NaNoWriMo 2014 Summary- On the Ashes of Riverside

So the NaNo site has been reset, though I think all of the forum posts from last year are still up. (Does anyone know what’s going on there? Are they going to reset those too?

Anyway, I’ve already updated my author page on the site, and figured that I would go ahead and post the summary here, too.

Riverside State Psychiatric Hospital was once a promising institution. Proudly situated in a rise above the Tennessee river, the hospital was, for a time, a leader in the emerging field of mental health care, boasting the most up-to-date and advanced practices of the time. However, little more than two decades passed before the hospital’s decline began, and allegations of violence, patient abuse, and cruel treatments began to run rampant. In the summer of 1969, the hospital suffered a devastating blow. A fire destroyed the top three floors of the hospital’s main building. Several people suffered injuries, and a six-year-old patient died in the blaze. Though the fire was eventually ruled an accident, suspicions remained and, a year later,

This year's cover image.

This year’s cover image.

Riverside Hospital was closed down.

The hospital sat abandoned for decades. Rumors of ghosts and other strange sightings spread like wildfire.

In the spring of 2011, a private developer purchased the property. Plans were announced to repair and renovate the buildings and turn them into a modern apartment community. Riverside Plaza opened three years later.

Graduate student MacKenna Sheridan, the building’s newest resident, is thrilled to finally be moved into her new apartment.

But the past never stays hidden and Kenna’s excitement fades rapidly. Before long, odd things begin to happen. At first, they’re easily explained away: a flicker in the mirror and quiet whispering in the hallways. But things escalate quickly. The sounds of crying and screaming echo in the halls, the smell of smoke fills the air, and fire alarms sound with no obvious cause.

Unnerved by the increasingly common occurrences, and aware of the building’s troubled history, Kenna tries to shed light on the hospital’s troubled past. However, her search proves difficult; many records are sealed, and those involved have no interest in discussing the past. It seems the hospital wants to keep its secrets. But just how far did someone go to bury those secrets?

Will the hospital’s past finally be put to rest and its true tragedies exposed? Or will its secrets remain hidden, buried forever under the ashes of Riverside

I’m actually really excited this year. I’m hoping that I’ll not only be able to meet the word count goal, but actually¬†finish the story itself, too. With the outline I’ve written, I hope that will happen.

Happy planning to all of this year’s NaNo participants! We’re in this together!



Summarizing a Summary

Otherwise known as my complete inability to summarize.

Seriously. I can’t be the only one who has this problem. One year at a local NaNo meet-up, we were challenged to summaize our stories in two sentences.

Two sentences? Hahahaha- Oh, you were serious…

And then everyone else is sitting there writing away, and I’m just sitting there staring at my pen like ive never seen one before.

My summaries tend to be long. I try not to be wordy and redundant, but I love detailed summaries.  I love vivid descriptions (Flowery language if you want to be mean about it.).

Actually, I’m not sure where I picked that up either. My grandmother, where I picked up a lot of my language, mechanics, etc., did not like using it, and it always seemed to stun her that I did.¬† Though, like I said, I try not to be really tedious about it. Too vividly or too many details? It’s probably just unnecessary filler.

Two pages of the handwritten version of my outline. Yes, it's color coded.

Two pages of the handwritten version of my outline. Yes, it’s color coded.

Right now, I’ve already done 3 versions (two revisions) of the summary for this November’s project. I think I’m finally happy with it, but it’s still so LONG. Seriously. Of course, my “outline” is about 22 printed pages, but that was intentional.

I think my problem is that I don’t want anyone who reads my outline to have too many questions, at least questions other than, “oh, what’s going to happen? I want to read this.” I don’t make the mistake of telling everything that happens, that’s what the story is for, but I struggle with how much is enough. “Well, if I say this about this, will people understand what I’m talking about? Should I try to include a tiny bit of backstory about it?” And that’s where I create problems for myself.

Trying to figure out how to fix this is an ongoing thing for me. Finally, what I did this time was print out a copy if the original summary and just go through and slash through things. Words, phrases, and whole sentences got cut. However I did actually keep the revised, longer version. That one will go up on the Nano site once it resets and will become my “official” summary for the time being. The shorter will be posted on here on the side bar, underneath the cover. I’ll probably also include both in a post, or something. I’m kind of proud of the longer one.