Camp Nanowrimo: Day Eight

I’m still alive!… and woefully behind on my word count. As it stands, my novel is currently 7,012 words, two and a half chapters long. Which – really – is great… considering I made a bare 621 words last time. I’ve done that more than ten times over. It’s something to be proud of. Progress made!

But – to keep up with the minimum word count I should be hitting each day – by tonight I should hit 13,336. Um – yeah. Not going to happen, I’m afraid! Going along with my own personal goal of two thousands words a day, twenty five days of the month  – that total increases to 14,000.

These are all just figures and statistics. They can easily be surpassed with time and dedication, even over this weekend, if I put my mind to it. What I should be more worried about is, where my novel is actually headed. I feel that I should know, as the writer of it – but I’m pretty clueless mostly. It’s come as a bit of a surprise, the direction I’ve started to take with it. The basic story of Figment is going to be a lot different to how I imagined it three years ago – less melodrama, more reflection.

It’s still very much indulgent – on my part – teen fiction.  But I get a kick out of it and I love that it’s gotten me into writing again. My goal with this was never to craft a well-written, publishable piece of fiction – the former would just be a bonus, the latter seems completely out of reach – but just to start and finish something. I’d really like to be able to say, ‘Oh yeah, I wrote a novel last June. Beginning, middle and end. In thirty days!’ Admittedly it’s not even something I’m going to publicise (much) in real life. The personal satisfaction is what I’m chasing.

So: Figment, then. With a bit of luck, whoever might be reading this won’t have read its previous prologue-only incarnation. It’s crappy teenage writing at its finest – not saying that what I do now is so superior, but I’ve definitely improved since then – and it also gives the game of my current novel away. I’m hinting at the twist as I go along, but the revelation isn’t going to emerge until maybe halfway into the novel – while the other half will revolve around how the characters deal with it. It’s messily done so far – mostly it just looks like a lot of writer oversights on my part – but there’s no time for rewrites. Maybe I’ll save those for a later stage.

There are all of four (prominent) characters in my novel, two of whom can be called the protagonists. The narrator is Seth: a gawky, introverted boy who lives with his mother in a cottage in rural Ireland. He spends his time drawing, painting, reading… and with Liz, the other main character, and his best friend. She is more outgoing, more vivacious than him – yet she is also a social outcast. They are all the other has, but cracks are beginning to show in their friendship; and as his eighteenth birthday approaches, what’s being left unsaid between them threatens to pull them apart indefinitely.

The other two characters are Seth’s mother, who loves her son but worries hugely about him, and Eve, the daughter of the woman who employs Seth in her shop. Although I’m writing as a male character, the male-to-female ratio of characters is fairly imbalanced. Especially as I feel my narrator has a pretty feminine world view; that’s not a dig at any personality but in general, you can tell that the author of this is female! To round off this entry, I’ll throw in a brief extract – nothing much happening in it, but it’s significant. 🙂 Let’s hope next update, I’ll have something more to show for myself!

– – – – –

‘Am I… am I going to see you again?’

That’s the big question these days. It’s something I ask myself every time Liz walks away like this, which has been happening more and more frequently lately. Her answer hasn’t changed yet – but I’m scared to death that someday, it will.

‘Of course,’ she answers smoothly, unemotionally – but her eyes look to be not far off teary. The alarm bells turn to sirens, as my heart stops beating altogether. Liz was, in effect, my only friend. Our relationship was about as unorthodox as it could get – but if I lost her, a great chunk of my life would come to an end. I didn’t think anyone or anything could fill the gap Liz would leave if she was to disappear.

She must see the consternation in my expression, because she smiles to reassure me. ‘I’ll be back maybe the day after tomorrow – you’re not working Sunday, are you?’

‘No, Mrs. K is giving me the day off, with school coming back and everything.’

‘Then I’ll find you on Sunday,’ she promises solemnly.

‘I’ll… miss you,’ I manage to sputter. Again, expression of feelings is not something I’d win medals for.

‘Your soup is getting cold,’ is all she says in reply, pointing at the bowl, which I automatically swivel back to look at.

When I turn around again, she’s already gone.


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