I’m participating in Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) starting November 1st. I’m prepping for the novel, challenging myself to create my characters by putting a timer on my phone to 5-10 minutes and writing straight until time runs out.

My story will hopefully not be a stereotypical zombie/rage virus novel. So far, the title is Lou. I want it to be more about my protagonist her memories, hang ups, addictions, etc. though the world as everyone knows it is being wiped away.

Here’s a 10 minute writing exercise on Lou’s character and kind of about her relationship with her deceased mother.

Louise’s life had been less than ideal, but ordinary in a sense that she had a mental illness just like millions of other people on Earth and an addiction to No-Doze, coffee, and cigarettes. Oh, and she had failures. Lots of those.

She had only ever touched a gun once, not sure exactly how to do it now. Her mom, Annie, owned a farm, probably the biggest in two counties. They had everything from horses to cows to chickens. Annie was Annie, not mom. Unreliable and emotionally unavailable. However, her first experience with a gun was with Annie and a simple rifle used to kill dying livestock. The rest got the axe. She made her watch.

“Here, Lou…you best learn this while you’re still young.”

Lou was 9 years old when she handed her the shotgun, and it was probably the antithesis of all gun safety pamphlets. She was unsure even then how to hold the gun. Annie had to place and replace it in the same spot as it seemed to slip against Lou’s bony shoulder.

It was a horse that had gotten spooked, ran into the swampy part of the farm, breaking its front legs.

Lou couldn’t aim. She could barely hold the gun. Instead, she pressed the barrel against the head of the horse, and well, she didn’t recall much after that. The next thing she remembered was being at the dinner table with Annie and a full plate of food sitting in front of her. Lou promptly threw up into the plate.

That day she swore she’d leave the farm someday.

Here she was, almost 27 years old with the gun back in her hands, Annie dead, and the farm in her possession. The shotgun, the same one she used when she was 9 years old, still felt awkward against her bony shoulder, anywhere she tried to place the heel. She settled for the front of her shoulder, knowing the gun could slide if placed under her arm.

Be numb. Be calloused. Do what you have to do. Be Annie

She lifted the gun, aiming the barrel straight between the teenage girl’s eyes. They were blue, bright, and almost blinding. The shotgun’s barrel was truthfully only about five or six foot away from the girls face. Lou didn’t know her name when she cocked the gun and pulled the trigger.


I would love some Nanowrimo buddies. Comment to this post with your screen name if you wish! Or look me up on the main site with my username thetriggeringproject.


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