That whoosh you just heard? That was my sigh of relief.
I got home from work and the gym around three o'clock yesterday and I was determined that I was going to sit down and work on my novel revisions. I was quite frustrated because I was itching to work on it, but a mixture of fear and writer's block (or perhaps fear-induced writer's block) was only allowing me to open the document and stare at the screen blankly. I proceeded to do this for about four hours until suddenly, something in my mind cleared.
I guess a big part of the problem was that I wanted to make BIG changes RIGHT THEN to the novel. And while I did start planning out what some of those big changes might be, I started out much smaller- fixing a word here, tweaking a delivery there. Getting back in touch with the characters I haven't written about since November.
After working at these small adjustments, finally som of the larger peices started to fall into place. My novel needs to be expanded in the worst way; I'm only realising now how much I only have the skeleton of the story. This is both good and bad, for reasons I think I'll save for another blog. For now, here's the first small snippet of my NaNo novel, Remembrance. This is one of the parts I've not touched yet; I have a post it in the margins that reads "MORE, MORE, MORE!" so I hope to soon be expanding on the points that are briefly mentioned.
For a bit of background, my main character Ruthie has gone into a house owned by a possibly crazy couple because she got a clue that her friend Nora was being kept there with a bunch of other kids. This turns out to be true and at this moment, Nora is acquainting Ruthie with the inner workings of the house.
Nora led Ruthie down a make – shift cinderblock hallway and to a doorless threshold. The room inside was small but not cramped, painted a soft yellow and trimmed with flowered wallpaper. Nora’s hairbrush and a wash basin sat on the small night table. Slippers were tucked neatly under the bed and a quilt lay across the end. The sight of these touches made Ruthie stop short in the doorway.
“Are you all right?” Nora asked, rushing to her side. “Ruthie? What’s the matter?”
Ruthie could just shake her head, leaning against the cold stone of the entrance.
“Ruthie, talk to me. Are you dizzy? Do you feel like you’re going to faint? Here, sit down.” Nora grabbed her arm and tried to pull her to the small ottoman in the corner. But Ruthie couldn’t move. Or, more accurately, she wouldn’t move. Seeing those homey things, those little Nora touches, showed her something she had not expected, something terrifying. She swallowed, trying to calm herself down.
“Nora,” she said slowly, dreading the answer. “When did you give up hope?”
“What?” her friend looked confused. “What are you talking about?”
“This room … it’s like you actually live here.”
“Well … I do. I mean, I sleep here, but – what do you mean?”
“You’ve settled here, Nora, do you realise that? When did you begin to think you might never go home again?” She hadn’t realised it when it was happening, but her volume had risen considerably.
Nora took her hand off of Ruthie’s arm like she had been burned. “Ruthie, you’re scaring me. I know waking up in that room like that was not fun, but you came here voluntarily – to help the rest of us who weren’t so lucky. What are you worried about? They take good care of us here. And if things go as you say, we could be leaving soon.”
Ruthie could have stomped her foot. “It’s not me I’m worried about, it’s you! You talk about Gloria like she’s a nutcase, but looking at this place, you may not be far behind. When did you start referring in your head to this room as ‘my room’?”
“Stop it!” Nora spat. Her concerned look had been replaced by a glare. “You don’t know what you’re talking about at all. You have no idea how things work here. You came here by choice – Danny and Suzanne told you what to expect. You have no clue what it’s like to find yourself trapped down here, realising too late that you were too stupid or naïve to save yourself or even suspect what was going on. You think we don’t try to get out of here every day? Sure, the Gradys feed us and clothe us, but we don’t leave this basement. I haven’t seen sunlight since the day we went to the cinema. I have three dresses. We’re all miserable down here, except for Gloria. We all want to get out, but we’ve tried everything. And after weeks of trying every single thing you can think of, you start to wonder if you’ll ever find a way. So I haven’t given up hope, Ruthie, but I’ve started to be realistic. This place is like an interminable prison, and unless you really can get all of us out of here, we just might be stuck down here for who knows how long. I’d love to hear any plan you have after being here for half an hour. Because when you’re here for weeks with no escape possibility in sight, you can’t help but start to think that you might never get out. It’s not like we want to believe it, but when it comes down to it, should we spend all our time crying about not being home? Or should we face the reality and realise that this could very well be it and try to make the best of it?”
Despite Nora’s speech, Ruthie was still dumbfounded. “So you’re just going to forget your parents and everything else and become Nora Grady, just like Gloria?”
“Stop it!” Nora said again, and now she was shouting. “You have no idea what you’re talking about!” She looked like she wanted to throw Ruthie out of the room and slam the door in her face, but that was not an option. Instead, she turned her back on Ruthie and busied herself rifling through her nightstand drawer. Ruthie was still frustrated by Nora’s ridiculous standpoint, but at the same time, she realised that she also didn’t have anyone else.
“Nora?” she ventured.
“Just go away,” came the hard reply.