Well, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is over for another year. In the beginning, the thought of writing 50,000 words in one month was daunting, as it always is. But I stuck with it and started over several times, keeping the older drafts to keep my numbers up, and I ended up with over 51,000 words by last night. The first time I started over because I could feel my story going off into a ditch I knew I couldn’t get out of. So, I reassessed and changed that position that the story was told and began again. I was barreling along at a pretty good clip and excited about the new direction. I had gotten rid of some story plotlines that didn’t really work once I put them into motion. I brought other characters that had been minor, forward slightly because they wanted to be heard more. Then on Tuesday, I was driving home from an appointment when an idea occurred to me. An idea that meant starting over for the third time. An idea that will probably turn my book idea into a longer short story but it was so exciting it wouldn’t leave my mind. So, even though NaNoWriMo is over for another year, I’m definitely sticking with this story because I think if I work with it more it’s going to turn into something quite magical and different than anything I’ve ever written before, and that for me is the most exciting thing of all.
So, I’ve written 40,000 words so far on my project. I’ve actually started over once but kept what I had written before in case I wanted to save something from it in the future. Through the process of writing this, my story has taught me several things. The first being it doesn’t want the flood that I thought was going to be such a huge storyline. So, the bridge never breaks. The main character is going to be far more mentally unstable then I initially thought she’d be, this surprised me a great deal. And finally the story is going to be told through the perspective of different characters. I’m loving this process of writing this book because of the way the plot is finding directions to go in that I never expected. Does that sound weird? Do any of you sit down to write something with a course in mind only to have the project decide it wants to be something different?
I am a puzzler of words
171,476 possible pieces
to put together.
Some will fit. Most won’t.
Corners first as always.
Plot, characters, settings
Form the outline of the bigger image
Piles of words scattered around the table
Pieced together to form scenes,
Oh the questions to be answered
Without a finished image to work from.
The completed image will come
From my imagination.
I am the creator and the solver.
My elderly cat acts like a dog.
It’s perfectly plain to see.
We brought a dog into our home.
Two years ago almost three.
At first the cat he was aloof
Paid no attention at all
To our furry new addition
During that first fall.
Then it was little things
That caught my observant eye
But then those little things became
More obvious as time went by
And now whenever I feed the dog
I hear his croaky meow
And turn to see him on his chair
Waiting for his hand out.
Perhaps it is a piece of beef
Or bacon or maybe ham
But my little cat is insistent
I give him whatever I can.
I ignore the worried look
That appears on my dog’s face
To him it is a contest of attention
And he wants to win the race.
There are other things that happen
That would prove my case
But that’s a story for another time
So watch for that in this blog space.
What is it about a house after the sun has retired for the evening? Why do the normal creaks and groans that are heard all day suddenly reveal the dread terror and fear within our primal selves? Why does the night’s silence raise the volume of our own hearts as we creep through its halls? Why do the darkness and shadows of rooms we feel so comfortable and safe in when the sun is shining become such foreboding spaces where evil lurks within and behind every shadow? For me, it’s one room in the house where I lived. Whenever I pass by its inky black recesses I feel a slight pull towards its doorway. Like a planet drawn inevitably by the gravity of some larger celestial body. I know there is no longer anything inside that room can hurt me, just a collection of books and maps and other objects brought home by the captain who built this manor. I spend hours within its sunlit walls, wandering around the shelves, perusing the ancient sailing maps dreaming of where they go. But when the sun goes to bed, the room becomes the place of my nightmares. I’m forced to relive that night so long ago again and again. I drift through these halls night after night but I always end up in this doorway at precisely 2:15 AM, which is the time of day that I died. I stand there and watch myself being attacked by the intruder and no matter how hard my fingers grip the frame I always am drawn into the scene to feel his fingers around my throat squeezing my soul out. I can still remember the rough feel of his coat under my hands as I struggled and tried to push him off but he was far too strong for such a little girl such as I was. The darkness of the room invariably becomes darker still and I lose myself until the next morning. Where I go during those hours I know not, all I know is that wake up again in my room. I wonder, as I wander the halls, how many more years I am to endure this nightmare before I reunited with my family.
Alexandra found herself back in her old spot on the point overlooking the ocean. Time had passed so quickly and here she was once again. But it was a completely different situation now. When she was here before the ocean had looked ugly and dark and dreary. It reflected her own life as it had been. Now she stood there as the Queen. No one had seen it coming, least of all her. But the stars had formed a once in an eternity connection and aligned in just the right way. Now the same ocean that had held such dread for her was glimmering and shining just like her future.
Michael snaked around the ground level of the house, arms wrapped around the ancient tattered manuscript now in his possession. He feels as protective of it as he would his own child. The secrets it held were the key to his brother’s illustrious career as an author. A career that should have been Michael’s if his brother hadn’t stolen the book from their grandfather. Moving past the doors to the study, he couldn’t resist going within the walls of the sanctuary his brother had built. Bookshelves lined the walls and books lined the shelves. Moving to sit at his brother’s desk, Michael picked up one of the many pencils that were strewn on the surface. Opening the book and skimming down the list of crossed off names lining the page he came to his brother’s. Crossing it out, Michael wrote his own. A warm glow emanated from the pages and wound its way up his arm. He hadn’t expected the power of the book to feel like liquid fire and he bit his tongue as not to scream. Every cell of his body felt like it was exploding and his vision blurred for a moment or two until the pain began to fade. Rising on weak knees, he made his way to the front door and left. As he drove away he didn’t notice the figure of his brother standing in the upstairs window watching him leave.
