out of time – NaNoWriMo excerpt no.1

This year I’m participating in NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. The idea is to write a 50,000 word novel in one month, the month of November. I’m woefully behind in my word count, but I’m slogging away. I seem to decide very late that I’ll participate, and haven’t spent much time beforehand planning out the novel. I’m a planner, I can’t just write anything, I need to have a direction. So it’s been an interesting process. Just finding the time to write is a bit of a challenge, but it’s a good discipline and I’m learning.

I’ve put a little widget tracking my progress in the sidebar, to show just how abysmally behind I am. As I write this I’m at 3690 words. Sigh. If you see it getting anywhere close to 50,000 by the end of November, you can celebrate with me. Otherwise, send me coffee or chocolate. 🙂

What follows is a short excerpt, click through if you want to read it. And bless you, if you actually read it. Let me know what you think even! Thanks!

NaNoWriMo Excerpt – “Out of Time” by Eugene Huo

My full name isn’t Ames, it’s Amser. People just call me Ames for short. My dad told me it was a name he found on a “web two point site” which is the sort of thing my dad would do, so I believed him. My dad was into old history stuff like that.

After we ran out of food the next day dad started his new job. Central Building was looking for workers to take care of the atomic clock. Well, that’s what my dad said anyway. His real job was really just to be a glorified tour guide of the place, taking groups of school kids and bus loads of old folks around the clock facility and explaining how the atomic clock worked.

One time he showed me an old screen of how the atomic clock was invented in 64 BLE. I didn’t really get it, it just looked like a machine with tubes and wires. But then he explained that time was measured based on the electron spin properties of the caesium atom and then I really tuned him out. But anyway, the new atomic GRID clock was newer and better. At least that’s what my dad said. At the time I wasn’t really sure what he was doing in a place like that. He should have been working for some tech conglomerate, or freelancing. But he said he liked the regimen. The routine suited him, he said. Something about the stillness of the place, the way that time was unfolding before you, invisible but unstoppable. He would always say things like that.

One night he came home and got me and Cadie sitting on the couch and he announced that he had just been promoted to a special division of Central Building. The governance committee had been so impressed with his work, and given his previous experience, they wanted to move him to a more important role in the research division. He was fired up, you could see it. That evening we celebrated by cooking up some risotto. My mom’s favourite. We felt like we were a family. Later, after dinner, we sat around and played an ancient game with rectangular cards that mom had taught us, called “Go Fish”.

My parents always agreed on one thing, that was for sure. They both liked the old stuff. Old tech, ancient games, all these connections with the past were important to mom and dad. Whenever I asked why, they could never give me an answer though. They just shrugged and smiled.

We finished our game, and I remember I won, and Cadie smiled at dad and said, “I wish mom could still see us.” Those were her exact words. I remember getting tense as soon as she said it. Even after three years, dad still was touchy about mom. But tonight, I don’t know if it was the mood, or the new job, whatever it was, he smiled and said he thought she probably could, wherever she was.

That night I dreamed that I was small, as small as a mouse. I was crawling around our living room and noticing how much space there was between the floor and the couch. I saw mom and dad dancing in the hallway. Then a light, shining from everywhere, and then they were gone.

My father disappeared five days later.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by jc on 2008/11/23 at 7:02 PM

    This is a great start. Engaging. And curiosity piquing.


  2. thank you so much. very, VERY kind words.

    I am so far behind at this point that I'm not too stressed about
    getting to 50k, but I'd like to make a good push to the deadline to
    see what can happen.


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