Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo and How to Make it Through

November has been National Novel Writing Month for me for a few years now.

nanowrimo-and-how-to-make-it-through

Back in 2011, I was a writing community newbie and heard the word NaNo getting thrown around and I had no idea what it was. Then I began seeing that several of my friends had won NaNoWriMo, and I thought how amazing they were at winning something that was so widely talked about. It must be big! Now, those friends who win or take part in NaNo are still amazing, even though I know what it is and anyone who completes it – wins it!

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It’s not an easy thing, bear in mind.

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month on many writers’ calendars and to win it you must write 50,000 words in the month of November. 50K – that’s 1,667 words per day throughout the entire month. In 2012, when I first signed up it felt like a huge mountain, and I had no idea if I was fit enough to climb it!

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© Lisa Shambrook

I’d already written several manuscripts and one published book and would be rereleasing my first novel, Beneath the Rainbow, a year later, so I knew it was possible, but I had never ever written a book in one month… Could I do it?

I had a sequel in my head for Rainbow and I spent October planning Beneath the Old Oak. I took advice from other writers: cancel all your plans for November, plan easy meals, keep your family informed (their support is vital), stay positive, and keep writing.

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© Lisa Shambrook

NaNo is not about writing a book, or at least not a full, polished, finished book. NaNo is about writing your first draft, and we all know first drafts are all about getting words on the page, letting the story flow from your fingers, and allowing your imagination complete freedom.

The months after November will be for rewrites, editing, deleting, pulling your hair out, worrying about plotlines that don’t work, honing the words, adding, altering, and fixing… November is for getting words into a draft.

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My secret weapon – Hot Chocolate – © Lisa Shambrook

So, how do you do it?

Simply, by writing.

Some days you won’t feel like it, but write if you can.

Don’t worry if you fall behind, you can catch up on a good day.

Don’t worry if you don’t complete 50,000 words, any words, any words at all are positive and moving forward.

See it as a personal goal, don’t compare. My first year was tough, I didn’t think I’d do it, especially as I watched friends zooming through, but I made it, just.

Treat yourself, chocolate works.

Have a great support network. Your family needs to know what you are doing, it will pull you away at times as you let your muse inspire and flow. If dinner doesn’t arrive on time, or the bins haven’t got put out, it’s not the end of the world…order takeaway, beg someone else to do the rubbish, or catch it next week. Writing Community friends are also magic. Their words, commitment and progress can help fuel and enthuse you.

Take time out… go out, leave the house, take a walk (November is full of autumn goodness and crunchy leaves!), watch a movie, read a book. Sometimes your muse will overwhelm you with words, and sometimes you will struggle to find her!

But, the best advice, just write.

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Take a break from writing – © Lisa Shambrook

In 2013 I wrote Beneath the Distant Star during NaNo then took a break for a couple of years. This year, 2016, I was raring to go with a project I’d held up for years, and this time my words exploded out of my fingers, completing my 50,000 words in just 19 days, and I’m still writing…this is a longer book than my others and I’m loving writing.

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Get family support, and cats! – © Lisa Shambrook

I believe my success this year is down to the fact that I originally wrote this book way back in the early 2000’s and then left it alone. I know the story inside out, but I had to throw out the old manuscript and completely rewrite from scratch. An old framework, but a brand new concept and one that excited me immensely to write!

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NaNo win – © Lisa Shambrook

The discipline of NaNo inspires me and works so well for me. I’m a writer who gets distracted – a lot. So, keeping a timetable, turning off apps, ignoring the internet, and just writing is something that works and I hope this year I can continue the habit over the following months. I have two more books planned in this series, and have already spent months world-building, restructuring plotlines, characters, and backgrounds, and I can’t wait to write.

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Keep Writing! – © Lisa Shambrook

If you’re still writing, keep it up and let your muse stay close…

Keep those words flowing!

Have you taken part in NaNoWriMo, how did you do?

Would you love to have a go?

What are your tips for getting through a month of intense writing?

