Friday, November 06, 2009

What's Your Nano?

Last year, I decided to create a personal goal for myself. The minimum daily word count is 1,667 words (when it is all broke down). I set a goal to meet that minimum everyday in November. When I crossed the 50,000 word finish line, I also achieved what I set out to do.

This time around I wanted to up the stakes. I'm still meeting the minimum but I also created my first Nano blog called Sinister Tales. The purpose was to post excerpts everyday in November. It goes along with the theme of my Nano project. I also signed up for National Blog Posting Month. This technically takes place during every month in the year but November counts the most. I saw it as an extra incentive.

Instead of doing a series of short stories, which is what I have been doing every Nano since 2007, I am writing journal entries in my main character's voice. She's a wealthy city girl who lost her high paying job. Then, her life of luxury was the next to go. She learns her aunt has died and left the house to her only niece. The girl remembers visiting her aunt as a little girl and knows the house is haunted. She decides to use this opportunity to capitalize on the situation but doesn't get what she was bargaining for. Below is the excerpt from Day 4:

"Maybe they all have. Maybe it was all one big conspiracy. It would certainly explain Simon's demeanor. Would explain a lot of things. Was the answer that simple though?

Simon was my only link to anything. I asked him if he could help clean up the place. Maybe get the screws out of the windows. He hesitated at first. Maintained the smile with obvious discomfort. He didn't want to answer the question. I assured him he didn't have to. He wasn't bound to my every need. The offer seemed to heighten his confliction. He wanted to leave but something was keeping him here. I told him if he had more pressing matters to please go and take care of it.

He stammered. Said he didn't have any appointments for the day. Offered to stay and help me in any way. His smile faded. He turned and walked to his truck. Simon pulled out a tool box and walked past me. he avoided eye contact. It was like he was blaming me for keeping him here. He took out all the screws from every window. Never argued. Didn't say much of anything. After completing one task, just asked for another.

It was like he was afraid to be idle in the house for any period of time. The more he was willing to do the faster the house would be clean and smelling better. Plus it was stuff I didn't have to do. So, I stood back and let him.

I watched as he tackled one project after another. He tried ever so hard to play it cool, but he wasn't fooling me. I know he'd rather be anywhere than in this house. I wanted to force him to drop everything and go. I didn't want to be there by myself but I couldn't make him stay. It broke my heart observing his bravery. I tried to focus on the cleaning but found it difficult. The dust and mold all made me want to vomit.

By dusk, every surface had been disinfected. Dishes washed. Refrigerator cleared of spoiled food. Sheets washed. Floors swept, mopped or vacuumed. Our hard work transformed the house in to something livable. It didn't even look like the same place. I felt quite proud of myself I did domestic work. First time in like...ever. So much accomplished with no interruptions...of any kind. The time had come.

Simon had to go back to town. I was left with the decision on whether or not I would follow. I now had a house to sleep in. We had no strange occurrences all day. Could I survive a night here...alone? I had my car. I could take comfort in that. If anything happens, I could just leave. No big deal. I had food. All the utilities were still connected. I needed to save as much money as I could. No reason not to stay. Well...there was one. But nothing happened all day. There's a chance nothing would happen tonight either.

I wasn't exactly feeling completely sure about my decision. However, I was willing to take the chance. Simon, trying to hide it, was happy to leave. I gazed at his departure. I was left to face whatever the night held for me...alone."

What personal goals have you set for yourself? What is your Nano project?