Tuesday, 15 April 2014

NaNoWriMo: My Story So Far

Hi guys,
Since we're currently in the middle of a Camp NaNoWriMo event, I thought I would share with you my story of NaNo events.
When I first started doing NaNo in 2009, I didn't even finish my novel or reach the 50k goal. I was disappointed, however I didn't let it put me off. The very next year I decided to take another shot at it, and in 2010, although I can't remember what I wrote or how many words I got. I do know that I made it to both the 50k and a completed first draft. I had also well and truly been bitten by the NaNo bug.
Roll on 2011, and this is when I first entered a Camp NaNo event. From here on out I have a record of what I wrote, so I'll share that with you.

August 2011 - Camp NaNoWriMo

Title: Ticking Clocks
Genre: YA Mystery
The small island of Poesia is idyllic, with it's high cliffs and wild moors. Blair has lived here her whole life, but now something isn't quite so idyllic.

A virus is spreading through the island and as people start falling victim to the unknown illness, it becomes evident that they are running out of time. They've been cut off from the mainland in fear of the disease spreading, so they are all alone and running out of supplies.
Can Blair and the local Doctor, Eric Reynolds find a cure before it's too late?
‘Causing a panic won’t do any good Blair.’ 

‘You seriously believe that keeping people in the dark will stop them panicking? People know there’s something going on, at the moment people just think it’s a really bad flu epidemic, but what happens if things get worse? They’ll start questioning and trust me, not knowing what’s happening is going to cause more of a panic.’ Blair holds up her hands in defence, ‘I’ll write what I feel is right to tell people, you trusted me just now with all that information, so trust me to make the right choices.’
‘You’re a very convincing person, has anyone ever told you that before?’ He smirks at her.

Word Count: 50,050
Current Status: Hidden away on my computer. Possibly I may edit it at some point, but it would need a lot of work. 

November 2011 - NaNoWriMo

Title: Two Worlds
Genre: YA Historical
One is in love;

One has a secret;
One wants to escape;
One will destroy everything.

It's 1908;
Alyssa, Georgiana, Carmel and Emilia are all best friends. Raised together in the prestigious Canner House, a boarding school for girls from elite families. They are raised to live a certain kind of life, one which requires them to always be graceful, well mannered and learn how to behave as a proper lady.
Each of the Canner girls are expected to marry well, within their circle, and they remain at Canner House until they find a suitable husband.
For these four girls they realise that there are two worlds, the one in which they reside and the one they aren't permitted to mingle in, the world inhabited by those known to the canner girls as the commoners, with whom they are strictly told not to be friendly with.
Are the girls being honest, with their friends, family, teachers and guardians? And how will it all turn out?
 They walk back to the clearing slowly, enjoying every moment of their time until they have to say goodbye again, both of them are quiet as they get closer to the clearing, and once the fence is in view they both stop, turning to one another.
'Did you enjoy yourself? Living the life of a commoner for a few hours?'

'I did enjoy myself, and don't call yourself a commoner.'
'It's what that lot call us.' He jerks his head in the direction of Canner House.
'Well it's not how I see you, or anyone else in the village.' She stifles a yawn.
'Go on with you then princess, before you're too tired to walk yourself back.' He smiles teasingly and she swats his arm.
'Thank you for showing me your world, I had such a nice time.' She leans up and kisses his cheek. 'Goodnight Tom.'
'Goodnight princess.'
Word Count: 52,658
Current Status: Edited, but in need of rewrites, further editing and fleshing out.

June 2012 - Camp NaNoWriMo

Title: From Now On
Genre: YA Contemporary
 16 year old Hadley Berne has never had roots, never stayed in one place long enough to let them grow. She grew up travelling the world with her father, a travel writer, her sister Lexi, who left to live in Minnesota as soon as she was 18, and her father's research assistant Luka, her only constant friend.
Now though she is forced into living with her sister, after a devastating accident in Moscow kills her father.