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NaNoWriMo Teaser: Tracks

Week Three’s NaNoWriMo snippet from ‘Beneath the Stormy Sky’…and I said I’d save Jasmine’s crazy for this week!
She’s angry, and hurt, and playing with fire…will her twelve-year-old cousin get caught up in her games?

Photo by Lisa Shambrook (Please do not use without permission)
Jasmine crawled through the hole and stood on the other side. She grinned at Thomas, who leaned against the wire. His face was pale. “We shouldn’t be here,” he said. 
Jasmine scowled. 
“It’s dangerous.”
“That’s the point!” she told him. “You can stay there, you don’t have to come through, but what’s the point in living if you don’t beat anything?” She bent towards him, and waved her hands. “Especially death!”
He recoiled and squatted to slide through the gap. “I’m here, okay.” 
“Cool.” Jasmine moved towards the track, stared up and down the railway line, and glanced at her watch. A big grin filled her face. “We’re on time.”
“What time is it?” asked Thomas.
“Five past four.”
“So what are you doing? Will you get back behind the fence before Four fifteen?” he asked.
“Gosh, you’re a scaredy cat!” Her eyes glistened with adrenalin. “Yes, we’ll be safe before the train comes!”
“And before?”
“It’s our play ground before! We’ve got twelve minutes, or maybe eleven before the train comes!” Jasmine put her foot on the closest track and grinned at Thomas. 
“What about the electric line, the live one?” cried Thomas.
“There isn’t one, we’re not electrified out here,” she told him. “Look, I can stand on the track!” She stood inside the lines and giggled at her cousin’s terrified expression. “It’s fine,” she said glancing at her watch again, “ten more minutes!” 
“What if it’s early?”
“It won’t be that early!” Jasmine felt her heart pound within her chest and her legs felt slightly wobbly. She stared down the rails then hopped from one sleeper to the next. “Whoop whoop!” she cried. 
She twirled on a sleeper slipping off onto the gravel between and giggled. 
“Jasmine,” called Thomas.
“What?” 
“I don’t like you on there…”
“I don’t suppose you do, my mum would have a heart attack!”
“How soon do you want to meet Freya?” Thomas quipped, with more seriousness than he meant. 
Jasmine’s eyes glowered. “I don’t want to meet her, that’s the point!” Her voice rose. “I’ll beat death, she couldn’t manage it, but I can!”
Thomas shrugged and leaned back against the wire fence, gripping it with both his hands.
Jasmine danced along the track again then rushed over to Thomas. “It’s fun!” she said right into his face then waltzed back towards the rails, jumping right into the middle of the track.
“What time is it?” asked Thomas.
“Eight minutes past, we’ve got ages, the train doesn’t come until seventeen minutes…” Jasmine’s heart suddenly leapt into her mouth as the rails beside her began to whine. “What’s that noise?” she asked, spinning round.
“Jazz!” Thomas screamed. “It’s a train!”
Jasmine whirled round and the smile fell from her face. “That’s not the train I expected!” she yelled, “It’s the wrong direction!”
“It’s still coming!”
Jasmine didn’t move. Her heart pounded, and she stared straight at the train racing down the track towards her, but still she didn’t move.
“JASMINE!” Thomas’ scream filled her ears as much as the horn that hooted. The tracks vibrated and Jasmine’s legs turned to jelly. 
“MOVE, JASMINE, MOVE!” Thomas leapt forward towards the track.
She stared blankly at the figure waving fiercely in the advancing train window and suddenly Jasmine came to her senses. Her legs reacted and bounded off the railway as the train squealed past, its horn screaming in her ears. She landed and skidded on all fours in the gravel by the side of the track. She rolled across the stones, unaware of the tear in her jeans and the blood on her hands. Her head spun and her mouth was as dry as the summer earth. She felt violently sick as she rolled onto her knees and stood up, and she shook as she grabbed hold of the wire fence. The train sped on, rushing by in a haze, clattering down the track. Her hands trembled terribly as she hung on and tears slipped unconsciously down her cheeks.  
“Seventeen, seventeen…” she repeated, and tried to read her watch on her wrist. “seventeen…it’s not seventeen…”
Her eyes could make no sense of the numbers on her watch and she heaved a huge tremulous sigh. She looked up and the train had gone, vanished into the distance, leaving only the hint of a hum behind it. Barely able to stand Jasmine let her tears fall freely. She gazed about her then up and down her body, she smoothed down her jacket and stamped her feet, trying to stop shaking. Then the giggles came, surfacing uncontrollably. She laughed, letting tears stream down her face. She stared up at the sky and let the sun blind her. Then she began to calm down. “Thomas!” She licked her lips and shuddered. “Wow, Thomas, did you see that? Of course you did! WOW…I’ve never been so scared, in all my life!” She glanced about her. “Thomas? Thomas? Where are you?” Panic hit her brutally. “Thomas! THOMAS?”

