OhNaNoMyNaNo

It’s that time — the midway NaNo update. I had planned to tell you about my progress a little more often, but here we are on the downslope of November (don’t get me started on that…) and I haven’t told you how it’s going.

I knew going into NaNo as a gainfully employed person that I may not reach my goals, and not reach them I did. Well, I reached my personal goal of 1000 words per day, then played massive catchup the first weekend. I even topped my all-time daily word count and hit 4000 words in one day (in three sittings), for a grand total of 7000 words in two days.

The second week went better and I reached the NaNo goal of 1667 words almost every day. On Saturday Erica and I got together again and I wrote my daily words in one sitting. This may not sound exciting, but one of the purposes of NaNo is to train yourself to get into the habit of writing every day.

In 2008 I learned that I am able to write that much in one day. This year I’ve learned that I can write 1000 words in 45 minutes, as long as I have the story plotted out. Monday night I wrote my 1667 words in an hour and a half and passed the halfway mark (25K words).

Will I keep all of it? I hope so. I’m sure some will get cut but I don’t let myself write fluff just to reach my goal. Yesterday I only wrote 500 words, and while I’m disappointed at falling beneath my goal, I know that forcing it doesn’t work for me. I’ll catch up this weekend.

Finally, a brief excerpt. I realize I still haven’t told you the premise so this is a little out of left field, but I haven’t written my hook yet. This is the first draft, so bear with me.

Flicker

Light pulses across the imitation leather of the dashboard.

Light. Dark. Light. Dark.

My eyes stutter and my heart jumps around in my chest, but I blink it away. My tongue strokes the grainy piece of cement stuck between my back teeth. The orthodontist swore he got it all, but that was as true as his promise that it wouldn’t be uncomfortable.

Uncomfortable. Right.

A tingling sensation pricks the tips of my fingers. I press them together, watching the blood shift beneath my skin. The tingling turns to those sharp needles that remind me of anything but sleep.

I press harder and my toes start tingling too. What the hell?

The dancing on the dashboard gets faster. The trees here are taller, straighter, and the sunlight strobes through the branches. My breath catches and a sudden heaviness pushes me deep into the seat.

I glance at my mom but she’s concentrating on the road, humming along with golden oldies or whatever the hell it is she listens to, oblivious to the fact that something very weird is happening to her daughter.

I close my eyes. The heaviness lifts. Too much. Now I’m floating and—

“But mom, I’m fine.”

My mom crosses the kitchen and leans against the counter. “Luz, you’re going. The dentist said your face will get all out of whack if you don’t get braces. Your entire face could change…”

A sense of déjà vu slams me over the head. I’ve had this argument. Next mom is gonna grab the stack of mail that dad set there earlier and toss it in the basket.

She does.

“Luz?”

The words stumble out of me. “Mom…” The déjà vu doesn’t lift. This isn’t a memory. I’m not in the car anymore.

I’ve gone back to yesterday.

About Melanie Hooyenga

Writer. Designer. Jock. Reader. Wife. Puppy-Mama. SCBWI member since 2015.

19 Comments

  1. kevin

    love the excerpt! And you’re doing awesome on the whole writing while holding down a full-time job! Life is difficult enough without trying to cram 1600 words a day into it!

    congrats and keep up the great work!
    k-

  2. Hey Mel, that excerpt is awesomesauce! (A word I just learned from Fenika, lol)

    I tried NaNo last year, but it was during the biggest downslide in my health (Dec. 1 was when I went into the hospital, then the 16th was the lung surgery), and I had a lot of trouble focusing. I’m still recovering this year, so I didn’t think it would be a good idea to attempt it again. Maybe next year. But major congrats on what you’ve accomplished so far. Good luck with the final stretch! 🙂

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