Upstairs Christopher took a step back and sank onto the bed feeling the power pulling away from him. It had been with him for so long that he felt himself hollowing out and knew time was short.
“I took the book to protect you. All my success paled in comparison to that job. I hope you are ready for what the book brings you. I know I wasn’t.” He said to himself hoping somehow the words would reach his brother.
The next morning his assistant found him where Christopher lay, quite cold and very dead with an unnerving twist in his lips that had been left behind when his soul departed.
When I first saw those five words I thought “There’s no way I can make any kind of sense with those words.” I know, total defeatist attitude, but come on a snake and a pencil? So, I just started playing with them and had a brainstorm to turn “snake” the noun into “snake” the verb and it just kind of went from there. Snaking around, to me, sounds like sneaking around and led towards a darker storyline. I’m going to keep playing with it and see where it goes. I just wanted to give you guys a sneak peek at where my brain is these days.
Well, ScarlettCat surprised me again, I woke up a few days ago and checked my blog to learn that she had nominated me for the Mystery Blogger Award. According to Okoto Enigma, who began this award, “The Mystery Blogger Award, is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blogs not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion.” To be nominated for such an award made me feel so proud and humbled at the same time. If you get a chance you should definitely check out her blog at https://scarlettsbpdcorner.wordpress.com
Her posts are wonderfully honest and brave. If I could nominate her back, I would in a heartbeat. So thank you Scarlettcat for thinking of me when you were nominating other bloggers for this award.
The rules of the award include:
Put the award logo/image on your blog.
List the rules.
Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
Answer the questions you were asked.
Nominate 10 – 20 people & notify.
Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify).
Three Things About Me
My left ear has been deaf since birth.
I’m half Canadian and half Swedish.
Even though I stutter I can sing pretty well.
Questions from ScarlettCat to me
- What was the most important experience in your life?
When I first met my niece and nephew that my sister and her husband adopted from Russia. I was 22 when they were adopted and my parents and I drove out to meet them after they were brought to the United States. We had seen photographs of them and they were cute and all but I wasn’t sure I would bond with them. They were complete strangers to me. When we pulled up to the house this seven- and six-year-old came bounding out of my sister’s house and ran over to us. My niece jumped into my arms and I felt my heart grow two sizes. I felt myself think “Oh there you guys are.” It was like they had always been missing from our family but we never realized it until they were there. It was a truly magical moment that changed my life forever.
- What makes you keep going?
I know this is going to sound really corny but it’s hope. My hope for the future and that it holds something better than what I have now. I’m constantly working towards some dream or goal that I have to better my life and the lives of those around me.
- If you had to choose between streaking and eating the same meal for 5 years, what would you choose?
I wouldn’t mind a few purple streaks in my hair. Don’t know if I’d go full-on mermaid or anything. Why, what did you mean by streaking? lol
- What was the post you enjoyed writing the most? Talk a bit about it and why it made you feel so much enjoyment?
Definitely the poem “Twilight’s Last Gleaming.” (February 21, 2018) I was standing outside with my dog looking at the fog and it occurred to me how it looked like steam. And the poem just started writing itself. I love the feeling when my brain can create something like that out of nothing. How random thoughts can lead to something I feel turned out to be pretty great. My poor mom though, I literally came running back inside, through the kitchen and into the living room so I could write it down before it disappeared. When I went back into the kitchen she looked at me quizzically and when I told her I was writing a poem, she just rolled her eyes.
- What is your favorite topic and theme to talk about in your blog?
This is kind of difficult because I feel like I’m still so new to blogging and haven’t really written a lot yet. I have found that I’m writing more poetry than I thought I would be. So that’s been surprising and exciting.
My Nominations for the Mystery Blogger Award
5 Questions for My Nominees
- Have you ever had a post that was difficult for you to write?
- When you have writer’s block, what do you do to unblock yourself creatively?
- What are your three favorite words and why?
- If you had three wishes, what would they be?
- If you could change the fate of any literary character who would it be and why?
The lupinesque wind half wakes me.
Listening to it whirl through the peaks of my house
In that hazy place in between sleep and wake
I imagine paw prints outside my windows.
The frost on the panes is from huffing breaths.
Creating an opaque image of wise eyes
Watching over me.
This morning I woke up and heard the wind outside and I thought it might be a good blog post for today. Laying there I started thinking about words to describe the wind: “howling,” “moaning,” “wailing,” “crying,” and so on. Deciding to push myself creatively, I chose to write a poem not using any of the expected words used to describe the wind. It took some thinking and maneuvering but then I hit on the word “howling” and that led to wolves and that was the seed I needed to germinate the poem above.