Breaking news from the Rabbit Bunker… [The Rabbit Hole, 17-19 January, QWC]
Day one in the Rabbit Hole with twenty others, all striving for the same goal: 30,000 words in three days or writing 'The End,' whichever comes first. I arrived at the State Library of Queensland with the biggest grin on my face. I had a huge block of time devoted solely to my writing. What bliss! What luxury!
But luxury isn't what I walked into. Intense is the best way to describe it. The corporate table was laced with a tangle of cables. Seated around it were eager writers, poised at his or her device of choice, and after a brief pep talk, right on 10:00, we all started banging out prose.
No talking, no jesting, no coffee (!). I scoped the table twice, just to be sure I hadn't missed something, some hint of java, a dirty cup, a coffee ground, even a ring of coffee stain on a coaster. Nothing. My earlier glee was replaced with doubt (and panic): how would I cope without coffee? I've never written without being seriously procaffinated. Oh well. I'll try anything once.
I managed fine. Once I had reread my entire WIP through and made a couple little changes, I was ready to write. –After a quick visit to the kitchen…where I found sachets of instant coffee. Oh well, as I said, I'll try anything once.
Back in my spot, I dove in, and it was great. I was inside my story, seeing fine details for the first time and describing them, creating worlds and spaces, crafting dialogue. I was totally enraptured in the act of writing. I remembered a little too late that I mime while I write. (All you readers who are writers know what I'm talking about.) I have to “act out” the gesture or pull the expression of my characters. I thought I caught the lady opposite me watching me with a bemused look. I tried to stop miming. I think I did. Oh gawd…I hope no one made a video of me…
Some of my fellow Rabbit Bunker mates seemed to type without looking up. They were typing machines, ticking away like static from deep space. I began to worry someone would keel over with DVT from not moving. Me? With the frequent trips to the kitchen to keep my “fluids” (caffeine levels) up, my vasculation was in good shape.
I paused my writing to research blue moons (very interesting!), Tasmanian flora, and the sounds that certain species of owls make. (“Hoot,” incidentally, is not one of them. Nor is “Whoo” for that matter.) Writing also ceased while I made excellent use of my thesaurus app, hunting down just the right word. (How do you like ensorcelled for enchanted? I think it's brilliant. I nearly shouted it out loud. I was busting to share it!) Why am I explaining all of this? I'm worried you will think I'm a slacker for coming in with such a low word count.
On my various visits to the coffee room, I chatted with a couple of the others. Such a variety of writers–non-fiction, literary fiction, first-timers, hand-writers (Hats off to you! Tried that over the holidays and I still have a cramp), veterans… I do hope we get a chance to learn about each other's projects.
4:45 came around quickly, and I wasn't nearly as brain dead as I expected. As the tallies went up on the board, and I saw how much of an underachiever I'd been, I contemplated not posting my wordcount below the others: 9000, 8000, 6000. Then I thought, “Blow it. I did what I needed to do today. I'm satisfied.” (Discovering ensorcelled was worth it all!)
I scribbled up my tally, 3767, and signed off. What a Hole, what a wonderful Rabbit Hole! To the wonderful staff at QWC HQ, I said good-bye, until tomorrow.
Outside at 5:00, I sat in the warm afternoon sun waiting for my ride, and I felt elated. (And rather jittery from all that coffee.)