NaNoWriDa: Join the fun

Want to participate in National Novel Writing Month for exactly one day? Look no further and sign up for the Red Wheelbarrow Writers round robin. We have two novels going: one horror and one literary fiction.

My current fiction project began as a NaNoWriMo effort in 2009. Sometime in 2011 or 2012, I did hit 50,000 words, but I don’t think that counts. Instead of starting something new this month, I celebrated NaNoWriDa yesterday by writing chapter three of RWB’s horror version of The Arboretum.

I’ve never written horror, and I don’t actually read very much genre fiction, but my movie and television diets are chock full of zombies and vampires. Of course, zombies and vampires are kind of played out, so I hope for The Arboretum to tread some new ground. Author Laura Kalpakian penned the opening chapter, introducing a character with mysterious star-shaped birthmarks on her face, and her mother, a decrepit old woman who doesn’t want to die. I had an image of the decaying woman sticking her fingers into those birthmarks while her daughter screamed, but I had to see where the author of chapter two left me.

Since chapter two ended with the old woman looking out the window at the son-in-law, and the birthmarked daughter sitting inside a car, it didn’t make sense to get the daughter all the way back upstairs inside the house. Fortunately, my predecessor also gave me a mysterious, possibly supernatural greenhouse to work with, so I substituted a scary potted plant for the mother’s demon claws.

Also in chapter one, Laura wrote of a cluster of dogs, described as “a rare breed of canine, vicious, toothy, unstable and nervous; they had slender bodies, exquisite thin legs, poufed tails and huge black eyes.”

I felt like I would be letting my readership down if I didn’t do something with those dogs. It’s almost expected of me at this point.

horror dogs
These guys don’t match the description of the hounds from hell in The Arboretum, but they can make pretty scary faces.

Maybe it was the two Moscow Mules I drank at Anthony’s while writing this chapter, but writing those 1,689 words got me so pumped! With about 200 words to go, I decided to have one of the dogs waiting outside the wine cellar where two of the other dogs had been fighting. I was excited to see her again. This is a fictional dog character whom I had named just an hour or two earlier, and I was attached to her!

Later, after I hit send on my chapter, while Rob and I were watching The Walking Dead, I couldn’t stop thinking about those five dogs. I named them Thunder, Ibis, Orchid, Basilisk, and Rhone.

Gosh, I really hope the next 27 writers treat them well.

Read the horror story here. (My entry is chapter three)

Read the literary version here.

Most importantly, join the fun. Sign up on the Red Wheelbarrow Writers site.

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Published by Kari Neumeyer

Writer, editor, dog mom, ovarian cancer survivor

6 thoughts on “NaNoWriDa: Join the fun

  1. Dear Kari,

    I was gobsmacked by your description of your creative process in writing your chapter.

    However, couldn’t call up the novel on my bb. After semi-mastering my new iPad, I read the horror story last night. LOOOVVVED your chapter. Had a rollicking good time with the story. Thank you.

    Love, Carol

    Typos by iPad


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