My title doubles as a table of contents.
Part 1: NaNo Update
It is day 3. I am 11,911 words in. I hit a bit of a road bump today when I came to the beginning of Act II and decided I actually didn’t know how I wanted to begin. However, I just did, and things started to come to me. The product ended up being a beautiful scene in which Ellis, the main female character, is in a shady hotel room, and has an introspective moment that is very deep, dark, and emotional. (Excerpt below). So, yes, I have finished the first of 3 Acts. Act I is comprised of the Prologue (which I had not planned on writing, originally) and chapters 1-3. I’m very excited that this part of the story is finished, because I quite feel as though I’ve had enough time to think about the beginning. The meat of the story is upon me, and I am ready for the writing flood gates to be opened, and words to drown me.
Part 2: A Conversation with a Future Reader
… Or current reader, depending upon how you look at it. In actuality, it was not a real conversation, but a Facebook conversation. However, I’ll take it however I can get it, so I’m calling it a conversation. I’ve been posting on my personal Facebook about my NaNo goals, links to this blog for my friends to read blurbs, and updates on word counts, blocks, successes, etc. The following is the product of one such update. And I am absolutely delighted with how this played out:
Facebook Status Update at approximately 2pm on 11.2.12: [I have finished Act I which is made up of the Prologue and Chapters 1-3. I'm really struggling to start Act II... I can't have already hit a block!! It's only the second day!]
Patrick: Technically you’re ahead of schedule so your writers block hit early. Just keep writing and you will push through. I believe in you.
Patrick: Follow your plan to write the end and maybe that will kick start the middle…
Susan: Hey, Can we read what you are writing? I’m really interested!!
Me [Internally]: HOLY COW! Someone actually wants to read this crap? (Because, you know, I’m a writer…. And we’re all like, “it sucks… wahhhhh, blah blah blah, feel sorry for me” and stuff…)
Me [Actually]: I’ll make the manuscript available for people to read once it’s finished. However, for excerpts and blurbs you can go to my blog and read there: agirlwhowrites.wordpress.com
Jeni: I swear Act 2 is the hardest part… I’ve been blocked on Act 2 since, er… like 2006! Good thing about NaNo is it forces you to write anyway, which is when the clog starts breaking up and you suddenly discover you have ideas after all… not quite there yet, but I’m getting close to Act 2 and let’s just say I’m dreading it…. :P
Me [Actually]: I’m procrastinating HARD tonight. Ugh!! I hate this feeling- and I hadn’t expected it to happen so quickly, especially since I ROCKED the first day. I think this weekend at work with it being slow will help a lot. I usually can sit in relative silence or with my headphones in uninterrupted by phone or coworker for hours at a time.
Susan: Read your excerpts! Loved it so far, especially the part with Rob. Can’t wait to read more about that situation! You are doing great!
Me [Internally]: OHMAHGAWD. She actually read that! What the HECK! Now I must go back and read the excerpts myself, as I’ve nearly forgotten what they said, and they are probably so terrible that I must apologize for it. *Rereads blog posts; cries a little*
Me [Actually]: Thanks!
Me [Actually]: And for future reference- Rob was changed to Connor in newer excerpts.
Susan: O.o you just blew my mind. So was the scene with her leaving before or after the scene where she is super happy with Connor?
Me [Actually]: afterrrrrr
Susan: Nice. Can’t wait to read what changed between them! Good stuff. You got me hooked. :)
Me [Internally]: I think I’m going to throw up.
Me [Actually]: My first reader! Yay! :D
Susan, you made my day.
Part 3: Excerpt from Day 3. This is from Chapter 4, my favorite so far… Enjoy
The little hotel room smelled of stale cigarette smoke and mold. She threw her duffle bag onto the bed, and a cloud of dust sprang up from the blanket like a mushroom cloud. Ellis coughed, fanning the air in front of her face with her hand, squinting through the dust cloud to take in the rest of the shabby room. She would have slept in her car, but after seven hours of driving, she just wanted to be horizontal for a few hours. She had driven practically straight through to Omaha, Nebraska from Chicago, and had known at six hours in she would need to stop. It had taken her about an hour to find a hotel that would let her check in so early, but finally found this gem of an establishment. She was barely fazed by the disgusting conditions; she just needed to sleep for a few hours, and then would drive the next seven hours on to Cheyenne.
As she peeled herself out of her clothes, she wondered if it was worth it to brave a shower, and decided any water would be better than sleeping in the grime that blanketed her skin. She hadn’t showered since the morning of the party- was that just yesterday? She was disoriented, and had to think hard for several minutes before she was confident that it had indeed gone from being July 4th to July fifth. Her room key had slipped from her jeans pocket, landing face up on the carpet reading “BUDGET MOTEL- OMAHA”. She leaned over to pick it up, and chucked it onto the bed as she headed toward the bathroom.
She turned the water to its hottest setting and walked over to the sink to inspect the selection of toiletry items offered. There was a nameless bar of soap, a bottle of shampoo- plus- conditioner, and a shower cap. She tossed the bar of soap and the bottle of shampoo into the tub.
Sitting on the counter of the small sink, she watched the steam billow up and around her body, prepping her skin and hair for the finest shower she would ever take. The mirror fogged up, but she scooted off the counter and wiped a hand across the condensation, exposing her naked reflection in the dirty and dull mirror. She looked like hell; her mascara had run down her cheeks with the many tears she had shed during her trip, leaving black trails across her face and neck. The corners of her eyes were caked with black goop, her eyes bloodshot and drooping. She’d kept her hair in the twisted bun, but pieces were falling out and sticking up in weird places, making her look like she’d been in a fight. That thought made her laugh bitterly. She had been in a fight. Two fights, actually. She still could hardly believe the events of the last day.
She pulled her hair out of the twist and stepped into the water. Her skin rippled with goose flesh as she let the heat spread across her naked body, soothing her tender skin and ragged soul. The water cascaded down her shoulders and breasts, down her stomach and legs dancing around her feet before swirling around the drain pipe. The water was grimy with sweat, dirt, and tears, and Ellis was relieved to see it being washed away. She felt as if she were being baptized, and being given permission to forgive the terrible things which had happened to her. As she lathered the soap in her hands, she imagined herself being washed of the negative thoughts and feelings invading her heart and mind. She scrubbed her face too hard, and was reminded abruptly of the many now black and purple bruises on her face and head, and wished those, too would be washed away with the hot water.
After finishing her ministrations, she stood under the water for another 20 minutes, letting the stream massage her back, shoulders, stomach, head, and legs. She couldn’t remember the last time she hurt so much and at the same time felt so good. This wasn’t unknown territory for her, though. The inner turmoil brought on by a series of unfortunate events was something that she had experienced before, and the memories of the last time she was holed up in a dirty no-tell motel came flooding back to her like the water poured from the shower head. She had been 16 the last time she’d found herself in a situation like this, and like now, she had been running away from something, too. Only then, it was Cheyenne she was fleeing from; funny that she found herself running back, almost 10 years later.