Day 2 of #NaNoWriMo: Erik is introduced

Yesterday I started the first chapter of my NaNoWriMo novel by introducing us to Mimo and Evie. It felt great (exhausting by extremely satisfying)!

Today I began writing about Erik — the German POW who works on the Rosenberger dairy farm in Ohio. In researching for this novel, I learned that by 1943 there were well over 8,000 German and Italian POWs in my hometown state of Ohio. Most of the prisoners were located in 3 main areas, one of which is Bowling Green — a town no more than 25 minutes from where I grew up.

I never knew that until I began probing around a week or so ago. Funny — the things you learn about the haunts you thought you knew so well.

So, today I added 813 words. This brings me to a total of 1,936 words. Not bad for a rookie, right? 🙂

I hope to get more written tomorrow than I did today. Erik is a fascinating character and I want to understand him better — not to mention accurately represent him. Of course, I have the entire novel to do that. 🙂

Here is the updated Dashboard at NaNoWriMo. Below are the opening paragraphs for Erik’s introduction into the novel. In reflecting on what I’ve written yesterday and today, I realize both Evie and Erik are brought into the plot by waking up. I’m not sure if that is a good or bad thing, but I kind of like the parallels.

At any rate, I’m heading up front to watch the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs battle it out in the last game of the World Series. As I’ve been writing in the bedroom, I occasionally hear my husband screaming and cheering from the living room. Definitely hard to concentrate! 🙂

Chapter 2 Excerpt:

A little after 4am he awoke. It was too early. The guard on night duty wouldn’t begin rousing them for another hour. But Erik knew – he wouldn’t be falling back to sleep. He couldn’t. The dream never faltered – he was back in Northern Africa. He recognized this by the sound of mortars detonating from the West side of camp. And the sand. Somehow, his sidearm and infantry rifle would go missing. Until it occurred to him to dig in the sand. Yes, he would find them there. Hidden. The only sound in the tent was of his panting and the granules of sand as he flung them over his shoulder where they then struck bunks, rucksacks, even a canteen. Ping. Ping. Ping. As fast and as hard as he would try, Erik couldn’t dig deep enough to uncover his weapons. The sand sprayed throughout the tent. The gunfire increased and amplified outside the tent. And his ears filled with the screams of soldiers – his countrymen – slain in the unforgiving desert furnace.

Erik covered his face with this hands. Even in the dark, he didn’t want to see. Not the shadows of the wooden support beams overhead nor the moonlight streaming in from the framed windows across the barrack. The dream always ended the same. Erik on his knees. Sweat and sand clinging to his face, arms, hands. Then the grenade. Sometimes it appeared beside him. Other times, it would bounce into the tent like a playground ball. The pin would be missing, but he didn’t figure this out until the bright flash of light.

Now in a night sweat, Erik rubbed his eyes with both palms. Was that sweat or had he been crying again? What difference does it make anyway, he thought. Erik’s arms and hands shook as he drew the coarse bunk sheets around him. He turned over, faced the barrack door. And just before he drifted back into a light sleep, Erik made note of the tar paper roof, then the open window just behind him to the left of his bunk, and the sound of the lake lapping against the sandy shores less than 60 meters away. Erik tried to resist but soon lost that battle as well.