Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I'm writing a novel!

Here's an excerpt from William Haphazard in Weird World! (Note: I have not read this over again, so don't blame me for bad editing if you spot a typo. I didn't edit it at all.) I'm up to 4,470 words (I've got a long way to go.)

When William awoke, the first thing he saw was the grass, darkened by the shadow of his self. Grass was a normal thing, was it not? So then, he couldn’t have gone anywhere, could he? Why was he unconscious in the first place? Was he attacked? Hit on the head by falling construction material? But wait, if that were it, wouldn’t someone have found him and then transported to a hospital? So, either he is currently somewhere remote, or people are jerks.
William picked himself up, which seemed like the logical thing to do, as the view face-against-the-ground wasn’t exactly stunning. After brushing himself off, William studied his surroundings. It was the most generic, bland green field he had ever seen. This was surely a sign that he was no longer where he wanted to be. The beautiful, blue, cloudless sky…the gentle breeze…the birds singing in perfect harmony…all indicators of something sinister.
There was also a dirt path a few steps from where William stood and this snaked along the field as if to be clever, as being completely straight would have sufficed. Ahead, the path ended at a very old-fashioned stone house. It was like he fell into the 18th century. And if there was one scenario William was not capable of handling. Time travel is definitely beyond his set of comfortable experiences.
This all happened in a manner of minutes, less than 5 but more than 2. Narrowing it down further would require math beyond human comprehension (or less apathy). At this point, William really didn’t feel like dwelling into what got him there, it seemed a completely tertiary subject. Primary was to find out where he was, secondary to see who lived in the stone house. He decided to find these things out in reverse order, just to shake things up. And so, William walked along the unnecessarily convoluted path to the house.
When he reached the door, he stopped for a moment. What kind of person or thing will he meet? Will it be friendly, or will it be cannibalistic? After a few moments, William was leaning more to the latter, as the perfect blandness of the setting led to an uneasy feeling. But he still let the rest of his self go to the polls before making his decision.
Before the last pieces of William’s mind could exact their democratic rights, the door slowly opened. This was unexpected, as William concluded beforehand that he would at least decide what he would do before he died suddenly. He didn’t die suddenly, though. He was actually quite alive suddenly. William peeked inside the house. It wasn’t incredibly bright, as the light through the windows was the only thing illuminating it. There were only a few pieces of furniture: a single antique-looking chair, and rows upon rows of book shelves that were absolutely overflowing. He had no idea how this rather small abode could hold so many shelves. It was certainly a miracle of organization and fine-tuned furniture placement, a miracle William never thought he would see, mostly because it seemed rather worthless.
“I’ve been expecting you. Come on in.” A voice from inside boomed.
William had no desire to anger whoever the voice belonged to, even if it was a six-year-old. He’s very kind that way. So, he did as the voice said, and stepped inside. When he saw where the voice came from, he stood motionless, facial expression stuck in a bizarre mixture of astonishment and confusion.
“I really should introduce myself. I am called The Smartest Being In the Universe because…I’m the Smartest Being in the Universe.”
“You’re…a gorilla.” William pointed out to the Smartest Being in the Universe.
And the Smartest Being in the Universe was, in fact, a gorilla. One of those silverback gorillas you always hear about on Nature shows. And he sat, in all his gorilla glory, surrounded by dozens of open books containing an unfathomable number of words. And the gorilla was TALKING, and claiming RANK IN EXISTENCE. A combination of elements that would kill many people
“So?” the Smartest Being in the Universe retorted.
“Well…uhhh…” William thought for a second, trying to figure out exactly what was wrong with this situation. “Ummm….you are the Smartest Being in the Universe?”
“That’s what I said.” The Smartest Being in the Universe said. “Is there a problem with that?”
William pulled on his collar (yes, he has a shirt with a collar), trying to think of a way not to offend the Smartest Being in the Universe.
“Well, I’m just…surprised…to see that the Smartest Being in the Universe is…a gorilla. You know?” William stuttered.
“Makes sense.” The Smartest Being in the Universe stated.
“Wait…” William just remembered something important.
“Did you say…you were expecting me?”
“Yes. I have been waiting for you.” Said The Smartest Being in the Universe.
William’s befuddlement gave way to a strange form of excitement. This gorilla can tell him why he is here, and how he can get back. Probably; he did say it was the Smartest Being in the Universe, right? He should know these things.
“Well…errr….why?” William asked.
“Do you have the patience?” The Smartest Being in the Universe asked.
“Actually, that doesn’t really matter. I was going to have to explain it to you, anyway. So sit down and listen.”
William had never taken suggestions from a gorilla before. Well, there is a first time for everything, except hopefully a very pointy object through vitals. He sat down and listened carefully to the information the gorilla was dispensing. Information-dispensing gorillas, I never thought I’d see the day…

