Category Archives: NaNoWriMo

Prologue to Reluctant Liaison

The following is the prologue for my work in progress, Reluctant Liaison. How I wound up writing science fiction, I’ll never know. I’ve always been more attracted to fantasy myself. The premise of the story just landed on me one day, and with NaNo looming, I couldn’t not write it. I still have a very long way to go, but I hope this whets your appetite! Enjoy!

Make peace. Give gifts. Offer hope. Make friends.

Make peace. Give gifts. Offer hope. Make friends.

Zao Janeg stood on the waiting platform, checking his tie one more time and looking at the sky. It was evening, and the first star had appeared on the horizon. Its given name was Noree, but only the scientists called it that. No, to him it always was, and always would be, the Twilight Star. He checked his watch once again. 7:52. Never had the minutes ticked by so slowly. Someone in the crowd cleared his throat. Probably one of the other Ambassadors. Funny, he never expected to act as Ambassador in his hometown, or for that matter, in any town surrounded by water. He flipped his wrist over again. 7:52. Hmph. They were supposed to make Primary Contact at 7:54 and 38 seconds. Two minutes to go.

He pulled his sportscoat closer as the first chill swept through the air. Winter. It was coming. Oh, God, let me live through this Winter. I promise to make you the Center. Of all. Of me. My life to Thee. He recited the ancient mantra without thinking about it. It had always given him hope as a boy, even though he didn’t understand a couple of the words. It was coming. But would they even live to see Winter 2699? If only the Visitors could be friendly. Or weak. But how could they be weak? They had obviously mastered interplanetary travel, maybe more. They probably had weapons of mass destruction. Maybe they were even the ones who had leveled the Inner Land, hundreds of years ago. But perhaps they were peaceful. One could only hope. Maybe they held the cure for cancer, AIDS, or Yearms. Maybe even Winter. But that was too much to hope for. No one had ever mastered the weather.

Zao felt moisture trickle down his fingertips. Annoyed, he glanced at his wrist, then shook his head. Why do things like this always happen to him at the worst possible time? This could well be the defining moment of his career – of his life. And his watch was leaking. He delved into his pocket and found a plastic bag. (At least he had finally learned not to leave home without one.) In what he hoped was a discreet manner, he swept the watch off his wrist and into the bag. In a matter of seconds, the bag was back in his pocket, heavy with its fresh content. Zao just hoped that the reporters were too focused on the sky to have noticed.

7:54. Tie: straight. Smile: plastered. Knees: ready to buckle, but what could he do about that?

Grrrhhh! His hands flew to his ears as he responded to the sudden eardrum-numbing noise, but it wasn’t enough. He couldn’t shut out the piercing scream. It was a sound he had never heard before. Nor had anyone on this planet. The shrieking reverberation of lightspeed engines slowing suddenly to a halt. Then, as quickly as the noise began, it ceased. But the throbbing pain in his head continued to remind him of the Visitors’ attention-grabbing entrance. Was that really necessary, or was it a just a tactic to put us off our guard?

The ship was not as large as he had been expecting. Maybe it was just a scout ship, and they would come swarming in later in larger numbers. If he had to die this way, at least he wouldn’t have to struggle through another Winter. Death would mean respite, and with the impending doom of Winter on its way, the prospect of an easy death was looking better by the day. The ship had settled. Any minute now the door would open, and the monsters would reveal themselves. No! Mustn’t think of them that way. That would just create negative vibes, and heaven knows, there were enough of those in the group to make up for any that he may lack. Soon the Visitors would reveal themselves. Soon the door would open. They would come face to face. Any minute now. What was taking them so long? Were they preparing weapons?

Make peace. Give gifts. Offer hope. Make friends. Make peace. Give gifts. Offer hope. Make friends. He tugged at the knot in his tie. Make peace. Give gifts. Offer hope. Make friends. Why was he here? Standing here on this platform, right at this moment? I should never have taken that call. She told me not to take the call. Could he sneak away without been seen? Without being stopped by security? He’d never work again, but would it really be all that bad? Moving to the Inner Land, away from society? They said that the Inner-Landers had to scavenge for food. It is said that they take their food in solid form. Now, he had been known to indulge a tomato every now and again himself. Nobody’s perfect. But all solid foods? Unthinkable! They were even rumored to hunt, whatever that means. He had never asked; the word was always spoken with extreme distaste, and he wanted nothing to do with hunting. So I guess I’m seeing this thing through.

The door! It’s open! A silhouette slowly emerged in the doorway. The head was perfectly spherical, reminding him of the old space comics he had read as a young teen. Make peace. Give gifts. Offer hope. Make friends. Make peace. Give gifts. Offer hope. Make friends. Zao took a step forward. Then another. Make peace. Give gi…

“Greetings!” The Visitor called to Zao with an ancient salutation. An ancient English salutation.

