A Monday Moment: Chess

Today’s Monday Moment was written on Sept. 24 of last year. I know I said if I hadn’t written any for the week, I’d just have to force myself to write something on Sunday or Monday, but I’m making an exception (yes, already). Between the little break my husband insisted I take from writing, my sister’s wedding prep over the weekend, and doing extra end-of-year work for my job, I feel like it’s not just laziness that left me with nothing to post this week. And in fact, I did write something in the last 7 days that I could use, but it was handwritten, and I don’t have time to type it right now. So for today, enjoy this odd chess game:


I stare down at the board and determine my first move. Moving a piece forward, I look up at Amy.

She smiles sweetly at me. “Is it my turn?”

“It is.”

She looks down at the board and thinks for a moment. “I think you don’t want to make that opening move.”

“Why not?” I ask with amusement.

“It’s obvious. It’s the same move everyone makes. And it will start you off at a disadvantage.”

I muse over my only move so far, but only for a few seconds. “I took my finger off the piece. My move is over, but thanks for trying to help.”

She shrugs. “Okay then.” She moves her own piece, far away from mine. There is no danger here.

I think a little longer about my next move. What will she say if I move this one there? Or if I move this other one? Is it too early to take one of her pieces? I’m pretty sure she’s safe for now. I move a piece and gesture for her to take her turn.

She gives me a small smile, but says nothing this time. Instead, she moves another one of her pieces.

I wonder why she’s acting this way. The game is meant to be won, isn’t it? If she thinks I’m playing badly, why doesn’t she just let me continue so that she can win sooner?

I look down and see that she has moved her piece right in the path of one of mine. I could take her piece. I would be foolish not to, right? I think through the next possible moves, if I were to take her piece. Could she take mine right after? I don’t see how, so I take her piece.

“Well, that’s unfortunate,” she says. She seems genuine in her disappointment, but still cheerful.

After a while, the game has drawn on longer than I would have expected. It’s not that we’re taking an awful long time on our turns. But somehow, she’s no longer moving her pieces in my path very often. And she’s not taking advantage of most of the times when she could take my pieces.

I decide to take a break and stand up to stretch my legs. She’s oblivious to my action, as she is so deeply contemplating her next move. When I step over to sit back down, I notice something odd on the floor. It looks like sawdust.

I stoop over to see what it is, and suddenly she snaps her head up.

“What are you doing?”

“What’s that on the floor by your foot?” I ask her, moving closer.

“Don’t do that! Why would you come snooping around my personal space? Get back to your side.”

My eyes widen in shock over her sudden outburst, but I return to my seat.

“That should be against the rules,” she says in a huff. “In fact, maybe it is. I think you should really forfeit this game, because you’ve broken the rules.”

“I didn’t break any rules! Investigating an odd substance on the floor isn’t against any chess rules!”

“Not chess rules. Rules of life.” She crosses her arms over her chest. “You’re probably going to go to jail.”


Prompt used: You have a chess match that means much more with the antagonist of your story. (Name of antagonist changed to avoid spoilers.)

NaNoWriMo Day 30

The Words: 7999 written today. So though I had decided not to push for 100,000 words, once I started writing today, I really started feeling it again and just kept wanting to come back to it. Then I had to stop for a while for normal family life, and started to get antsy to get back to it. I crossed the 100k mark around 11:10 pm! And I finished the climax, and spent some time brainstorming what else should happen. And I think I have a decent idea for the rest of the story, whether I work on that after NaNo or leave it for a long time. The brainstorming being in text, and not just in my mind, will help a lot if I do put it aside for now.

One of the more important things for me, this year, was this:every day
I wanted to make sure that I wrote some words every day of the month, no matter how many or how few. I’m not sure I’ve ever done that during NaNo before.

This weekend my sisters and I are having what we hope will be one final, day-long editing session for “Pithea,” so no matter what I do with the novel I didn’t quite finish for NaNo, I have to work on getting ready for that this week.

For those of you who came to my blog during November, I will continue to post nearly every day. I make it a goal to write or revise a certain amount every day, which I don’t adhere to quite as strictly as I do NaNo, but it still keeps me from falling into huge lazy gaps. This blog was originally started as a place to keep myself accountable for that, and it continues to be such.

The Story: Missy and her husband happen upon Jonathan and his unanticipated nemesis squaring off. A sudden fight breaks out, and who is left on the other side, and how, is completely unexpected. Of course I can’t really say more due to spoilers, but it should be a neat twist! And in my revision someday, I’ll have to make the whole thing much more grand than it turned out.

