Thursday, August 4, 2011

Slow Start

Dear Ashley,

I hope your Camp NaNo Round Two is going well. Mine is off to a slow start. I'm only about 400 words behind right now, and hopefully I can catch up/ get ahead tonight after work, but it just isn't taking off like last month's did. Right now I'm blaming the fact that it's in first person, and I'm not as good at writing in first person. I upped the word count a little bit too- I'm trying to do 2,000 words per day. Then I think I'll make September and October the time for finishing things- like Comet, this one, and my He and She novella that has been floating around with one third done for years now.

I'm also right around the three month cut-off since I submitted Rain to Harper Collins, which means unless I miraculously hear from them in the next two days, I'm not going to. So I'd like to start looking for a bunch of other places, publishing houses and agents, to send that to.

I did finish the first third of your present this morning! I can't tell you what it is, but I think you'll like it, and it will be useful in Budapest :) Hopefully the 20th works out and we can go see Dan Radcliffe.

I'm going to go eat breakfast and then head off to work now, but I'll leave you with a short excerpt from Letters to Myself.

“Are you all right, Ariah?” I looked up to find Mr. Cooper standing in front of me, just the desk between us, concern in his gray eyes. I realized that I had put my books down, pulled my chair out, but had failed to sit down. I was standing there like an idiot, just staring at the desk and not really seeing it.
            “Yeah,” I said, trying to smile. “I just didn’t sleep well.”
            “You look terrible,” he said. “No offense.”
            “It’s okay. I know it.”
            He reached out a hand, and placed his palm gently on my forehead. “You don’t feel too warm. But I’ve never really been sure what I was supposed to be feeling.” He shrugged apologetically. “Do you want to go to the nurse?”
            I shook my head. “I’m not sick. I just didn’t sleep well last night,” I said, trying to control the flush I could feel creeping up my neck from his touch.
            “Why not?” He asked.
            “It’s silly,” I said, losing my battle, and feeling the heat rise to my cheeks.
            “I’m sure it’s not.” He said.
            “I had nightmares. About college applications.” I said.
            “That’s not silly at all!” He said.
            “Isn’t it?” I asked.
            “No, of course not.” He said, shaking his head. “College is a stressful time. I remember having nightmares myself. You’ll never be completely sure that you’re making the right choice, or that you know exactly what you want to do with your life, and that is incredibly stressful. Your subconscious responds by trying to sort it all out in your sleep. Thus, nightmares. Totally normal nightmares, and not at all silly.”
            I flopped down into my chair, gratefully. “I’d hug you if I wasn’t so tired.” I don’t know why I said it; it just tumbled out of my mouth like word vomit.
            Thankfully, he just laughed. “It’s okay. I’ll take a rain check.”
            My brain was too slow to process and assemble a response before the door was flung open and Zach, Adam, and a couple other kids came in. My friends arrived too, before the door had time to close fully. Mr. Cooper turned to say good morning to the others, and I sat and watched him. It looked like he’d had a hair cut over the weekend. His dirty blonde hair was shorter. At least, I think it was. I didn’t ask, because that would have been even more weird than me noticing that he’d gotten a hair cut. There was a little bit of stubble on his face though, and I wondered if he was participating in the male faculty members’ beard competition. They were going to grow them until Christmas break and then shave them and weigh them. They were calling it a science experiment, but everyone knew that it was just a way for them to establish an Alpha Dog. They all wanted the job. I didn’t think Mr. Cooper was the type to participate in something that silly. Maybe I’d ask him about it. 
            “You okay? You look like you’re going to fall asleep sitting up?” Zach’s voice broke into my thoughts. He had sat down in his chair next to me, and was now peering at me in concern. I nodded tiredly.
            “I might fall asleep. Didn’t sleep well last night. Do me a favor and make sure that I’m awake every once in awhile? I’d hate to fall asleep in this class.” I told him.
            ‘Sure,” he said, still looking at me with what might have been worry. My heart leapt a little, against my brain’s better judgment. Even my sleepy brain knows better than to hope that Zach will ever ask my out. Besides, that would probably just add to the stress nightmares. Thinking of them again, I glanced over at Mr. Cooper, who was now gathering things together at his desk. He was looking at me. I mouthed a small “thank you.”
            This time I’m sure he winked at me. 

 That's a longer excerpt than I thought. Oh well. 
Can't wait to read some of yours!

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