Camp Nanowrimo: Who is going to join me?

Camp-2017-Participant-Twitter-HeaderLast summer I wrote 50,000 words of my WIP progress, EVOLUTION, as part of CAMP NANOWRIMO 2016. Since then, I’ve added another 10,000 words.

I’d like this novel to be around 80,000 words, meaning I need to write another 20,000 words.

Doesn’t sound like much, except when I think about launching Feedback  (A New Online Tool That Guides Fiction Writers Through A Big-Picture Story Edit), releasing my latest novel, LOOK THE OTHER WAY, published by Imajin Books, and the rest of life that keeps interfering with my writing.

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I decided I would join Camp Nanowrimo with the modest goal 20,000 words, so I can finish this book. Then, maybe I can join NANOWRIMO in December and write 50,000 of another book.

So who else is doing Nanwrimo? I’d love to connect and encourage each other. Let me know in the comments below.

Here’s an excerpt from my WIP.

I shut the refrigerator door for the fifth time. Why did I keep looking inside the box for answers? Food wouldn’t solve my problems.

Fatigue wrapped its heavy blanket around my shoulders, muting my strength. The sound of the grandfather clock intermixed with sleet hitting the windows in the early morning hours made me want to lie down on the kitchen floor and never get up.

The clock chimed past the time of day I now hated. A family heirloom that had belonged to my parents and before that my grandparents. Somehow I’d inherited it. My guess was my dad didn’t want the noisy contraption in his house, so when Nick and I had moved into our home on Loughborough Lake, my dad had “gifted” it to me, Jaz Cooper. Some gift.

Two weeks ago I was happy. Today, well, today was different. My stomach tightened. I wasn’t sure I could move away from the fridge. I didn’t know how to spend my time. And who would care about what I did, anyway?

I’ve never been one to feel sorry for myself. That’s not who I was, and it’s not who I would become. I bit the inside of my lip, mostly to refocus the pain in my gut. It was too early to go to work, but coffee might help.

I plodded across the empty kitchen, the floor creaking underneath me with each step, and hit the power button on the coffee maker. The timer wouldn’t go off for another two long hours.

Coffee was my new habit. Nick and I used to drink tea together. But no more. I was slowly getting used the strong aroma that wafted from the beans and to the acidy taste. It was the caffeine I needed, not a feel good drink.

Out of habit, I opened the bottom cupboard door and reached for the dog food, then my mind caught up to reality. An overwhelming sense of loss ripped at my heart. That horrible knife of pain.

I slammed the cupboard door, walked to the living room, and lowered myself into the dog bed. I curled into a ball and inhaled Bandit’s smell, like that would bring him back. At night, he used to sleep in my bed, tucked behind my knees, soothing me with his deep breathing. During the day, he’d slept here. Most of my waking hours were filled with the company of dogs. I only had Bandit as a pet, but I ran a dog training school, so I could have many dogs in my life.

Unable to bear the real reason from my grief, I focussed on the dog. I’d always known I would grow old without Bandit. Dogs owners all know that awful truth. They don’t like it, but they live with the knowledge.The dog’s loss I could handle. The other would break me.

Through the tapping of the sleet on the living room window, I heard a howl. I held my breath and listened. The wind rattled the trees beside the house and drowned out any other sound.

I waited.

Another howl followed by slapping water. I shuffled to the window but couldn’t see anything. I stepped onto my porch, a mere thirty feet from the lake, and concentrated on the sound.

A bark. More slapping water.

The moon broke through the clouds, streaming light onto the lake.

A dog had gone through the ice. Without thinking, I bolted outside and ran toward the lake. My slippers stuck in the snow and were ripped from my feet. The sting of cold hurt my bare skin, but that didn’t matter. I reached the icy surface and kept running.

Daisy, the neighbor’s Great Dane, battled the edge of the ice. Her rump was underwater. Her front claws strained against the snow. Her nostrils were flared.

My heel slid across black ice, and I tumbled backward. My tail bone slammed onto the hard surface, and my elbow cracked. I rolled onto my side, then onto my stomach. I slithered forward, closer but not close enough to grab Daisy’s paws.

Daisy slipped backward and into the water.  Her head dropped below the surface.

I froze.

She burst through the surface, snorted water, and scraped her paws over the edge of the ice. She barked. Her nails clawed at the ice but couldn’t grip the surface. Terror in her eyes? Pleading? Whatever it was, the message was clear. Get her out of the water.

I crawled forward on my stomach, ignoring my throbbing elbow. I should have grabbed a rope. A hundred-pound, panicking dog was not going to be easy to get out of the water. Sleet soaked my back and neck. My pajama bottoms clung to my legs.

I grabbed one paw. Daisy’s nails dug into my arm, and I let go. The dog had power in her limbs. I knew I shouldn’t, but I had to get closer. I’d have to leverage her out of the water.

Her rump remained below the surface, but her head stayed above water. For now.

Another howl. Anyone listening would think I was torturing the dog. I slithered closer. I could join her. Slide past her into the water. Moments would pass, and the pain would end. But then Daisy would drown, too. Selfish.

I could pull her from the water, then drop in. The darkness below welcomed me.


The sound sliced through me. There wasn’t much time to save Daisy. One big shove with my feet, and my arms slid underneath her pits and around her shoulders. She dug her claws into the back of my neck. A warm liquid trickled across my skin. She’d cut me, but I didn’t let go.

I was living the nightmare of anyone who walked on a lake at the end of the winter season. Adrenaline pounded at my temples. My skin prickled. I felt her terror. The emotion was so strong, I gasped.

Daisy dug her claws deep into my neck and shoulders, gaining traction. She hefted herself out of the water. Her rear paws grabbed at the edge of the ice. She tumbled over my head, across my back, and away from the hole in the ice.

I knew I should get off the ice, but I couldn’t move. I lay on my back, panting. The black water called me. All I had to do was roll over and slide in.


13 thoughts on “Camp Nanowrimo: Who is going to join me?

  1. LOVE this piece — and not just because I am a total dog-loving person! Have fun in NANOWRIMO this July — I’m in another cabin with some other writers…hope to see you around the campfire or playing in the (non-frozen) lake!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That was such an emotional excerpt 🙂
    I will be doing Camp NaNo too. I hope to finally finish my first draft so I can start on book 2 in November! I’m hoping 30000 words will do it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Powerful excerpt! I want to find out what happens — to the woman and the dog. I’ll be going to Camp, too. Trying to finish the first draft of the novel I started in November. My goal is 26,000 words.

    Liked by 1 person

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