So this past month I participated in NaNoWriMo, which was STELLAR. Seriously. I had so much fun taking a much-needed break from the ultra-structured Whispers and Murmurs and moving into the more spontaneous territory of the second book of the series, Yellow. Working with Yellow's protagonist, Kara, was nothing short of thrilling.
Kara is one of those characters whose charisma grips you and refuses to let go...and you are totally ok with it. Also, not going to even try to deny this, she's so easy to work with. She lets me know exactly what she wants, where she intends to go, and doesn't waste time deliberating *long hard stare at Nikaiya* which is almost the complete opposite of Nikaiya, who, while reckless at points, is a strategist at heart and “wastes time” thinking about, well, pretty much everything. I'm making Nikaiya sound annoying. She's really not; just difficult to prod into cooperating...
Yellow also proved easier to navigate despite—ironically—being much more convoluted. We're talking timey-wimeyness here, peeps. But unlike in Whispers and Murmurs, where literally everything is structured down to the word count per chapter, Yellow offers an abundance of wiggle room provided all the key scenes are put into the novel. Obviously I have an order to it; just a much more lenient one.
(Short glimpse into the somewhat stifling structure of W&M: each of the 32 chapters is exactly 3,125 words long...to total exactly 100,000 words.)
I put forth that I wanted to share a few bits of my efforts—efforts which resulted in about 20k! Woot considering circumstances, which I'll again hopefully be announcing soon. Next week? :D—and now I'm finally getting to do so. Yay!
What you're about to see is the unadulterated rough draft of rough drafts—meaning none of this has been edited at all. Not for grammar or spelling, syntax, or logical consistency...so please keep that in mind while reading! Don't be too worried, though; my grammar isn't impeccable but it isn't atrocious, either (same goes for spelling). And brackets? My lifeline for brain farts. I love brackets.
To avoid some spoilers and such, I had to blot out a character's name (sorry!). I'm really excited—and a bit nervous—to share this because 1) as expressed above, it's NaNo-style rough; and 2) I'm afraid to be giving away too much at once before I've even finished the draft! Nevertheless, this is something I wanted to do to give a peek into my first NaNo experience.
Hopefully you find it encouraging—maybe enough to tackle NaNo yourself next year?!
Here's my (also) rough synopsis. It desperately needs help, but will suffice for the moment:
For Kara, a girl who’s cursed with the rare and volatile affliction known as Ipsen's Syndrome and who’s haunted by the tragic event that triggered its manifestation, existence is a nightmare she longs to wake up from. Despite numerous treatments, counseling sessions, and continuous outpouring of love from her family and few remaining friends, she has yet to recover. In one last attempt to at least lessen the effects of the curse, Kara’s parents allow her to travel to Mydoria with a family friend.
Upon arrival, the pair is shocked; Miaka, the eldest princess, insists Kara accompany her if she desires to receive healing—and miraculously, once the process is complete, Kara’s migraines are gone. Thus when Miaka requests the pair’s aid in helping Nikaiya accomplish her quest, both willingly oblige; Mikael, because he believes this journey could be the answer they’ve been searching for; Kara, because she has been given a sliver of hope, and wishes to thank Miaka.
Shortly after departing Mydoria, Kara encounters a priestess from Hikari, and is challenged to confront her precarious past—to come to terms with what happened, and with what could be: to embrace the redemption she's really been searching for all along—if it exists.
She could refuse.
But if she does, she'll lose herself and those she holds most dear—for good this time.
Onto the Story...
*Mikael's name will probably change :)
When I listen carefully, I hear the flow of water. The water underneath us…it’s moving. And much faster than it should be. My legs threaten to give way beneath me as Mikael’s shouts pierce the air. It hurts to breathe. His voice echoes along the river, carrying an eerie note of foreboding. Run, he’s saying. RUN!
I spin, forcing my legs to move back to *****. He must have seen the river breaking from atop the slope. If we don’t get off the ice, we’re all going to die.
Crack. The integrity of the ice-river is failing.
I slip and fall—I’m going too fast, yet not fast enough. I can’t reach a balance. “*****! We need to get off the ice! It’s breaking,” I yell from my crouch, and try to steady myself enough to run again. The vibration is more forceful now; it shivers up through the soles of my feet to my jaw, making my teeth chatter. A succession of sharp pops and BOOM—the force of the shifting ice throws me onto my back and steals my breath. I cradle my head and breathe in, ignoring the sharp pain in my lungs. The huge stream of water that just burst through the ice and is now gushing into the sky has won my concern. I’ve never, in all my life, seen water climb so high. Even the geysers surrounding the Steam Lake can’t reach such heights.
