Welcome to the new year 2017. First off I want to commend you on entering two contests so far. Not only did you enter one in a Horror contest, but one in a Weird Tales contest. Two contests that required you to think outside your normal writing genre and try for the dark side of the reading world. I wish you luck on both entries. Even if you don't win you tried and that's what it means to stretch your imagination.
I also noted that you have picked up your NaNo story and begun to work on it. You even sent out a request for help from one of the members here on WDc and from a cousin who's an English teacher. That goes a long ways to get your questions about this story answered.
I suggest your next step is to go back to writing wherever you are in the story. Don't wait for answers. Staying away from the story only makes it harder to get back to. You felt lost and unsure of where to begin to write. Writing anything, gets you back in the saddle, so to speak, to continue to exercise your creativity. Just write.
There are other contests on WDc that you can find and enter. You know your favorite of all times is Alice's Curiosity Shoppe. Even though it's no longer active, make up your own list of items and begin to write with that creativity in mind.
Let's see what we can come up with just for old time's sake. A lavender glass oil/wine bottle might be a good start. What magical characteristics might it have? Would it kill or or be like the oil in the Bible that never ran out until it wasn't needed. That's a great thought. Write two stories with the two objects. One for good and one for evil. Two bottles sitting in a carrier, which ever is picked up with it's contents determines the outcome. Quite a stretch of your imagination.
The rest of the year consists of days, weeks, then months. Each 24 hours that passes where you don't meet your goal is a bump in your writing road. Make your writing goal what works with your schedule. Don't come home and sit in front of the TV. Work on adding a writing schedule to your day/week. You have a regular working schedule for now, make a writing schedule in your calendar at the same time.
You have things to look forward to. You're working part time for money to meet your needs. Think of writing the same way. I know you have excuses to not go to work even though you love your job. Don't give those same excuses not to write.
The other day the satellite connection went down in the snow storm. You still had your internet and you went to the office and added pages to your novel and did some editing. Good for you.
There are mile markers throughout the year. Memorial Day, Campmeeting for two weeks in July along with all the concert practices before hand. There are practices later in the year for Christmas. Still no reason to put aside your writing.
In March you are planning to go on a vacation with your husband and friends. Take your Surface with you. Wherever you are there will be down time. If you can't use the tablet then make sure you have pen and a notebook. You know you write just as well in a notebook, so that isn't an excuse.
When you have half of the story written, give it to your sisters and friend to read. I learned your cousin asked to read and help out. Listen to their feedback. What needs more clarity or more detail? What deviates from the story and has trouble getting back to it? All these things need to be looked at. Most of all what questions do they have? What more do they want to know as you look forward to finishing the story?
When you finished the 2012 NaNo you had fifty thousand words. You took a break and after your toe surgery you began to write again while in recovery. January 2012 you wrote another fifty thousand words. Later that year you did some editing and looked for an agent and publisher. Then in January 2014 you had your book published. This can happen again if you put your mind to it.
You are one quarter of the way through your story. It needs a little mapping, but you can do it. It can be exciting if you put all the pieces into place.
One last thing. You put aside your murder mystery. You need to get back at it. Why don't you print it out, put it in a notebook and work on it? I know there are missing pieces in it. Look for those lost sections and get them added. A vacation time would be a great place to read, rewrite and delete. The sun is still shining. You are still in a relaxed place. Write.
All My Love,