Mia ran after the woman, hoping that she wouldn’t be ignored this time. She was, after all, a registered user. Finally she caught up with the woman in front of the Realism forum.
“Excuse me,” Mia said, trying not to sound lost.
The woman with the stick turned around. “Hello,” she said, looking at Mia. Mia was surprised that this important-looking woman was actually talking to her. She actually had a badge!
“Can I ask you a question?” Mia asked. Now that Dragonchilde was actually talking to her, she didn’t know what to say.
“Of course,” Dragonchilde replied. “That’s what I’m here for.” She waited patiently as Mia paused, trying to think of a good way to word her question.
“I just signed up. Where do I go from here?” Mia looked at the badge on Dragonchilde’s hat. It said FORUMS MODERATOR on it in black letters on the top, and just below it, STAFF.
“Whatever you want,” Dragonchilde replied. “You can go in any of the forums and hop in on a conversation or even start your own.” She pointed in the distance. “You can even look for Wrimos near you in the regional lounges.” Dragonchilde pointed in the distance.
Wrimos near me? Mia thought. There are Wrimos near me? She thanked Dragonchilde and ran off, then entered the nearest building, which happened to be the biggest building. The plaque said CHARACTER AND PLOT REALISM, and Mia remembered passing this building earlier. She pushed the door open and entered. Immediately doors and stairs and people surrounded her. Mia looked around and saw four doors that few people seemed to enter or exit. She pushed the door of one of them open and noticed that the door was a bit sticky.
READ ME: Rules. Please read these. Please follow these. I will be sad if you don’t. 🙁
Mia read this sign and looked around the room. The walls were also bright yellow and sticky, all with writing on them. Mia leaned over and read the writing on the wall, learning that this house was the biggest one in all and that sometimes things can get chaotic, and even that threads can move from one forum to another if they’re more appropriate for another forum. Weird.
Mia wandered around the forum, peeking in from room to room. There was a crowded room in which several people talked about the best way to torture characters, another very large room in which people discussed things that they could be called on for, and even a room for discussing the early ages of the Internet, among the many rooms in this forum. Mia looked around, trying to find a place to sit, but all the seats were taken.
There were several empty rooms, though, and she entered one of them. What am I supposed to do in here? she asked aloud, wondering if someone would answer her. As soon as she did ask, a NaNoer with a name tag in messy handwriting ran up to Mia and asked, “Need some help?”
“Well, yes,” Mia replied. “It’s kind of lonely in here. How do I get started in here? Everyone else is sitting around and talking about character torture or polar bear diets if global warming decided to happen tomorrow instead of years from now, but how can I start my own conversation?”
“It’s easy,” the NaNoer said, and Mia now saw that her name tag read Limmenel. “You just claim a room for yourself. This one’s empty, I believe.” Limmenel walked outside and checked the door. “Yup, it’s empty.” She walked back in the room. “And then you grab the poster board and nail and hammer and nail the poster board in the wall. Don’t be afraid to be a bit overenthusiastic. We Wrimos are bit overenthusiastic at times.”
“Okay,” Mia said as she watched Limmenel nail the posterboard into the door. “Now what? How do people know to come here if they want to talk about something?”
“Well, that’s why you write the topic of discussion on the door,” Limmenel explained. “Make sure to make it catchy. HELP! isn’t a good topic. What to do with a dead body is a good one. Now here’s the thing, and it’s important for all the forums, but especially in this one. These threads move quickly. You may have to climb the stairs to find the thread you started if it’s been a few days.” Limmenel paused, trying to think if she forgot anything. “Anything else?”
“I think that’s it,” Mia said. “But I didn’t mean to start a thread here.”
“Oh, that’s okay.” Limmenel yanked the nail out of the door. “There, it’s all good.” Mia then noticed that she also wore a badge like Dragonchilde’s, but she wore no black hat. Limmenel’s badge said MUNICIPAL LIAISON and underneath it said MODERATOR: CHARACTER AND PLOT REALISM. Mia thanked Limmenel and walked out the door.
“I need a plot!” Mia mumbled to herself. “But where am I going to find one?” She nearly ran into an Asian man wearing a pink suit and carrying a magic wand. That wasn’t the first thing she noticed about him, though. She hadn’t been here long, but the first thing she noticed about this man was the lack of name tag.
“Sorry,” he said. “I was just on my way to rush to someone’s side. They needed to know who I am.”
