National Novel Writing Month Ends

Today it is December (a few days into December, actually), and here I am, a not-quite-winner of National Novel Writing Month. For those of you that don't know, the goal of this event is to write 50,000 words in the same book in 30 days.

I got pretty close -- 42,222 was my ending count. Between Thanksgiving, my parents being in town, and the snowstorm, I couldn't quite make that last 8,000 word jump, but that said, I still consider it a huge success: I have a nearly complete novel!

Here are my stats for the full month, and you can see where I really started to peter during Thanksgiving week, though I did make an attempt (a small one) towards the end: 

If I really stick to my guns and make use of the next few rounds of holiday time off, then I can push through and finish, and my fourth novel will be written. And hopefully, by the end of next year, The Fall of the Flighters will be published!

I'm pretty excited about this book, actually. I think it's interesting, and I'm looking forward to reading what I wrote once it's completely finished. But, for just for you, I will share a brief teaser (unedited, in raw form, copyright Ariele Sieling, 2014) of The Fall of the Flighters. Enjoy!

EDNA poured a glass of Whillery, the drink of madmen, of goddesses, of llamas. At least, that was what the ads said. They tended to lie though. What kind of llama would drink whiskey?

She kicked her feet up on the desk and pondered the walls of her study. Old maps covered every inch; sometimes a scrap of parchment with strange letters or symbols peaked out from between the continents and planets, or a piece of string blocked a letter or word as it reached from one side of the room to the other.

The maps had been found in an old storage locker in downtown Pomegranate City, left behind by the late Edgar Oliphant, historian. Edgars, she had always found, were creepy, stuffy old men. She wasn’t sure why her mother had picked this vocation for her, but she was the first woman in the role: Edna, finder. And she intended to make a name for herself.

Nothing mattered except these maps, which could (or possibly not) hold the secret to everything.

Turning her last find over in her fingers (an old vase from the very first Cordelia Oliphant, potter), she contemplated her next steps. She could scan all of the maps she had into the computer system and let them decipher the text. She could pour over them with a fine-tooth comb and look for clues herself. She could head downstairs and see if the cute boy was working at Joe’s tonight. The last option seemed the most appealing, but the first two seemed more important.

Too bad she didn’t have a three-sided coin. She flipped an imaginary coin in her head: to work or not to work. Heads! Guess that meant it was time to head down to the bar.

She downed the last of her whillery, grabbed her red scarf, and headed down the stairs, making doubly sure the door was locked behind her. She didn’t want anyone just wandering in.

Joe was behind the bar when she arrived, letting the door swing closed behind her with a bang!

“Two double snatches,” she said, plopping herself on a barstool. “On the rocks.”

“Bit early for you to be downstairs,” he said, tossing a glass on the bar in front of her.

Edna looked around the room. It was buzzing with chatter, but only about half full.

“Eh,” she said. “Didn’t feel like working.”

“Know the feeling,” Joe replied, nodding knowingly and wiping his hands on his apron.

“Anyone new in?” she asked.

“Reporter over there,” he gestured to the farthest corner of the room where a woman sat staring intently at her computer. “Says she’s from out of town, looking into some rumors about some new Door that has showed up out of nowhere.”

“Interesting.” Edna squinted towards the shadowy corner. “What’s she drinking?”

“Pop on the rocks,” Joe replied, grinning. “Want one?”

“Put it on my tab,” Edna replied, without looking away from the corner. She grabbed the drinks he set down, and strolled over to the table.

The woman was wide-eyed, as if she had taken way too many caffeine pills, and wore a drab black jacket with an ill-fitting t-shirt underneath. Whatever story she had must be good if she was willing to forego sleep for so long.

“Hey, I’m Edna.” She set the drink on the table. “Thought you could use another drink. You new in town?”

“Hey,” the woman said, looking up from the screen that lit up her face eeriely in the dark booth. “Just got here yesterday.”

“Where you from?” Edna plopped into the seat across from her.

“Small town on the other side of the Elusian Plains.”

“You gotta name?”


“Nice to meet you Ide.”

Edna stared at the woman for a minute. Dark hair, dark clothes, glasses - this woman was excellent at blending into a crowd. Certain crowds, at any rate.

“So Joe tells me you’re a reporter.”

“Yup,” Ide replied.

“A tight-lipped one apparently.”

The woman just smiled.

“Working on anything interesting?” Edna leaned forward and propped her elbows on the table. “Must be something pretty big if you’re coming all the out to Pomegranate City from a little town near the Elusian Plains.”

Ide didn’t say anything, just watched Edna with mild amusement.

Edna decided to keep going.

“Let’s see… did someone important die? Seems unlikely that you’d be out here for that, unless it was the Administrative Chair. Plus I’dve heard about that one. Maybe someone found a secret treasure under one of the fountains at the Globe. No?” Edna wondered if guessing that it had something to do with the Doors would make it too obvious that Joe had mentioned it. But then again, if Ide had mentioned it to Joe, that meant she probably wanted people to know… Edna started to feel excited. She loved puzzles and secrets. “How about travel - you’re a travel writer and your paper just figured out they could send you here to write about it! I bet I’ll be a main feature because I’m an Oliphant. Me and Joe - front page of your town’s top paper!”

Ide smiled softly. “I’ll tell you what I’m working on on one condition.”

“What’s that?”

“I need a guide.”

“A guide? To do what?”

“To sneak me into the Globe government building.”

Edna’s eyes grew wide. That was a very complex assignment. On one hand, the security at the Globe had always kind of sucked. But now they had a new head of security on staff and he was keeping the place on lockdown since a recent break in. And if they went in on a guided tour, it’s not as if they could just sneak off and disappear into the depths of the greatest scientific institution in the world…

“Okay,” Edna agreed. She was curious after all. The how and the why could wait.