A little dilly-dallying never hurt anyone.

I decided to take a break from Camp NaNoWriMo and try my hand at a fun prompt over at The 13th Floor Paradigm. The prompts, entitled ‘All in a Word’ encourage those taking part to create a story around a given word. This week that word is nefelibata, defined in the Urban Dictionary as;

(n.) lit. “cloud walker”; one who lives in the clouds of their own imagination, or one who does not obey by the conventions of society, literature, or art.

I don’t feel too much guilt about the dalliance, as there are links to my novel World Apart. I might even use the character somewhere down the line.

I hope you enjoy.

 

Miles from Home

Gillian Donovan sat against the lonely backdrop of a sparse living-room, locked inside a world of her own making.

She could no longer exist outside the dreams of others. She was a shell, a broken and empty shell, save for the corridors of a mind too chaotic to control.

Gillian was one of the so called ‘Dreamers’, though she had been known as many things in her twenty-two years. She was, in some circles, the Nefelibata – a cloud walker whose gift was known to only the privileged.

As a child she was accused of being a daydreamer, one who lived with her head in the clouds. Gillian was all that and more. She could invade the fantasies of others; leave her own stilted daydreams and become the resident interloper in a variety of worlds.

There were rules to her gift. She could only share the thoughts of those who gave her permission. Breaking this condition had dire consequences and Gillian had learnt that the hard way.

She hadn’t meant to deviate from the plan. Having a structure to her travels helped her to control the abilities, and to ensure she returned to her own reality at the end of her journey.

Neither had it been her intention to leave for more than a few hours. She’d risked travelling without her anchor, and that had been her first mistake of the day.

At first the trip began like any other. She had joined with an alternative version of herself, a version she was intimately familiar with. The fantasy she belonged to had all the elements she enjoyed; danger, excitement and a touch of the ridiculous. But it ended too quickly, before she had time to release herself from the twinned subconscious and so she jumped into the first mind she could find.

Only then she was lost in the fantasies of a stranger, and instead of experiencing it through their eyes, she was a separate entity.

The moment they faced each other, Gillian felt the impact. It was like a physical blow that cast her out of his mind and left her adrift. Scared and confused, with nothing and no one to latch onto.

The hardest part was that they recognised each other. It was difficult to comprehend, since they had never met, and yet the connection was immediate and absolute.

Even though the bond had lasted for only a moment, Gillian could see the echo of him in her head. It tormented her, haunted her every thought, so that as she travelled from one mind to the other, everything was tainted by him.

She had no way of knowing how long she’d been drifting, unable to find herself, or return to her own reality. She wasn’t even sure whose world she was in. Only one thing was certain. With every passing day the link to her body grew weaker. Without her anchor she would die.

Her only hope was the authorities. They would become aware of the breach eventually, and when they did, they held the key to bringing her home.

*****
Thanks, as always, for reading.
Mel

Raising the bar on my NaNo journey this April

People take part in NaNoWriMo for a multitude of reasons, but ultimately it stems from a shared passion to write. My personal reasons are intertwined with my desire for greater structure in my writing life and to share the experience with like-minded people.

This time around, at CampNaNoWriMo I wanted to make a bigger commitment and raise money at the same time. As with many writers, I live, breathe and dream in words. Stories are important to any community and can be the glue that holds us together. NaNoWriMo understands the value of that and gives back in a variety of ways.

As well as encouraging wrimos to take part, including programs that nurture the younger generation, they create events for those who love to write, all over the world.

I believe this should be celebrated. This level of commitment, support and a sense of community has developed me as a person and, quite simply, I want to give back.

So, I wanted to make you aware of my Fundraising Page and a few additions I’ve added recently as an incentive for those wishing to donate. Here is a breakdown of what I have on offer.

1-5 dollars – You will get a personal thank you from me in my novel Worlds Apart, which will be published at the end of the year.

5-10 dollars – As well as the mention, you will receive a free personalised miniature pocket book.

10-20 dollars – In addition to my appreciation and the gift, you can name a supporting character in Worlds Apart and decide whether they are friend of foe.

20 dollars + You get all the prizes, plus the chance to name a main character in the sequel to Worlds Apart.

Here’s a snapshot of the pocket book;

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If you’d like to order extra you can find them here. All proceeds will go towards the fundraising.

If you would like to know more about my journey at Camp I will be posting an update mid-way through the month.

Thanks for your support.

Mel

You’d think it would be easier the second time around.

2014-Participant-Vertical-Banner

 

As some of you may know, I’m at camp right now – in a virtual sense. I’m taking part in CampNaNoWriMo.

 

I achieved my target of 50,000 words last year in November, and learnt a great deal from the experience.

 

This time my target is lower and I began this new journey full of excitement. I thought I understood the pitfalls – the areas I needed to avoid.

 

We’re only on day 5 and already I’m finding excuses not to write. Some of them are valid; I’m moving house in two weeks. Some not so much.

 

The biggest issue at the moment is POV. I began the first chapter in third person, and then changed my mind and rewrote in first. Now the problem is I like them both for different reasons, and I’m not sure how to proceed. The decision I make will affect the story and how it is told – how the subsequent stories will also be told.

