Medium NaNoWriMo Writing Prompt #3
Josh Gauthier

NaNoWriMo Prompt Response

I love this prompt because it closely relates to the characters I have in my story. There are two protagonists and one, which is the mother, has regrets on what happened before her daughter was kidnapped. In that sense, she’s automatically the perfect candidate for this prompt.

What haunts your character?

The fact that she won’t get to see her daughter again. In fact, she was taken before she could form any meaningful memory of her and it worries her to death. She worries if her daughter would ever find interest in her, accepting her as her mother.

What do they resent and why?

She partly resents her husband at the beginning of the story. This is in large part because he made it possible for the kidnap to happen. Instead of refusing an offer he was given and he went for it with little question. She also learns that this wasn’t entirely his fault later on (hence begins the healing).

How might your character be granted a second chance at something?

Ah, I love this one. She’s now working with her posse to free her daughter. This is the only chance she has to redeem herself. At some point, her judgement is weighed so much she’s about to buckle under the pressure (the antagonist brings an offer). That was probably the hardest decisions she’d had to make.

How can you use a decision the character made in your novel to backfire on them later?

There’s an answer to this one but spoilers.

How can you use a regret to push your character to change?

Over the course of time, she gets to realize she’s the one who’s supposed to call the shots. This is all driven by the mistake she’d made that one time and that was her drive as the story moved forward.

Story Excerpt:

The news on her tablet showed crimes being committed, some flagged more violent than the ones that happened a few years ago. She flipped over the headlines and played the footage of some cooking show she was getting very fond of. It was a good distraction and she was also cooking. As she prepared some dinner, Treffan stayed quiet and secluded in his own space. She found this odd since he never reacted this way. She decided to question why he got all bundled up. “So, how was your day?”

He ignored the first try and she had to ask the second time.

“I want to ask you the same thing. Must’ve been really great, I suppose.”

“What does that mean?”

“You tell me. You’ve been out all day and I was sitting here trying to figure out how to beat this game and perhaps find a job.”

“I was out to see Dr. Sauver and we spent all day talking about the day at the hospital, that’s all.”

He tossed the controller on the couch and turned to face her. He stared into her eyes as she also tried to concentrate on the food. “So does she drive a CMW now?”

“What- ugh, what makes you say that?”

“I don’t know, those grey CMWs that drive themselves. Is that the one she rolls with?”

Marlene knew Treffan could not be fooled. The Statford graduate she had fallen in love with was poor and dumb, sometimes, but he wasn’t easy to lie to when he knew something. His eyes never left hers so she might as well have said it.

“Ok, I wasn’t at Sauver’s house. I had gone to see detective Hardy.”

Treffan rose from the seat and approached her in the kitchen. He placed his hands on her arms and looked her in the eye. “I know it is hard to forget about our daughter. I have these bad dreams every night about what happens to her every day, or whether she’s even alive. But I won’t let that put ourselves in danger chasing these psychopaths. I know it’s tempting to seek them out, but for our safety it might not be the best way to go about it.”

Hearing it from him made her choke on her own tears. He was giving up on their daughter, the only thing that gave her life. All these years she had struggled, trying to find answers and her own husband was now working against that. “I don’t think you know what this means to me,” she said, in tears. “I almost died, Treffan, Everly is the reason why my heart’s still beating today and I can’t give up on her, I just can’t.”