...and the wordcount is looking good. I've written a minimum of 1000 words every day thus far, and my average is just under 2000. the neat little chart at the top of this blog shows my progress: red means I haven't updated my wordcount today, yellow means I wrote under 1667 words and green means I wrote over 1667. I'm on track to reach that glorious NaNoWriMo Winner's Purple Bar - hurrah!
So - what's happening in Lovingdell this time?
Gerry and Mary Walker run a tai chi group in the area and have started a new class at Lovingdell Psychiatric Hospital. It's attended by many in-patients (tai chi is excellent for people in the early stages of dementia and is a natural mood-lifter and calmer) and a handful of local people who aren't in-patients (but possibly should be). Gerry looks like a lugubrious stork, and Mary has been mistaken in the street for Dawn French. Their marriage is in tatters, mostly due to the fact they have a muderdering schizophrenic son....who's about to be released from Broadmoor into the hospital at Lovingdell.
Martha lives under her mother's thumb. She's too scared to tell her she's dropped out of teacher training in order to write the world's next Nobel Prize for Literature. Oh, and the fact she's a closet lesbian (she's so far inside the closet, she's in Narnia). She is forced to attend the tai chi class by Les, a somewhat friend of hers who runs the little cafe she hangs about in while she writes her great work. Apologies for the poor sentence structure there; NaNo is about getting the words down!
Maddie is an in-patient at the start of the novel. However, after three weeks, she's allowed home and appears to be doing well, battling her chronic depression. She's friendly with Martha and Steve.
Steve has lost his job, his wife and his pride. He's referred to the class by Dr Bailey (from Hospital Corners) as she believes he's suffering clinical depression. He's also referred to a psychologist, but she gets under his skin somewhat and it becomes apparent that Steve has a bit of a temper on him.
Watching this motley cast are Tamara and Peter. We don't learn much about Peter, apart from what he tells Tamara on their lunch dates after each class. Tamara went to the class seeking enlightenment. She's still mourning the loss of her husband 10 years after his death from cancer. At the start of the book, she tries to hide her grief behind aromatherapy oils, crystals, reflexology, reiki, organic FairTrade ethical clothing and a multitude of bracelets, rings and multi-coloured scarves. In the words of Marth: she reeks of patchouli and despair. However, after the first class, Tamara realises she's been hiding from herself and starts reinventing herself into someone a little less "alternative". She starts the book looking pretty hippy-dippy but ends up the sanest character in the book.
About to make an appearance in the class is Daniel Walker. He's spent six years in Broadmoor but is now deemed fit for a phased release back into the community. Although he killed a neighbour, his schizophrenia was to blame and he's been doing well on the right medication. Or has he? Before developing the illness, Daniel was an expert con-man and fraudster.....
So, when someone ends up dead, who's to blame?
Duh duh duuuuuh!