NaNoWriMo Teaser: Empathy

Week two and my second unedited, first draft NaNoWriMo teaser for ‘Beneath the Stormy Sky’:
The anniversary of Freya’s death arrives and Jasmine’s mum fears the bluebells won’t flower in time…

The bluebells did blossom in time.
Jasmine woke early and watched her mother trudge down the garden. It was raining, an early morning shower, and Mum walked to the apple tree. A pink blush appeared over the horizon as the garden still sat in gloom. Jasmine peered around her curtain, not wanting to interrupt her mother’s private ritual.
At the tree, her mother sank down to the dewy grass and began gently plucking fresh bluebells. She touched each stem, carefully moving it away from the cluster, examining the delicate bells and choosing the best flowered stems to pull. There wasn’t a strong showing this year and Jasmine watched as she left flowers still tightly in bud only picking the open blossoms. She had a paltry handful, when Jasmine’s attention was diverted.
Out of the corner of her eye, in the semi darkness, someone moved in next door’s garden. Not worrying about concealment, she lifted the curtain and squinted. Their elderly neighbour, Daisy, wandered down her garden, in fluffy slippers. Jasmine’s eyebrow rose. Daisy shuffled quietly towards a crop of bluebells beneath her hedge and bent down. She moved slowly and definitely, choosing the best flowers as Jasmine’s mother did in her own garden. Daisy’s bluebells filled her frail hands as she painfully straightened her back and stood.
Jasmine glanced back at her mum and saw her brush tears away with her sleeve. Her mum held the small bunch of flowers against her chest as she sat beneath the tree.
In the still of the burgeoning morning Daisy’s soft murmur could be heard even by Jasmine through her window. Her mum looked up, turning to the fence. She saw the flowers in Daisy’s hands and more tears fell. She got to her feet and moved to the fence. The two women grasped hands and Daisy offered her flowers to enhance the grieving woman’s own bouquet.
Jasmine suddenly felt hot tears course down her face as memories flooded back. She remembered standing at that very fence handing bunches of flowers to her elderly neighbour. She recalled posies of daffodils, huge yellow trumpets and thick stems; bunches of freesias, purple, red, yellow and white, with long and broken stems; clusters of sweet peas, filling the air with scent and colour; late bouquets of bright blue cornflowers, bright red montbretia and heady purple lavender; and as today, limp bunches of bluebells…
Memories swamped her and emotions rose like a tidal wave. Warm and choking moments of pride, memories of a small girl gifting her neighbour battered bunches of flowers to continue a tradition set by her lost sister, threatened to undo her and a sob welled up with her tears.

