Nanowrimo Day Five–Word Count 11,059

Today I didn’t get much writing done because I had to drive out to Monument Valley to observe a student teacher. It’s a three-hour drive each way, so by the time I got home I was exhausted. I played with Oscar for awhile, put him to bed, ate dinner, and almost fell asleep at 9:00 with no writing under my belt at all.

Then Oscar woke up.

By the time I nursed him and got him settled down and back to sleep I was wide awake. So I decided to come downstairs and write. I couldn’t get the strange landscapes I saw on my drive today out of my head, so I decided to incorporate them into my novel. Anyway, this part of Arizona is the perfect setting for one of my characters.

So what do I do while driving? I listen to a wonderful podcast by Mur Lafferty called I Should Be Writing.  Not only is it fun to listen to and filled with great advice and references to resources, but it also gives me the motivation and the kick in the pants I need to keep writing. I am still on track with my word count, and even a little ahead, which means I am probably about to get the flu.

Nanowrimo Day Four–Word Count 9185

I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was a little girl. I’ve always loved reading and telling stories, but I have never realized my dream of writing a novel. I have participated in NaNoWriMo for years, but I have never “won” or met my goal. This time around, no matter how tired I am each night, I am excited to sit down and write. I’ve figured out why. This time around, I’m not trying to win, I’m not trying to meet a goal, and I’m not even trying to write a novel.

I’m telling a story.

Nanowrimo Day Three–Word Count 7097

I had my doubts today. After taking care of Oscar and trying to grade papers all morning, I didn’t get any writing done. However, I have found that once he goes to bed the story just wants to flow out of me, and again I am ahead of my word count goal.

Writing 50,000 words in thirty days requires putting down a minimum of 1,667 words each day. To give myself a little bit of a cushion in the beginning, I’ve set a goal of 2,000 words each day. Since by the end of the third day I am over 7,000 words, I’m right on track and a little ahead. I don’t anticipate maintaining this pace, but I’m having fun while it lasts.

I am currently finished with chapter one and well into chapter two. I’ve received some requests to release another excerpt (or three!) so I’m toying with the idea of posting a completed chapter each week. Let me know in the comments if you’d be interested. You can read the first excerpt here.

Nanowrimo Day One–Word Count 2742

Today I managed to achieve, and surpass, my goal of writing 2,000 words. I was proud of myself until I looked at the NaNoWriMo website and saw that some people have already written 10,000 words. In one day! That’s a lot of typing.

National Novel Writing Month is a thirty day writing marathon that invites participants to write 50,000 words in thirty days, during the month of November. That’s about 1,700 words each day. Although this is actually a reasonable goal (it takes me about two hours to write that much) I have never been able to complete 50,000 words. This is the year!

My novel is called The Fortune Teller’s Daughter. You can read an excerpt below.

The Fortune Teller’s Daughter





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They come from all
over, the young and old, the superstitious and the conservative alike. They
part the old blue curtains that Meg made for me, the ones with the moons and
the stars that I thought were all wrong, but that turned out to be perfect.
They sit at my little wooden table and hold out their hand. I am a student of
hands; I know the deep groove that cuts along the palm, separating the thumb
from its sisters. Some hands have barely any lines at all, as if that person
doesn’t exist; their touch upon the world is so light. Other hands are crossed
with caverns and crevices and scars, telling not one story but many, of a life
filled with joy and adventure and tragedy.

I am sometimes
surprised by my customers. Of course, the bored housewives always come, hoping
for something more from their future. Lovers come looking for evidence that
their love has been written into the stars. Young women come hoping to find out
they will either get married or get pregnant. But also, sometimes, a working class
man with calloused hands, dirt driven into the corners by years of backbreaking
work. Yesterday I had a Baptist minister, looking for help with his
congregation. I also get the elderly, looking not to their future but to their

I think some of
them come simply because I hold their hand. I am, of course, only doing my job,
but my hands are warm and I am gentle, and I look carefully into their eyes and
try to tell them what they want to hear, that everything will turn out ok, and
that they are in control of their fate.

What moved me to
finally tell my story was a woman who came looking for her son. She asked for
the cards, and as I unwrapped them from their piece of silk and slapped them
down one at a time on the table she pulled at a loose thread on her sleeve. She
would not meet my eye. Finally, when she heard my silence as I studied the
cards she looked up and said, “I know that you can find people, because you’ve
done it before.”