Thursday, November 29, 2012

Short Story: A Loyal Companion

I wrote this for my Creative Writing class a few weeks ago, but wanted to wait until I got my grade back to post it because I honestly didn't know whether it was good or crap. I can never judge my own writing. I seem to think it's all magnificent, but realize that it most likely isn't.

But I got a good grade on this, so it makes me feel a little more confident in posting it.

ALSO. I reached 50,000 words yesterday on my novel, but am far from the ending. I'm only about halfway, actually. But I made the goal, so I'm going to set it aside and take care of the rest of the semester first. Maybe read Pride & Prejudice. Just take an overall break. But I'll probably be picking it back up by the time January rolls around.

Anyway, here's the short story:

I had every intention to use the shovel--old and slightly rusted—and even took the time to furiously dig it out of the supply closet behind our carport, but somewhere between my trip between there and the burial site, it had slipped from my possession and fell to the ground with a muted thud. I, too, found myself falling closer to the ground and landing on the edge of the steps of our damp wooden deck. The small expanse of our backyard stretched out in front of me, sodden and empty. The rain had picked up during my search for the old shovel, but I had not noticed until that moment; it pelted upon my head as though the skies were daring to touch me, but as distantly as possible.
            My clothes soon became completely soaked through, but I was already far gone in my mind. My eyes were transfixed on the 5’ X 10’ rectangular kennel in front of me, completely void of the deep ruff, ruff that used to ring out to my every passing for the last ten years.

*          *          *

School came back around as counted on, and though it was quite literally next to my house, I begged my father until he agreed to drive me to the front door every morning.
            Recess, however, was quite different. Back then they had not thought (or perhaps just lacked the funds) to put a fence around the perimeter of the grounds to keep all the adventures in and the rest of the world out. Looking across the playground, I could see the very place I sat when the attack began the summer before, leaving an ever-present shadow lingering around me.
I remembered that day vividly. It began with my father urging me to play outside, convinced that every eight-year-old needed his fair share of sunlight.
            “Not really,” I told him. “If I were a lima bean, then yes, but…”
            Apparently these words were under the realm of “disrespectful,” because I had not even finished the sentence before my father stormed, “What did you just say to me? Did you just use a tone with me, Harold?”
            I proceeded to tell him that everyone used some sort of tone when they spoke; shortly after, I found myself forced to play outside in the stifling heat of mid-July.
            Legs crossed and head lowered, I focused all of my attention on observing the ants working diligently around me on the sweltering pavement. I was so focused, in fact, that I did not hear the pace of my neighbor’s dog until it was sprinting down the road directly in front of me. When it reached me, it came to a halt, eyes cold and ravenous.
            I arose from the sidewalk and stretched to my full height—approximately 54 inches—and shakily faced the dog. My height did not contrast much with its colossal pitch-black body that was seemingly sculpted out of pure muscle. As soon as I stood, I knew it was foolish; though I could outrun eight-year-old girls during recess, there was no possible way I could have outran that bison-like canine. 
            The dog’s head lowered, teeth bared, and the thick matted fur on its back stood up like a porcupine.
            It’s just scared, I told myself half-heartedly, but in that moment a low rumble emerged from the back of the dog’s throat. I swear I had never heard anything so threatening in all of my life.
            Well, I should just slowly back up until I reach the door…. I began to think, but then realized what my father would have said if he saw me inside the house again so soon, and intimidated by a dog, no less.
            The thought shortly evaporated from me, however, because at my slight movement backwards, the dog lurched forward and temporarily petrified me with fear. Half a second passed quickly along with my overexerted heart and the dog had already closed in more than half of the distance between us. I turned to run, not to the door, but to the carport.
            My hands were trembling terribly as I climbed my father’s automobile and the soles of my shoes were inconveniently slippery. They did not seem to want to work properly; it was only when the dog was so close I could smell its breath that my feet decided to lift me to the top of the car, missing a vicious snap towards my leg by mere inches.
            A mixture of screams and menacing growls echoed throughout the carport like the background of a horror movie. Finally, the door creaked open and my father appeared. Never before had I fully appreciated his large, bulky physique.
            I had survived the attack unscathed, but was irrevocably troubled by the thought of having to endure another encounter. On more than one occasion I heard a rustle behind me and my entire body tensed before I jerked aside and realized it had only been a classmate rolling in the leaves or a squirrel digging for nuts.
            Resurfacing from my thoughts, I realized that I had drifted towards a corner of the building and found myself staring at three pairs of black tennis shoes.
They quickly whipped their bodies around when they heard me approaching, eyes looking slightly frantic. The three of them were rather hefty boys, and when seeing me, automatically pressed their bodies together more closely, creating a wall of defense.
I stood there awkwardly, feeling as though I just caught a child’s arm extended far into a cookie jar. “Um… sorry,” I stammered.
            A boy with curly blonde hair opened his sneering mouth in order, I assume, to mock me, but the high-pitch squeal of the bell rang throughout the grounds before he could spill the words into the air.
            With a final grunt, the three of them ran off and I was met with what they had been hiding.
            It was a small puppy—the body of it was no bigger than a football—and it looked incredibly terrified. The poor thing was backed against the wall and was lying on its paws as low in the grass as it possibly could. His fur looked like it was crafted out of layers of cotton balls and was brown from mud, but underneath golden red.
            All of the students were sprinting across the playground to join their peers and go inside. I looked up and saw the door that led to my classroom—the door that I would normally be going through. But further on in the background, my eyes landed on the spot where I had been attacked by my neighbor’s dog. A sickly feeling of utter horror rose within me; I knew what it was like to be smaller than the world, to be the one subject to its dealings instead of my own.
            Without another thought, I scooped the dog into my hands, tucked him between my jacket and my T-shirt, and raced home.