I think I’ve straightened out my heroes and villains, and even know what’s going to eventually happen between the middle area I last left off at and the climax that I finished today.

Total word count: 100,383

day 30

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already: 2015 – November 30th And check back tomorrow, because there’s usually one more comic for Dec. 1st!

NaNoWriMo Day 29

The Words: 854 words written today. I realized this evening that I was only writing because I felt like I had to. I had set myself a goal for 100,000 words by the end of the month, and I felt like a failure if I couldn’t reach it. I’m still not thrilled about the idea of letting that goal go, and I may drive myself crazy tomorrow telling myself I should be writing. Maybe I’ll really push for it tomorrow, but I had to make the decision today that I’d only do that if I felt like it, not because I thought I had to. It’s an arbitrary goal, and I’ve already won NaNo whether I make that or not. But it’s been making me feel stressed because things have been more hectic than usual lately with special activities to do, holidays (though that was planned for in advance at least) and a sick kid. So I’m giving myself permission to fall short.

My main goal is to try to get the climax written completely, so I don’t leave that hanging at least (and yes, I jumped to the climax, though I wasn’t actually there in my writing yet).

The Story: Jonathan is confronting the person who is behind everything that’s been going on. He’s starting to realize how much this person has pulled strings for years now. He doesn’t know why yet. (I have no idea how Jonathan got out of jail, but I know he needs to.)

Total word count: 92,385

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already: 2015 – November 29th

NaNoWriMo Day 28

The Words: 2252 words written today. This was written a few hours after midnight, when my daughter finally went to sleep. I tried to salvage the night’s writing, especially since I knew I’d be busy today. We spent the afternoon decorating the tree, and then went to an escape room this evening. It was one my husband and I had done alone last weekend, but we got others from my family (Mom, Dad, 2 sisters, one sister’s boyfriend, and our own 13-year-old son) to go do the same room. Then the owner let us back into the control room to watch them solve the room! Then afterward, we went out to eat and sat and talked about the room for a while. It was so much fun! Not so good for the last few days of NaNo, but fun! And fun is nice right now.

I have two days left to try to reach my goal of 100,000 words. I will be frustrated if I come this close and fail, but of course it’s not a necessary goal. 4200 each of the next two days will get me there, but we’ll see how they go. My daughter’s still been holding a  low fever today, so she’s a little needy.

The Story: Missy and her husband have been discussing the situation with Jonathan further. Missy gave him a history lesson of how Jonathan and Lark met and fell in love, since he didn’t know all of them at that time. Still more fishing by me, and soon I’m going to have to move on. I may go ahead and dive into the climax tomorrow. I’m just not sure where the players will be at the start of the climax. But I might be able to make it vague enough. Maybe doing that will give me a better idea of where to go next further back in the story.

Total word count: 91,530

day 28

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already: 2015 – November 28th    This comic… this one is brilliant. However, if you haven’t been keeping up with them, you should maybe read this one first. This is the very spirit of what makes NaNo so amazing.

NaNoWriMo Day 27

The Words: 2009 words written today. I had planned to write a lot between 10 pm and 2 am. But it was not to be. My 5-year-old daughter started feeling unwell around 7 pm, and it escalated throughout the night. I got a couple of 15-minute sprints in before I had to just go lie on the bed with her watching cartoons. It was only ever a fever and headache, which were both mostly gone when she finally went to bed. So she’s okay for now, and we’ll see how she’s doing tomorrow.

Now I go on to get more words in for Saturday, since I have a somewhat busy day ahead, and I don’t actually know what my writing time will look like.

The Story: Continuing on with what I started yesterday, Jonathan has been sitting in his cell thinking through the entire situation. That has turned into some brief recaps of certain storylines from “Pithea.” This is what happens when I start pantsing and don’t know where I’m going.

Total word count: 89,278

day 27

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already: 2015 – November 27th

NaNoWriMo Day 26

The Words: 45 words written today (well…yesterday, actually, but I’m dating it the 26th because I’m particular enough that I want to see a blog post every day I wrote, not just when I had time to post about it). This is the lowest amount I’ve written all month, but Thanksgiving day (or whatever day my family gets together for Thanksgiving) always is. We always play board games into the night, and I never get home before midnight. Sometimes they’ll play a game that I’d rather not join in on (I often watch instead of play), so I’ll get out my notebook and write at the table while they play. That didn’t happen this time. So at about 11:30, I made sure to at least write something. This is the first year I’ve been so insistent on writing every day during November, even if it’s just 45 words. It might be because of these blog posts (I did this same thing last year, but had very little audience), or it might be because I want the badge for updating every day. Either way, I like that it pushes me to at least think about my writing a little bit on busy days.

