Traveling & Novel-Writing: Camp NaNoWriMo

It’s been a while!

I’m so sorry that I haven’t been posting. I’ve been traveling a lot. But of course, traveling gives me opportunities to write.

I am participating in Camp NaNoWriMo! The goal is to write a novel in a month. It’s a camp because the official one is in November. This is kind of like a practice round.

You can also personalize your word count based on your needs and your abilities. My word count goal is 32,000. With the rate I’m going, I’m thinking it’ll be about 20,000. I’m trying my best, though. This is my first attempt at writing a novel. I am a poetry person, so writing this way is different for me.

The idea for my novel actually came from my family. On Easter we were talking about how some people who raise children should not have in the first place because of how poorly they treat them. One of my cousins pointed out that we have to take a test for everything: driving, drinking, drugs. But we don’t have to be deemed psychologically, emotionally, or physically competent to have a child.

We joked about how this could be a really good movie, and an “I’ll write about it” slipped out. Oops. But as I went to thinking, it really is a good idea. I could twist it into a sci-fi novel (which is completely out of my comfort zone, but I need to take risks).

So, here’s the background: The working title is A License to Breathe.  The main character, Evelyn, is seventeen years old and a seemingly normal girl. She has a slight obsession with science. She’s heard about all of the advances, especially in genetics. People can create different animals, make them glow like a firefly, and behave differently. She has no intent to use her talents in a bad way. However, after being rejected from her dream college of genetic research and asked to work there full-time, Evelyn is tricked into being part of a plan. The college has been working on research to “fix” people into perfection at birth. This seems bizarre, but this college is getting close to finding the answers. Evelyn’s life is at risk because she is being tricked into becoming one of the test subjects.

This is problematic for Evelyn and her boyfriend, Alex. The fact that she is part of this plan may ruin their relationship. She is in a dangerous situation but doesn’t know it. Alex will be a main fighter of this research to save his girlfriend and himself.

The purpose of the book isn’t to demonstrate how dangerous science can be. The purpose is to show how far people will go for perfection to avoid mistakes. If the government tried to put these procedures into place for every single birth, would we have a perfect world? That’s what this book is going to explore. I don’t want this to be a political book, just a reflection of human nature. Are we ever truly a clean human race? No, we can’t be. Violence will never truly go away. People will find imperfections, even in perfection.

Below is what I have so far..one chapter. I’m not sure if I like it in first person past-tense. I feel like it would be better in present tense. Any feedback at all is appreciated. 🙂


I brushed coffee cake crumbs off of my dark blue, slightly ripped jeans. I couldn’t focus on my food or my coffee, just the computer screen in front of me. My routine went like this: I checked the time, pressed the refresh button on my e-mail almost every thirty seconds, and took a frantic sip of my coffee.

At 8:15, I would finally know if I got accepted into the Brisk’s College of Science’s School of Genetic Research. I spent hours poring over the application three months ago, and I didn’t fill it out until I edited my responses several times. I sat in this very same seat, hovering over the send button like it would determine my life. Honestly, I felt like it did.Getting into Brisk’s wasn’t just a dream; I knew that my ideas would change the world.

I checked the clock. 8:09 AM. Refreshed the page. Nothing.

I probably look like a freak, I thought, turning my head to look at the other people in the café. No one was looking at me. They were either studying or socializing with a group of friends. Still, they were pretty quiet. I closed my eyes and listened to the sounds around me. Soft conversations were countered by the clinking of dishes and the depressed hum of the coffee maker. This calmed me down a bit, but one minute later I opened my eyes, clicked refresh, and started that routine all over again. 8:14 AM. My phone buzzed with a text from Alex:

Hey babe, good luck! I hope you make it into that thingy. I grinned. “That thingy.” He always knew how to cheer me up.

As soon as the clock hit 8:15, I refreshed the page again. There it was. Two e-mails, both from Brisk’s College of Science’s School for Genetic Research. I clicked it immediately. A logo sat on top of the e-mail: A sphere covered in lemon-yellow and sunset-orange stripes. I shut my eyes, took a deep breath, scrolled down, and began to read:

Dear Ms. Evelyn Adams,

We are sorry to inform you that you have not been accepted into Brisk’s School of Genetic Research. We received 35,481 applications, so competition was high. It was very difficult to select among all of them. We wish you well on your future endeavors in science and hope that genetics will continue to be a topic of interest to you. Thank you for applying.

Christopher Lek

Brisk’s College of Science

School of Genetic Research

My heart sank. I literally felt like my dreams were snatched from my hands. I always excelled in science and I thought that I would get in for sure. I picked up my phone and slowly typed a message to Alex: Thanks, I’ll see you at school.

I was so disappointed. I didn’t want to tell him. I knew that he wouldn’t be upset with me, but I sure was. I continued to sip my coffee, but it tasted bitter and unsatisfying.

Wait. There was another e-mail…from Brisk’s College.

Huh? I dropped my coffee and leaned in closer to the screen.

My name is Christopher Lek. I am aware that you were rejected from Brisk’s College of Science’s School of Genetic Research. We were extremely impressed with your application as well as your achievements and would like to invite you to work with our staff full-time for our latest project. Although you will not attend the school, we would like your help with this difficult project. I’m sure you have many questions. Our board would like to meet you in person. We were hoping sometime this week. E-mail me back when you are available.

Christopher Lek

Brisk’s College of Science

School of Genetic Research

I sat at my laptop, frozen. It took a couple of stares from the people around for me to force my arm down. The message was official. But why did they send me rejection letter just to accept me? I couldn’t help but wonder.

I inhaled the aroma of the café, which calmed me down a bit. Straightening my chair, I typed a response. I told Mr. Lek that I could meet the next day. Shivers went down my spine.

The extravagant clock in the café chimed softly; my cue to leave for school.

I quickly shut my laptop, stuffed it into its tiny case, and sprinted to the car. Before I left, my phone vibrated once again: Are you coming? After texting a quick “yes”, I threw my phone on the chair beside me and started my way to school.

My future? Uncertain.

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About heatherd001

Hello! My name is Heather. I'm sixteen years old and I love to write (poems mostly) but I'm working on some story- and novel-writing. Writing is a creative outlet for me.
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