30 Days of NaNoWriMo – Day 20: All of the Curve Balls and Every Last Wrench

LS-NaNoWriMoProgress-11.20.14Where I Barely Wrote: My local library. I feel like this means that I’ve ultimately lost the expert planning challenge for this week, but so be it; something I didn’t plan for at all made me think I had to stay in the Bronx. The funny thing about it? I later found that I definitely didn’t need to stay in the area after all.

How I Feel About What I Typed, Slowly, Letter by Letter, with My Index Fingers: Okay? All obvious bitterness aside, what I put down was a good start. A good start for an addition I decided to make at about… 1AM last night?

The Experience:


I looked down at a small child staring up at me in front of my building. I was just getting back after my first visit to my local library.

A visit that began with me realizing I hadn’t eaten anything or even drunk anything before deciding that writing in my library was better than waiting until 4PM to go somewhere else and write; I didn’t want to rock my schedule–didn’t want to get back home and rush out a post only to put in time at work in a desperate, inefficient haze. But the library, it turned out, was a theater in which two middle-aged white men made jokes about viagra and prattled on about conspiracy theories (involving pedophiles [because of course]). I was there for maybe ten minutes before leaving and getting breakfast.

And being confronted by a kid in front of my building.


“Hello,” I said, staring down at him, trying my best to not be a Snape about it. Probably failing. Ronald… Weasely…

“Do you live here?”

The fuck? “Yes. I do.”

The child said something that I classify as ‘kid inaudible.’ I just repeated that yes, I live in my building.

“Oh. Which side?”

“That side,” I pointed. I had to do it twice.

For a split second, I thought that maybe this kid was actually lost–that he was asking for help getting into his place. For a split second, I was ready to drop everything and help him get into his building and find his apartment or maybe a neighbor who could help him.

But then he said, “Okay. You can go ahead,” and waved me along like a police officer.

I… despise police officers, I wanted to say in my best Alan Rickman. I didn’t, although not because I was adverse to confusing this child–I just don’t dislike police officers.

Instead, I said, “Thanks,” letting the humor in the moment coax out a smile before heading inside. I still had to reach for that smile; the encounter was cute, but I just wasn’t in the mood. That wasn’t this weird kid’s fault though. If anything, I hope I didn’t dissuade him from being a weird Building Monitor to anyone else.  I’m a fan of strange random encounters. At least in settings where I’m guaranteed an easy exit.

But, regardless, all I was in the mood for was getting upstairs, having a meal, and waiting for a package or for someone else to get home so I could try the library again. I took the time to play a bit of Rebirth and consider a detail that I’d be writing in Memory the moment I got back to the library.

A detail that was part of an addition I decided to make the previous night, when I realized that my suspicions about the gravity of the endgame were probably right; the events I had planned were probably more epic for me because I love my characters but those events wouldn’t be as epic for readers because the book was too short. It needed at least one more event–one more bit of adventure–to really seal the deal and strengthen my protagonists’ relationship, an idea that I would’ve been unsure about if there wasn’t already a place in the plot where that extra point fit perfectly. Not a problem at all–but an addition that actually makes NaNoWriMo significantly tighter for me (I will actually have to start hitting their quota now to be sure I finish Memory in the next ten days).

I had about an hour to play and plan before someone got home, the delivery never having made it in the first place. But whatever. Down to the library. Back to writing.


… No. It… can not be.

Sitting in one of four adjoining chairs at the library, glad to see the middle-aged men gone, I turned to see that indeed it wasn’t; I expected the same kid and instead got a new one. Apparently, my neighborhood is full of way too friendly and social Hispanic kids.

I said hello back.

And then said hello to Kid B, one of Kid A’s jealous friends.

Then said hello to Kid A again.

Then said hello to Kid C.

To which Kid C said, “Is that a Galaxy Tab III?”

Ohhhh my God, I thought. It was lyrical, my brain singing it. “Yes.”

“Where’d you get that case?”



Internal sigh. I didn’t want to be a total bastard to this kid. “On Amazon. I just… ordered it.”

“Oh. Is the original case white?”

“I don’t know.”

“You didn’t get it?”

“No. I actually didn’t even really use this thing until I got the keyboard.”

“Oh that keyboard is linked to it?”


“That’s pretty cool… Do you go to church?”

What? “I haven’t been in a while, but yeah, I have.”

“Oh… Do you have a Bible?”

WHAT? The walls were crumbling down. It was sinking in that writing was a bust. This kid was not going to stop talking to me. I was not okay with this. The only thing that could save the moment was if his mom came around the corner and happened to be Eva Longoria; if I just so happened to walk into a romcom with Eva Longoria today, I’d be fine.

But there was no Eva Longoria.

“Yes. I have one at my house,” I answered.

“Oh. God bless you!”

“Thanks,” I said, enjoying for just another flash the cute weirdness of the moment.

But it was only a flash. At this point, Kids A and B actually started running circles around me and almost hitting me. This, I realize, was an intentionally ridiculous joke I’d made in my post for Day 10 at Loreto Playground. Ten days later, it had actually come true. Kid C was no longer engaging me, but I just sat there, holding my tablet, staring off into space.

“Do you play games on that thing?” It was Kid C again. I heard this and thought, How did I not know that that’s where he was going with this?

“No,” I answered honestly. I don’t; I actually despise mobile gaming. “I don’t have any on here.”

I expected an immediate question about whether I game–perhaps an observation that Link was on my t-shirt, riding a bear.

Instead, they broke away, chasing each other somewhere. And I realized that today… was just not the day for NaNoWriMoing. Before the day even began, I’d thrown a wrench in my own plans. And then the Local Brigade of Inquisitive Children followed up.

Tomorrow, I will wake up as early as I can and get down to the city. I will hit my NaNoWriMo quota. I will, once again, make progress.

But tonight, I work. I brainstorm. I finally reply to emails from friends I’ve been meaning to get to. I will, perhaps, read followers’ and likers’ blogs, something I’m impatiently saving for December.

But no matter what I do, I let today go and prepare for tomorrow, taking into account the possibility that there are other wrenches waiting.

Published by

Louis Santiago

I'm a fantasy writer based in New York. One of my short stories, "Aixa the Hexcaster," was published at Mirror Dance Fantasy. You can read it here: http://www.mirrordancefantasy.com/2016/09/aixa-hexcaster.html.

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