In my work, I have reached a total word count of 36,173. This is almost 5K above the goal set in place by Camp NaNoWriMo. I determined before going into this to do what worked for last November. A higher daily goal than that of NaNo. Instead of 1,603 words, I chose to go for 2,000 words per day. I did this for two reasons, one because I wanted to be ahead of the curve in case I needed a break, but also because if I were to get my daily goal every day, on time, I would be done with a week to go. This gave me a week of catch-up should I fall behind.
As you may remember, my writing style is more creating than it is editing. Indeed, this is in need of polishing as this is a rough draft. Indeed, much of what I have poured out in the last 19 days of Kodiak Rising Part Two is in desperate need of fleshing out. I am building a skeleton, a scaffolding. In the coming months, much like Part One, most of it will be revised, rewritten or even cut altogether. As the finer details are polished, the scaffolding will come down around it, revealing something I am proud of.
I began with chapter breaks, and eventually stopped thinking of this as chapter by chapter and more of scene by scene. The revisions for this draft will be more difficult than Part One. I will have to print this out scene by scene and rework them individually. It is a daunting task.
In addition, I feel I am very blocked right now. I re-wrote the first two chapters (before forgetting about chapters) because in the beginning it was going nowhere. I find that once again it is going nowhere. It’s discouraging. But I simply must keep going. If not for myself but for Jake! For Paul and Johnny! For Bennie and Alia! For the characters I have created that I love so much. It it not fair to leave them hanging. They are on a great adventure and they must see it through to the end. And they are looking to me to help them get there.
I apologize to all of my faithful and gentle readers for neglecting you. I’ve been very busy working on Kodiak Rising Part Two. It’s taken a great deal of my attention. I’d like to share with you a little chunk of what I’ve been working on. Two characters you may have never met in the first two chapters posted on this blog. I love both of these men and they are both based on real people whom have had a great impact on my life.
Paul’s character, while not actually being the main character, was the motivating factor for beginning Kodiak Rising. I loved this man very much and I wished to honor him by giving him something that lived on. Paul’s true identity is a secret.
Johnny’s character is based upon my maternal grandfather of the same name. He was rather minor in the first part of Kodiak. So much so that he could have been removed from the story altogether and would not have been missed. It was a goal of mine to give him a purpose in Part Two.
I hope you enjoy it!
Paul watched the ships going out. Soon the fishing season would be in full swing and Dutch Harbor would be full. How he wished he could go. He longed for the seas under his feet, the smell of the salty air, the freedom from watching Protectorate eyes.
He sat on his veranda and strummed his guitar softly, his little dog sleeping at his feet. The Huskies had long since been buried in the backyard, and now his little Yorkshire Terrier was comical next to his large personae. On the far side of the veranda was his workstation where he busied himself building birdhouses. He was in no mood to work with the small tools. He longed for the ocean and his beautiful wife.
His son off on the military base, all was quiet at his log cabin cottage. That was, of course, until Johnny joined him. Paul smiled brightly and chuckled at the man.
“Afternoon, old man,” he said.
“You’re in a fine mood today, Paul,” Johnny sat.
“I’m in a foul mood,” Paul disagreed. “It’s King Season.”
“So it is,” Johnny answered.
Paul propped his guitar up and lit a cigarette. “Goddamn! Can you smell that air? It’s going to be a fine season for crabbin’!”
“I see you finished your birdhouse,” Johnny observed.
“Needs painting,” Paul brushed off.
“It’s fine craftsmanship,” Johnny applauded.
“It’s a piece of shit,” Paul cackled. “Threw it together without a plan. Look at the shingles! They don’t even line up along the edges.”
“It’s a birdhouse,” Johnny laughed.
“It’s a hobby,” Paul answered taking a long drag. He pat his dog gently on its belly. The little thing rolled onto its back and stretched out. Paul chuckled happily to himself.
“You and that dog,” Johnny shook his head happily.
“He’s a good boy,” Paul smiled at the tiny life.
“How’s Jake’s studies?” Johnny wondered.