NaNoWriMo Teaser: Stand

So we’re back to NaNoWriMo and last year a few of us posted weekly snippets from our unedited, very rough first drafts…and I thought I’d do the same this year.
For the uninitiated  NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month (November) where us rather mad writerly types attempt to write 50,000 words in one month. I’m on track…
Here’s my first teaser:

This gives you an insight into Jasmine’s character in ‘Beneath the Stormy Sky’.
A teeny bit of background is necessary…in lunch break Jasmine got carried away applying eye liner, and pencilled blue waves from one eye and a shark fin, and a mermaid beneath her fringe across her other eye. Their teacher is losing her patience with the class, having already had altercations with other pupils…

Photograph by Bekah Shambrook (Please do not use)

The class opened their books and began getting pens and pencils. Jasmine grinned, casting a smug sideways glance at Tayla and Amber.
“Will you be joining us Jasmine? Got your maths book with you?” Mrs Rhodes fixed her eyes on the back of the room. Jasmine started and unconsciously flicked her fringe away from her eyes as she opened her bag. She hunted for her book and pencil case. Her maths book appeared to be hiding and Jasmine’s skin prickled beneath the teacher’s stare. The book was nowhere in her bag. She searched again, flicking through books and junk.
“Miss Scott, we’re waiting.”
“The book probably fell through her fingers Miss, that’s what happened in netball…repeatedly!” Tayla scowled.
Jasmine buried her face in her bag, frantically rummaging. She heard Mrs Rhodes’ footsteps tapping on the classroom floor and…there it was, squashed down underneath her lunch box. She retrieved it with relief and dropped it on her desk. She looked up, right up into the teacher’s face.
As Jasmine met her eyes, Mrs Rhodes squinted.
“And who are you today Jasmine?”
Jasmine shook her head, not understanding the question.
“Are you in the right place or were you expecting a field trip to the beach?” Mrs Rhodes fixed her with piercing eyes.
Again Jasmine shook her head. “No, Miss…”
“Then why the face paint? I can see the shark…is that me?” Her lip curled in what Jasmine could only perceive as a sneer. “And you’re the…” she reached down and with barely a touch, gently lifted Jasmine’s fringe. “And you’re the mermaid.”
Jasmine recoiled and shook her hair back across her face. She reddened and licked her lips, her fingernails pinching her palms beneath the desk.
“So sweet, but, this isn’t an art class, we’re a maths class and art doesn’t belong in a maths class.”
Jasmine began to burn as students stared and Tayla grinned.
“So, please take a moment to remove your work of art and return back to us when you’re as plain as an equation.”
Denis snorted, and snickers spread across the class.
Jasmine sat, simmering, her heart pounding and her head throbbing. “No,” she said quietly, “I’m not taking it off, it doesn’t hurt anyone.”
“Pardon me?” Mrs Rhodes raised her eyebrows so high Jasmine thought they’d fly off her forehead.
“No.” Jasmine bit her lip and glowered. Daggers prickled her body and she burned.
“I think you’ll find I’m the teacher here, and what I say goes.” Mrs Rhodes pursed her lips. “Now please go and remove the make-up. It’s against the rules for one thing.”
Tears stung Jasmine’s eyelids.
“If you won’t remove it then you can stand outside.”
Jasmine slammed her maths book back into her bag and slung the bag over her shoulder. She kicked the chair backwards and let it fall, clattering to the floor as she stood. She held the desk with one hand, gripping it for all she was worth, and smoothed her hair out of her face, tucking her fringe behind her ear and exposing her make-up, with the other. “I won’t stay where I’m not wanted!” she spat out the words, spittle landing on her teacher’s face.
Mrs Rhodes watched as her pupil marched out of the class. “Stand outside!” she called as Jasmine slammed the door. The door bounced against its frame.
“Yeah, right!” cried Jasmine and her feet thudded down the corridor.
The classroom door flew open. “I said, wait outside!” called Mrs Rhodes.
“You never said wait…you said stand…and I’m taking one!” shouted back Jasmine.
“Taking what?” yelled Mrs Rhodes.
“A stand, I’m taking one!” and Jasmine was gone.

