Wordy Wednesday: The End Where I Begin, Chapter Ten

I am eating Panera mac and cheese right now. It is the most delicious thing in the world.

Also, therapy dogs are on the Diag, it’s not snowing (unlike yesterday), and I get to write a blog post. So it’s a good day.

Oh, oh, oh. And the first trailer for the If I Stay film adaption is out, and it is beautiful and heartbreaking and beautiful:

They just HAD to use “Say Something” in the trailer. Of course. Excuse me while I flood the world with my tears.

This week’s Wordy Wednesday is a chapter from my 2013 NaNoWriMo project, The End Where I Begin.

As always, a reminder that this has seen little to no editing and I’m still in the process of writing the novel, so there will be mistakes and inconsistencies and all that fun stuff throughout.

Read previous chapters:

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

**********

Chapter Ten
“Do you know what we don’t understand?” the woman asks as she checks me over for new injuries and dabs numbing cream against my swollen cheek.
The other side of my mouth lifts in a smirk. “How someone like Ramsey Carp and I used to be such close friends?”
She allows the smile I’d hoped for, but that’s it. “No, not that.”
“Then what?”
She pauses with her fingertip right beside my cheek, so close the heat radiates off her skin through the plastic sanitary gloves she wears.
“The words Miss Carp said as her fist connected with your jaw. We couldn’t figure out what they were at first, but when we looked at the sound-byte stored in Eric Flynn’s Identiband, we were able to work it out.”
I frown. “Not Amelia Anderson’s?” The nurse shakes her head. “That’s strange. She was the one sitting beside me.”
“Perhaps Eric Flynn knows her better, so he was better able to understand her.” She returns to dabbing my jaw. “The point is, Miss Carp didn’t shout something about hating you or giving you what she thought you deserved, like we originally assumed.”
She steps away and screws the cap back on the tube of numbing cream as she informs me, “She said, ‘I’m sorry.’”

I arrive at school in the middle of Español class—unfortunately also my last class of the day.
The profesora is in the middle of discussing the book reviews we turned in last Friday, but she stops midsentence as I slip past the door. My classmates stare.
New Capital High tries to keep English and foreign language classroom sizes smaller than our other classes, where we’re likely to have sixty or seventy students packed into a room. I’m not a school person, so I have never appreciated this logic—it just means the teachers actually try to give equal attention to both the nerds and the slackers like me, rather than ignoring us as I prefer.
However, I have never disliked the smaller size as much as I do today. It is impossible to disappear as I slink to the back of the room and drop into the seat beside Eric’s. Even Profesora Ramirez has trouble continuing her rant about our inability to properly analyze La muerte de Artemio Cruz. I am the girl who was recruited a year early by the Clinic, then knocked out by her old best friend right in the middle of the Recruitment Assembly.
In Español Eric whispers, “Please tell me you took a nap in the park while you were gone, rather than being at the Clinic this entire time.”
“I wish I could.” I drop my backpack on the carpet and unzip it. The noise is too loud in the quiet room, and Profesora Ramirez’s glare zeroes in on me. “I’m sorry.” I hold up my hands in the Quantum-wide gesture for I-come-in-peace. She returns to her rant.
As I lift my Español notebook onto my desk, Eric asks, “What did they do to you?”
I don’t want to let onto how shaken my conversation with Ramsey left me, so I shrug. “Nothing major. They just needed me to answer a few questions.” I open to a clean page and write down what I can catch of Profesora Ramirez’s tirade.
Idiotos.
No tienen un futuro.
¿Cómo puedo tener confianza en ellos cuando se gradúan si no pueden comprenden un texto tan simple como La muerte de Artemio Cruz?
“Are you officially recruited, then?”
I look at him. I frown. “Actually, I’m not positive. I guess?”
“Interesting.”
I hold back my laugh. “Interesting? Why is that interesting?”
“Just the fact that you were there so long—the entire school day—yet you still don’t know whether or not you work for them now.”
He’s right. “I guess it is kind of strange.” How do I still not know?
How did Ramsey figure out they would recruit me early before they even did, yet I spent several hours at the Clinic today and I still don’t know whether or not my agreement to help them continues past the problem of her?
The bell rings and the class switches effortlessly to speaking in English. I slide my notebook back into my backpack and stand.
“Some of us are putting stamps together to get a couple of pizzas at Joe’s. Are you interested in coming? Amelia would be glad to see they didn’t use you for experiments. We’ve been placing bets on why you weren’t back in time for lunch, all afternoon.”
“As fun as that sounds,” I roll my eyes, “I need to speak with my teachers about the homework I missed.”
“What are you talking about?” Eric grins. “That sounds like a much better time than goofing around with your friends. Go have fun, you wild thing. See if you can snap a shot of Principal Scully with his toupee off.”
I smack his arm. “Go away.”
“With pleasure.” He winks and leads the way out of the classroom.
Amelia waits in the hall. Her eyes widen when she spots me and she throws her arms around me in a pressing hug more passionate than the situation calls for.
“I was so worried!”
“Oh, shut it.” I slough her off. “Both of you.”
I can’t help the grin that crosses my face, though, at the fact that my two best friends care so much for me. Even when Eric glances at my Identiband, auburn eyebrows drawn, and it switches to the other color almost in response.

