So You Can Understand Me | Camp NaNoWriMo | #40k

Hey look, it’s another NaNoWriMo post . . .

Welcome to my first writing-related post on SS&SS! I talk about what I’m reading quite often and give y’all book reviews, but since it’s April and Camp NaNoWriMo is in full swing, I thought now would be an appropriate time to share a bit about the novel I’m writing.

So You Can Understand Me is not my first novel, nor is it my second. I finished what is now a 66k word novel for NaNoWriMo in eighth grade. It was probably the biggest accomplishment of my entire life, right up there with making state for skiing this year. I finished it that November with around 30k words, but continued to work on it the next year and more than doubled the word count. I now consider it finished, though I really don’t know if I’ll ever publish it. The writing is pretty juvenile, but I’ve edited the manuscript three times and it’s improved very much.

Anyway, this post is not about that book, it’s about the novel I’m titling So You Can Understand Me – though that may be nothing more than a working title. My word count goal for Camp is 40k, but if I’m not finished telling the story at that point, I’ll extend it. I’m writing this post on April 3rd, and my current word count is 5,731, but by the time y’all read this it’ll be much higher.

The book is categorized as young adult fiction, and I’m going to give you the basic plot and descriptions of characters (along with pictures!) I saw a post like this on a friend’s blog and I thought it would be super fun to do on mine (shoutout to Faye over at EOAJ! She is also one of my Camp NaNo writing buddies).

(This story is losely inspired by a fantastic middle-grade fiction book called Seven Stories Up by Laurel Snyder. Highly, highly recommend it.)

The Synopsis

“15-year-old Harlie Castello lives with her alcoholic mother Jennifer, fending for herself and hiding from the endless questions from her teachers and best friend. Desperate to understand her mothers actions and intentions, Harlie finds herself tranpsorted into a different time, when her mother was a very different person. As Harlie begins to get to know her mother in a way she never thought possible, she gains understanding and discovers secrets burried beneath decades of pain.”

The Plot

Harlie gets into a huge accident one night and winds up in a coma for two weeks. During those two weeks, she spends time back in the late 1980s, as her mother’s sister Danah. The twist – Harlie had no idea her mom had a sister. She spends what is supposedly four months (less time than that in real life, of course) in 1989 getting to know her mom as a teenager.

Suddenly, Harlie finds herself in the mid-1990s, when her mom was in college. No longer playing the role of her mom’s little sister, she realizes she is now her mom’s roommate, Mackenzie. Same situation plays out – she spends a while with her college-aged mother before traveling forwards in time once more.

Now, it’s the early 2000s, when Harlie was just a baby. Instead of taking on the role of some important person in her mom’s life, she is now an invisible bystander. She observes her mom and her now-absent dad fight and fight and fight some more, until the moment when her dad ups and leaves. In present time, Harlie had absolutely no idea why her dad left, but now she gets to see the entire backstory.

The story is broken up into those three parts, and at the end Harlie wakes up in the hospital. Her mother, realizing how close she came to almost losing her daughter, takes steps to recover from her alcohol addiction. Harlie also makes contact with her father, who she hasn’t seen since he walked out that day so many years ago.

The Characters

Yay! Now for the fun part!

So obviously, these Internet photos are super airbrushed and very unrealistic-looking, but you get the idea.

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Harlie
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Jennifer as an adult – picture her with green eyes
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Danah
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Jennifer as a teenager
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Mackenzie
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Harlie’s dad – though he doesn’t have a beard (or a name)

And there you have it! #pleasedontstealmybookideaandplagiarizeit

Are you doing Camp NaNoWriMo? What do you think of my story idea? Would you read it if you picked it up at the bookstore? Do you have any suggestions or feedback for me?

XOXO,

Morgan