“What is this?” my father asked forcefully, indicating an overturned laundry hamper in the center of my room.
            “My dirty laundry,” I replied.
            “Don’t lie to me, Harold,” he said warningly.
“It wasn’t a lie.”
“I know you’re hiding something. I heard noises.”
I donned my most convincing expression of innocence. “What kind of noises?”
“This is ridiculous,” he bellowed, ignoring my question altogether. He bent down to the hamper, laced his fingers through the ventilation holes, and with one swift pull, expelled all of its contents onto the bedroom floor.
“See? I wasn’t lying,” I said to him over the heap of unwashed clothes.
He looked immensely frustrated and turned to leave when he saw the clothes faintly stir. My body was instantly seized by both fear and dread; I was now the child with my hand at the bottom of the cookie jar.
His eyes squinted towards the mass, trying to make out what sort of creature dwelled beneath it. He leaned in closer with his hand creeping forward to reveal the life-form. Before he reached it, a small black nose the size of a dime emerged from under a yellow shirt.
The puppy’s short snout remained motionless for a moment, then snorted and furiously shook his head from side-to-side, successfully squirming his way out of the pile.
I tried my absolute best to make myself as small as possible, knowing that fury was about to be unleashed.
“Where did he come from?” my father asked, his tone even and calm. His hand rested on the puppy, rubbing behind his ears.
“School,” I said faintly. “A group of boys were scaring him.”
My father stood up then, and by reflex I flinched a little. “He can’t stay in the house,” he said firmly.
“I know,” I said with deflated hopes.
He turned to leave. His hand grabbed the doorknob, but before he closed it, said, “He’ll need a name.”