“Who you are?” Mia asked. “How can they tell? You don’t have a name tag.”
“Ah, you must be new,” the man said. Mia took great offense to this as he adjusted the collar on his shirt. “My name is Mr. Ian Woon.”
“Uh, hi, Mr. Woon, I’m Mia,” Mia said, extending her hand for a handshake.
“No, that’s Mr. Ian Woon,” he said, not holding out his hand. Mia let her hand down.
“Okay, fine, good to meet you, Mr. Ian Woon. So who exactly are you? And how’d you get away with not wearing a single name tag in this place? They sneaked a guest name tag on m before I registered.”
“Oh, I’m not doing NaNoWriMo,” he said. “I’m a tradition around here.”
“Yes,” Mr. Ian Woon said. “Every year Wrimos everywhere include me in their novel. They can do whatever they want to me. Some use me as a major character. Some use me as a passing name when they need one. Some even kill me.” Mr. Ian Woon took off his jacket and revealed a wound on his sleeve. The blood had crusted over. Mia cringed.
“Have you gotten that cleaned up? I’m sure someone could–”
“No, it’s just fine,” Mr. Ian Woon replied. “I’m still recovering from all the Wrimos who decided to kill me last year. It has to be quick, though, since November’s coming and they may want to kill me again. One person killed me with a rusty titanium spork. A spork. They even made me get tetanus before dying, but they never told me that, no way.”
Mia shook her head. “So do they all meet you before killing you? That’s not very kind.”
“Of course they do. Some are just a little more crass than others.”
“That’s always good to know,” Mia mumbled. She didn’t want Mr. Ian Woon to hear this, but apparently he did anyway, as his ears perked up.
“So if I include you in my novel, what do I get?”
“I get another cameo in someone’s novel. You get another character. It’s win-win.”
“Sure, unless you get killed.” Mia thought back to her own writing. She hadn’t been doing much of it recently, but she had never killed anyone in a work of fiction.
“Well, that’s enough about me. What about you? Do you know how I’ll show up in your novel yet?”
“I don’t even know what I’m writing about yet. I just showed up here today and you expect me to know? Jeepers.”
Mr. Ian Woon shrugged. “It never hurts to ask,” he said. “Besides, some people come in with ideas created years in advance. Crazy, I tell you…” He looked around. “But it’s all okay. As long as you figure out something.”
“Yeah, I hope so,” Mia said. “I have just a week.”
“Well, I have to go,” Mr. Ian Woon said. “It was great talking to you, but there’s someone in the All-Ages Coffee House who still doesn’t know who I am. As if they couldn’t see the thread that sushimustwrite posted about me in the Reaching 50,000 forum. Silly Wrimos…” Mr. Ian Woon ran off without so much as a goodbye.
“That was rude,” Mia said to herself. She looked around. She was still standing in front of the Realism building. Wrimos, as she now took to calling these crazy people running between buildings, were running around, some entering and exiting buildings, some disappearing to a place she couldn’t quite tell.
How am I going to do this, anyway? Mia asked herself. I haven’t written anything longer than what could fit on a post-it note since my college papers, and suddenly I’m expected to write a book in a month. This is crazy.
And yet I signed up for this. How do people do it? Mia turned to a building near the Realism building and saw the Reaching 50,000 building that she noticed on her way to entering the square earlier. She entered it, pushing the large wood door open. This door had 50,000 carved into it in many languages and scripts, ranging from English to Roman numerals to French to even Klingon. Of course, Mia could only read English, Roman numerals, and Pig Latin. Okay, she could read French and Spanish too, but only because it was a number. If it were anything more complicated, she would be screwed.
Here’s part two! If you’ve visited my NaNoWriMo profile, you might recognize some of this segment.
For those who are new, welcome! You should read Part One first, which is linked at the top of this entry. Not only is it the beginning of the whole story, but this part begins in the middle of a scene.
Feel free to link this on your blog, Twitter, whatever. Just don’t pass this off as your own, and we’re cool.
I highly encourage you to donate to the Office of Letters and Light, the nonprofit organization that runs NaNoWriMo, if you enjoy this tale of noveling madness. If you donate in the new year, your donor goodies will appear in the month before the event you donate to (NaNoWriMo or Script Frenzy).
If for some strange reason you’re really into giving money to Internet strangers who write somewhat humorous things, I won’t complain. You can do that at the link below.