August Camp NaNo–Begin!

On August 1st, I started my second Camp NaNo project. However, by Day 2, I was already bored with it. I’m not sure if this is because it’s hard to write the story itself or because I was so excited to write it months ago and the interest has fizzled out. Or it may have something to do with my reading Stephen King’s Danse Macabre, which put me in the mood to write a horror story. So I decided to put Our Reasons on hold and start with another story idea I’ve been wanting to do for a while.

The book I switched Our Reasons for is called Karen’s Not Home. It’s a pretty old story idea–I first came up with it back in 2004 when I started college. Back then, I had no car of my own so my uncle was kind enough to drop me off at school on his way to work. Unfortunately, this meant I had to get there super early. The school was open, but not too many people there. So I would sit in the Student Center with a frappuccino and read, write, or work on homework.

I wasn’t as dedicated a writer then as I am now. I tended to write on and off,  with the exception of an online journal I used to write in daily (funny how my journal started dying once I got more interested in writing stories more regularly). I was just sitting there at a table and there wasn’t really anyone around. Down the hall, I heard a woman talking on her cell phone. She said, “Karen’s not home” and suddenly I was hit with an idea.

During this time, I was busy devouring the works of Stephen King. There wasn’t much at the school library in the terms of fiction but there was a huge Stephen King collection. I liked his books before, but college is where I really fell in love with most of them. I believe it’s because of my Stephen King book craze and that woman on the phone that Karen’s Not Home came to be.

It was originally going to be a general horror story with Karen’s mother as the main character, but I found it hard to write from her POV. After I got into the young-adult genre, an idea came to me–what if I wrote Karen’s Not Home from a teen’s POV? That would be easier, since I tend to write young-adult better than most genres (I blame the kid that still resides in my heart), and I modified the idea. So far, I’m really liking what I’m writing.

The story is about a girl named Melanie who ends up at her aunt and uncle’s house for the summer after her mother goes off to rehab to deal with her alcoholism. Five years before, Melanie’s cousin, Karen, disappeared while walking home from school. She’s still missing, but most people presume she’s dead.

Melanie is put into her missing cousin’s room. She feels uneasy about it, like she’s still invading her cousin’s space. Not too long after, she begins to experience some freaky things that Melanie comes to believe is a ghost, possibly Karen.

Here’s the official pitch:

Karen’s not home . . . or is she?

Karen Logan was fifteen the afternoon she disappeared. Five years after her disappearance, her cousin, Melanie, arrives to stay with Karen’s family for the summer. Soon Melanie begins to discover some very strange things happening in the Logan’s house.

Like how Karen’s name pops up on the caller ID when the phone rings, or when Karen’s stuffed bunny ends up in different places. Or how Melanie hears footsteps on the stairs, sees strange reflections in mirrors, and feels a strange presence in Karen’s bedroom.

Maybe Karen is home after all.


Anyways, I’m going to have to play catch-up on my word count, but I’m enjoying this story much more than Our Reasons for the moment. I’m hoping that I can return to Our Reasons at another point and time. I’ll go ahead and update my Camp NaNo stats. If you’re participating, what are you writing about? I’d love to hear about it.



2 thoughts on “August Camp NaNo–Begin!

  1. I’m participating in the August session of Camp NaNo – and I’m writing mystery! It’s about two people in mid-Wales (one is a detective, one is not) who go around finding missing people.

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