Friendship had been unfamiliar territory before then, but Gordo and I sailed across those uncharted lands from day one, and two years later, could not have been one without the other.
I usually walked him directly after I got home from school—I loved seeing his eyes light up as soon as he spotted me approaching. He would always dance in little circles around his doghouse whenever he knew it was time, making my hands work feverishly to clasp the leash onto his collar.
That particular day was overcast; the wind whipped furiously at me as I ran home across the grassy hill. My house grew larger in front of me, though Gordo’s doghouse was obstructed from view.
My pace quickened as I became increasingly eager to see him. Suddenly, a black figure crossed my path ten yards ahead and all the excitement fled from me. I recognized that thick, matted fur.
Both my body and brain seemed to freeze almost instantly as the dog began to snarl exactly as it had two years previously. Averting my eyes, I tried to ignore the dog and walk forward towards my house, but the deep-throated growl rose to a menacing bark that knocked me back a few steps.
I hesitated a moment, weighing the options before me. The dog began to creep forward towards me, its large teeth revealed behind its snarl.
My feet took off before my brain had fully comprehended the action, but I could not afford to rethink anything once I started running. The dog had been waiting for it; his four legs moved swiftly a few feet behind me, gaining with every stride.
I’m not going to make this, I sensed after stealing a glance over my shoulder. I had almost accepted the terrifying thought of it catching me in the back of my neck and sinking its horrible teeth into my flesh when another sound ahead of me caught my attention. As I faced my head forward, the dog leapt up from behind me. My footing was lost and before I knew anything, I was staring at the deep green of September grass.
The dog had not continued in his attack, however. I lifted my head expecting to see him contemplating his method of devouring me, but instead saw a huge, furry coat of golden red crouching between me and the black dog in the same territorial, threatening stance.
They sprang at each other. Gordo looked like a huge, majestic mix of lion and grizzly bear—a side of him that I had never before witnessed. Part of his metal chain was still attached to his collar, broken from where it had been attached to his doghouse. As they were snapping and biting at each other, I took the opportunity to hobble through my front door unnoticed.

*          *          *

“He’s lying in a hole.”
“He’s been getting old, Harold.”
“We have to do something—we have to call a vet,” I nearly shouted.
My father sighed. “We all knew this was coming.”
“No,” I said. My voice began to waver. “His leg looks bad…What if he can’t pull himself back out? We can’t just give up on him!”
My father looked at me as though I was a child again, but did not speak.
I stepped through the back door and approached the rectangular dog kennel that had housed Gordo for eight years, ever since the day our neighbors reported him as being dangerous. He was in the far corner, lying on his side in a large hole. I saw his body rise and fall with every drawn-out, uneven breath.
“Hey, buddy,” I whispered to him in a choked voice. Lost for words, I stretched my fingers through the metal fence and stroked his bushy red fur.
“I just….I just wanted to say thank you,” I said. All of the oxygen seemed to be drained from the air as I tried to inhale.
The sky unexpectedly burst open with a thunderous crack. Looking up, I saw dark, weighty rainclouds filling the sky.
No, I thought, he’s stuck in a hole…if it gets wet…
I could not think about the consequences. I ran into the supply closet inside the car port, dug until I found a long blue tarp, and carried the mass of it back to the kennel. The rain began to pour as I frantically tried to cover the top of the kennel.
After my third failed attempt, I felt like I might dig myself a hole to crawl into. My head had sunk into my palms when I felt one hand on my shoulder and another taking the tarp from my grasp.
My father secured the tarp to the top of the kennel with one mighty toss as though he was a skilled fisherman casting a net. He then unlocked the door to the kennel and gently draped a towel over Gordo’s fragile body.
“The vet will be here on Thursday,” he said.

Wednesday was dreary with the promise of another rain. After getting home from school, I decided to change the wet towel from Gordo’s kennel.
Part of me seemed to expect what would be there—with every footstep forward, my heart sunk a bit more. When I reached the kennel, the towel fell from my clasp unnoticed.
Gordo’s hole was full of water, his snout bobbing underneath it.
My knees threatened to give out from under me, but instead turned towards the carport to search for a shovel.
Ten minutes later, my father found me hunched over the steps of the back deck. I turned my shoulder to hide my face from him, knowing that it was red and distorted with anguish, and fully expecting him to criticize me for being upset. 
He seemed to survey the scene for a moment, gave a low sigh, and took a small step forward.
“He loved you more than anything,” he whispered, then picked up the shovel that had fallen.
I raised my head to look at him. “Thank you, Dad.”