 

So I’m going to try something a little different in the hope I can gain perspective from my lovely readers. I’ve added two different introductions below, and I’d like your help to decide which route to take.

 

Here they are:

 

Option 1

 

When some people learn the origins of their birth, information that changes the course of their future and makes sense of their past, it fortifies them. It suddenly makes perfect sense, the fact they didn’t belong. There’s a reason they felt so disconnected.

 

That’s not how it was for me. I’ve never felt like an outsider, never wondered why I didn’t fit in. I assimilate to whatever environment I’m in, and I assimilate quickly.

 

If I were to feel misplaced at all, one might assume it was due to intellect. Yet I feel a connection to people on a fundamental level, a level that cuts through societal rules or restrictions.

 

My unpredictability, my direct approach had always been met by acceptance, and for that I’m grateful. Without it I would have been lost in a sea of names and faces.

 

I’ve lost count of the number of towns we lived in. I’d never been allowed to stay in one place for more than six months. Not because my parents are part of the military or particularly free-spirited. It wasn’t as simple as that.

 

In truth, I didn’t know what we’d been running from, but as I looked at my father’s face on the monitor in front of me, I knew I was about to discover the truth. The reasons we’d spent our life on the run.

 

With an unsteady hand, I hit play on the tape and felt the ache spread across my chest. My father had been gone only a few short days and seeing this reminder of him so soon was almost too much to bear.

 

“My darling, Audrey. If you’re watching this, it means we’ve been compromised, and you don’t have much time.

I wish with all of my heart I could protect you. Believe me when I say, if my keeping you safe has failed, and you’re watching this now, I’m truly sorry for what you are about to face”.

 

*****

 

Option 2

 

“My darling, Audrey. If you’re watching this, it means we’ve been compromised, and you don’t have much time.

I wish with all of my heart I could protect you. Believe me when I say, if my keeping you safe has failed, and you’re watching this now, I’m truly sorry for what you are about to face”.

 

Audrey looked at the image of her father on the big screen and felt a searing pain cut through her heart. Not because of his words, but the fact he looked so fragile. He could barely hold himself upright and she judged by his sickly pallor that he’d recorded the message only hours before his death.

 

That knowledge had tears pricking the back of her eyes. She’d always been able to read her father, so she knew his energy was waning. He didn’t even have the strength to edit out the silences. The moments he needed to gather his strength.

 

When he swore soundly the tears plopped onto her cheeks and ran in a continuous stream down her face. It would have been funny if he hadn’t been in so much pain.

 

“I’ve had so many opportunities to tell you the truth, opportunities I squandered because of my own cowardice. When we lost your mother, and then years later when I met Ann and we became a family again. I should have told you then. It haunts me knowing how much I failed you. All the hours we spent together, preparing you for this, and not once did I share the truth about your heritage.”

 

Audrey turned away from the screen so she didn’t have to see him gasping for breath. Despite her confusion, and her desire to finally understand the past he’d kept hidden, it hurt her to see him in pain.

 

***

 

I’d appreciate your feedback. I know I’m the only one who can decide, but it would be useful if you shared your thoughts with me. Maybe then I can move on and focus on the project.

 

You can either comment in the box below, or vote for your favourite option.

 

Thanks in advance.

Mel

 

Diagnosis Pending – It’s either Nano-fever or Wrimo-itis…

2014-Participant-Facebook-ProfileSix months ago I was mostly writing in isolation and then I found NaNoWriMo.

I’ve posted about the journey I made last November often enough, but for those who’re new to the blog – it changed my (writing) life. Literally.

Such was my momentum that I created a co-authored blog with another wrimo, set myself a goal to improve my personal blog (I now have a pretty fantastic community who I cherish), and have made headway in the editing process.

The novel I wrote during NaNoWriMo 2013 – Worlds Apart, is something I continue to be excited about. Perhaps more importantly, I’ve learnt that I’m not in this alone.

So now the dust has settled, it’s time for my next challenge. I’ve just signed up to Camp NaNoWriMo 2014, and though some question my sanity, they can’t dispute my passion or the depths of my enthusiasm.

I’ve agreed, in the month of April, to write a series of novellas under the Worlds Apart series. My target is 36,000 words and I’m optimistic I’ll reach that goal. I will also be continuing to edit the novel and prepare it for publication.

But that’s not all. I’ve volunteered to be a fundraiser (now you’re questioning my sanity). I’m so grateful to nanowrimo that I want to give back. As my motivational levels have just kicked into overdrive, the timing couldn’t be better!

So, why not click here, and check out my fundraising page. I will be updating it over the next couple of weeks and adding features that will, hopefully, encourage people to give.

I’ve already had ideas about how I can meet my fundraising goals. I’ll be baking, making, creating and coaxing from now until I hit the magic number!

033e255b-1969-47fc-8ee1-3f614a4e8980I’ve already started making personalised pocket books, and I’m selling these on Etsy. They come in any size and colour, blank or complete with words. All proceeds will go to NaNoWriMo.

Click here if you’d like to know more.

So, as you see, it’s a good kind of fever and you don’t even have to worry about it being contagious!

Thanks for reading, and for agreeing to embark on this new adventure with me.

Until next time

Mel