They thought she would only last a day outside the walls of the colony. Instead, Cressida Elliot thrived and made a name for herself as the best ‘extractionist’ in the Belsir moon system.
Now she is determined to uncover the truth about her parents’ death and her own miraculous survival–and bring justice to the guilty regardless of how impossible that might be.
The folder slipped from her fingers, dropping to the floor of the shuttle with a dull splat. She couldn’t believe it, any of it, to be true. How could it be? Her loving mother, who protected her with every fiber of her being, was…. Cressida couldn’t finish the thought. Could not even grasp the concept. It went against everything she remembered.
She swiped up the folder and sought out a date, any date, to signify a beginning or an end to the experimentation. But there were no clear dates, not even on the logs of each project as it ran its course. The dates were all in code, and she didn’t even have a clue as to how to find the cypher. Cressida shoved the folders back into her bag and kicked it away from her, digging her fingers into her hair and squeezing her eyes shut against the words and what they meant.
But what would she – no, what could she do with this information? What was the point of it all? There was no one to question or seek out, certainly not if this was the reality of her mother’s work. There was nothing to be done. No question. No answer. No end to the nightmare. If anything, this would weave in a very different face. A different place. A different ending. One that held no room for a loving mother.
Cressida whimpered, mourning the loss of her childlike reverence for her parents. Perhaps this is why she had put off, so long, the task of asking her parents’ friends and colleagues about that day? The pedestal upon which she placed her parents stood too tall for too long. Now it lay in ruins around her, scattering her pleasant memories until they were too scarred to be recognizable. Skewed. Tainted.
And now she had to move on, unable to love nor hate her parents? Unable to seek out more of the truth?
She lowered her hands and stared at the bag, the corners of the files peeking out from the slightly open center. There was no way to stop here, half known. Now she had to learn it all so that she could judge her parents against the entire history and not simply a fraction of it; they both deserved that. But could she talk to Noah about what she discovered? Would he even want to hear about the research? Would he care to hear any of it at all?
It didn’t matter. This journey had begun the moment she accepted the files, and she couldn’t stop here. She had to continue and find the reasons why. Her mother and father wouldn’t be a part of something like this without a logical reason! Perhaps that very reason caused their death?
Cressida drew the bag closer and sealed it closed. There would be no more reading done today, not if she expected to keep herself on the task at hand. But she would pick up where she left off as soon as this job was done.
Yesterday I stayed up until after 11:30 p.m. to make certain I hit the targeted word-count of at least 1,667 for NaNoWriMo.
It felt like pulling teeth, for the most part, until I quit thinking so much about what the character needed to get done and just let her do what she wanted.
Now I’m staring at the pages and wondering if I can do it for a 2nd day in a row! Definitely out of my element, because usually it isn’t a problem to generate words. But now I need to grab my butt and force myself into the chair [which I should have been doing all day today] to get something accomplished.
Well, good luck to us all participating in this month of mayhem. Let’s hope we have fun during the torture.
Five years ago I participated [and won] my 6th consecutive NaNoWriMo. Now I’m back and feeling a bit intimated, but not nearly as terrified as I thought I would considering the hubs asked me yesterday at lunch whether or not I was going to participate this year.
Then he admitted he would participate if I did.
So, here I am thinking about my project for NaNoWriMo, feeling out the questions and my character’s goals and challenges. Looking internally at his/her landscape, his/her history, and his/her possible futures.
That’s how my process works: first I search out the main character (usually it’s a name and a possible line of work). Then I observe his/her attitude and reaction to others. Then I begin jotting down all I know about them and the questions I have for him/her. Such as, what is his/her relationship with a sibling, or a parent? Does the sibling/parent even know he/she exists? Why or why not?
It all sounds so odd, doesn’t it? Especially considering these are all fictional characters! They don’t exist in any type of universe (unless you subscribe to the ‘Stranger than Fiction’ idea, which is more than a little horrifying for some of my characters…). But that’s how my mind works or, more specifically, that is how I remain interested in the characters and their story. I discover snippets at first and then break through walls and open doors and windows as I’m writing the character’s journey.
I write as much as I can about what I observe with the knowledge and acceptance that much of it may be trimmed and cut away upon future revisions.
Searching for Sara received a hack and slash of at least 60,000 words before it went to print.
My years in NaNoWriMo have shown that I prefer trimming to adding, because one is so much more simple than the other! Coming up with scenes to add after everything is said and done can be a ridiculously difficult expectation to put upon oneself, at least in my experience. For me it is so much easier to write every blessed moment of each day in order to uncover the poignant times in their story. Otherwise, to add an event could have a ripple effect on the entire story, adding frustration and confusion if you haven’t outlined or made notes on the storyline’s key points.
The one habit I am doing my best to avoid is to think about the “do”s and the “don’t”s of writing. That is the one monkey wrench which fouls up my process each and every time. It sucks the life and fun out of every writing moment without fail, which may be why I sometimes allow myself to have a beer or a glass of wine before writing anything other than a blog post (no, I’m only having coffee and cereal at the moment).
So, my hope with this year’s NaNoWriMo is that I can rediscover the joy of writing a character’s story as I used to once upon a time. That one story will blossom to another as I discover more characters whom also need their adventures written. One story always leads to another, either by accident or design matters little.
A writer must write, and NaNoWriMo will help me get back onto that path I once knew so well.
Are you going to NaNo this year?
Nona King is ‘writersprite‘ on the National Novel Writing Month website: NaNoWriMo.org.