“Top of his class,” Paul answered proudly. “The brush with the mines really got to him. Basic training brought some discipline into his life and now he’s unstoppable. He’ll be a captain before long.”
“That’s good to hear, old friend,” Johnny said. “He’s a bright kid.”
“The best,” Paul agreed. “I tried to give him everything I could.”
“You raised a fine boy, Paul,” Johnny said.
“It was a lonely childhood,” Paul lamented. “Going back and forth from the base to the house, no mother. He went through a dozen babysitters in his first two years. He was too young to lose her. By the time he was six I couldn’t get a single person to watch him. He was difficult. Wouldn’t listen. He had a bad attitude.”
“Just like his father,” Johnny observed. Paul threw his head back and howled in amusement.
Paul stubbed out his cigarette and stood. He stretched his arms out to his side and took in a deep breath of the Kodiak air. “He is all the best of me, and most of the worst of me too.”
“He will lead a great legion someday, Paul,” Johnny said knowingly.
“You say that as though it were a fact,” Paul kept his eye on the horizon. He watched as the Northern Star pulled gently away from her dock. “There goes old Edgar. He reported going for Gold this season.”
“I hear the quota on Gold was raised this season,” Johnny took a position next to his friend.
“Intelligence showed their population was on the rise,” Paul nodded. “It is a good thing. They were down for the last three. I had to outlaw their fishing industry until now.”
“That was wise,” Johnny nodded.
“I am pleased by the last few seasons though,” Paul answered. “The fishing industry has been restored to our lands. The fishermen are happy, the money is flowing, and our people are freer now than ever before. The mining population is dwindling, recruitment in the military is higher than ever before.”
“You have done well,” Johnny smiled.
“Thank you,” Paul slapped Johnny’s thin shoulder. “I would not have done this without your suggestion twenty years ago.”
“There is much work yet to be done,” Johnny said thoughtfully. “You may have The Protectorate fooled for now, but it will not be long before they turn their eyes upon us again.”
“You know something, old man?” Paul’s blue eyes turned to his friend, bird-bright.
“I have been paying attention,” Johnny admitted. “They are busy searching for that McBride character. He has kept them busy with his rhetoric and the Red Hand is on the rise. There has been more underground activity in the last few years, which has kept them occupied. But soon they will turn their attention to us.”
“I fail to see why,” Paul shook his head. “We are cooperating.”
“That is precisely my point,” Johnny came to his point. “In an attempt to get the attention of the underground they will reach out to the far places under their rule. They will squeeze out weak and make an example of them.”
“I see,” Paul nodded. “What do you suggest?”
“We need to up the ante,” Johnny answered. “We need to get their attention without them knowing it is us. We can’t simply play by the rules anymore just under the radar. We need to give them something to bust.”
Paul nodded thoughtfully. “You suggest a sting operation of sorts. Allow The Protectorate to find something.”
“Correct,” Johnny sighed. “It will mean losing good people.”
“It will mean sending them knowingly to their own death,” Paul said unhappily. “I do not like it. I see the necessity, but I do not like it.”
“I did not expect you to,” Johnny answered.
“Very well,” Paul lit a cigarette. “I will send my men into the mines. There are plenty of rabble that could be expendable. We will send them on a suicide mission.”
“I’ll begin the preparations,” Johnny turned to leave.
“Not yet,” Paul caught his arm. “My men will do as I command without question, this much you know is true. I must have your assurance that the ones I send to death will not die in vain. I must know that we will yet succeed.”
“There is a long road yet to travel,” Johnny answered. “Many people will die along the way. This is only the beginning. But your Clan. The Morris Clan, dear Paul, is a great line of champions. And your son will be the greatest of them all.”
“Then go,” Paul nodded. “Let’s give the Protectorate something to keep them occupied.”
Later that evening, in the dark Alaskan night seven men left the mines and boarded a small fishing vessel. They were found seven days later just off the Californian coast by The Protectorate. They were taken into custody and within forty-eight hours prosecuted for piracy and illegal fishing and sentenced to the Mexican mines. It was a sentence worse than death, for the Mexican mines were the worst of them all. Paul never needed to enquire about them, they wouldn’t last a week.