03 November 2006

November Novel Update

It's been quiet lately at work and I've been doing a bit more reading in the evenings than the last week or so. One of the books I started was Bruce Campbell's autobiography, which has been great fun. And lately I've been engaged in a fierce (well, not really) debate about the correct taxonomy of one of the common trees on this base, Conocarpus lancifolius, which doesn't have an English common name but is called ghalab by the Somalis. It's quite a nice tree but there's a dearth of agreement as to what, exactly, it is. I'm going to post a couple pictures shortly along with a long and rather dry explanation of the naming controversy, which is not as yet settled (I've brought in the New York Botanical Gardens and the University of Florida Herbarium to help, and may have to try to get myself a wood sample to bring home). This is fair warning.

And I've been pecking away at my 50,000 word novel for National Novel Writing Month. I haven't quite managed the word count I'm going to need to reach 50k, and what with the safari coming up the last week of the month I'm thinking I need to at least give myself the first four days of December. Just to be fair, you know.

As of this writing I have 2778 words, not counting the title. I cheated, though, because the main character--acutally, it appears he's going to be peripheral--is named Ivan Marion Cartwright Harrison Templeton van Arden Telemann Romanostovich-Spastiziczisikowski. That's ten words right there. Of course, he goes by Van and his full name is only reported once.

This book has not led in any of the directions I considered in the last post. It's clearly straight farce. The action takes place in the city of Porktown, which is a state capital. The climate is uniformly warm and breezy because of the high proportion of state legislators and advertising agencies that call the place home, such that none of the characters are actually sure what time of year it is (it's the month of Checkuary). One of the other characters is named Melllllllody, although she doesn't pronounce the extra six L's (unlike her mother Ellllizabeth). Like all fifteen year old girls dream of doing, Melllllllody ran away from home and took work on the tugboats and garbage barges that ply the Dreary River, which runs into Gabba Gabba Bay at Porktown. The character I now suspect of being the central character in the story so far doesn't have a name. He goes about in a tweed smoking jacket and blue velvet cape and calls himself The Reporter. Clearly he's some sort of superhero, although at present his only superpower seems to be predicting traffic accidents.

Remember when I said, it doesn't have to be good? Right. I do take my own advice, even if no one else does.


Lucky Bob said...

You are one of the only people I know who could get into a taxonomy debate about a tree while stationed overseas. That's almost priceless, or sad. I can't determine which right now. Oh and by the way I do beieve that I have a couple of sourwood trees in my yard. At least that's what I think they are. They are producing the correct Fall color, but I'll have to watch for the blooms to see for sure. I have determined I'm way too anal to write of the cuff for a month. I'll try to ponder some and maybe next year I'll jump on the bandwagon when I'm not as busy with other stuff.
Taxonomy. Jeez. Of course I got into a discussion in class today about the symbols on power switches being binary: 0 for the off position, 1 for the on position, and a combination for a button. The strange things we talk about.

Anonymous said...

Smitty, Can I go out an a limb and suppose that your NaNoWriMo account is thehappysmith? I'm under scanime.

I've got a whopping 1,138 words so far on my fantasy novel, but here's hoping a four-day weekend will give me many more.

Anonymous said...

Okay, my boss just came up to my desk to see what is going on since I am sitting here literally laughing out loud.

First the taxonomy debate - then the name of the characters in your book, Ivan Marion Cartwright Harrison Templeton van Arden Telemann Romanostovich-Spastiziczisikowski, Melllllllody and of course lest we forget Ellllizabeth.

Literally laughing out loud.