The Story: I wrote a paragraph of Jonathan sitting in jail, going over things in his mind. In fact, I’ll just post it right here:
“Jonathan had a lot of time to think during his detainment. The biggest thing on his mind wasn’t the murder he’d been accused of or even the book that was so important to him and had been violated. His mind was constantly on his wife.”

Total word count: 87,269

Don’t forget to check out yesterday’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already: 2015 – November 26th (They’re about to start an epic word war!)

NaNoWriMo Day 25

The Words: 3455 words written today. I was distracted for the first hour of my writing time, and I had to really buckle down with sprints to get the words in before midnight. Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving and I’ll be gone until probably after midnight. I’ll write in a notebook when I can, but I’ve made sure to have a lead pretty much for this very reason.

The Story: Missy went to talk to Jonathan’s wife Larxis about the things she’d said to the investigators. She mostly got told off by Lark, who said they were never friends, only pushed together because of their shared interest in Lark’s husband. Missy sort of caught Lark in a logic trap, which only angered Lark further, and then she promptly quit their War Games team. It wasn’t pretty. Larxis has a temper, that’s for sure.

Total word count: 87,224

day 25

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already: 2015 – November 25th

 

NaNoWriMo Day 24

The Words: 4976 words written today. I went to the last write-in at my local library tonight. It was a small turnout, but I did get my normal day’s word count done while I was there. Then I went ahead and did one 1k30min with the Twitter feed, and wrote 1600 words during that.

The Story: Jonathan has been detained for the murder of his apprentice. He and Missy are discussing some concerning issues, like what on earth is going on in general, and why Jonathan’s wife Larxis said that he has a temper and that she thinks Missy is in love with Jonathan. He just keeps telling her to trust the justice system, and not to worry over things she can’t control. He wants her to cooperate fully with the investigation, and he’s certain the truth will come out (whatever that even is). I never knew he was so level-headed and trusting. Even I’m starting to wonder if he’s having a mental break-down.

Total word count: 83,769

day 24

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already: 2015 – November 24th

And episode 4 of the NaNoMusical! Rick falls down, and there’s a sappy love song!

NaNoWriMo Day 23

The Words: 3984 words written today. I started doing word sprints with the Twitter feed around 10 pm, and didn’t look back. I’m really glad to be back into the writing again.

The Story: Jonathan filled Missy in when he was on his way to confront his apprentice, who wasn’t home. Missy, waiting for some sort of report, decided she couldn’t wait anymore, and went to the apprentice’s home too. There she found a dead apprentice and no Jonathan.

Total word count: 78,793

day 23

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already: 2015 – November 23rd

Week three is over and we have just one week left (and for Americans, it’s Thanksgiving week). How is everyone out there doing? Ready to finish strong? Limping to the end? Whatever you do, DON’T GIVE UP!

NaNoWriMo Day 22

The Words: 109 words written today. Today was another full one, with checking out of the hotel, a nice lunch, and then waiting in line for a concert. We stood out in the cold for 2 hours. My toes were in a lot of pain by the time the doors opened. I originally thought I could write by hand in a small notebook to pass the time while waiting in line. Turns out I couldn’t do much but bounce on my feet trying to stay warm. When we first arrived at the place where the concert was, though, we decided to wait in the car until the line started forming. That was when I wrote 109 words.

My goal since finishing my first novel has been 3333 words per day, to try to reach 100k this month. These last two low days have fortunately not derailed me, because I had such a lead on that goal, I’m actually right around par now. So tomorrow I should be able to start writing more normally again.

The Story: There was some narrative about how Jonathan’s apprentice is more like an assistant, not an officially recognized apprentice. Jonathan himself isn’t really ready to have an apprentice yet, but when he let a member of his War Games team who was also a blacksmith help him in the shop, the team gave him the title “apprentice,” so that’s what he’s called. Or something. I was just trying to find something to write about, so I may have rambled a bit.

Total word count: 74,809

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already: 2015 – November 22nd