Hadley struggles to make friends, doesn't want to make any attachments, because she doesn't want to stick around for long. All she wants is to get back to seeing the world, run from her grief like her father ran from his, but that isn't an option for her.
 Ok I’m back, sorry about that.’ She grits her teeth to keep herself from yelling. ‘So, what do you mean you can’t find her?’
‘We booked into the hotel last night, I saw her at dinner, then she went to her room and I went to mine, we were supposed to meet out in the lobby this morning, but she didn’t show up. I went over to the reception desk, to get them to call up to her room, but they informed me very impolitely, that she had already checked out. Don’t worry though, I’ll find her and bring her to Minnesota, as promised.’ Luka speaks with a quiet confidence, the same tone that she’s known for a while, and usually has the ability to calm people, but Lexi isn’t feeling in a calm mood, and there are thousands of miles between them, so it really doesn’t matter if she does yell at him.

‘How can I not worry? My 16-year-old sister has run off somewhere in Moscow, extremely upset, on her own, with a passport and $15,000 in her bank account. I’m sure she’s just popped out to the corner shop.’ Lexi snaps harshly.
Word Count: 80,406
Current Status: Awaiting rewrites and editing

August 2012 - Camp NaNoWriMo

Title: After Summer
Genre: YA Contemporary
 Everything changes for Arianna when she loses one of her best friends in an accident, suddenly everything that felt happy and safe, is no longer there, and she can't handle it.
It used to be Ben, Summer and Arianna, always together, and now it's just Ben and Arianna left, and she needs to escape.

After Summer's death she pushes Ben away, cutting of her connection with who she used to be, but she can't keep running forever, not when the past is always ready to catch her up.
 ‘What’s up with you?’ Ben looks up briefly from his desk, a screwdriver poised just

above the mutilated toaster, which he would have to have rebuilt soon, before his dad found out he’d been taking apart appliances again.
‘This isn’t normal,’ Summer stretches her thin arm between the two of them, from her spot sitting on the floor close to the door which led from Ben’s room up to the rest of the house, she has a good view of them both. Arianna now raises her head to look down at her friend, casting a quick secretive smile at Ben first, because they both know that they’re about to receive a lecture of some kind.
‘What’s not normal?’ Arianna indulges her friend, though her eyes quickly get drawn back down to the book on her lap, quickly scanning the last of the paragraph as if it’s something incredibly interesting. Summer thinks about how she could forgive that if Arianna were reading a good novel, and not a textbook.
‘It’s summer! It’s a million degrees outside, and instead of doing what normal seventeen year olds do, we’re sat around in a basement,’
‘My room,’ Ben corrects her.
‘Fine,’ she rolls her eyes dramatically, ‘we’re sat in Ben’s room which happens to be in a basement, with you,’ she looks at Arianna, ‘studying stuff that you don’t need to know until you’re in medical school, and you haven’t even gotten as far as college yet, and you,’ her steady gaze turns to Ben, ‘taking apart anything you can get your hands on. We should be out enjoying the sunshine, and instead the two of you have been in some sort of hibernation since school let out.’ She gets to her feet and starts pacing, ‘I don’t know how you stand it, how can you stay inside when it’s so hot?’ She finishes her slightly too loud lecture, placing her hands on her hips.
‘We have a fan.’ Ben points to the small desk fan rotating around the room.
‘Yeah,’ Arianna nods her agreement, ‘we named him Jim.’
Word Count: 76,329
Current Status: Fully edited and published. Available for download now on Amazon

November 2012 - NaNoWriMo

Title: The Possible Existence of Happiness
Genre: YA Contemporary
 Leigh has just graduated from high school, it's summer and the promise of a wonderful future hangs in the air. There's just one small issue, her boyfriend of almost a year has just broken up with her, telling her that he doesn't think she's a part of his future. She only ever planned for a future involving him, and now she doesn't know what to do.
That's where her two best friends Mayra and Suze come in. They've got a whole summer free, a VW camper van, a wad of cash from Mayra's parents, a stack of old maps and an idea. 

