I'm Doing NaNo Again?? | MEET MY NANO '18 NOVEL

by - 10:31 PM

GUESS WHO'S ACTUALLY ALIVE??? (Or am I really? Who's to say.)

Somehow three months have elapsed since I last posted, and that is an unspeakable tragedy. College be crazy, my friends.

I feel slightly dead right now because a) I'm sick b) I'm a college student and c) I'm also doing NaNo? And kind of failing??

Yeah. That's a thing.

Against my better judgment, I jumped into NaNo (short for National Novel Writing Month, in case any of you didn't know!) this month and have a whopping 17,552 words written.

. . .

. . .


Honestly not sure it's possible for me to reach 50k, but I'm telling myself that it's okay. I've had a lot going on this month and it's ben H A R D. I love November for so many reasons, but it's also one for the most challenging months for me mentally.

All that is to say, yes, I am insane for doing NaNo as a college student. However, despite the fact that I haven't written in over a week (#oops), I'm proud of the progress I've made.

So. You want to actually know what I'm writing about? *grins* Allow me to introduce . . .

| Something Like Home |

The boy with the blue balloons. The girl who can't find her way home.
Eleanor has spent her whole life searching for a home. Brought up in an abusive household, she runs away to a small town in Vermont with only a lens cap in her back pocket, a dream in her hand, and scars on her heart. All she wants to do is achieve her dream of being a photographer and keep the walls up around her heart so she doesn't get hurt again. She never expected for a boy with blue balloons to change her life.
After losing his beloved sister Roseanne to a terminal illness almost two years ago, Levi has struggled to move on. His social anxiety is crippling without Rosie as his anchor. To raise awareness for her illness and honor her memory, he begins to train for a marathon and sell balloons in Rosie's favorite color: robin's egg blue. As he struggles to heal, his life becomes connected with Eleanor's.
When tragedy strikes and past scars are brought to light, they will have to help each other discover something like home.
(FYI - sorry for the freakishly large font in the rest of the post! I have no idea how to fix it, so you'll just have to forgive my lack of technology savviness.*cringes* :P)

What do you think? It might need a little work, but that's the current synopsis. I actually started working on this last year for Christmas and thought it would just be a short story or novella . . . buuuuut it's not. Ahem. My stories tend to end up way longer than I plan.

It's a lot different than what I normally write. I always write something with at least an element of fantasy in it, but this time, I'm giving contemporary a whirl. And . . . it's surprisingly fun.. Though it's not as much to my taste as fantasy, I'm still really enjoying it! (My adorable characters help with that. ^_^)

Not to mention it's the perfect time of year to be writing it, now that Christmastime is officially upon us. (SO HYPED.)

oversized sweaters. hot cocoa. snowball fights. country roads. white churches. laughter. dimples. vinyl records. swing dancing. b&w movies. big families. the smell of fresh-baked cookies. bing crosby christmas. soft piano. photography. scuffed boots. messy buns. wind-whipped curls. cold nights. mittens. secrets. deep conversations. fuzzy blankets. gingerbread. blue balloons. plaid. glasses. polaroids. snowy lashes. bright eyes. crackling fires. cozy socks. forests. fresh-cut christmas trees. garlands. ripped wrapping paper. crimson bows. warm smiles.  

As usual, I made a playlist for my novel. It mostly features classic jazz, soft piano, Christmas music, '40s songs, and Michael Buble. There are also a couple for KING & COUNTRY songs because those tie in sooooo perfectly to the themes in my story. It's a work-in-progress, but gosh, do I love this playlist. *happy sigh* It sets the "mood" so perfectly and helps me get in the story. :)


He was jolted from his thoughts as he nearly plowed into Eleanor. Eyes wide, he jerked to a halt. She stared back at him with an amused tilt to her lips. “You seem to make a habit of running into me.”

He fumbled with a smile. “Um . . . it’s not intentional.”

Eleanor brushed hair behind an ear, her bangs almost constantly shielding the left side of her face. Her eyes scanned his appearance, and she lifted an eyebrow. “So . . . I know it’s early yet, but any chance those camera parts are in yet?”

“Not yet.” Levi rubbed his thumb along the lining of his jacket and suddenly came to the realization that he was a sweaty mess. She continued to stare at him, and he felt the need to explain. “I’ve been running . . . so that’s why I look . . . you know.”

What an eloquent speech that was.
Eleanor rolled her eyes. “You don’t look too bad. I was just surprised to see you without your typical shirt.”

She meant the plaid, of course. He washed that shirt nearly every day, and Mom kept threatening to get rid of it since it was growing threadbare from the constant washing. “I give it a break every now and then, just to see the surprised looks on people’s faces.”