Review Heaven and NaNoWriMo

‘Beneath the Rainbow’ has been officially available now for almost a month, and I’ve had some wonderful feedback. This latest review, from a reader I don’t know, moved me immensely, being compared to Virginia Woolf and ‘Mrs Dalloway’ was a real privilege.  These are the things that keep me going… I know we indie writers don’t make much through sales, but when someone really loves the book, it makes it all worthwhile!
If you read an indie book and enjoy it, please take a moment to write a short review, it’s what keeps us going! Amazon and Goodreads are the perfect places! 
Last November 2012 I launched into a brand new experience called NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)…and I wrote my first draft of the book that follows ‘Beneath the Rainbow’. (Some snippets even got posted here under ‘Beneath the Old Oak’). Well, November is here once more, and I’m throwing myself into the third title with vigour! 
So, I shall be working hard writing over the next thirty days…join me here at NaNo if you want! 
I will be writing ‘Beneath the Stormy Sky’, and I hope to share some snippets as I go.
Now I’m excited!
Here’s my blurb:
‘What happens when you feel like you’re the ghost of your dead sister? A sister you no longer remember? What happens when you remind your mother that you have what your sister never will…life?

Jasmine was only ten when she realised her mother would never get over losing her firstborn. Jasmine watched her mother wade into icy water, ankle deep in the ocean, searching for an elusive rainbow. Despite the distance, from her perch on the wooden bench Jasmine thought she could see her mother’s tears, hear her quick, jerking breath and her echoing sobs. Then she realised her own hunched shoulders trembled, her cheeks were wet and the sobs were her own.

Now fifteen, Jasmine refuses to be Freya, and fights to become her own person. Her mother must stop chasing rainbows and discover what she already has.’

Blues Buster: Run

I struggled with conflicting ideas for this week’s Blues Buster over at The Tsuruoka Files. In the end I went with a rewrite of a scene from last year’s NaNoWriMo…which fit the song so perfectly for me. The song, a classic from Amy Winehouse “You Know I’m No Good.” This version of the scene may find its way into the manuscript… (I’ll keep my second story for another day!)
Photograph by Bekah Shambrook (please do not use)
Run

Dad’s days had turned into marathon internet searches and desperate attempts to scroll through his wife’s social media, page after page, looking for clues. Hours of reading online blogs and lengthy research into the reasons why women run. His fingers ran through his unwashed hair and his three-day-old shirt creased like his forehead.
Meg perched on the edge of the sofa debating lunch, which was, as she stared at the clock, rapidly turning into dinner. She shook her head, even if she made food, he’d just refuse it. She glanced at Dad, her eyes roving across the room, taking in the photographs on the mantle, happy family pictures, smiling at the world. Her hands clenched in her lap, and she fought the tears that welled behind her eyes. Her heart thudded and her bottom lip wobbled.
“Am I like Mum?” Meg released her question.
Dad turned to her. “Why do you ask?”
“Because she’s broken, and I might be too…are we both no good?”
Dad slumped at his computer, and Meg spoke anxiously rising from the sofa, “Dad?” Her words no more than a whisper but filled with a hopeful plea of desperation. “Dad, if I ever run away, will you come and find me?”
Tears illuminated his red, swollen eyes and a quivering sigh escaped his lips as he swung his chair round and took Meg in his arms. He crushed his daughter to his broken heart. “Sweetheart, if you ever run away and you want me to find you, no matter how far or how long it takes I will find you, I’ll walk every road and sail every sea until you’re back in my arms, I will find you, I’ll always find you.”
She tightened her arms around him, there was no need to worry, no matter how much she wanted to run, to run until her feet were sore, until her legs could barely carry her, she would never hurt her father.
She was not her mother.

(331 Words)

