So we’re done with NaNoWriMo! One crazy month of uncensored writing, manic word churning, and getting lost in the labyrinth of the world you created.
My word count stands at 30,300. But oh, who cares. I’m having too much fun right now to obsess over word count! With a structure I’ve never dared to try before but am experimenting with now because what the hell it’s NaNoWriMo and there’s no better time to write without fear or judgement.
Here is an excerpt from No Room in Neverland (it’s a flashback from one of Gemma and Cole’s imaginary adventures to Neverland when they were kids):
Captain Storm was one of those people who guarded their ship so zealously they barely ever made port. He believed that the sea was his one true home, and to be on land was as unnatural as the hooked metal arm of his nemesis, Captain Hook.
When he first caught sight of the two children, it was on the southern island of Almeta, where he had just gathered enough supplies for another voyage to the Silver Cape. He never stayed overnight on land, even in terrible storms that tore ships apart. But as his men loaded the ship with bags and bags of flour and potatoes, seasoned meat and produce, Captain Storm stepped off his ship.
His crew stared. But the captain’s attention was fixed on the pair of children. They shouldn’t look so out of place in Neverland, where Lost Children made their home. But the two weren’t inhabitants. No, they were just visitors. Port Almeta host vagrants and visitors alike, and these drifters were from the Otherworld.
They were hardy little things, the captain could tell right away even from afar, no more than a day older than eight years of age. Hand in hand, they approached Storm with a steely determination that was absent in the Lost Children around here.
“We would like to cross the Silver Sea with you,” were the girl’s first words to him. Storm could tell she was a lot more nervous than she sounded, mostly because she was plucking at a loose thread in her jeans. The boy nudged her, and she added, “Sir.”
“Captain,” the boy corrected, and the girl nodded.
The captain was being very un-captainlike so far. He cleared his throat and growled, “You want to cross the Silver Sea?”
The pair nodded, their dark eyes too grave for Almeta in daytime.
“We want to know what’s on the other shore.” Tourists, the captain thought irritably. There was no other way to the gilded Hinterlands but sea passage – flight was impossible because of the air sprites out for flesh. Many stubborn visitors have plunged into the watery depths of the tumultuous Silver Sea because of those greedy little bastards.
These children have no idea what they were in for.
“So hitch a ferry. I don’t take passengers,” Captain Storm said.
“You don’t understand. We’re on a mission,” the girl said with enough passion to make the captain’s brows slide up past the shadow cast by his hat. “To save Neverland.”
Storm narrowed his eyes. “Save it how?”
The children shared a brief look before the boy offered, “We know our way around. We’ve studied the maps and everything.”
“We’re not just visitors,” the girl added with an eye roll.
A procession of sailors traipsed by with more bags of ration, staring at their captain and the two children he was entertaining. In the time it took for his men to pass, Storm understood.
“You’re hunting the fool’s treasure, aren’t you? It’s a myth, kids. There is no treasure. Just an old cave and a treacherous jungle.”
“We won’t know for sure until we see it for ourselves.”
Yes, Otherworld children all right. Only they could be this stubborn.
“Neverland is not yours to save,” said Storm. There had been others who tried. Eventually, they gave up after failing too many times, moved on and left Neverland for good. The others ended up as Lost Children, drifting through the days for eternity.
“We don’t know until we try.” The girl possessed a sense of purposefulness and solemnity uncharacteristic of children her age. Not that Captain Storm would know, seeing how few children he came into actual contact with.
How then was he going to have two of them on his ship?
Yet, he looked at the pair of them standing before him now, and heard himself say, “Get on board, then. And try not to fall over. I won’t bother doubling back for either of you.”
There is so much to explore for Neverland! So many possibilities, and it reminds me of how fun writing can be if you don’t second-guess yourself or let yourself stop writing. It’s so easy to make excuses and get overly critical of your writing (and wonder if this is all worth the effort and heartache in the end), but this is exactly how stories end up discarded when all they need is a little more thought and an extra push.
And who cares if I’m having more fun writing the Neverland Chronicles than present day scenes. I’m just happy to go where the story takes me. Because like Chuck Wendig said, “a finished thing is imperfect – but fixable.”
NaNo-ers, any retrospective thoughts about the experience? Hope NaNoWriMo 2014 was just as fulfilling for you! :0)