She laughed, and the sound filled him with an odd feeling of contentment. He felt his cheeks dimple in a smile.

“Well, I should probably be going. I only have an hour for lunch break, so I need to get myself some food.” Eleanor hiked her purse higher on her shoulder. “It was good talking.”

As she started walking in the opposite direction, he impulsively shouted, “Wait!”

She paused long enough for him to catch up to her, and his mind wrestled over whether to ask her. Just do it. But he felt the familiar clawing of the anxiety inside of him, scrambling his thoughts. His hands shook.

“Do you . . . that is, I was wondering . . . ”

Confusion masked her features, and he felt his spirits falling. No, no, you’re just making it worse.

Before he could change his mind, he blurted it out. “Are you free tonight?”

Eleanor’s mouth fell open, but she hurriedly snapped it shut. Lips pursed, she considered him. “I have work until seven, but I think I’ll be free after that. Why?”

Because I want to see you again. He didn’t say that of course—the clutching fingers of anxiety made that impossible. Instead, he burrowed his hands in the pockets of his jacket and shrugged. “My family is baking cookies for a bake sale at church. Thought you might want to come over and help us, and then we could watch a movie afterward.”

She fell silent for a moment, indecision flickering on her brow. The looming fear of rejection hovered over him, but then a smile lit her eyes. Crimson lips lifted in a grin. “You got yourself a date. I’ll meet you at your house around 7:30 if that works with you.”

“Sounds great. See you tonight!” He waved as she strolled away, but then her words made impact, and he felt a blush creeping to his ears. Did she think this was a date?

Oh boy. He scratched at his head, ears flaming brighter by the second. He liked Eleanor, but he wasn’t intending it to be date date. They were just friends.

Or at least . . . that’s what he told himself as he wiped his hands free of sweat once again.

/ / /

“This has been so nice.” She pushed aside her waves of soft cinnamon hair and stared into her cocoa. “I haven’t done anything like this before.”

“Wait.” He eased his glasses up his nose and squinted at her, as if that would make him better understand what she had said. “You’ve never done any of these things before?”

Her lips separated as if she was going to speak, but then she paused. Tugged on a loose thread in her sweater. “Not exactly.”

She couldn’t have meant decorating the tree. Surely everyone did that. Wait—unless she was Jewish. He wasn’t about to outright ask her that, but maybe there was a way to . . . hint at it?

“So what holiday traditions do you have in your family?”

Eleanor fidgeted in her seat. Afraid he had somehow made her uncomfortable, he fumbled over his next words. “I mean, I know we’re really . . . odd. So our traditions are probably a lot different than yours. I was just wondering if, you know, you had anything interesting that you did with your family.”

Already he could feel his ears flaming. He cleared his throat, unsure whether the hint of a smile on Eleanor’s face was supposed to make him feel better or worse.

“My family doesn’t really celebrate Christmas.”

Oh. Then she was Jewish?

“Do you celebrate . . . anything else?”

She finally met his gaze, a puzzled furrow in her brow. “You mean other holidays?”

He barely managed a nod, convinced the less he spoke the lower the chances were of him making an idiot of himself.

“I’m not Jewish, if that’s what you’re asking.”

Dang it. Levi wished there was such a thing as teleportation so he could magically teleport to the other side of the Milky Way.

He scratched at his mop of curls and cracked a nervous smile. “I’m sorry. I was just . . . you know . . . you said you didn’t celebrate Christmas, so . . . “

“Levi,” Eleanor said on a laugh. She rolled her eyes and tossed a marshmallow at him. “Chill out. I’m not about to hit you over the head with a menorah.”

He grinned, feeling the knots in his stomach unwind. “That’s good. I forgot my candlestick-proof helmet tonight.”

/ / /

Levi whirled Elsie around in a circle, her squeals of delight bringing a grin to his face. Old ‘40s tunes played on the record player.

“Stop stepping on my feet, you clumsy oaf.” Abigael glared at Cameron, though the twinkle of mirth in her eyes betrayed her annoyance.

Cameron rolled his eyes. “You better watch it, Abi. I just might accidentally drop you when you dip.”

“You better not try to dip me.” The steel in her eyes was cold enough to freeze the fire in the hearth.

“Okay, okay. No sense getting all worked up.”

Abigael ignored him and addressed Levi instead. “Are you sure Eleanor’s enjoying herself?”

Levi glanced over to where Eleanor sat on the sofa, fiddling with her camera. It wasn’t fixed yet, but she wanted to see it anyway. Cameron had bought the wrong parts, so they had to start all over again.

“You should ask her if she wants to dance,” Abigael suggested. “That is, if you think you can get up the nerve.”