**********

87

Countdown ’til summer: 9 days.

 

~Julia

NaNo Day 10: How I NaNoWriMo

So, today is the tenth day of NaNoWriMo, which means we are now officially one third of the way through the month. Crazy how quickly this goes, right?

If you read yesterday’s blog post, then you know that I spent Saturday writing as part of the Twelve Hour Word Sprint event I put on. Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who participated–it was fun cheering each other on, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who appreciated getting a lot of work done on my novel. 🙂 (Also: CONGRATULATIONS TO MY FRIEND KIRA, WHO HIT 50K YESTERDAY!!!!!)

During sprinting on Saturday, Hannah and I actually headed over to a local write-in for a few hours, which neither of us had ever done before, and I HIGHLY suggest checking those things out, if you ever have them nearby. It’s difficult to focus in the dorm for a variety of factors (everybody’s being loud and having fun without you, you have nobody to guilt you into focusing, the whole of the internet is RIGHT THERE, etc, etc). On the other hand, the write-in was perfect for focusing, because it was a quiet environment, everyone in the room just sat there typing away at their novels with their earbuds in, and the only way I could access the internet was on my phone (which I did do a few times, but only to look up things and update my word count) (and look at Skype once) (but shhhh).

Primarily because of the write-in, which I was at for about two and a half hours, I got a lot written yesterday. Around 6k. Which isn’t as much as I would have liked, but I do also have all day today to try to get caught up, so if I can get a lot written now too, I should be able to at least get close to back on track with my plan for the month.

If you’ve been curious about this “plan” I have that’s different from NaNoWriMo’s official “write 1,667 words a day” policy, it’s basically that I tailor my word count goals for each day around what I have going on in my life. So because I have class all day on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I never schedule writing for those days. But I don’t have class on Wednesdays, so I try to write a lot on those.

Then there’s also the fact that I have a term paper due the day I get back from Thanksgiving, so I won’t have time to write over break the way I normally do (in previous years, I’ve pumped out 25k during Thanksgiving break). So my goal this year is to finish by Thanksgiving day so that I can spend the rest of break working on my homework. (I’m really nervous for this though, because I have a massive Spanish project due my last day of class before break, so I don’t know how much time I’ll actually have.) (Basically, all of my classes are conspiring against me this year to make NaNo next to impossible.)

Here’s the primary place I keep track of my goals and progress throughout the month. It’s taped to my desk so it’s very visible, and I check in with it a couple times a day:

desk goal sheet

I highlight daily goals in green if they’re at least 4k, pink for 2 and 3k, and yellow for 1k. I put a star beside days when, if I stick with my schedule, I’ll get behind the official NaNo word goal. Check marks go beside days I accomplished my goals (and if I’m ever actually caught up at the end of a week, I’ll put a check beside the weekly total as well).

The numbers in order, from left to right, are: Daily goal. Weekly goal. Overall goal to be at by the end of the week. Actual number of words I wrote that day. Actual overall I’ve made it to at the end of the day.

I also put my daily and weekly goals in my planner (I use this to keep track of more event-focused things), daily goals on a white board in my room I use for my to-do list (so more assignment-oriented things), and then, of course, I put my daily goal and overall progress on the white board on the outside of my door–I find that this has been helping me stay accountable for trying to keep up with my word count goals, because other people can see it there.

So basically, what it all comes down to is holding myself accountable for accomplishing my goals. Because I’m not following the official NaNo schedule, it can be a lot more difficult sometimes to say to myself, “You’re three thousand words behind where you need to be right now–you need to keep writing,” because I’m already ahead of where NaNo says I need to be. But I know my own personal schedule, and I know the days I’m going to have a thousand hours of homework to do, and I know that even though I’m a writer and I consider what I do to be work, school needs to come first (because otherwise my parents would not be happy campers, and in turn I would not be a happy camper).

How do you NaNoWriMo? Do you follow the official daily goals, or just write as you please, or make a personalized schedule like I do? How’s the month going for you?

day 10

 

~Julia