The Next Big Thing: Beneath the Old Oak

I was recently nominated to take part in The Next Big Thing by the lovely Donna McNicol, where we let you in on all the info about one of our works in progress…I chose my NaNo novel:
Photograph by Lisa Shambrook (please do not use without permission)
What is the title of your Work in Progress?
Beneath the Old Oak
Where did the idea come from for the book?
When I first met my husband I read my future mother-in-law’s poetry and really enjoyed her writing, ‘The Death of a Tree’ was my favourite. Years later, a seed (or acorn) of an idea crept in and I had to run with it, and with her permission I’ll add the poem to the back of the book. 
It’s about the life cycle of an old oak…and piqued my interest when I thought about all an oak will have experienced in its life…
What genre does your book fall under?
YA, the accompanying story covers some graphic and heartrending times for fourteen-year-old Meg.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Meg would be played by a young Emma Watson, someone who could convey holding the weight of the world on her shoulders, and her mother would be an actress like Emily Blunt or Anna Friel who could portray a complete breakdown.
What is a one-sentence synopsis of the book? (Okay, I used four sentences…)
Meg’s mother is anxious, depressed and neglectful. Meg thinks her mum is broken and wonders if she’ll be next, or is she already broken too? Meg wants to escape, but her mum beats her to it. Solace is found in a huge, old oak tree and Meg begins to learn to grow…
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Right now I’m planning to self-publish as it’s a sister book to my earlier book ‘Beneath the Rainbow’ already out on Kindle.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
This story was put on the back burner, but when I joined NaNoWriMo I knew it was the one I’d write. All the backbone was there, the story just needed fleshing out and writing, so the majority of its first draft was written in 30 days for NaNo… There’s still about 10K left to write (to add to my NaNo 50K), and I’m taking my time with the ending.
What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?
Not really sure right now, my reading is so eclectic I don’t know anything out there the same. Meg’s story is heart rending and fits well into YA.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The poem inspired the oak tree and I inspired the rest, to explain…I suffer anxiety and depression and have been through much of the experiences in the novel…I write what I know. (Though the novel is fiction)
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
How would you feel if you leaned against a huge, ancient, old tree and it spoke to you? Not with a voice, but with emotions and imagery…your hands tingle and prickle, and your mind floods with emotions so great you are overwhelmed. You are privileged to experience fragments of the old oak’s history…  

Photograph by Lisa Shambrook (please do not use without permission)

I’m now supposed to nominate five further nominees for: The Next Big Thing…I’d love to know more from these wonderful writers:
There are so many more I’d like to nominate but many have already been nominated…so nominate yourself with my permission if I haven’t tagged you!

NaNoWriMo Teaser: Oncoming Traffic

So it’s the final NaNoWriMo week…and here’s your last unedited snippet:
Photograph by Lisa Shambrook (please do not use without permission)
Once on the main road, Meg stared out of the window at the river running alongside, the sunshine glinting and sparkling across its surface, and Meg thought how inviting it looked. The she heard sniffles, just a little one then another. She squinted at Mum as the sun gleamed across the windscreen, and Mum choked back a sob. Meg wanted to say something, but nothing made it out of her throat. 
“I don’t know why I bother!” wept Mum, “What’s the point, everything always goes wrong…”
Meg sat, her skin prickling and her fingers clenching. 
“There really is no point. Did you know that Meg, there’s no point, no point to anything…”    
“Mum…” squeaked Meg.
“Just know that now, before life decides to rip you apart with its dreams and promises. Know that nothing’s worth it!”
Meg’s eyes welled up too.
Mum turned her head to look at her daughter. “Meg, don’t cry, that’s not worth it either. Crying doesn’t do a damn thing!” 
Tears began to slip down Meg’s face as she sat in silence.
Mum continued, as a car horn blared behind her. “Don’t cry, there’s nothing we can do, not a damn thing!” Mum released the steering wheel and Meg’s eyes widened. She cried out. “Mum!” 
Mum’s hands were back on the wheel but she was staring rigidly at the road. Not at the road, thought Meg suddenly as she stared out of the windscreen, but at a lorry heading down the opposite side of the road. Her mum was staring at the lorry. Her mum was staring at the lorry! 
“Mum!” Meg screamed, “Mum!”
The car began to veer across the double white lines, and Meg’s cries got desperate. “Mum, stop, Mum, stop!” Meg began to wail as they veered into the lorry’s lane. Meg grabbed at the wheel but Mum’s hands were too firm. Meg closed her eyes, her heart about to break through her chest and just as suddenly, the car swerved back onto the right side on the road, the lorry’s horn screaming as it passed. 
Meg’s legs were jelly, her hands sweaty and shaking and she wanted to get out of the car. “Mum, stop the car, stop the car!”
Her mum, slowed the car down, but kept driving, a car horn sounded behind them and Meg begged her mum to stop again. Finally, as they approached a lay-by her mum slowed and pulled over. The car stopped and Meg scrambled out, slamming the door behind her and running to the hedge. She thought she was going to be sick, her head thumped, her stomach swam and her heart broke.

