Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chapter Three: NaNo Headquarters

Word Count: 12,455/50,000

Though my NaNo novel lives in Microsoft Word, the real NaNoWriMo headquarters are located at http://www.nanowrimo.org/. On this site, there are updates, pep talks, author profiles, personal profiles, and much, much more. I love going on this site and I generally have it up 24/7 (along with Facebook).

My favorite part of the site is probably the forums. On the forums, there are many initial categories to choose from, everything from your novel's genre, a clubhouse for distressed writers (as well as one for triumphant ones), and categories for Character & Plot Realism and Plot Doctoring. Even when I'm not waiting for an answer myself, I love reading other posts. People have so much knowledge and some of the topics are not only very interesting, but they help me out, too. I guess that's probably why they make it forum style rather than saying, "So and So knows a lot about the justice system, so send all your questions to her!", they make all answers availible to everyone. It's fantastic.

And now, since I don't have a lot to say on that topic, another excerpt.

Ruthie looked around for her two best friends and spotted them standing by the entrance. After making sure Noah was headed in the direction of the lower school, Ruthie rushed over to them.
“You’re late,” Nora Savidge pointed out as Ruthie took her place next to them.
“We haven’t got a clock in our shelter yet. We got up so late that I had to wear a dress that my mum had brought down – and she got it out of a box to hand down to my cousin!”
Annie Payson giggled as she straightened her hair clip. “I didn’t think I’d seen you in it since the year before last.”
Ruthie looked around at her fellow students, all talking intently. “Is everyone talking about the air raid last night?”
“Of course,” said Anne. “It was the scariest thing that’s ever happened! I thought our shelter would be hit any minute.”
“I was worried that a bomb would go off five streets over and just the wind itself would blow our shelter over,” Nora remarked wryly. “I think my dad just propped two pieces of metal against each other and put a door in front of them.”
“Your dad is a teacher,” Ruthie pointed out. “It’s not like he’s ever had to do it before.” Nora opened her mouth to respond, but before she could say anything, the bell rang and the students began to rush into the building, still chattering about what had happened the night before.
As Ruthie took her seat in the classroom, she noticed that Jimmy Henderson’s seat next to hers was empty. At first, she didn’t think much of it- it was not unusual for him to be too busy plying a prank to make it to class on time. But his seat was still empty when her teacher, Miss Whittaker, called the class to order and Ruthie began to worry.
“Class,” Miss Whittaker said, standing in front of her desk as her students took their seats again. “Miss Burns has an announcement she would like to make. Please give her your full attention.” Ruthie’s teacher stepped aside to give the school’s wide – girthed principal the floor. The form rose and waited. Miss Burns was silent for a moment as she surveyed the students, her lips pursed and her stern eyebrows pinched together.
“You may be seated,” she said distractedly. “I am afraid I have some bad news, children,” she began. “As you must all be aware, we have been having air raid drills here for the past few months in case the school was attacked. Last night’s air raid gave you a taste of what could happen during school hours, and I do not doubt that many of you were frightened. In any emergency situation, some unfortunate things can happen, and I regret to inform you that such a thing happened during last night’s raid.”
The class was confused. While many of them had been frightened during the air raid, it was over now. What after effects could have a part in their lives?
Several buildings were destroyed by the bombs that fell, one of them being the flats on Wannamaker Street. The Henderson family was a resident of this building.”
There were a few soft gasps as the class turned to stare at Jimmy’s empty desk. A heaviness seemed to fall over the room as the principal’s words sunk in.
“What happened to them, Miss Burns?” a girl named Evelyn asked softly. It was a mark of the seriousness of the situation that Miss Burns did not reprimand Evelyn for neglecting to raise her hand.
“I regret to say that, though Mr. and Mrs. Henderson and their youngest child were found unharmed, the authorities were unable to located James and his brother Arthur.”
“But they’re just… I don’t know, lost of something, right?” said a boy named Roger. “Maybe they ran to get help and couldn’t find their way home.”
Miss Burns’ mouth grew tight. “We can only hope that is the case, Mr. Jennings. There are people looking for the boys as well as a few others, and you can be sure that if they are indeed still alive, they will be found.” And with that, Miss Burns nodded to Miss Whittaker and left the room. But she did not take with her the grim silence that had fallen over the students as soon as she said the words “still alive”. Ruthie glanced again at Jimmy’s empty eat. She couldn’t seem to wrap her mind around the idea that someone she knew might really be gone forever. Could it be that this boy, this noisy, wise – cracking fourteen year old, had already reached the end of his life the night before? Was his body lying in wait of the search party? Or might he be gone completely, never to be found by anyone at all?
Ruthie shook her head, trying to rid it of these thought. Jimmy could take care of himself, she was sure of that. They would find him. By next week, she told herself, he’d be sitting next to her again, folding up paper airplanes in his lap and grinning that sideways smile of his. He would be, because Ruthie couldn’t accept anything else.

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