I’m doing Nanowrimo this year. Again. For the past two years I participated in the November write-a-thon and both times I failed to reach the 50,000, but in the case of last year, I finished the novel I’d started before Nano—which is what I usually do—so, I quit writing and went back to my normal life.
This year I’m doing the same. I have an historical novel I started a few months ago that stalled and went into hibernation. I switched to editing and revisions of other works. When I realized Nanowrimo was coming up a light flipped off in my head—not safe while drinking—and realized this novel, that was up to 30,000 words. Adding 50,000 to that would give me a nearly completed novel.
In preparation, I dove back into researching the time period—1850s New York City in and around Five Points. The book had started with a 6-year-old-boy who watches his entire family die in a cholera epidemic. Taught by his father never to accept charity, the boy flees attempts to put him in an orphanage. He ends up on the worst streets in Five Points—Little Water, Mulberry Bend and alleys like Bandit’s Roost, Bottle Alley and others. He befriends a dog and her two half-grown puppies. He spends almost a year on the streets, a small invisible thief struggling to survive. During that time, he never speaks. When eventually he is picked up and put in the Five Points House of Industry he still won’t talk. It takes weeks to get the mute boy to speak again. Even then he doesn’t fit in with other boys.
He’s treated by a kind doctor who wants to send the boy west on the orphan train, but before this happens the doctor’s brother shows up. He and Charlie hit it off and having no children of his own, he wants to adopt the boy. He’s refused because he married an Indian woman. He leaves New York to go back to his New Mexico sheep ranch promising he’ll he won’t let the boy be taken to live with strangers. When he doesn’t return Charlie gives up to despair.
But Montana has something up his sleeve. He returns home and rounds up his brother-in-law and a couple of hands and meet the orphan train in Kans us, taking Charlie off.
Charlie becomes a member of Montana’s family and he’s truly happy. Then his whole family is killed by raiders and Charlie flees again. He takes up with a small herd of mustangs, saves them from being rounded up and in the end decides to live alone, with the mustangs.
Participating in Nano was a good choice. I’m almost at 23,000 words and still going strong. Mind you it’s only the 14th day so there’sstill 16 to go. One piece of unexpected fun I enjoy is working on covers for the books. That and titles. Here are two I did: