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Taking the Day Off & a NaNoWriMo Teaser... Ooh...

No, I'm not really taking the day off. That's just the name of the exercise. I've taken too many days off of blogging in the last month anyway. Time to get back on the horse! If you're here to view my NaNo teaser, click "Continue reading..." (from my blog's front page) and scroll to the bottom of this post. It's short little snippet, but I'd really appreciate any comments.

Without further ado...

Exercise #104 : "Taking the Day Off"

If you were to take the day off, what would you do?


I haven't had a day off in... ... ... a long time. Going to school full time and maintaining 2 jobs kind of makes the day off thing impossible. If I were to take a day off, I would SLEEP. I know that sounds pathetic, but I really would. I don't get enough because of everything I have to do, so unhindered rest would be greatly appreciated. What else would I do? I would read. Oh, that is a really good idea. Simply sitting in a comfy chair and throwing myself headfirst into a novel sounds so attractive right now. I haven't had the time to read for leisure in such a long time.

The sad part is that, while I was doing all of this sleeping and reading, I'd be working on my laundry and cleaning my room. Both need to be done pretty desperately at this point. I find myself shirking on these duties whenever I have other things to do. I hear this is normal, but it gets to the point where I just do not ever want to do them, so they pile up... Whoops. I should probably get on that...

While my day off might seem awfully simple, it sounds perfect to me.

Now on to my "teaser." I have what I believe may be an appropriate opening for my NaNo novel, and I want to post it on here to hear your thoughts.

Savannah Hansley woke each morning to a world filled with glittering jewels and ostentatious wealth, but each night her dreams were comprised of ways she could escape from this oppressive opulence.

On the morning of September 18th, in the year 3059, Savannah woke from one such dream only to be reminded once again that her dream was not, nor would it ever be, a reality. With a sigh, she shut her eyes again and tried desperately to rejoin the subconscious storyline.

"This morning's dream was that fantastic, was it?" said Awder, her close friend and the family butler. He was just setting down the breakfast tray on the small, oak table by the window when she sat up and propped herself up on her elbows, finally acknowledging that she was awake despite her best efforts.

"It was wonderful," she said wistfully. "I was exploring an alien jungle on some distant planet."

"And did you find anything of note?" he asked.

"I was just coming upon something groundbreaking when I woke up." She closed her eyes and imagined the strange, tangled vines draping around her, the unfamiliar yet exotic alien landscape, the feel of sweat dripping down the nape of her neck. "I don't know what it was, but it was big. I could feel this overwhelming sense of importance."

"Perhaps it wasn't just a dream," Awder said, a look of mischief subtly twitching at the corners of his mouth.

Throwing her legs over the side of the bed, Savannah chuckled. "Perhaps," she said. "Or maybe it was just a dream." As she crossed over to the table, the smell of freshly baked bread gently caressed her face. "Breakfast looks wonderful," she said. "Give Annette my regards."

"Of course. Do you need anything else?"

"No, thank you," she said. "I'm fine with this."

What do you think? Does it make you want to read more? Are you completely bored by it? Do you have a clear idea of the main character's (Savannah) problem? Etc... This is my first full novel EVER, so I'd love to hear what you think, good or bad. :)



Beth said…
I must admit, that I was a little confused by what was the deal with her dreams and all. And why there was a problem.
But it did intrigue me, and I would love to read more.The writing gave me a clear picture in my mind's eye of the setting and characters, and that is a hard thing to get right sometimes. :D
Stef Howerton said…
Yeah, that's the problem I'm having... I guess I'd need a couple more pages to make the problem/dreams thing make sense... Because I'm getting a really whiny emo feel with it right now. More tweaking is needed. :)

Thanks for the comment!
Unknown said…
Savannah Hansley woke...

>The opening sets the scene with Savannah as a wealthy girl, or a princess, and I ask why she wants to escape the opulence. This piques my interest.
>I would suggest editing it so that the comma is dropped after wealth and the "from" after escape.

On the morning of...

>I understand from this paragraph that Savannah wants her dream to become a reality and tries to escape her reality by dreaming again.
>In my opinion you can marry this paragraph to the first one as it continues the same theme and subject matter.
>How was she reminded that her dream wasn't a reality?
>I suggest editing out the "again" after shut her eyes.
>"to rejoin the subconscious storyline" is jarring. Does Savannah think in words like that? Perhaps "to rejoin the dream"? or "to recapture the dream"?

"This morning's dream was that fantastic, was it?" said Awder...

>I think you need to set up this dialogue & paragraph in relation to the previous one. Savannah had just closed her eyes again & there's this voice talking. What is her emotion? Startlement? Resignation? Perhaps something like:
"This morning's dream was that fantastic, was it?"
(Savannah's reaction to this)
Savannah sat up as Awder, her close friend and the family butler, set down the breakfast tray on the small, oak table by the window.
>The "finally acknowleging that she was awake despite her best efforts" is Telling the reader, not showing, and you have Shown the reader this sentence by her sitting up in bed. :)

"It was wonderful," she...

>Beautiful dialogue! :)

"I was just coming upon...

>Excellent dialogue & description. I would suggest changing only "unfamiliar yet exotic alien" as 'unfamiliar' and 'alien' mean the same thing. Perhaps the simple deletion of "unfamiar yet" from the sentence?

"Perhaps it wasn't...

>"look of mischief subtly twitching at the corners of his mouth" is combining eyes and lips? Perhaps just ..."Awder said, the corners of his mouth subtly twitching"?

Throwing her legs...

>"Throwing her legs over the side of the bed" = ouch! We've all done this error. :)
>"the smell of freshly baked bread gently caressed her face" - smell cannot caress.
>I suggest changing it to something like:
"Perhaps," Savannah chuckled, getting out of bed. "Or maybe it was just a dream." The scent of fresly baked bread (grew stronger? strengthened? etc) as she neared the table. "Breakfast looks wonderful. Give Annette my regards."
>You didn't need the "she said" between 'wonderful' and 'Give'.

"Of course...

>In my opinion you don't need the "she said" in the last sentence. We, the readers, know it is she. I was wondering if you wanted to give his comment to her any emotion. He's her close friend yet sounds very subservient.

>Yes, I definitely want to read more. I want to find out why she feels trapped in a gilded cage. And more about the dreams. They seem important.

I hope I helped.
Merry Christmas,
Laura said…
I'm intrigued. I understand her problem of being trapped in her existence even if it seems wonderful to us. I do not yet know why she feels this way and would love to know more. I'm also interested in the relationship she has with the butler and how such a strange friendship has flourished. I too want to go back to the dream and see more :^). You do need more but this is just the very first paragraphs, so there will be more coming. I think it's a great beginning. Even just mentioning the year piques my curiosity. What's it like so far in the future? Is she even on earth? Yay! I need more!
Roni Loren said…
The only thing I would say is be careful opening with your character waking up and/or a dream sequence. I've read before (Hooked by Les Edgerton) and on (agent blog) that waking up is a big no no for an opening. Here's the link for the article:
Good luck! :)
I tried doing NANOMO or whatever it's called years ago. I couldn't do it since I was in the process of writing two novels
Stef Howerton said…
Thanks so much for all of your comments! They've been wonderfully helpful and encouraging. :) You're all so great!!

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