Hello, my lovely readers! I'm back from the crazy writers' cave called NaNoWriMo. This is the first post for this month that I'm actually writing after September. And I'm here to tell you how the month went and what I accomplished, all that. (Also, apologies for posting this a day late. I didn't realize until yesterday after this post never went up that I still had to write it.)
First of all, the bad news: I lost. It's a bit sad, yes, but I can be a slow writer sometimes. Just a fact of life.
Now for the good news: I *did* manage to write over 25,000 words, or the halfway point of my goal. This may seem a bit pathetic, until you consider that last year's goal was 20,000 and I wrote 7,000. Or that the most words I'd ever put into any one project before this month was 13,500.
Also, Chris Angotti, the man who runs the NaNo Young Writer's Program, also lost this year (by a lot). Which, regardless of the fact that NaNo is supposed to be a personal thing, still makes me feel that much better. I think his almost-post-NaNo pep talk about celebrating the spark of creativity was definitely one of the best pep talks they've had.
To close this wrap-up, I'm going to share a few small bits of my manuscript, in all their unedited first draft glory, for your enjoyment. I will note that I cut out a few characters and varied from some of the plans I've shared this month, but that's to be expected.
Then y'all can scroll down to the comments and tell me: Fellow NaNo-ers, how did your month go? Did you win? If not, what did you accomplish anyway? Remember, NaNo is about celebrating the spark!
From Chapter One: Father, Beila, Viviann, and Damien are at breakfast; Father is talking about his nightmare from that night.
I drop my spoon into my Cheerios, coughing and sputtering. A few gulps of milk drains my bowl dry and calms me down.
"You all right, Beila?"
I nod at my brother and motion for Father to continue. "You were saying, a creature?"
He grins and resumes. "Well, I'm not quite sure what it'd be called." He gestures to the three of us, his little family. "Maybe you can help. It had a head like a giant predatory bird, with these giant, wild golden eyes. The color reminded me of a cat, but they were definitely a huge bird's eyes with their round, beady shape. The eyes are the first thing you notice, before the beak. Man, that thing had a beak! All hooked and shining yellow, it just screamed predator. Not to mention the claws! Talons, really, I guess - they were an bird's, too - huge, curved, and gleaming black. Very black. They curled under a lot. Now, this thing had the head and talons of an bird, but his chest was puffed out and furry. It projected the very image of strength and power - the whole muscled body did, from the chest through the shoulders and haunches to the taloned hands and the massive hind legs and paws."
School, breakfast, time, life has all faded away. There's nothing but me and Father and the monster I've been seeking for weeks.
From Chapter Three: Beila meets the stranger she's been dreaming about.
"Hello." My laughter dies out and I bite my lip, suddenly feeling a bit shy. I didn't really think about it before, but standing here for real, with my bare, now dirty feet and my fancy gown and hair, is so much different than the times before in my dreams. I think of the necklace and glance down. It's not there and I feel a bit sad.
"Hello." I can hear the smile in his voice. I've missed that voice, even if it has been only two days since I last heard it. It's like, down here in the tunnels, far away from my home and surrounded by magic and dirt, like he's the only thing that makes me keep it together. He seems to connect me and this place and my real home, up top - and I'm sure he knows how and why I'm here. Even if he can't tell me anything, even if he's practically a stranger, he makes me feel more at home in the tunnels.
"Oh? What for?"
"I'm afraid I haven't come up with a name for you yet."
He actually laughs, and I realize it's the first time I've heard him do that.
From Chapter Five: Beila has discovered visible people in the tunnels.
She takes my hand in her free one and pulls me through the crush of bodies to the center of the group. Then she turns to me. "Beila, we are cursed. You know that. This enchantment has held us for nearly five hundred years, and you are the only one who can break it. But since your arrival here, the magic has changed - accelerated. Our world is falling apart, and there's not much time. The truth will set you free. The truth must set us all free. But you must seek it for yourself."
"You must learn the truth, and you must remember. Only then will we be free and safe. You have to hurry, Beila." Her voice starts to tremble, and the tone of power and leading has changed to one of pleading and desperation. "Please, my dear. Our lives are in your hands. Our king... he is in danger, and it affects us all. Soon we will be lost."
"I want to help you, I really do. But I don't know what to do! How am I supposed to find the truth? What does that even mean? Beside the point, shouldn't we be in our rooms? It's not safe out here!"
"True, but soon it won't be safe anywhere." She steps forward and takes both my hands firmly in hers. "You have to be strong. You have to be smart." She lowers her voice and looks straight into my eyes, leaning in even closer. "The library." It's barely a whisper, and I'm certain only I caught those last words.