National Novel Writing Month

I’m challenging myself to do National Novel Writing Month and for my own amusement (and possibly yours) I will be posting my favourite line of the day and my practice writing (kind of a warm-up exercise before I get to my novel writing). I got the idea to share work-in-progress from Austin Kleon‘s book Show Your Work! The stuff I share this month will be pretty unpolished so please be kind.

Here’s Day One:

Favourite line: Her knuckles were white as she peered over the steering wheel at the dark road ahead. It was always annoying when the metaphors in life got this obvious.

Practice: (this has NOTHING to do with my novel)

Eloise had never been one of those people who longed to know the future. She didn’t visit psychics, never glanced at tarot cards or runes, she didn’t even read her horoscope. So when her fall over the stairs left her able to glimpse a few minutes forward, she didn’t thrill at the new discovery, she was horrified.

It sounds, at first, like it might be exciting to know what’s coming but it’s really the worst kind of horror, since a few minutes is often enough to see something horrible but not enough to do anything about it.

Sure, she had had time to grab the toddler who took a sharp left into the traffic on Water Street while his mother was picking up some dropped packages, and she could put up a hand to catch the frisbee careering towards her head at Bowring Park, but it hadn’t been enough time to convince that teenaged girl that her skateboard trick was going to end in disaster.

It was typical, really. Probably fifteen-year-old Eloise wouldn’t have listened to a middle-aged Mom who came racing out of the convenience store and begged her not to try the jump either. It was harsh to be the Mom in that scenario, even if the kid wasn’t yours. She had felt like she had to bear witness though, to stick around while the girl – Hannah was her name, judging by her friend’s sobbing repetition- built up speed and ramped over the path next to the building. It looked fantastic at first, her black hair soaring out behind her, her arms extended for mid air balance. For those few seconds, it could have been a photo in a ad. It didn’t last.

Something went wrong as the girl was about to land. It was hard to tell what happened exactly, but anyone could tell something was off. The girl’s trick ended just as Eloise had seen that it would, the one light brown arm folded over the girl’s head, the other out to the side, legs crumpled underneath, and a long, bloody scrape up the side of her ribs. The mental image had been horrible. The reality was, of course, far worse. She wasn’t dead, the jump wasn’t that high, but she as going to be in a lot of pain for a long time.

Eloise sent flowers. It didn’t feel like enough, but what else could she do? Sure, Hannah would likely listen to her now, but what good would it be to warn her of upcoming blood tests and the way her face would look when the meds wore off? Seeing a few minutes into the future was useless.

The papers didn’t think so, though. They started calling right after Hannah’s accident, one of her friends must have told someone about the crazy lady who had warned them not to do the jump. So Eloise had an inbox full of media requests, and her voicemail was full. She wasn’t going to talk to anyone about it though, there was no point in cataloging another way that her reality didn’t match up to people’s expectations.