Olivia Berrier, over at Often Clueless, Always Shoeless, tagged me in the 777 Challenge last month. She says she’s a sucker for anything with numbers. I’m a sucker for anything with the “ch” word. I suppose we were both doomed on this one.
The challenge is:
- Go to your current Work-in-Progress – Ooo. Scary. Actually, wait, no, some days that is terrifying. The typos can eat you alive.
- Scroll to page 7 – Less scary. Even in Early-Morning-I’m-A-Sleepy-Zombie Mode, I can count that high.
- Count 7 sentences – All right. I didn’t realize that trick was such a hit.
- Share the next 7 sentences after that – And this tape will self-destruct in ten seconds?
- And of course, tag people to do the same. You can even tag 7 people if you want to really get into the number theme.
Strangely, Olivia managed to drop this challenge in my lap at a time when I couldn’t access my Work-in-Progress. My computer had abruptly decided that it would like to spend it’s next decade as a paperweight that occasionally flashed the power light and hummed the theme of Jaws. I was caught, red-faced, as the joker who hadn’t backed up her important files since the last Great Computer Scare.
Don’t do what I did, kids.
I was assured that there was a way to yank out my hard drive and rescue my files, so I wasn’t too worried about what I had lost. Moreover, life was getting busy. I was preparing for my older sister’s wedding. I was helping my little sister apply to college. I was focusing on getting myself back out of pain after living with a messed up shoulder for more than four years. And on the side, I was vaguely wondering what those seven sentences were going to look like when I got around to digging them up.
At any other time, I would have looked up my seven sentences immediately. Instead, I’ve spent three weeks vaguely wondering how many pages I used to get my main character off a boat and through the opening chase scene. Was I going to catch her running, snarking, or already locked in prison somewhere? A little suspense made this challenge a lot more entertaining.
This morning, I got a little help and plugged in all the wires I needed to access my hard drive again. Here’s what I found:
She twisted back, just once, to find Viper. He was running just as hard. His men were strung around him, some hurtling ahead, the last three only steps behind him.
Jaera didn’t let herself look back again. Every running step pounded up through her bones.
The first line of buildings hulked on the edge of the docks – large, square buildings with few windows and wide avenues between them. Warehouses.
I don’t think the suspense paid off, though I’m at least laughing. Warehouses.
I might have to change the tagline of my novel. I can just hear Mr. Movie Phone reading it: Beware the dark nights that house the full moon, and the men and women who prowl it with sharp-teeth and keen-eyes, turning into… houses.
I flipped through the surrounding pages, and I’m not sure there are any sets of seven consecutive sentences that would have balanced out three weeks of waiting. I am proud of my first six –
Jaera heard them coming and hauled herself to her feet. It was getting harder every time, and she had to brace herself with one hand to each wall beside her. As the ship rocked, she held herself up until her legs remembered how, then moved closer to the door so she could straighten her back under the low, slanting ceiling. Even there, she had to keep her head bent. Her breath sounded heavy in the small space. She shut her eyes, half because the darkness was easier to brook that way, and half because she knew the light would blind her once they opened the door.
– and more amused than I should be over these seven from page five –
Raising his head, Toar examined him for a moment. “You look beastly,” he said slowly. “And like you’ve been sucking the bilge, and like a scabrous, coffin-ripe piece of fishbait. So long as we’re being honest with each other. But I’m ready when you are.” He flicked a glance at Jaera. It was the first sharp movement she’d seen from him, the first time he’d looked like himself.
– but I’m not sure that any seven sentences could be as much fun as the anticipation before I found them.
I don’t know for sure that each of you has a project in the works. If you don’t, consider this a simple statement that the next time you do, I want to hear about it.
Postscript. The 777th word of my Work-in-Progress? Also anticlimactic: the.