Tuesday, November 27, 2012

NaNoWriMo - The Beginning of the End

Day 27 of the National November Writing Month challenge and I'm still writing about about the pace I need to (45,894 words as of this morning). Three days and about  5,000 words to go -- since I'm now averaging about 1,000 words an hour, I should make it. And remember, when it comes to the word count, its strictly quantity, not quality here!

Something unusual happened today. I wrote the end of the story. I normally just follow my outline, and as the story diverges from it just keep writing sequentially so I can see where it goes. This time, though, as the story unfolded I realized there were a lot of loose ends I needed to tie up -- more than I could remember. So, I started in on the last chapter. Here's a sample. It's open-ended, because I'm still in the thick of the story writing more loose ends and clues that need to be resolved.

The adventure continues!

"The Commissar Commands"

Chapter 20 – A Plot Revealed
A small group gathered in one of the private rooms of the Metro Club. Carlton sat in one of the overstuffed leather chairs, reflecting on how different this meeting one from their first meeting with King in this very room. King was there, of course. He held himself stiffly, his abdomen tightly bandaged under his clothes to restrict movement. Ambrose had the couch all to himself, his corpulent frame seemed to spread out to fill the space. 

Lieutenant MacGuffy had wheeled in Michaels. The arms merchant had sustained a broken collarbone from his fall, as well as a sprained ankle. Michael’s patrician features were drawn and haggard. He had been assured by the doctors he would make a full recovery, but the trials of his brush with death still wore heavily on him. 
Commissioner Rowland leaned against the fireplace, hands in his pockets. “I’m not sure I understand this at all,” he said. “So Harris was the Commissar. But why?”

“Misdirection,” said King. “Ricco was a malcontent – the kind revolutionists like to recruit. He worked at Eagle Iron Works. I guess as one of his employees, Ricco came to Harris’ attention. Harris then came up with the idea of creating this Commissar character as a way to conceal his identity and contacted Ricco to recruit him to the cause." 

"Ricco only ever knew Harris as the Commissar. Amazing how something as simple as a false mustache and a distinctive outfit can make an effective disguise.” He looked at Raymond owlishly.

Without seeming to notice, Raymond walked over to the decanter and poured a drink. 

“Do tell,” he said blandly, as he raised the glass to his lips.

King continued.”Harris' charade not only fooled his men, it fooled us, too. We were all looking for an organization led by a foreign power. But there was no commissar, no secret spy ring. Just Harris and his dupes.”

MacGuffey snapped his fingers. “Now I get it,” said the grizzled detective, “When we raided the Seven Seas tavern, you remarked on the fact that there was no electrical outlet in the radio room.”

“Exactly,” said the federal agent. “It was an odd detail, but I didn’t know why at the time. Later we discovered that Harris just filled the room with radio consoles and monitors on them – they weren’t connected to anything.”

“Just like the phony chemical plant we set up as bait,” Carlton remarked wryly. 

King laughed, “Exactly. Funny that Harris fell for the same gag he pulled himself. Harris used a wind-up Victrola playing a record of radio sounds effects.”

“And the dummy?” asked MacGuffey. 

“All part of the deception. The dummy sitting at the table was another bit of stage business, but an important one.  Harris made sure his men saw into the room every time they met. The dummy was far enough away that it looked real. And Harris was careful to only hold the door open long enough to let his men see it, but not long enough for them to notice that it didn’t move.”

“Taken all together, it had the effect Harris wanted. His men saw radio gear, they heard radio sound effects, and there seemed to be an operator sitting at the controls. To his followers, it looked like the Commissar was emerging from the command center of a large spy network rather than just someone playing a lone hand.”

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