It’s that time of year again when the more foolish of us attack the NaNoWriMo challenge as if nothing else mattered, whilst carrying in our heart of hearts the fact that it really is nothing more than an indulgent pursuit. I don’t really know if anyone takes it really seriously, I hope not. Even if you don’t participate in groups, online or in the flesh, even if you don’t donate money or buy merchandise, it should still be fun to have a go. And it’s not as if there is a word count police, checking your every keystroke.
For me, this attempt is slightly different to the previous three in that I have no specific plans to publish the novel I am going to start to create this time. With that in mind, I am writing something that is just plain silly.
When I tell you that the main character is called Nathan Xylophone, you’ll know that I’m just not taking this year’s NaNoWriMo seriously at all. As if to labour the point, here’s a little excerpt:
“If the past is like a foreign country, the future is like the bit behind the ‘fridge where no one dares to look.”
Nathan Xylophone read the line and then wrote “I have absolutely no idea what that means. I have no real idea what anything means anymore.” He replaced the stylus in its holder at the side of his smartphone and locked the screen with a swipe.
It really was going to be a difficult day. Again.
Yesterday had been quite difficult: so had the day before that. The day that started all this unbelievable nonsense had, annoyingly enough, begun really well. Nathan had reached his research laboratory well before lunchtime, beating the rest of his team by about three hours.
Jay Gee, Thanxy, Sasky, Mik and Tim were the hardest working, brightest research group in the field of Super-compression Wave Disintegration Fusion Physics that the world had ever seen. The fact that there wasn’t another Super-compression Wave Disintegration Fusion Physics research team on the planet was, well, proof. No one else dared to be compared to such a collection of super-luminaries. Well, that’s what Jay Gee, Thanxy, Sasky, Mik and Tim liked to believe.
Nathan “Thanxy” Xylophone stared out of the dirty, smeared window at an unfamiliar landscape and sighed. Rising high above his window, the massive bridge carrying a twelve lane motorway ripped through the sky, carrying a sound that was a cross between thunder and a door closing on the original series of Star Trek. Like the whole past/ future/ foreign country/ ‘fridge thing, it made no sense.
He sat on the edge of the bed and, for the hundredth time that day, ran through the sequence of the last three days in his head. He wanted to feel like that incredibly smart detective, the one who turns up at a crime scene and sees the one supposedly insignificant clue that everyone has missed; the clue that solves the whole case, that solves the whole case that has been the main story arc for twenty one episodes.
He didn’t know where he was. He didn’t even know what country he was in. He had no idea what time of day it was, what season it was or what the oddly pleasant but at the same time disturbing smell in this room was.
An incredibly smart detective. If he had been any further away from that description, he would have been on another planet.
“Oh god!” Unlocking the screen of his smartphone, Nathan extracted the stylus and wrote “I think I’m on another planet!” Then he said it out loud, to see if it sounded as stupid as it looked.
“I’m on another planet!”
A voice from over his shoulder said “Well, close. You’re in Wales. Or what’s left of it.”