He would have been offended but she had a valid point. When it came to asking a girl to dance, any iota of confidence he had went out the window.

“Do you see the way he’s looking at her?” Cameron wiggled his eyebrows. “I bet he wants to dance.”

Heat crept to his cheeks. I swear, if he makes one more remark . . .

“Maybe we should leave the room,” Cameron continued. “In case they want to be alone.”

That does it.
Levi sent a scowl at his younger brother and stopped dancing. He joined Eleanor on the couch but kept a decent amount of space between them. Who knew what other smart-aleck comments Cameron would make if they were even somewhat close?

/ / / 

*smooshes all my characters* AREN'T THEY PRECIOUS?? I kind of love them. Levi is my precious, awkward cinnamon roll. (And his family? Oh gosh. They are hilariously embarrassing. I adore the Wylkins crew.)

Hopefully those (rather lengthy) snippets gave you a glimpse into my characters. I will hopefully be sharing more in-depth about Levi + Eleanor in later posts. :)

PHEW. That ended up being longer than I planned. (LOL when am I ever concise?) I hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about my current project. NaNo has been hard, and I doubt there's any way for me to win at this point . . . but hey. At least I've made progress. College has made it challenging to write at all, as is evident by my lack of blog posts in the past three months. Perhaps somehow I can make it to 50k, though? Maybe? (#wishfulthinking xD)

I've missed you all so much!!! How is NaNo going? I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Are you as excited for Christmas as I am? (I'M. SO. PUMPED.)

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  1. AHH THEY'RE SO PRECIOUS I love them already.

    This sounds amazing, Mary!!

    1. ACK THANK YOUUU. I love them, too. ^_^

      Thanks so much, friend!

  2. MARY!!! I was so excited to see your post on my feed!!
    I'm praying your collage goes really well, and that God gives you grace for whatever is thrown at you.
    Your snippets are AWESOME! I felt like I was really there. =D

  3. EEPPSSS. Girl, you had be at "dimples". Okay, you had me before that. Because honestly, this sounds so amazing, I just can't even. *flails* <33

  4. I love this!!! Your book sounds amazing!! (new reader, btw, love your blog!!)


  5. First of all, I feel you with the college thing. Trying to juggle both is A NIGHTMARE. But we can do this!!!

    I wish you all the good fortune with your novel!! (and thank you for blessing is with those snippets. They were delicious, but I want mOOOOORE)

  6. AGGGHHHHH I love this post so much. Your story sounds amazing and the snippets were beyond brilliant. Love it, love it, love it. <3

  7. WHOO-HOO, you’re back! (You probably don’t recognize me - I found you while you were gone. XD) I have so much admiration that you’re trying to do NaNo in college. Like, HOW??

    And THAT STORY sounds so amazing! I already love your characters (especially Levi because #socialanxiety) and those snippets were pure genius!

    Good luck with college and the last week of NaNo! :)

  8. MARY *hugs* I was so excited to see your post :D

    And oh my goodness...LEVI AND ELEANOR ARE ADORABLE. If you ever publish this book, I will 100% read it! <3

  9. OH MY GRACIOUS, MARY. I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS STORY SO MUCH!!!!!! Dat blurb. Girl. GIRL. It's one of the most professional blurbs I've ever seen. Like HOW??? I'm not even that much of a contemporary reader, but I. AM. IN. LOVE. And the aesthetics! And the playlist. AND THE SNIPPETS!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I was glued to my screen and grinning the whole time, and was so sad when I made it to the end of the snippets. I'M ALREADY IN LOVE WITH LEVI THE PRECIOUS ADORKABLE CINNAMON ROLL. And Elanor seems so broken but precious and sslkjflsjdfsdfs. You write the most lovable characters! <3333

    And, whether you make it to 50k or not, the fact that you're actually DOING NaNo during college is the. most. amazing. thing. Any words you get are words you normally wouldn't have had. You're making such awesome progress and I'm just in awe!

  10. This sounds like such an amazing story! I LOVED the snippets! And the cover, and the name! I love everything about it - I want to read it already. Don't stress yourself out over wordcount. The main thing is that you're writing! 17,000 words is a LOT, girl. You should be proud. :)


  12. MARY!!!! I know you didn't finish NaNo, but this is such a sweet warm story!! I WANT TO READ IT *hearteyes*

    (P. S. You've been nominated for the Liebster Award! Check it out here: https://losingthebusyness.wordpress.com/2018/12/21/the-liebster-award-blogmas-2018-day-21/)


Hey, look at you. You found the comments section. *applauds* So proud.

Now, if you're nice and keep your comment clean, I miiiiight just give you a cookie. *grins*