Thursday, November 22, 2012


You might remember my trip to the zoo last...*cough*...September. Well, I took a break from writing tonight and finally got through the pictures. The butterflies are my favorite, and so I thought I'd share some just to brighten up your Thanksgiving day.

And to get a small break away from NaNo. Haha.













Wednesday, November 21, 2012

NaNoWriMo Excerpt: Chapter Six, Part One

I know it's been awhile since I've posted anything, and believe me, I probably hate it more than any of you do. BUT if you're still here, reading faithfully, I'd like to say thank-you. Writing 50,000 words in a month has proved to be as difficult and stressful as I had imagined...and I still have nine more days to go.

I've fallen behind a bit--in terms of me starting ahead, that is--and am currently resting at 37,439. It seems like 50,000 is still so far away, though. Week three has honestly been the hardest so far. My words have been getting stuck and what I do get out is not of fine quality. I've been getting flustered and putting off writing, only to get angry at myself later on for not trudging through the words.

I did manage to write over 2,000 words yesterday, though, which boosted my confidence a bit. I just need to be able to do that every day.

I had originally planned to give you another excerpt from this chapter, but after going through, I decided that I liked this one better. It's funny--no matter how much you plan, you never know how a character is going to turn out until you're actually writing his words. I had no idea I would have this fun between Riley and Anthony, but I am certainly not complaining.

Every time she saw Anthony, it was as though someone had just injected a serum of abhorrence into her veins. She found it extremely difficult to like him, given his condescending nature and pretentious attitude towards everything he spoke about. Riley could only imagine what kind of children would be produced if he married Josie; they would probably think themselves so high above the rest of society that they would have to go to outer space in order to live comfortably.
A grin stretched across Riley’s face at this thought, though she kept it hidden from Anthony’s view.
“You can’t ignore me forever, you know. It was, after all, your idea to dive in to the pasts of all of us.”
“It’s not your turn,” Riley snarled.
“Well, you only have three others before you get to me. That’s not a whole lot of time to alleviate your aggression.”
“Then maybe I’ll just skip you,” she said coldly, turning around on her heel to face him.
“Oh,” he said, eyebrows arching wildly, “now, what kind of impression would that make on the others…most importantly, on dear Bryan?”
It was a good thing that Riley had not drawn a plate from the cabinet, for if she had, it would have crashed onto the floor.
“I don’t know what you mean,” she fumed.
“ we’re back to that again? You acting like a brainless wonder?”
“You need to leave right now,” she said hotly as she advanced forward. If he had been an insect, she would have already squashed him and smeared his innards over the pavement.
He did not falter in any way. “Don’t you want to know about the voices? Aren’t you tired of the constant guessing game?”
“I know about the voices!” she exclaimed. “They belong to people from your past. If you had been listening earlier, perhaps you would have heard me. That is, assuming that anything can get through that enormously thick skull of yours…”
“They’re devices. They’re to—”
“You’re wasting your time—”
“What about Cameron?” he shouted over Riley.
She stopped. “He’s fine.”
“What if someone has him? What if he’s trapped behind that door with the rest of them—with people like the man from Shanely’s memory?”
“You’re just trying to scare me,” she murmured.
“If you cared about him, perhaps it’s worth knowing for certain. You can’t just go through us like lab rats without examining all of the facts—”
“I am fully capable of uncovering the facts by myself, thank you.”
“Then tell me why I’m here. Tell me what voices I hear every night.”
She looked at him, furious. “I couldn’t care less about you or what kind of voices you hear. And maybe you ended up here because, unlike the others, you actually deserve to be.”
And without stopping to study his reaction, Riley exited the room and stormed down the corridor to meet up with Kori.

Well, I better get back to writing...and if I don't get to tell you tomorrow, have a happy Thanksgiving!