Convincing Leigh that she'll never move on if she stays still all summer, they set out on a cross country road trip, with no destination in mind, they head out in search of the thing that Leigh has lost, happiness.
 ‘All Tom cares about is correcting me when I’m wrong, pointing out things that I’m doing that he doesn’t approve of, and generally aggravating me.’ I roll my eyes, ‘How long is he in town?’
I never told you he was in town, I could have told him on the phone about you and Kyle.’

Sakura and I just look at each other and smile, it’s the first time I’ve smiled since the break-up.
‘You’re kidding right?’ Sakura and I say together.
‘You literally become 50% more Irish when he’s in town, he doesn’t even live in Ireland anymore, he lives New York.’ I reply throwing a cushion at Mayra, who catches it and hugs it to her chest.
‘I do not.’ Mayra defends, ‘I’m always this Irish.’
Again we look at each other and smile.
‘No you’re not.’ We say again at the same time.
‘Oh you know what if the two of you don’t pack it in I’ll invite him over.’
‘Don’t you dare,’ I reach for a pillow to throw, but they’ve all somehow slipped onto the floor, ‘I look like a mess, I don’t want to see anyone, especially not him.’

Word Count: 74,551
Current Status: Awaiting rewrites, edits and possible publication.

April 2013 - Camp NaNoWriMo

Title: Like I Know You
Genre: YA Contemporary
 Ellie had been planning on having a chaos free summer at home in New York with her best friend, but all of that changes when she receives a call from her sister Emma. Emma and her husband have just had their first child, and now they're struggling to juggle home life, and the restaurant they run together in Santa Cruz, so they enlist the help of Ellie.
Suddenly Ellie's relaxed break from school, has turned into living in her sister's guest house, working at the restaurant, helping with the baby and long distance counselling her best friend through a crisis.

Then there's Liam, the charming local guy who seems to work everywhere, and be in all the places Ellie is. He's convinced that they're perfect together, but she's always been afraid to love. Can he change her mind, or will she end up running?
 ‘I help out here sometimes.’ He shrugs.
After closing when there isn’t anyone here.’

‘You’re here.’ He points out.
‘I’m not normally here.’
‘No…I haven’t seen you around before, did they finally sack Greg?’ He asks.
‘No.’ I’m still standing by the door, still not trusting this guy.
‘Sorry I haven’t even introduced myself, I’m Liam.’ He steps forward and holds his hand out, I step back and he drops it back to his side.

Word Count: 115,185
Current Status: Unfinished first draft. Awaiting finishing, rewriting, editing etc.

July 2013 - Camp NaNoWriMo

Title: A Strange Kind of Familiar
Genre: YA Contemporary
Phia has always been an outsider around her sister Lucy and her best friend Daniel. Now though Lucy has announced, right before her high school graduation, that she wants to be an actress. With Lucy throwing herself into this new life, a constant stream of auditions, parties, and acting work shops, it throws Daniel and Phia together on more than one occasion.

As school ends and summer stretches out before them, Phia starts to realize that she enjoys spending time with Daniel. He feels familiar to her, but at the same time he entirely new, and that's something she likes.
 'Lucy what happened?' I ask, but her answer is cut off by Daniel's phone ringing.
'Is that your mom again?' Lucy asks, choking back a sob, so her words come out like she's got hiccups.

'It's fine.' Daniel ignores the call with a swift shrug of his shoulders.
'She's expecting you home.' Lucy sniffs.

'It's really fine.'
'If you need to go, it's fine, I'm here now I can handle it.' I say quickly.
'Well...' Daniel hesitates, probably debating between wanting to be a good friend, and his personal discomfort.
'Seriously,' I smile at him, 'I've got this.'
'Ok, thanks.' He smiles back and my heart does a little flip, but I'm not thinking about that now, not when my sister is starting to sob again. 'It's nice seeing you again Phia.'
'You too.' I reply as he heads down the steps onto the beach.

