So that was an interesting experience.
I went into NaNoWriMo again this year for the first time in six years. As I mentioned previously, my goal was to come up with a worthy sequel to The Affix.
Tonight I finished with just over 70,000 words, after a last-gasp spurt of 10,000. But it wasn’t quite a finish, because the story isn’t done. Apparently that still counts, which is why I’m claiming the win. But where it stands now, I’m probably about 10,000 words short of where it will end up, and that’s before the cleanup pass.
In spite of not being done with the story just yet—I’m going to keep at it over the next few days to get it finished—I’m really proud of where it’s ended up so far and where it’s going to finish. I know exactly how I want to end it, too: with a wham line that will rock the world of this story to its foundations.
The last gasp today brought the story into a dimension I didn’t fully expect, but I love: It reaches some emotional moments. The stakes went up really high, and that brought with it a need to make it feel real. Some of that served as a source of pathos, but so did something else I wasn’t sure I was going to include: a scene that totally changes the way one character is viewed and brings some of the tragedy in Jasmine’s past into sharp focus.
So that said, here’s a few words about my (hopefully soon) upcoming book, The Well of Moments. Since this marks the tipping point from a single novel into a series, this will be the second in what I’ll now call the Paranormal Curio series. I went over a few minor bits in an overview a few posts back, but it’s time to flesh out the cast properly.
The good guys
Jasmine Treager: The heroine. In The Affix she first appeared as a minor villain threatening the hero of that story in order to secure the Affix for herself and sell it on to a client. But her story arc took her in a different direction, and now three years later she’s the hero. Well really more of an anti-hero. Her goal now is to locate the Well of Moments which has suddenly resurfaced after being lost for decades, then broker a deal between the owner and one of several potential buyers in which she’ll pick up a hefty commission. She prefers dealing in regular artwork, though, not the “weird” stuff, so taking this case is a stressful affair.
Felice Weatherby: Appearing in the last book only as a computer-generated voice on the phone, Felice comes to town with the intention of helping Jasmine steer the Well towards a buyer who won’t abuse whatever “powers” it might exhibit. A hacker and data miner, she’s now independently wealthy thanks to a windfall from the Affix that also paid for her cochlear implant. Her only stake is an interest in helping out and keeping the paranormal community clean.
Alexandra “Lexi” Dulce: A professional ghost hunter, Lexi owns and operates a website called Paranormal Curio that catalogs supernatural artifacts, real or merely legendary. She now has several such artifacts herself.
Richter: A former rival of Jasmine’s, he bailed out of the game the last time around when he got shot and left for dead by a collector, surviving only because he had the foresight to wear a vest. He found a way to exact petty revenge that earned him a collection of artifacts, and since then he’s given up finding and transitioned into a collector himself. He’s a bidder for the Well but has every intention of honoring whatever deal Jasmine makes. His main interest in the Well is because he owns a companion piece.
Seth and Ian Gable: The Gable twins are nerds who mean business, pursuing the paranormal world as investigators rather than collectors. Once humiliated by the Affix, three years later they’re in a better place. Seth and Jasmine have been a couple for at least a two years now.
Hugh: Jasmine’s agent, handling incoming bids and arranging transportation, lodging, light money laundering, etc. Hugh is based in London, so the time difference to the east coast of the US (where the story takes place) is a factor.
The bad guys
As in The Affix, not everyone on this list is evil per se. They’re in the way, one way or another.
Maxwell: A buff military-looking man in his late forties or more, Maxwell’s role as a collector or finder is unclear. Jasmine likes to joke about him being on steroids. He’s slightly impulsive and a little too dangerous, including to himself.
Toshiro Sato: A ninja whose hopes of obtaining the Affix as a means to find Atlantis were dashed three years ago, in which Jasmine played a part. Having been something of a throwaway character the last time around, this time he’s playing for keeps. He has a tendency to show up at the worst possible time.
Ralf Klausen: An Austrian finder with a voice, and accent, much too close to a celebrity. Jasmine privately calls him Budget Arnold, which infuriates him because he doesn’t look buff at all and he also hates when people mock his accent.
Wesley Bartlett: Wesley is a Kiwi assassin working for one of the players in town. His brother Henry was a finder who got entangled in the Affix affair. The official story he’s heard is that Henry was double-crossed by a client, and after taking his revenge he went to ground, taking only occasional jobs under the strictest secrecy. Wesley believes the story is bogus and that Jasmine invented it to help carve out her current niche in the power vacuum Henry left behind—which she did.
The Basemen: A trio of finders who work exclusively on jobs pertaining to the paranormal. Fancying themselves hunters, their methods are considered borderline psychotic.
Vijay Martin: A collector who used to be good friends with Anton Santini, who was Henry Bartlett’s last client. Martin inherited at least some of Santini’s collection.
Valeria Medina: Another collector, boasting both high fashion and old money. Dangerous and untrustworthy from the moment she’s introduced.
“Mad Scot” Larnach: A wildly unpredictable finder, late to the party but ready to put in an appearance.
Oh no. That would be telling. But I will say that one artifact seen in the first book has a strong and somewhat dark role in this one. The rest are surprises, with the obvious exception of the Well of Moments. The Affix does not make an appearance—at least not directly so I won’t count it—but in total this book has at least five artifacts in play. More new ones are mentioned.