Monday, November 1, 2010

National Novel Writing Month

It's that time of year again!

At about 1 o'clock this morning, I started my novel for NaNoWriMo! I am, of course, not very far into it just yet; as of now, I have written 849 words. Nevertheless, it is a start.

My usual NaNoWriMo strategy usually involves a large amount of Word Wars, which can usually be found on the NaNoWriMo chat or forums, and a lot of Word Sprints as well. Word Wars tally up your collective word count and can tell you how much you've written as a result of the Wars. You can have a friendly competition with other NaNo-ers in this way, but the competitions are usually for personal accomplishment.

Another NaNo strategy I have is to get someone to pick a random word for me (preferably a commonplace word) and try to use it in a sentence, or, better yet, write an entire paragraph around it.

This year, my novel is more serious than in past years. Normally I write about a group of adventurers called the Panzerotti Group who get into all kinds of ridiculous exploits. This year, however, I'm writing a psychological horror/action-adventure novel. I'm trying to use a different technique by picking a "mood song" for every chapter and having that song in mind while I write it. Here is my current mood song:

It's a remix from the video game Shadow of the Colossus. I want to get a similar feeling of loneliness and emptiness that the game tends to portray. My main character, Odessa, is all alone in a strange land, and she really relates to Wander from Shadow of the Colossus in that sense. The difference is that Wander is armed with a number of ways to defeat his loneliness: he is battling to resurrect someone, and he has his horse, Agro, to assist him. Odessa is completely and utterly alone, and she doesn't even remember who she is.

Here's a small excerpt from my novel, which is currently nameless.

She couldn't remember when she had even fallen asleep.

She blinked slowly as she awoke, and her eyes adjusted easily to the darkness, as though she had been there for a long time. The only light that met her eyes was a very faint, distant shimmer. She couldn't begin to fathom where it was coming from; she had to let her mind adjust to the fact that she was awake.

She suddenly felt very ill as she realised she didn't remember anything at all. It wasn't so much that she couldn't remember falling asleep... she couldn't remember what she had been doing before that, or how she got to be in such a dark place. Fear overtook her suddenly, and she couldn't stop herself from whimpering out loud.

"Hello?" she called. She tried a few times, just to make sure, but there was no response whatsoever. Panic was beginning to set in when she realised one last thing.

She couldn't even place her own name.

She struggled with this for a moment as tears of shock spilled down her cheeks. The sadness of her own situation overwhelmed her, and she suddenly felt very, very helpless.

How could she possibly find a way out if she didn't even know how she got there in the first place?

Her screaming began then. She screamed and screamed until her throat was raw. "Help me!" she cried. "Come find me! Get me out of here!". But no one came.

When at last her throat was hoarse and raw, she couldn't scream any longer. She sat there for a few minutes in silence, looking down to where the light was coming from. In a moment, she knew she would have to get out. She pushed herself to a stand, which proved difficult due to her legs being asleep, and she started to stumble toward the apparent exit.

In the time it took her to stand, she had started to notice a dull rumbling noise, with an accompanying tremor. She ignored it at first, but then found she simply couldn't, because the noise and vibrations were increasing. Whatever it was seemed to be getting closer to her. She broke into an all-out run then, taking little to no care where her footing landed her. She nearly found herself tripping a few times, but she managed to regain her balance as the creature came closer. She glanced behind her to see if she could perhaps get a glimpse of whatever was after her, but she found with dismay that the darkness was too thick to allow this.

The light grew closer and flooded the corridor ahead to make things visible. She now could see where she was running. She could also see where exactly the light was coming from.

It was coming from the ceiling.

She whimpered upon seeing this, knowing full well that she would probably have to find a way to climb up to escape. She also noticed that the hole wasn't very big, meaning that she would have to probably squeeze her way through. She realised then that she couldn't even remember what she looked like, and she hoped against hope that the opening in the ceiling could possibly be big enough to fit her. She refocused her efforts and tried to concentrate on finding a ladder, or something that could be suitable as a ladder. After some searching, she discovered a notched log resting nearby and attempted to prop it close to the hole to shimmy up it. This didn't work in the least; every time she tried to shimmy up, the log would topple down unapologetically. She cursed and sobbed, listening as the beast grew ever closer. She was out of ideas.

I'll likely update throughout the month with other excerpts. If you're writing for NaNo, add me on the website: my username is Nekonezume. Feel free to post an excerpt from your novel in the comments, as well. I'd be interested to read! If not an excerpt, then give me a little summary! I'm curious to know.

Until next time!
K. Cooper

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