“The world you currently inhabit is nameless, which is not to say it doesn’t have a title which people refer to it by, but that none are official. It’s been called Heaven, Hell, Planet X, Limbo, and even VilleTown by lesser minds. I find thinking up a name for it to be a waste of my creative powers.
The world is based on its own internal logic, which it has very little of. Things seem to happen without notice and without reason. The sensible and the senseless intermingle. In general, you never quite know what will happen. Except me, of course; I am the Smartest Being in the Universe.”
“Well, I guess that explains the whole…gorilla…thing.” William noted. “Still, why am I here?”
The Smartest Being in the Universe went on: “You were brought here to complete a quest. And I am assigned to be your guide and traveling companion.”
“A quest? What kind?”
“That is yet to be determined.”
“Huh? How can I be here to complete a quest if I don’t have an actual quest to complete?”
“We’ll find one, don’t worry.”
“But if we didn’t have one in the first place, why was I brought here?”
“Okay, this is going to be another long explanation, so get ready.”
The Smartest Being in the Universe cleared his throat, and drank from a glass of water beside him (but we didn’t feel was necessarily worth describing earlier). These were all the signs of a seminar in the making.
“Up in the sky, there is a being called the ‘Eternal Watcher’. It is a giant, omnipresent eye that watches the goings on in the world. Unfortunately for the Eternal Watcher, it does not have an eyelid, possibly because its mother smoked. So when it watches all, it watches all, all the time. Now, consider that. You are a giant eye that is forced to constantly watch over the entire world. You should think that, after a while, watching the world would get dreadfully dull. And it is for the Eternal Watcher. Nothing particularly new or exciting has occurred for a long time. Taking into consideration that I just explained to you that the world is completely random, you know that the Eternal Watcher has to have seen many, many, many things to be bored of it already. But, he has, and he is. That is why he brought you here to fulfill a quest.”
“Wait just a minute…are you telling me that I was ripped from all my usual surroundings, thrust into a strange world of talking gorillas in cabins, and forced to partake in a quest that doesn’t even exist yet; just to entertain some big floating eye?” William shouted.
“You got it. Now back to finding the quest at hand…” The Smartest Being in the Universe trailed off.
“Why should I? Why should run around with a talking gorilla, doing something stupid to amuse this ‘Eternal Watcher’? What if I just decided to not do it?” William continued his raging speech.
“Well…” The Smartest Being in the Universe attempted to explain, but was cut off by William.
“But, given my luck this far, I probably HAVE to do this, because if I don’t, I’m stuck here forever. So you know what? I’m going to do it. I’m going on this unnamed quest. I’m going to entertain that stupid eye. And when I’m done, and he sends me back, I’m going to go home, and I’m going to rest in my comfy bed, and I’m going to dream of horrible, violent things happening to it.”
“Well, then, now that we have that out of the way…I already have a quest in mind.” Said the Smartest Being in the Universe, apparently unfazed by William’s fury and threats of violent thoughts against a somewhat cosmic being. “If I remember correctly, which I obviously do because I’m the Smartest Being in the Universe, there was a Princess held at the Sinistre Fortress by an evil villain. But…”
“Okay. That sounds okay. But, but what?” William asked, having calmed down significantly after venting.
“They may or may still be there.”
“But I thought you said that you knew that they were, considering you are the Smartest Being in the Universe?”
“I said I remembered they were there ONCE. It was like, a week ago. I’ve been in my home since then. Haven’t heard any updates on them since then. I may be the Smartest Being in the Universe, but the latest news doesn’t just ZAP to my brain. I actually have to go out and get it myself. This is why I am so deserving of the title of The Smartest Being in the Universe; I actually had to WORK for it.”
“So, how do you suggest we check to make sure they are still around?”
“How else? We go read a newspaper.”
“Wow, that’s about the first thing that’s made sense in this place. And it’s coming from a talking gorilla.”
“You know, you’re going to have to get used to the fact that I am a gorilla.”
“I bet I will, eventually.” William lied through his teeth.

And with the two barely acquainted enough to actually tolerate the presence of the other, William and the Smartest Being in the Universe were off to purchase a newspaper, trying to see if the adventure they want to go on can actually happen. What a thrilling way to start a rousing quest, filled with excitement and danger, isn’t it? Don’t answer that question.

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At 3:08 p.m., Anonymous Cook said...

You're "writing a novel"?

Neither am I!


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