Agony wells up, enshrouds my body from deep within…but this agony is different. Poignant and unruly, piercing. It is soul-deep, and it is different than the grief of losing Gran. Different than [example of something horrific]. This agony is alive, so much so that I can trace its movement through my body. It crackles and snaps, biting into my bones, breathing into my blood, searing each molecule. The heat flows through my veins, vanquishing the cold…and replaces anguish with fury.
I whip my head to face the irekarn (dragon), once-cold tears turning hot. Spurts of black mist erupt from my skin and shred my clothing. I barely notice the strange stream of thorns as they float through the air. Barely register the taste of metal and blood and ice dancing across my tongue. All I see is death, and all I desire is vengeance.
I shrugged. “My family’s interested in the opportunity.”
She raised her eyebrows. “But are you?”
What did she expect me to say? No? “If they can help, great.” But I didn’t think they could help. I thought it was yet another false hope everyone was grasping for. I was tired of hoping; there was no cure. And even if there was, I couldn’t honestly say I’d want it. The Curse was justice, a rightful punishment for what I did. Ironically, the fact that it was debilitating was exactly what made it so appealing. “It’s worth trying, I suppose.”
***** had become increasingly persistent, badgering me with questions. She was unrelenting, claiming I needed to know. Most confusing—and disturbing—of all was the phrase she’d started using when I demanded to know why she was asking me all of this so suddenly: there isn’t much time.
We were only thirteen. We’d just celebrated our birthday. I failed to see how there wasn’t much time. But she insisted, and I gave in to her spells of madness.
“What if we’re descendants of Ipsen?”
She made me want to cry sometimes. “That’s just a folk story, *****.” An ancient one that had little to no basis in reality. “The rumors we sometimes hear are merely an expression of boredom. People want to be excited—what could be more exciting than someone in our town suddenly manifesting the fabled Curse of the Lines?” ***** gave me a hard look. I stared right back. “You asked.”
“What if it’s not just a story?”
“Even if it isn’t, I don’t see why it matters; we’re not his descendants. We’re safe.”
***** got very quiet; she didn’t want to talk about it anymore. I frowned and was about to apologize when she mumbled, “maybe” and left the room.
My frown deepened, and I shut the book I was reading without marking the page. I wished I knew what was wrong with her lately. We’d always been close, always told each other everything. I felt like I was betraying her…and that no matter how hard I tried to keep her hand in my grasp, she was slipping away. Somehow I knew where she was going, I wouldn’t be able to reach.
If I was going to keep her, I would need to act now…before it was too late. Maybe that was what she’d been referring to all along. Us. Our changing relationship.
I was still struggling to fathom how she could ever imagine us apart. The notion seemed laughable. Or at least it had. Suddenly I wasn’t so confident anymore.
And then, even more suddenly than the realization upon seeing Mikael at the window, I remembered what should have been an unforgettable truth. A terrible, mind-and-heart-shattering truth.
She was gone.
My sister. My baby sister. Was gone.
No. I couldn’t accept it. I wouldn’t. She wasn’t gone, she was still bleeding! She needed help. But when the nurses picked Mikael up from the floor and he sobbed, “I’m sorry, I wasn’t fast enough,” the surreal and deniable became jarring reality. A gasp left my lips—what did he mean, he wasn’t fast enough? The finality of that statement could not be ignored. His agony, more than anything, revealed the truth.
But I was there. Wasn’t I? Was he saying that to make me feel better about my own failure? Was it my fault? Everything was so blurry; I couldn’t remember anything. Just cold. Ice, salt water…and—I leaned over the bed to vomit again and accidentally coated a nurses’ shoes—blood. So much blood.
My head was pounding denial and shame and regret and refusal. No. No. NO!
The room began to turn black. The nurses were soon eclipsed and an alarm rang, piercing. I covered my ears to no effect. “Emergency in Driona 5. I repeat: Emergency in Driona 5. Patient needs medical attention immediately!” Another voice called for an anesthetic [Maybe not what's actually needed lol]. A sharp object I couldn’t see through the mist pricked my arm—a needle. It must have been a…needle…
I drifted through the black, endless sea. And drifted, floating past the burning under my skin, the fire and the short bursts of light that flickered in the not-so-far distance.
*****, I murmured.
“She’s gone,” my mind whispered back.
**Sorry about the formatting; blogger is annoying sometimes -_-