Saturday, November 10, 2012

NaNoWriMo Excerpt: Chapter Five...PLUS A PLAYLIST.

I was searching through chapter five for a suitable excerpt, but couldn't really find one that I thought worked except for this, which is at the very end.

So I think this is all you're going to get from Chapter Five, but I hope you still like it.

They were back in the passenger car, a place that Riley was inwardly beginning to despise. This time, however, as she sat next to the phenomenal little girl, she had a whole new level of both respect and pity for her and the short life she had suffered.
She had thought that losing her parents was the worst thing imaginable—in reality, it had only been the beginning.
It could have been me, she knew. She had always thought living with Jonathan was less than desirable, but compared to Shanely’s memories, that run-down mansion was a palace.
It was perfectly clear now why Shanely had been terrified the night before—the voice she heard, the aggressive one that called to her from behind the door, had belonged to the same man that locked her in the closet. It was a projection of her memory, but made so that it was real, it was physical, and it was terrorizing the little girl every single night.
“I’m going to help you,” Riley said, her voice sounding slightly obscure. She watched the ground as the Ferris wheel moved them towards the topmost point and over again. A second later, she added more solemnly, “I’m going to help all of you.”

I did string together my own playlist to play during writing. Each of the songs either relate to or remind me of the story, inspire me in some way or another, or are just too good to leave out.

I will probably continue to add to it, as well.


P.S. My goal is to get to 25,000 words (halfway!) by sometime tomorrow. =)

Friday, November 9, 2012

NaNoWriMo Excerpt: Chapter Four, Part Two

I said in my last post that I would post this yesterday, so I apologize that it's a bit late. I really have no excuse for this other than I was running behind on my word count and felt guilty every time I thought about stopping to blog.

Today, however, I am all caught up. I went 200 words over my goal, actually, and finished more than an hour early! Yay! They say week two is the hardest...which up until today, I was definitely starting to feel. I think I'll make it out okay, though. Just keep encouraging me and praying for me, everyone. I certainly need it.

My goal for this weekend is to make it to 25,000 words (halfway!), which shouldn't be too hard seeing as ALL OF MY FRIENDS went home for the weekend and I'm stuck here without my car. So, I foresee a lot of writing tomorrow.

Anyway, here is your second excerpt from Chapter Four. I'm happy to say that I just finished Chapter Five tonight, so be prepared for me to throw some excerpts from there at you soon! And, as before, don't expect it to be perfect--it is just a rough draft.

Background: same conversation and setting as the last excerpt, except a bit further on. Riley has just been told that Shanely is to teach her about how they can see memories, and she and Sierrah are leaving to prepare for the lesson. Riley and Anthony are left alone in the room.

