Saturday, November 1, 2008

NaNoWriMo, Day 1, etc.

So, to clear up a few things from the other day...

The dogs have survived thus far. No more beads have been spilled. Given that my dearly departed dog was mostly a lump, these guys are just a great deal more active; they take a little getting used to.

My kiln is no longer broken because my hubby is a hero and took it apart and fixed it. Yay hubby!

And the beads that had every right to break did not. Can't beat that.

Now on to NaNoWriMo... or at least a little explanation. After talking with Hubby the Hero and a couple of other people, I've been pretty well convinced not to post my entire novel efforts on my blog. There are a couple of reasons. One, to rephrase Anne Lamott, is that it will be a crappy first draft. I won't have time to revise like I'd like before posting each day. Secondly, if my entire novel is posted online, any (purely theoretical) chances of being published might be diminished if the whole thing can already be found online, even in "crappy first draft" form.

All that to say, I will post snippets, but not the whole thing. Somehow I doubt that anyone's disappointment will be life-altering.

I went to a Midnight Write last night and got a little over 1300 words down in an hour and a half. Not bad, but not a full day's output. Unfortunately, I've been lazy today, so that's going to be it for today. To hear friends tell it, I should write like I'm already "seeing" it in my brain, or like a movie is filmed: one scene at a time, with no real regard for what goes in what order until later when editing occurs.

After all those disclaimers, I'd also like to say that I really haven't named any of my characters. I'm currently calling my main character Anh Nguyen, but I know her first name will change, and I think her last name will change as well. Other characters haven't been named at all. I have a great deal of research to do that isn't done yet. I also haven't named the novel.

My premise is that Anh moves to the U.S. with her family around age 8 from Vietnam. Her parents are very traditional and want to raise their children in a very traditional manner, but Anh and her sister become westernized because they are raised here. I don't want to tell too much, but I want to visit Anh in her teens, in college, and in adulthood.

I want the novel to open on Anh's wedding day, but I'm not happy with that scene as I wrote it last night. Here is a snippet of a scene from Anh's teenage years.


“Hey Mom, I’m home!” Anh called out in Vietnamese, her usual greeting on arriving home from school. She tried not to show her irritation. Of all her friends, she was the only sophomore who had to check in every day after school before she could do anything else. Most of her friends’ moms worked, and if they didn’t, they realized that it wasn’t a big deal if their daughters went somewhere else after school without coming home first. She hoped her mom would come around to the standard way of thinking, but so far, she was still the 10th grade freak.

She plopped her books down in her room and wondered why the house was so quiet. Mom was always home to greet her after school. The TV was off, as usual, but there was no music playing, no piano tinkling softly from the front living room, no sign of her mother in the kitchen. “Mo-om! Where are you?” Anh called. Silence greeted her.

As she trotted through the house looking for her mom, Anh noticed odd little things out of place: the breakfast dishes still unwashed in the sink, her mother’s embroidery left out by her chair. Mom was the world’s most fastidious housekeeper; this clearly was not right.

She picked up the kitchen phone and dialed Dad’s office phone line, jiggling the cord impatiently while it rang one, two, three, four times. When the voice mail picked up, Anh growled into the phone and hung up. She called the number Dad had given her for reaching the secretary for his group. One ring. Two. Then, “Engineering group, Mrs. Littleton speaking, how may I help you?”

Thank God, Anh thought. She’d been starting to think she was the only human left alive anywhere.

“Hi, Mrs. Littleton. This is Anh Nguyen..”

“Oh, hi Anh! How are you? And how’s your mom doing?”

“My… mom? I was trying to reach my dad, and –“

“Well, hon, your dad left a couple of hours ago to take your mom to the hospital. It sounded pretty serious. I thought he would have called up to school. I’m sorry, sweetie. Did you just get home?”

“Um, yeah, and no one’s home.” Anh was trying to breathe carefully, trying not to cry while Mrs. Littleton was on the phone. “Do you know what was wrong with my mom?”

“I’m sorry Anh, I don’t. I know they were headed to Memorial, though. Do you have the number? I can look it up for you.”

“Yeah, that’d be great.” This came out in a squeak. The “not crying” thing wasn’t working so well, Anh noticed. How was she going to get hold of her dad in that huge hospital?

Mrs. Littleton put her on hold while she found the right number. Anh found a box of tissues and tried to clean up the mess she’d made of her face.

When Mrs. Littleton came back, she offered to call the hospital and find Mr. Nguyen for Anh. “No thanks, Mrs. Littleton,” Anh managed. “I think if I had to sit here and wait for the phone to ring, I’d go crazy.”

“OK, Anh. I can understand that. Please let me know if I can do anything, OK?”

“OK. Thanks, Mrs. Littleton. Bye-bye.”


That's all for today, folks... hope you enjoyed it!

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