Word Count: 72,661
Current Status: Published and available now to download on Amazon

November 2013 - NaNoWriMo

Title: A Ripple Effect
Genre: YA Contemporary
Indiana (Indie) has spent the past year trying to come to terms with her sisters death. She's been coping mostly on her own, since her mother left claiming she needed space to grieve. Her father though well meaning, ended up leaning on her more than offering her support.

Now ten months after her mom left, and a year after her sisters death. Her life is about to change again.

Her mom is moving back home, expecting everything to go on as if she hadn't been gone for almost a year, and if that wasn't enough to be dealing with Stefan, the guy blamed by everyone for the crash that killed her sister, is back in town, and Indie is the only one who knows the truth. He's not to blame for what happened.

Indie now must deal with the grief of losing her sister, anger over her mom leaving, and guilt over keeping the truth hidden.
'I'm not going to college.'

'You're not?'
'No well...not now?'
'Next year?'
'Maybe, it depends.'
'Depends on what?' Suddenly his voice is starting to sound a little accusing. I fold my arms over my chest.
'Things.' I reply, 'It's complicated.'
'What about your plans?'
'Plans change.'
'Because things haven't exactly been easy for me recently, and I don't know if I'll be able to go to college next year.'
'Things? What things Indie?' Concern floods his face. I can already feel the tears filling my eyes and I try to sidestep him, but he catches my wrist. His touch is light, I could easily slip out of his grasp, but I don't pull away and he doesn't seem concerned that I will. His eyes rest on my wrist, his thumb brushing against the bracelet and in turn my skin.
'You still have it?' He says quietly.
'Yeah.' I look down.
'I thought after what happened you might...not want it or anything to do with me.'
'Stefan,' my voice lowers, softer and calmer and I give him a watery smile, 'I'm probably the only person in town who doesn't blame you for the accident, and if you'd just let me tell people.'
'No.' He shakes his head, his eyes staying fixed on my wrist.
'But it's got to be so hard being back here, with everyone thinking you're responsible for their deaths, and I could have prevented it. All I had to do was tell the truth.' 
Word Count: 52,658
Current Status: Unfinished first draft, awaiting finishing, rewriting, editing etc.

April 2014 - Camp NaNoWriMo

Title: Bitter Sweet Summer
Genre: YA Contemporary
 The story of three friends through one complicated, heartbreaking summer. Told in three alternating narrators. Libby, Zach, and Julie.

Libby's had a rough life, but things are finally looking up. She's spending her summer at a culinary program for high school students, something she's always dreamed about. Her summer starts unravelling though when she gets called home by her best friend's boyfriend Zach to help him deal with a crisis that's just popped up. While she's back at home, someone from her past shows up, and threatens the life she's come to love.
Zach's on the brink of dropping out of school. Taking on more and more responsibility at home, and barely hanging on. The only good things in his life are his girlfriend Julie, and his best friend Libby. This summer, the good parts of his life will start to fall away and once again he's left to deal with it.
Julie's privileged. She's top of her classes at her private school, she lives in a mansion and everyone wants to be her friend. She has an amazing boyfriend, and a great best friend. There's just one little problem. She's bored. Bored of school, bored of her house and family, in general she's just bored of her life.
In an attempt to liven things up, Julie winds up making a huge mistake, one she'll need to learn to live with.
 I glance down at the screen. Charles.
I get to my feet, dropping my notebook and pen onto the wooden floor with a much louder crash than I'd been hoping.

'Elizabeth.' The tutor looks up, he insists on calling everyone by their full first names, even if they usually go by a shortened version. 'What's the matter?'
'I'm sorry...I have to step out, it's an emergency.' I say because Charles is not the kind of person to call this often when something isn't wrong. I'm already answering the call and walking out before he can say anything else.
'What happened? What's wrong? Is it your mom?' Panic is gripping at my heart. Please don't let it be Mrs Parsons, please.

Word Count: 80,632 (Currently)
Current Status: Writing for Camp NaNoWriMo this month. 

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