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I made it!
And two days early, too!
It isn’t a novel, by strict definition,or finished by any definition, but it is a collection of 50,145 mostly-coherent words comprising a mostly cohesive narrative about a wereduck PI, written in 28 days.
I’ll take it. I won’t keep all of it, and heaven knows I’ll need to go back and fill in all the places I put “X” to represent all the things I couldn’t stop to research, and spackle the plot holes, and even write whole chapters I missed along the way . . . but for now, I think I’ll just sit back, appreciate the accomplishment, and note that I found the time to do this and my family is still speaking to me.
Here are eight sentences that were written during that final stretch. Tom, our POV hero, is facilitating a meeting between his brother Bryan, a werewolf, and the head of the Talbot City pack, Lowell Rhombeck.
“Hey, Bryan said, “long time no see.” He tilted his head a little—the respectful, if not entirely submissive, greeting of a loner to a packleader.
Rhombeck ignored it and held out his arm. “It’s good to see you,” he said.
Bryan reluctantly grasped the offered forearm and stepped close enough to allow Rhombeck’s nose to brush his left ear, as he returned the gesture.
They made an interesting contrast: Bryan was taller, with dark brown hair and glowing golden-hazel eyes, while Rhombeck was broad in the shoulders and all dark grey or silver.
Summer wolf, winter wolf.
But when they stood this close—closer than they’d been in years—they looked like the cousins they were.
Family issues can be so complicated . . .
Scenting and scent-marking feature in the behavior of weres in this story—or at least the canids and felines—possibly a little more than it would have, if I’d had the time to stop and think about what I was writing.
And if my cat had ever stopped trying to scratch himself with my pen while I was trying to use it.
Most of the time, both in the Real World™ and in the one I’m making up, neither scenting nor marking is an inherently sexual instinct/habit/tradition, any more than faire la bise (French cheek kissing) is,* though they certainly can be. Scent marking is primarily polite identification and/or a sign of reassurance, possession, or belonging between family members, friends, or lovers.
It should also be noted that among civilized werewolves, it mostly involves the more socially acceptable glands above the neck, at least in public, if you don’t mind.
Ducks and swans don’t feel the need to do this, but Tom will allow Bryan to mark him—unless his PTSD flares up at the thought of a wolf being that close to his jugular—because it’s important to his brother and a sign that he’s important to Bryan.
There’s only one scent-marking bathroom remark in this, so far, and Tom only says it to tick off the bad guy who clocked him over the head in last Sunday’s scene, so we’ll give him a pass. At least in this draft.
*Someone coined the term “Bro-bises”, which is cheek kissing between male friends, usually while they do the hug-pounding thing guys do. I love this.