Friday, December 1, 2017

NaNo For the Win!

I know that this is the first Friday of the month and normally it’s the day I post a picture prompt for you to work on, but seeing as it’s the day after NaNo ended I thought I’d do my recap for it today along with a final excerpt. I promise to post the prompt picture tomorrow.

On Monday I was 14,000 words behind in my NaNo novel. So I tell you true, no one is more surprised than me that I won NaNo. And with 3,000 words to spare.

To further boggle the mind, that means I wrote 17,000 words in four days. SEVENTEEN THOUSAND!

So how did I do it?

Well, first of all, the weather turned sunny. I’ve always said I was solar powered, and the week before was insanely gloomy. Monday dawned bright and sunny and it’s crazy what kind of difference it made to my energy level.

The second thing was, I stopped fighting my imagination. I stopped following the notes I’d made when I first came up with the story idea and gave my imagination free reign. This landed my characters in a few unexpected situations, like getting sick at the same time and being nursed back to health by a religious cult they then had to escape from. That alone spanned several chapters.

And the third thing was the one I mentioned in my Monday post - I wrote exclusively on my Neo. No bells, no whistles, just words. For some reason I tend to type faster on my Neo - maybe because writing is all it’s good for. I don’t really care. I just care that I pulled off a writing miracle.

So...what’s next? Well, I’m going to continue using my Neo and finish the novel. My characters are about to have a run-in with a group of Amazons, and once that’s over all that’s left is getting them home. I have no idea how many words that’s going to take - I thought the religious cult thing was only going to be a few thousand words and it was over ten. The Amazon encounter is even more intense.

After Lost and Found is finished, it’s nose to the grind stone until Wandering Wizards is done. Maybe I can pretend it’s another NaNo. :-D

In the meantime, here’s the final excerpt from my NaNo novel. The dream Sara is referring to is a recurring one she had near the beginning when she dozes off waiting for her friend Hannah to phone her to let her know she made it home safely. And it’s just after this scene that Sara and Nathan become ill and end up in the hands of the above-mentioned cult.

Excerpt, Lost and Found:

They finished eating and were just making up their bed over the mound of palm fronds when Sara happened to glance towards the shore. Letting out a gasp, she straightened up.

“What is it?” Nathan asked.

But Sara ignored him, and walked towards the shore. She stood mesmerized on the sand, the light breeze caressing her bare shoulders. As she felt him come up behind her, she spoke. “I know this place. I’ve dreamed of this place.” She turned to face him. “I’ve dreamed of you in this place.”

“How is this possible?”

“I don’t know. But I dreamed that I stood watching a sunset, just like this one, on a beach of white sand, like this one. I could feel the same perfumed breeze on my skin. And...and I realized I wasn’t alone, you were with me. I mean, it was you, but I didn’t know it was you.”

“And then what happened?”

“And that’s when I usually woke up,” she said, turning away to stare at the sun as it dropped below the cliff until only a brilliant glow remained.

He wrapped his arms around her from behind, pulling her close. “It sounds like a wonderful dream.”

They stood for a while, watching the glow disappear from behind the curve of the bay. The only sounds were the waves lapping gently on the shore and the slight breeze rattling the palm fronds.

“Look, there’s two moons,” she whispered.

One was the color of butter, the other a pale blue. They both hung low in the sky, overlapping each other.

“Can’t get much more romantic than that,” he whispered back, his breath hot on her neck.

She turned in his arms and he kissed her softly. It wasn’t nearly enough. Fueled by her memories of the dream, she pressed herself closer. Without breaking the kiss, he scooped her up in his arms and carried her back towards their nest. Halfway there, Sara jerked in his arms.

“Ow!” she said, slapping her arm.

“What--ow!” He let her slide to her feet so he could slap at his upper thigh. “Damn!”

For the next few minutes all they could do was curse and slap as they were stung over and over again.

“The water!” Sara gasped, sprinting for the shore, Nathan hot on her heels.

They waved their arms over their heads as the swarms followed and regardless of how dark it was they dove right in. Several yards from shore they were forced to come up for air, but the insects didn’t seem to have followed.

“What the hell was that?” Nathan asked, bewildered.

“They certainly weren’t in my dream,” Sara said, treading water beside him.

Back in the jungle they could hear the birds come to life, screeching and squawking.

“Well at least we know what the rest of the birds live on.”

The light from the moons was bright enough they could see the swarms of insects cutting great swaths of black along the shore. Then the birds descended on them, feasting on the wing.

“Please tell me we won’t have to stay in the water all night,” she said after they’d been watching for a while.

They moved closer to the shore until they were able to stand, neck deep in the water, ready to duck down any second.

“I hope not,” Nathan said. “This water doesn’t feel nearly as warm as it did earlier. I don’t suppose your survival training included how to ward off attacks by flying insects that bite?”

“I’ve had to deal with swarms of mosquitoes before,” Sara told him. “They’re kind of like these but not quite as vicious. But normally they’re most active during dusk or dawn, sometimes during the day, not in full dark.”

“So what do you do to repel them?”

She gave a short laugh. “Insect repellent. Lavender, garlic, apple cider vinegar, citronella candles - none of which we have. One of the counselors at a summer camp Hannah and I went to swore by smoky fires. Of course that would mean one of us would have to leave this rapidly chilling water, go up onto the beach, start a fire, and then find some greenery to throw on it to make it smoky. All without getting stung to death.”

“I think I’d rather take my chances in the water,” Nathan said.

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