November 01, 2002
Excerpt #1

This morning I began work, and right now I'm at about 1200 words so far. If I can keep up this pace, I'll be fine, but I expect to hit writer's block about another 20 pages in or so. *wry smiles* But so far I'm happy with it. Not exstatic -- this isn't great writing. But at least its palatable. *smiles*

No title yet. I'll find one eventually.
"What is it?"

Janie peered over Mallory's shoulder, pulling back the fall of her sister's dark hair so that she could better see the object Mallory held. It was rectangular and ornate, with delicate pewter scrollwork in a vine wound all across the top. Mallory cupped the box in her hands, her thumb moving across the front until she found the catch. She pushed.


Mallory popped her thumb into her mouth, sucking away the tiny spot of blood that welled up.

"What happened?" Janie peered at the box, then at Mallory.

"She cut herself on the box, numbnut." Sean's tone was dry and derisive, as only a teenage boy can sound. He was crouched in front of Mallory, and he stood now, pacing away, back into the dark reaches of the attic. Rain pounded down on the roof above, masking the sound of his footsteps.

"I'm okay," Mallory assured both of them. They weren't really worried, she knew. They were bored, and anxious for any entertainment. And this attic was the best the world had to offer right now. Since Dad took his car to work, and Grandma Kel was at a friend's house, they were locked inside. Unless they wanted to risk the summer storm – a typical upstate New York downpour. They'd hoped it would pass quickly, but after an hour of watching rivers run down the windows, they had decided to explore the old house.

Typical, Mallory thought. Like an old-style kid's book, where the three kids find adventure waiting for them in an old attic, and find out secrets about their family that they never knew. She looked back down at the box in her hand and laughed internally. Secrets? Yeah. So far they'd found some costume jewelry – which Janie was wearing – and some old clothes that were moth eaten. A few pictures, which they'd set aside, hoping that Grandma Kel might be able to at least tell them who they were. And that was about it. The rest of it was junk – toys to old and dilapidated to be played with, or for children far younger than they were.

"Are you going to open it?" Janie's words intruded into Mallory's private world.

"Huh? Yeah…" Mallory held up the box close to her eyes, wishing again that they'd been able to find the spare lightbulbs so they had more than an old battery operated lantern for light. She peered at the catch. It was a simple one, just a little flap that came down over a half-circle of metal, so that a lock could be passed through it if the owner wished. But there was no lock now. Mallory reached tentatively for the catch, feeling the slight dampness of her own blood slick upon the metal. She squirmed inside at that, never having liked the sight of blood. But this time no roughness caught at her skin, and she flipped the catch up, then tugged the lid of the box open.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 01:10 PM
October 30, 2002

I can't officially start writing the novel until approximately 24 hours from now. BUT... I can start brainstorming.

My mind's been going a little nuts on the topic since the challenge was set. I had to come up with an idea I could run with, something that didn't require a lot of research, or a lot of outlining. Or something that at least wouldn't suffer in the first draft from having neither of those.

The idea is to just WRITE. Forget about making it excellent, or even necessarily good. Just go with the flow and write. Which is how I *used* to write, before I knew outlines were useful and research was necessary. So in a weird way, its returning to my roots.

First line: "What is it?"

Spoken by: Janie, "little sister", 11 years old

Object held by: Mallory, "big sister", 16 (ALMOST 17) years old

As they are observed by: Sean, "the brother", 14 and protective in both directions

They are spending the summer at Grandma Kel's. They are in her attic.

Their mother died three years before. Their father has not remarried.

And that'll be the situation I begin with. I think it has a lot of potential. Yeah, its probably YA. But then, a YA story can be told in 50,000 words and completed. And I read a lot of it, and know what's decent. So maybe I can turn out a decent piece of fiction.

Am I daydreaming about trying to revise it come December, and try to get it published? Of course I am. Realistically, it won't be good enough. But that won't stop me from putting on my blinders and trying anyway. *smiles*

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:10 PM
October 29, 2002
I'm Officially INSANE

It's official, I'm insane.

Official NaNoWriMo 2002 Participant

What is this? Well, click on the link and find out. Chris challenged me (he is EVIL) and I accepted and signed up. Beginning on Friday, November 1, I will be attempting to complete a 50,000 word novel (that's 175 pages or so) within 30 days. Meep!

There is a part of me which cannot believe I am going to even *attempt* this. I must be crazy! How will I ever accomplish this with the kids around? With life? The holidays?

But if I do... oh... wow... it'll feel Sooooooo good. *smiles*

So follow along. I'll try to post daily excerpts after I'm done crunching words for the day, even just a paragraph or two.

But first, I need a beginning. A concept. A where do I want this one to go. I've had novel ideas before. Had fits and starts of somethings. But this time I need something I can really jump in and fly with. Something I can write easily. And something fun. Hm.... at least I've got a few days to figure that part out. Then the fun begins!!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 05:19 PM