What could this mean? Zao panicked. I have to get away! Why am I here! How did I get here!

The man’s name was

I’m quite upset with myself. This morning when I opened Reluctant Liaison to write, this is what I discovered. After three asterisks, which I am using to mark the beginning of a new scene, I found written the following words: “The man’s name was”

That’s it! No name at all. The thing that makes me really mad is that I not only remember the name, but I don’t remember any of the details of the scene I was preparing to write.

On top of that, I don’t even remember typing those four words at all! Am I losing my mind completely – can a person truly be that forgetful? Or is my husband playing a prank on me? I don’t think it was Ian, because he doesn’t know proper apostrophe usage yet.

And what on earth could have happened to me that I would stop right there? How could I not have finished my sentence? Granted, I probably didn’t have a name in mind yet, but when that happens, I type random letters until something emerges that I like. Science fiction, so I can get by with that right? In fact, all but five of the characters in this novel have named themselves, in just that manner. If I don’t like a name, I can always change it later. But back to the emergency that would have pulled me away from my laptop midsentence: I don’t remember anything like that happening yesterday. We went for pizza; Ian earned his first Book-It prize last night, but surely I wasn’t that hungry.


Creative Writing and Flying

Thank you!

First of all, I just wanted to say that I was blown away by all of your great responses to my previous post, Creative Writing and Crying. Anyone who is interested in help with getting your child to write, check out the comments on this page! I’m serious! These women were so very helpful. I haven’t gotten to try all of the techniques yet (he doesn’t do creative writing every day), but I am so looking forward to it. I will try to post about anything that inspires him. I’m so thankful that I am able to homeschool because it enables me to try all of these ideas and methods until I find something that fits.

The new routine:

Lately, I have been trying to give him a heads-up about what he should be thinking about, and then giving him plenty of time later when it actually comes to getting the ideas down. I have been just conversationally talking him through his ideas and jotting them down for him. (He hates the actual physical process of writing too, so I think that having to do that and brainstorm ideas at the same time really drives him over the edge.) So I write them down, help him figure out how to organize his ideas, and then he copies what we come up with onto his worksheet. (That way, he gets practice writing too; I’m just not making him write and think at the same time yet.)

Cool new “trick:”

Yesterday, I had a nifty idea. He loves to write emails to his dad and my sister. By “write” I mean dictate. I’ve noticed that when dictating emails, he goes into this professional narrative-sounding voice. It’s so bizarre, but fun to behold! Anyway, yesterday he had brainstormed a bunch of details about a place he knows well. (He chose a former babysitter’s house.) I took the opportunity to show him how to make a Word Web. All of that went fine, but when it came to constructing sentences from his ideas, he was at a loss. So it occurred to me to have him write an email to his aunt describing his babysitter’s house. It worked like magic! He went from being mentally stuck, to dictating so fast that I couldn’t keep up (and I was typing)!

The interview:

After success with the description assignment, I pulled the same trick out of my hat when we discovered that he needed to write an interview. I actually had him dictate an email to Mary Pope Osborne, author of the Magic Tree House books. Here are the questions he came up with:

How did you write all those books?

Did you write it with an ink pen?

How did you get those books to look like that?

Do you ever write other kinds of books?

I really liked his questions, and I told him I would actually send the email to her if I could find her email address. (I really hope I can, but I haven’t looked yet).

NO INTERNET Thursdays:

Update on yesterday’s post: I got online a couple of times yesterday: to deposit two checks, to print a cursive handwriting sheet, to allow Ian to play on SpellingCity, and right before I went to bed, I just had to check my WordPress stats. That last item is the only one I feel guilty about. I did write more than 2400 words for NaNoWriMo yesterday, and Ian was able to accomplish all of his schoolwork, but other than that, I didn’t get a lot done. The television was on before I even woke up yesterday due to my husband being home sick. I can’t think at all when the TV is on; right now I’m holed up in my son’s room. He’s still asleep, but at least it’s quiet in here. The rest of the house is shut up for the winter, so unless I want to write in one of the bathrooms, this room is my only choice. (The kitchen is attached and pretty open to the living room.) So not such a productive day, but I’m already looking forward to next Thursday! I may have to revamp a little though because I had so many emails, blog comments, forum responses, etc. It’s already 8am, and I haven’t caught up from yesterday yet. Maybe stay off the internet during the day only? Not sure. I’ll try it this way a few more times I think. Jesse’s home today too, otherwise, I might have been caught up by now.