Monday, November 25, 2013

Excerpt From My NaNo Novel

Here's an excerpt from my NaNoWriMo novel. I'm feeling pretty sure of myself right now, so I'm taking a chance and sharing it. This is from one of my character's old diary:

"June 5, 1988

 I feel like a vase that someone has shattered with a baseball-- I've never been so wrong about something in my life.

Surprised? Yes. Oh, she was surprised when I handed her my novel manuscript, alright.

"I'll read it, Sparky," she said, a perplexed look on her face. "But I thought you were taking my advice and going slow up your 'Alpine Path?'"

"I wanted to show you I was capable," I said. I was such an idiot! "You have to tell me exactly what you think."

Well, she did. She told me exactly what she thought. I came in today, jubilant and expectant of the good news I was sure to hear: that the draft of my novel was so exceptional, even Mrs. Carlsen didn't know how to make it better, that someday it would be a bestseller for sure. After all, isn't that what every writer wants to hear?

When I sat down, I knew immediately that things were not about to go the way I'd expected. Mrs. Carlsen had the strangest look on her face-- like she was trying to hide something from me. I was suddenly filled with the sickening feeling that it was my story. She was trying to figure out how to tell me how bad it was. She waited for everyone to leave the room-- even Destiny Harsh, who always takes forever packing up her bookbag.

Mrs. C. and I sat in silence for a moment. I could feel the dread piling up inside me like a stack of paperwork.

"Well?" I said, when Destiny had finally exited the "laboratory." My voice sounded incredibly small in the big, vacant room. Mrs. Carlsen cleared her throat.

"I'll be frank, Livvy." Oh, things were headed for a bad end. Mrs. Carlsen only called me what everyone else did when she was dead serious about something. "It's-- it's trash, Sparky. Your characters are mere puppets. They don't come alive like they should in real literature. It's too emotional-- so emotional, I was almost embarrassed to read it. I've told you, girl, if you're going to write emotion, keep a diary."

I just sat there. Shocked was a weak word to describe what I felt. More like electrocuted.

"But-- I don't understand-- I thought--"

"We all think, Livvy," she interrupted. I detected malice in her voice. Had it really been that bad? "It's the flaw in our human nature; if Adam and Eve hadn't thought so hard, we'd all still be naked and unashamed. And all in all, your story... it's very... nice."

Oh, that stung. That stung far worse than any degrading word could have. Nice. The word nice is a writer's enemy-- it means something wasn't all that bad, but none too good, either. And if what you're writing isn't good, then what's the point of writing it at all?

I burst into tears-- yes, burst. I exploded. I grabbed the manuscript off her desk and threw it into the waste basket and ran out the door. I'm not going back to her class, not ever. They can't make me-- not even Aunt Molly can make me. I will never write again."


1 comment:

  1. Okay, so I'm now creeping on your blog posts...
    I love it! it was wonderfully honest.
    You should post more of this.


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Rebecca :)