormous task he placed at my feet. It was bigger than naming me his agent in, what I saw now, as an act of desperation. My mouth went dry, my heart pounded in my chest. I was overcome by the want to put as much distance between me and this new reality as I could.
“What happens when they find out I know, too? I’d lose everything. Again.” My voice caught at this.
Drew evidently did not forget this, for his expression became sympathetic. “I’ve put you in an impossible position. I know that, and it tears me up here.” He touched his heart. “I don’t know if there’s anything I’ll ever be able to do to make up for it. But we can’t let them continue using us like this. It’s bad enough we’ve already let the League run everything else about our lives all because we felt we owed them that.”
His words struck a deep chord within me. Tears welled in my eyes as visions of derision, pity, and cruelty flooded my mind. I’d seen the best and the worst of what became of Beta Colony. I lived in the shadows of its ruin for years. Alone, overlooked, abandoned. I had become so accustomed to the treatment that I had turned numb. My only solace, and probably everyone’s, was to continue letting things be for the sake of normalcy. We idolized the League players when in truth their lives were much more closely guarded then ours. In truth, they were as much a prisoner of the League’s conduct as the rest of us. Complacency had made slaves of us all.
As I gazed up into Drew’s face and saw the conviction in his eyes, a jolt of energy coursed through me. Clubber’s destruction of my fake rookie card seemed a lighted match, and Drew’s entry into my life the trail of gunpowder leading to all the emotions I kept bottled in for so long. Inside, an explosion on par with the solar flare that ruined my life shook me from my complacency. Drew Thomas was no longer the star player on my favorite team, and I was no longer a fan. We had been reborn as conspirators and freedom fighters.
“When do we start?” I asked.
Relief shone in Drew’s eyes. The tension he had carried with him all night loosened its hold. His answering smile, relieved, comforted, lodged firmly into the corner of my heart. We had crossed the threshold of strangers to friends.