So my goals for NaNoWriMo have changed. Rather that push myself toward 1,667 words a day–because what I was coming up with was close to complete crap–I am focusing on pushing out good writing every day in November. After all, I have things to do people! I’m currently editing another of Mike’s manuscripts for publication soon. I also have the Wake of Darkness sequel to clean up and a couple of photo book projects to finish.
Anyway to get back to the point, I’m working diligently at NaNoWriMo and I’m not beating myself up for not hitting certain word counts. I think my story will actually make for a better novelette, much like Mike’s The Great Machine.
My NaNo story is called When She Learned to Be, and you may not like it. My central character is a teenage girl who is dealing with her homosexuality in a conservative family setting. I realize this is a subject that some people may have issue with. I don’t care. As a writer, I’m doing my job if I’m making you think. There are some scenes that I will be uncomfortable with writing–drug use and a sexual assault–but I’m writing them. If a little voice in the back of my head cringes (can voices cringe? you get what I mean!), I’m writing it anyway.
Here’s an excerpt. Please be mindful of the fact that this is extremely rough and hasn’t been edited:
Sarah’s face softened and a kind smile spread across her face. She understood perfectly. She’d been the unconventional black sheep of her own family; if she’d ever come out she would have faced a storm of disappointment and rejection from her parents and siblings. She had no doubt there’d be a firestorm when Dagny decided to do so.
“Oh honey,” she said, walking to her niece and handing her a tea cup. “Absolutely. Come to me any time.”
Dagny took the cup from her and smiled gratefully at her aunt. She knew Sarah would understand.
“Drink,” Sarah commanded. “It’s a special blend to relieve stress.”
“How did you…?”
Sarah smiled. “I could tell something was weighing you down the moment I walked in the door. Just get through the next few months and then come to New York and live with me.”
Dagny nodded. “Thanks, Aunt Sarah.”
“Of course,” she replied with a bright smile.
Dagny sighed and stared into her tea cup as if it were going to reveal some secret of the universe to her. Sarah studied her seriously.
“What are you not telling me?”
Dagny sighed. “I’m in love with someone.”
“Ah,” Sarah replied knowingly. “Who is she?”
Dagny shook her head. “Just a friend.”
“More than that, but I can’t tell her.”
Sarah frowned. “You have to tell her.”
Dagny panicked. “No, no, no,” she shook her head violently. “I can’t do that.”
“Of course you can!” Sarah replied.
“But it will ruin our friendship.”
“Not if it’s a true friendship,” she corrected. “You have to live your life. You’re too young to carry around that kind of weight.”
“But what happens if she rejects me?”
“Then she rejects you and you move on,” Sarah replied gently. “Life is made for living. In matters of the heart it’s better to regret taking a risk than to look back and regret not doing something. It’s hurting you to keep it to yourself. You need to free yourself of that burden; it shouldn’t weigh on your heart like it does.”
“But will you do it?” Sarah mused. She didn’t actually expect an answer—she often asked her niece rhetorical questions. She did it to get her thinking.
“I hope so,” Dagny non-answered.
Sarah stared at her until her eyes rose to meet her aunt’s gaze. “So do I.”