Five Sentence Fiction: Feast

Photograph by Lisa Shambrook (please do not use without permission)
There were no worries about walking on egg shells Mum had already broken all the eggs. Meg had painstakingly cleaned the walls and kitchen cabinets herself. Bright, sunshine yellow yolks had dripped down the tiles and sticky, gooey egg white had plastered the cabinets and floor. Following the eggs had been the plastic tub of butter, which had split upon hitting the wall and a huge smear of butter had spread, landing in a heap on the surface. Meg rued that day.  
Written for Lillie McFerrin’s Five Sentence Fiction. I’m so caught up in the final week of NaNoWriMo, that you get another glimpse into Meg’s life… From next week, you should be getting more one off fiction again!

NaNoWriMo Teaser: Fault Lines

Our third NaNoWriMo week is upon us…therefore another snippet:
This one, again very unedited…is harder to give you. I make no apologies for the nature of the excerpt, I write what I know, but please bear in mind this is fiction.
You need to know that Meg is fourteen and troubled, her mother is depressive and Meg hadn’t realised how bad things had become. She sneaked upstairs to find her mum and saw her mother cut herself, through the door hinges. Meg was devastated, and in the following chapter tried it, but couldn’t do it, herself. The tension mounts:

Photograph by Lisa Shambrook and Instagram (Please do not use without permission)
While Dad sat at the desk checking emails, Meg disregarded the chair she usually sat in and took the empty seat beside Mum. Mum glanced at her daughter and a smile played on her lips. She rested her hand on Meg’s thigh and caught Meg’s eye, and her daughter leaned across to burrow close. Nobody spoke but mother and daughter felt familiar warmth. Meg placed her hand on Mum’s and felt emotion bubble in her throat; she couldn’t talk even if she wanted to. 
They sat like that for a while, Meg’s head resting on her mother’s shoulder and their unusually tender affection soothed the crippling anguish in both of their hearts.
The clock ticked, the cat sat in the middle of the floor straining his neck to reach his hindquarters as he meticulously washed, and Meg’s mum closed her eyes as she relaxed.
Meg heard her mum sigh and her chest rose and fell with comforting regularity, Mum was in a good place and Meg allowed herself to breathe deeply. She stared at her mum’s hand, the one that lay on her lap, and gently stroked the back of it. She rubbed her fingers across the rings on Mum’s third finger. The smooth gold band and the perpetual circle of tiny diamonds circumnavigating her eternity ring. She lightly rotated the diamonds, letting them sparkle, then massaged Mum’s hand up to her wrist. 
Mum’s breath was soft and tranquil and Meg softly pushed Mum’s sleeve up her arm in a gentle move to massage further. Her mum didn’t move, and Meg pushed it higher. The cut tapered below the furrowed sleeve, peering angrily at Meg. She massaged lightly and softly followed the cut, then ran her finger over the reddened, swollen ridge. 
Her mum flinched and instinctively reached across and pulled the sleeve back down, covering any betrayal. 
Meg bit her lip desperate to speak, her heart raced, thumping so loud she was sure Mum could hear it. Indy stopped licking himself and paused in an ungainly fashion mid-clean, he stared at Meg and Meg stared back. Mum sighed and Meg spoke, softly but firmly.
“Mum, how did you cut your arm?”
The silence was ear piercing for a split second, and Meg felt the tension pool into her mother. Her mum cleared her throat and nodded towards the cat gazing at them on the floor. “The cat scratched me.”
Nobody spoke; even Dad’s fingers hovered above his keyboard.
Then Mum cleared her throat again and despite the palpable tension she brushed her fingers across Meg’s arm. “And how did you get that scratch Meg?”
“The cat,” Meg’s answer was quick and precise. She was learning well.