Sierrah rose and walked towards the door, taking Shanely’s hand and leading her into the triangular room. Anthony remained stationary, waiting for them to exit before he spoke again.
His before-lighthearted face suddenly looked sober with seriousness. Riley noticed that his arms were outstretched before him on the dining table, fingers interlaced like he belonged behind a desk at the bank. “I know what you saw last night,” he said evenly.
“Hmm?” Riley asked, appearing not to have understood him.
“Riley, how can we be honest with you if you are not honest with us?”
“Honesty should not have to be earned,” she grumbled.
“No, but it should be honored.”
Her seat was becoming more and more uncomfortable beneath her. She had lost track of how long she had been there.
“If you can’t admit to it,” Anthony said lightly, standing up, “then I don’t see any reason at all to explain it to you.”
Without another word, he gently placed his chair back in its appropriate place and fled out of the doorway. Riley followed, expecting to see the three of them in the next room, but it was completely empty. Looking across the room and into the adjacent hallway, she saw Anthony stride down the center of it, turn left, and vanish into a room beside where Riley had slept the night before.
She followed his tracks down the hallway, eager to confront him again. As much as she was beginning to despise him, deep down she knew that her stubbornness had gotten the better of her. She dreadfully needed answers; mostly, she needed to know that Cameron’s voice could not have been one of them. And if it had, she had to find how she could help him from whatever torture lay behind that thick metal door.
Halfway down the hall she passed the bathroom and Sierrah’s room directly across from it. A few more steps forward she shifted left, debated knocking, decided against it, and reached towards the handle. Before she turned it, she had a fleeting moment of anxiety and almost turned back, but then realized that she did not know where the others were. She turned the doorknob clockwise soundlessly, hanging on the thought of last night’s screams.
“Oh, Riley, that’s the wrong room,” whispered a joyous voice in her ear. She turned to see Sierrah’s deep red hair sprawled around her frame like a bushy lion’s mane. “Anyway, Shanely’s ready for you.”
The little blonde girl was standing a few feet behind them, swaying side-to-side to an inaudible tune. Seeing that they had finished speaking, she stopped, smiled brightly, and held out her tiny left hand to Riley.
Riley slid her hand into place, completely absorbing Shanely’s within it. “Where are we going, exactly?”
“A hidden room,” Sierrah said from behind her, “that we call the Progress Room. When you’re done, let me know so I can sit with you for dinner.”
“You’re not coming at all?”
“It’s not my place,” she answered.
Before Riley could question her further, Shanely pranced forward, tugging her along. They bounded forward down the endless hallway. Riley couldn’t help but wonder how anyone knew how to differentiate the seemingly identical rooms the further they traveled down the extended corridor.
Shanely stopped a few paces ahead, however, and lifted her head up to catch Riley’s eye. After exchanging a mutual glance, she faced forward, stretched out her right arm with her palm raised like a conductor of traffic, and together, they took another step forward. Instantly, the vision around them shifted. The long hallway morphed into a black wall masked in long cracks like a broken eggshell. The room was extremely condensed and completely void of any furniture or decorations, save a stone pedestal, roughly four feet off the ground, with another glass blue ornament resting on it.
The ornament, however, was not in the same flame-like shape that she had seen before. Emerging from the pedestal were two glass ribbons intertwining with each other like a rope and then separating from each other, extending pointedly in opposite directions. The same blue electricity flowed throughout all of it, illuminating the room with a cold, melancholic glow.
Shanely stepped up onto the stone pedestal, indicated to Riley to do the same opposite her. When she was in place, facing Shanely with the orb between them, Shanely held her index finger up to the tip of the ribbon.
“On the count of three,” she said. Riley nodded.
Her index finger hovered over the point of the ribbon, quivering slightly.
The two girls acquainted their fingers with the tip of the orb. Riley felt a zap like a jolt of electricity flow through her veins; her body was disoriented as the room disbanded around her. Nausea set into the pit of her stomach as though she was on the deck of a sailboat in a thunderstorm, though the whole experience lasted only a few seconds. When she became aware of her surroundings once more, she saw that she was far from the underground dwelling where she had been before. 


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

NaNoWriMo Excerpt: Chapter Four, Part One

I absolutely hate not having time to write any verse or blog entries, so I've decided to post a few excerpts from the novel I'm writing for NaNoWriMo. I think I'll do at least one per chapter--though since I started ahead, I'm going to start these where I began, which is in chapter four.

I just finished Chapter Four today (finished = wrote a very rough draft) and I think I will share two excerpts from it--a short one today, and a little longer one tomorrow. The chapter actually started getting too long, so I realized today that I had to break it up into two different chapters, but I think the break makes more sense compared to stringing it all together.

ANYWAY. Here's your first excerpt. Please, don't expect anything outstanding here--we are talking about furiously writing 50,000 words in a month, after all. Nothing is going to be flawless.

The only background I'm going to give you here is that four characters (Riley, Sierrah, Anthony, Shanely) are sitting together at a table, and Riley is very confused about everything.

