The Crucible of Writing — NaNoWriMo Week Three

Huge leaps and magnified focus

I wrote more words than I thought possible.

I never thought I could accomplish a 6,000 word day; or multiple days in the mid-thousands.

With the goal of catching up after I cut my finger, I proved myself wrong again, and it was an amazing feeling.

The successful formula was not timed sprints but number count sprints. 500 words with a 10 minute break, over and over, gets me to 3,000, 5,000, 6,000.

But I am not going to win NaNoWriMo.

I am ok with that. The experience thus far has been a crucible, igniting the reality of a writing career along with the other fundamental and integral ingredients of my life:

Being the work-at-home parent.
Being the operations manager for my spouse’s income-generating career.
Being the writer and author.

Each is equally important, each requires the limited resource of my time, and each can’t always be equally implemented.

That realization brought me to a place of great of calm — the zen of NaNoWriMo, if you will.

I can write. I will write. I am writing. Even if I don’t hit a certain number in a certain time period, the forward momentum is undeniable and the other equal elements of my life continue to be well-cared for.

I am deeply satisfied.


As usual, I am sharing a sample of my NaNo project. It is the second in a time-travel series which will be released next spring. In the first book, we meet our heroine Sharon and go on an adventure through time with her. At the beginning of the second book, she is training to become a Temporal Protection Corps Agent. In this scene, the plot is thickening:

A wind picked up a few snowflakes and ice crystals that had not yet melded with the snow pack. They glittered blue and white around the temporal penumbra, and appeared to even dance through it. Sharon held out her hand to catch them, but her hand remained dry.
“There,” Caelen said.
Sharon looked up from her hand and saw a line of people approaching. There were several adults, but the line was mostly children around 10 years of age, all in snowshoes in a line crossing the snow.
“Who are they?”
“Who do you think they are?”
Sharon looked again, this time registering details. Each member of the party was well dressed with heavy coats, hats, snow goggles, gloves — the works. Each was carrying a backpack, and each had ski poles to assist them as they walked. They looked healthy and several of the children were smiling and laughing.
“They don’t look like they are in danger, escaping something, or in distress like refugees,” she said mostly to herself. “The adults are not calling out instructions so it doesn’t seem like it is a snow-shoeing class. It almost looks like a field trip.”
Caelen laughed at that. “Actually, you are correct. It is a field trip. Let’s join them.”
The temporal penumbra moved easily across the flat and there was no sensation of sinking into the snow or cold seeping into her shoes. She was less queasy than she had been in Elizabethan England because there were fewer landmarks for the bubble to distort; though she learned to not look directly at the line of children as they drew closer so the warping of the temporal penumbra bubble was less noticeable.
Within a few moments of joining the line, the leader stopped and gave instructions for the group to spread out. The reason soon became obvious. They had come the edge of a great cliff which sloped down and away to a blunt point of snow and ice below them. The point was dirty and from under it flowed water fast and cold. They were standing on a glacier which reached around the valley they were now overlooking like a giant horseshoe.
The leader of the group started asking the students questions about the formation of glaciers and their role in the history of the earth and its geology. Sharon was delighted. Her education on glaciers and geology, as well as every other subject, had primarily taken place in a classroom with books. Sometimes there were videos or internet research, and the rare field trip to museums. This was a much better way to learn.
The children were engaged, well-informed, and seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. One boy started talking about the different kinds of terrain left by glaciers when there was a low rumble. A huge sheet of ice and snow was falling from the other side of the glacier. It was followed by giant boulders of snow and rock. They could feel the concussion in their feet as the avalanche hit the valley floor. A few of the children cried out.
“What’s happening?” Sharon asked Caelen in a whisper.
“Just watch,” Caelen said. He was not smiling.
The rumbling grew louder and the teachers began ordering the group back away from the edge. The children were no longer relaxed and a few of the adults were holding hands with the children to comfort them. Another adult was speaking into what looked like a radio or phone.
The rumbling followed them as the group continued to move away from the edge as fast as the snowshoes and the shortened stride of the children would allow. They were 50 feet from where they had been standing when the edge they had looked over fell, gathering speed as it rolled down the slope, eating away a new edge shortening the distance between it and the group as if the edge were chasing them. Sharon’s heart was pounding in her chest as their bubble trailed alongside the group as it fled.
There was another noise, a rumbling like the ice falling, but higher in pitch and from above. Sharon looked up and saw small aircraft swooping in. Each landed with precision in a row not far from the running group, side doors opening even before they had settled on the snow field. People jumped out and guided the children and their adult guardians into the four aircraft until all were safely on board.
“Do we go with them?”
“No, we’ll stay here and watch them leave,” Caelen answered.
One by one the aircraft left the surface as neatly as it had landed. The last one still had its door open and Sharon saw one of the rescuers hand a small brown box to one of the children. As she stood to close the door she looked directly at Sharon and Caelen. Sharon’s mouth dropped open. It was Ferhana Veta. The door slid shut and the aircraft climbed into the air.
The rumbling stopped. The edge of the cliff no longer leaped toward them. Sharon and Caelen were alone on the now silent ice.
“Now we go back,” Caelen said initiating their return.