While I work on my rather silly novel about a monster robot who takes over Middleton, my daughter has been writing a somewhat more serious fantasy novel about cultural conflict between peoples. She began back in November as part of the NaNoWriMo project. Over the course of the month she wrote words enough and half again to meet NaNoWriMo requirements, but her story was not finished.
In fact, she’s at 95,000 words now and still not finished. For a while she was reluctant to let anyone see her work in its draft state, but a few days ago she made some edits and decided to let me read what she has. So I started yesterday.
Let me share with you a passage I read just before bed last night:
The mountains that Kathleen could see in the distance had become more pronounced. They towered where before they had just loomed in the distance. They were losing the blue tint the distance gave them, and now she could clearly see the white on the tops, green patches, brown patches, and she thought she could even make out the largest of the canyons. Then suddenly one day, as though they had crept up on them in the night, the mountains were there. They soared overhead, tall and multilayered.
Could you guess from this paragraph that the author is fourteen years old? I know I did not have so powerful a voice at that age–heck, I would be happy to have written such vivid scenic description at thirty-eight years old. It gives me goosebumps.
A while ago, I casually mentioned the NaNoWriMo project to Bernadette and then dropped the subject. It’s hard to encourage your children to pursue their gifts without being pushy: you have to open doors, stand back, and let them decide whether to walk through. But Bernadette chose to walk through that door, and I hope her creative writing will be a joy to her for years to come.