Stories from the Attic: my NaNo novel

I thought I’d share the synopsis of my NaNoWriMo with you all. It’s slow going, but I hammered this out a few days after NaNo started (as inspired by Pete Twohig) and I am hoping this will help to guide me a bit more.

Synopsis: Stories from the Attic

After a traumatic childhood event and distant a relationship with her father, Charlotte has learned to close herself within a self-made prison. When her father passes away, Charlotte is tasked with helping her mother clean out her house to move. During the packing, Charlotte stumbles upon a notebook containing pages of a journal. The journal entries appear to have been written by her grandmother, Mara Irwin.

Charlotte had been told by her parents since childhood that her grandmother, Mara, abandoned her dad’s family when he was a young child. Charlotte never had a reason to believe the story wasn’t true…until now. She wondered how this journal ended up in her parent’s basement and what information it might contain, so she secretly puts the journal in her bag and takes it home.

As Charlotte begins to read the journal’s pages, she learns that her grandmother spent much of her adult life in an insane asylum. Why was she there? Did she go on her own? Did she ever leave?

Charlotte soon finds that she has many connections with Mara. And that a lifetime of secrets have been written in her journal. She also learns that while she was locked up like an animal, she lived a greater life that Charlotte ever had.

Suddenly, the journal entries end as abruptly as they began. Charlotte decides she must find out what happened to Mara. When she finds out, she is faced with a decision. She can continue her life – which is like a prisoner in the attic where Mara spent many of her days – or she can break free and pursue the life she has never lived. She will face others along the way, who don’t want her to change and wish her to stay locked up.

But Charlotte must find a way to open the door and escape.


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Natasha
    Nov 09, 2010 @ 07:34:23

    This is certainly a compelling story, Kathan, and I can imagine it filling out into a really satisfying read. I want to know Charlotte’s and Mara’s stories, so keep going!


    • Kathan Lewis
      Nov 09, 2010 @ 09:02:55

      I got an email from NaNo HQ with the encouragement not to get too stuck on your outline. I am starting to really like parts of my story, and others…not so much (or at least I don’t know what to do with them). Last year I tried to make 2 stories that I head in my head, into one. It didn’t work. I am afraid I might be doing this again, and I want to avoid that.

      Anyway, we’ll see how “true” this synopsis is when I finish. I think more or less it will be the same, but I think I am also unclear enough in it so that you probably have no idea what I am talking about!! 🙂


  2. lisa ballantine
    Nov 08, 2010 @ 20:24:11

    Can’t wait to read the whole story!!!


  3. Shaddy
    Nov 08, 2010 @ 17:59:01

    You’ve got an amazing story in the works. I should follow your example and write a synopsis. I honestly don’t have a finite plan. I wonder whose fault that is!!!!

    I’d like to step up and say it’s mine but I’m not so sure it is. Short bursts like I write for my blog are great fun for me. Whereas stories with all the components they require to be good aren’t something my brain naurally and easily can conjure up. Thus, I just have to jump in and plan as I go. I hope I learn a few things in the process.


    • Kathan Lewis
      Nov 09, 2010 @ 09:00:07

      Shaddy, I pantsed it all the way last year. There is some value in just writing and not thinking too much about it. I am really glad that for my first year, I just wrote and didn’t let others pre-planning bother me too much. That was for them. For me, I needed to just get my BIC (butt-in-chair) going and hit my 50k WC.

      This year, though, I decided to get a little more focused on my story and worry less about the 50k. I learned A LOT last year, tho, from just writing with furious abandon.

      You’re doing awesome! 🙂


  4. dayner
    Nov 08, 2010 @ 10:46:34

    Wow! You gave me chills. I can’t wait to read this.
    Kathan, it sounds like you’re moving right along in your writing. Will you be posting an excerpt?


    • Kathan Lewis
      Nov 09, 2010 @ 08:57:19

      Thanks, Dayner…I am somehow managing to stay on top of my WC so far, which amazing. But I am trying to write something that I like, so I confess I’m writing more slowly than last year. So we’ll see how things go over Thanksgiving.

      I might post a portion of it privately. I’ll let you know!


  5. Parrot Writes
    Nov 08, 2010 @ 09:16:49

    Sounds facinating- what a hook. I’ll be there to see what happens! I like the secrecy and the parallel to her life. Good job!


    • Kathan Lewis
      Nov 08, 2010 @ 09:51:10

      Thanks, PW! I actually wrote this post last week (and scheduled it to post today). So of course, the synopsis changed somewhat over the weekend. Overall, same story, though. And I am too far in to change it now!!


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