In 2004, I participated in National Novel Writing Month for the first time. I loved it. I completed an almost 60,000 word story in less than a month that year.

I signed up the next two years and hope to do it again this year. I wish I could recreate the excitement and wonder I felt that first time. It was great.

I strongly suggest you challenge yourself to complete NaNoWriMo if you like to write. It allows you to write with abandon and create things you never expected or imagined.

The following is from a story I started in 2005 for the contest, but didn’t complete. I turned in a different story that year. It could use some editing, but I feel it has potential.

I had met him on my fifteenth birthday. He was my best friend’s brother. The ideal mate to the minds of all teenage girls alike. He smiled, one side of his mouth higher than the other, one of his front teeth slightly crooked. He brought me a gift, sloppily wrapped in Easter paper, little white and yellow bunnies holding painted eggs adorned it.

He shook my hand and said he was pleased to meet me. He had azure eyes, that was what grabbed me. They were the deepest, yet brightest blue I had seen. His name was Arken, the most unique name I had ever heard. I thought of dark rainforests, oak trees, sunlight filtering through leaves.

We quickly became inseparable and I found him to be the most original human being. He knew all the stars by heart and read Tolstoy. He was only five years older than me, but at the time it seemed like an era of difference.

Arken didn’t care what anyone thought of him, so it didn’t bother him when people made remarks about us being together. Three years later, we were preparing to leave, to just pack up one night and slip out without a trace. We wanted to become the wind, gliding through the world, unseen.

The ring on my finger was small, the setting coming loose and my skin underneath turning green. We were young, in love and restless. I slung my duffel bag over my shoulder, was turning back for one last look at my house in the early morning when I heard the phone ring.

Running, I reached it before my father could wake up. I whispered a greeting, but I wasn’t heard over the crashing waves outside our patio door. I had agreed to seeing a doctor the week before, my father having heard me throwing up my bologna lunch. I knew something was wrong, but I had other worries. All much more important than my own health.

If Arken had known I wasn’t feeling well, he would have put the trip off. The shrill voice of a nurse came through the earpiece. I dropped my duffel bag when she told me the results of my test and asked if I would be willing to come in the next day.

I didn’t hear the upstairs shower start two hours later. Still standing in the hall, my army green duffel, the handle held tightly in my right hand. So tight that my nails dug into my palm and I was bleeding, staining the putrid olive a rust brown. The phone hadn’t made it back onto it’s base and it beeped continously, injecting itself into my brain and making itself at home.

A knock at the glass paneled patio doors made me jump and as the pain in my hand seeped into my consciousness, so did the beeping. Hanging up the phone, I calmly went to the hall bathroom and rinsed my hands, kicking my bag full of lost promise and running away into a linen closet.

My breath fogged the pane as I leaned in and opened the door for Arken. He looked worried, a little scared, even. I took his strong hand, the long fingers with the stubby nails and lead him down to the beach. We walked in silence for a time, he watched my profile and I stared at the shore, making up names for the colors of shells before me.

My news changed his world. Arken was surprised, happy and he wanted to do everything for me. He tried and wished to be able to give me the world on a silver platter. We made different plans. A week after my eighteenth birthday, Arken and I were married on the beach behind my house, the home I had grown up in, the place I had wanted so much to leave behind.

But now that Arken and I were together in that house, it didn’t seem so bad. We were happy. My father gave us anything we asked for. I painted my old bedroom in blue and eggshell yellow, an optimistic color scheme of a terrified teen. I set it up as a dream nursery. Not that I wasn’t happy with Arken, with my baby, but I was scared. A fear that held on and was the undercurrent of my life.

- Candace