“I’m not crazy,” Riley said solemnly, staring into Anthony’s brown eyes. Looking directly at him for the first time, she noticed that under his grey, decrepit body, he had once been beautiful—his entire face had faint traces of freckles sprinkled over it and his dark eyes were framed by long, full lashes.
She had said it more as a comfort to herself than to prove anything to them. As the words exited her mouth, part of her brain swore that maybe she was losing her mind after all.
His smile grew again and turned into a cackle. “You’ll need to keep telling yourself that, Riley. By the time you’ve seen everything here, you might not be so confident in your sanity.”
“Anthony!” Sierrah strenuously called at him.
Shanely had put her pencil down, staring up at the three of them with round, radiant eyes. Her pupils seemed overly dilated compared to the average human, invoking in Riley the same protective, warm-hearted feeling one gets after playing with a box of fluffy kittens.
“I saw you eat,” Riley roared more quietly, now regretting ever thinking that he could have once been attractive.
“Yes,” he said. His eyes invited her to say more.
“What do you mean, ‘yes?’ If you can’t taste food, then why would everyone stuff their faces—?”
“We didn’t want you to feel awkward, Riley,” Sierrah said gently, placing a hand on her shoulder. “We wanted your welcoming to feel…well…”
“Encouraging,” Shanely finished brightly, placing a special emphasis on the second syllable. 
Riley felt utterly mortified at the thought of the nine of them pretending to enjoy a meal for her. “You didn’t…you shouldn’t have…I would have understood,” she mumbled.
“No, you wouldn’t have,” Anthony said. “Believe me. You would have felt like an outsider. And at any rate, most people can’t stand to be stared at while they eat, let alone from nine people that resemble zombies over humans.”
“I am not a zombie,” Shanely declared.
Anthony hunched over the table to get eye-level with Shanely, saying sweetly, “I know you’re not, Little Miss.”
It was hard to hate a boy that spoke so kindly to a little girl, but Riley refused to let go of her aggression towards him. She sighed deeply, lost for anything else to say.


Friday, November 2, 2012

NaNoWriMo & Zombies

It's here. November.

I have never participated in NaNoWriMo (the basics: write a novel in one month with a total of 50,000 words, averaging at 1,667 words per day) before, but decided on Halloween that I would embark on this literary adventure. You're supposed to start with a completely new idea that you have not majorly developed yet, but I decided to use this month to instead encourage me to finish the story that I've been developing here and there for four years.

I've spoken of it here before and you might have caught a few excerpts, but I have never actually sat down and written a rough draft of it. Goals and challenges help a great deal in motivating me, however--as was made apparent this past week when I fought to finish writing a rough draft of a short story for my Creative Writing class--and I think this will be a perfect opportunity to better develop my writing habits.

Right now, my novel rests at 10,631 words, 890 of which have be written today (I still have a ways to go to meet today's goal). Unfortunately I was unable to write any of the novel yesterday as I was trekking through the realm of my short story, which currently rests at 2,618 words. This story is supposed to only be between 2,000 and 2,500 words, so hopefully I can downsize it a bit during revising.

Anyway, I thank you all for the support, and I know I will only continue to need it. If you're curious or want to keep an eye on me, you can check out my progress here. I doubt I will be very present over the course of this month, though I will try to pop in every now and again.

Two things.

  1. My loan finally went through, so no more financial aid stress
  2. My mother was in a car wreck yesterday and made it out just fine.
She was sitting at a red light and was hit by the car behind her. Thankfully, she was wearing her seat belt and she says this saved her life.

I just want to take a few moments to reflect on the Lord and all of the heartache he has delivered me from this week, because it could have all gone much differently. He continues to bless me though I do little to deserve it, and I am so, so, so thankful to be called his child.

I went trick-or-treating with my friend Janelle for Halloween. It was my first time in four years, and yes, I know I'm nineteen years old and a junior in college, but it was super fun.

And here's me as a truly frightening zombie girl:

P.S. Did you know that if you're polite and say thank you when someone gives you candy, they will give you more?