Last Nanowrimo Check-In aka Everything in My House Decided to Break Including My Head + We Don’t Bite (Much) Excerpt

Oh boy, folks, it was not in the cards this year. I hate to say it, but for my own sake and for the sake of the project I’m calling it at roughly 20k with Nano. Got a lot of good content out of dedicatedly working on this, but I’ve reached my stress threshold. Still, stay tuned for a little excerpt at the end of this post of me explaining what broke me.

Non-exhaustive list of things that have happened in the past couple of weeks:

  • car tire broke
  • bed frame broke
  • kitchen sink broke
  • heater broke
  • laptop broke
  • roof needed to be replaced
  • ocular migraine
  • insomnia
  • coming in to work early/staying extra time all week

As I sit here typing this up I have a splitting headache. When I sit back and look at all of the stuff I’ve had to manage, particularly in relation to home ownership, I’m actually really proud of what I did manage to crank out. I would actually call Paisley’s route roughly “done,” so we’re one third of the way to completion with drafting.

It’s become clear, though, that trying to force myself to keep going with this particular project with the expectation of hitting the 50k milestone this month is just not it. Could I conceivably catch back up? Possibly–by my calculations it would take writing for eight hours straight–but it would further contribute to the intense stress that has me feeling physically unwell.

To be clear, though, just because I’m throwing in the towel with Nano doesn’t mean I’m not going to keep writing this month. It’s just going to be at a less pressuring pace with editing Monstress, indulging myself with a bit of fan work, and perhaps doing some more art conceptualizing for WDBM.

Furthermore, I am still going to plan on circling back to this project full force next year. I think it’s a really cute really good idea I’ve done a fair bit of worldbuilding and character development for! I am also going to post a few more excerpts of WDBM for WIP Wednesday because I came up with material that I would like to share from Nano before I get back to working on it properly.

I think both the boys in the story and I will be better off if I take a little time out for now. BUT since I don’t want to leave you all with just me moaning for an entire post, here is an excerpt!

Warning for some vague allusions to disordered eating (blood drinking?) and the tiniest bit of body shaming.

Zack: Come on, it’s a new recipe. I’d ask the human to try it, but it’s got blood in it. You’ve gotta give it a go before the customers get here.

Paisley: I’m sorry, I really can’t. I ate earlier. I have no appetite.

Zack: Just one bite?

Paisley looks betrayed, but reluctantly picks up the cupcake. He shuts his eyes like he’s about to bite into a giant bug instead and sinks his teeth through the three inches of frosting and two inches of actual cake.

Zack: Soooo? What do you think? Is reddest velvet the best or what?

Paisley: It’s pretty good.

Zack: Pretty good? I was hoping for a “fantastic” or “amazing.”

Paisley shakes his head.

Paisley: Sorry, Zack. I’m not the best judge right now because I’ve got no appetite.

Zack: Sugar and blood cravings are supposed to overpower lack of appetite, aren’t they? That’s what always happens to me, anyway. Well, whatever.

Since you’re not really doing great at helping me out with this, do you think you could do me a different favor instead?

Paisley: Um… that depends.

Zack: Okay, it’s not really a favor, since I plan on paying you, but it is a bit of an ask.

Can you deliver some cupcakes for me?

Paisley: Do you even do delivery?

Zack: I do now. This customer was willing to pay quite a bit to have a baker’s dozen of the new product brought to his door.

Paisley: Oh no… don’t tell me…

Zack: Don’t give me that look, there’s more than one rich vampire who likes my cupcakes in this town. There are… at least two or three.

Paisley: It’s Ren, isn’t it?

Zack: …

Yeahhh. It’s Ren.

Paisley: Why would you ask me to do that? That guy hates me.

Zack: He doesn’t hate you. You’re more like a mild annoyance that’s beneath his notice. Hating you would take way too much of his time.

Paisley: Gee, thanks.

Zack: No problem.

Paisley: Well, I don’t really like him, either.

Zack: Noooo, please don’t say no. Belinda and I are all tied up here with the reddest velvet batches. I’d send the human alone but that’s a one-way ticket to Ren drinking up all of their blood.

Paisley: Don’t say stuff like that! That’s horrible!

Zack: I’m sorry, I’m sorry.

But what about this? You and the human can go together. You’ll have, like, a walking security blanket and someone to reassure you that Ren is a big jerk.

Paisley: I don’t need anyone to reassure me of that. But… fine. If it’s okay with you, human, then it’s okay with me.

Zack: Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Paisley: Uh-huh.

You and Paisley receive three boxes to bring to the address Zack gives you.

Zack: You can take my car, too.

He drops his keys on top of the tower of boxes Paisley holds. It falls to you to drive because, as it turns out, Paisley can’t.

Paisley: I just never bothered to learn because I can’t afford a car. I’m glad that Zack’s letting us use his, though, because the woods around the Fukumoto place are ridiculously spooky.

The car is parked out back. It’s the same Barbie pink as the rest of Best Bites and has a red decal with the logo on the side. Maybe Zack has been planning on getting into delivery for a while. Or maybe he just likes driving around with advertising on his car.

Either way, you feel a little silly as you drive through the sullen streets of Bethorn on your way to Ren’s.

Paisley drums his claws on the top of the pile of boxes and clutches them to himself on every turn despite you taking them relatively slow.

Paisley: Oh, I hope I’m not squishing any of them…

Downtown melts into the outskirts melts into the aforementioned spooky woods. It gets so dark that the headlights feel like little more than a pair of weak flashlights for how much good they seem to do at illuminating the dark. And then the trees spit the pink car out of the darkness and into the clearing lit with grayish moonlight.

Paisley: Phew! I was starting to worry that we had gone the wrong way. Can you imagine if we had tried to walk that? I thought that was what Zack wanted us to do at first.

The three-story mansion is an odd amalgamation of Victorian gothic and American midwest, at once sharp and cozy. Like you would find a plush fainting couch inside right next to some strange novelty candy dish. It wouldn’t be scary in the daylight, you’re sure. As is, Paisley looks sick and terrified.

Paisley: U-um. Oh my gosh, what if he bites me? I know he won’t, because vampire blood is supposed to be nasty, but what if he just decides that he’s angry with me or something and he just–chomp!

>You’re delivering him food

>Yeah, he might do that

>You’re delivering him food

Paisley: Oh, yeah… but this is probably for a party or something, right? He’s not going to eat these all himself, surely. He’s not THAT fat…

…that was so mean of me to say, I am so sorry, please don’t ever repeat that to anyone. I’m going.

>Yeah, he might do that

Paisley: Noooo, you were supposed to assure me that he wouldn’t! Even if it was a lie, that was what you were supposed to say! Now I’m absolutely terrified.

But I guess we can’t leave until I drop these off, so I’ll just dingdong ditch and call it a day. I’m going.

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