Mia decided to hang out in this forum a little longer. The atmosphere fit her mood at the moment: misery, sadness, overall gloom, yet with a touch of optimism. She stumbled into one of the sticky doors on the way out. This room was also crowded, but the atmosphere was considerably happier than the rest of the forum.
“Sporks for everyone!” a Wrimo named scribbles exclaimed. Scribbles spotted Mia and ran up to her, spork in hand. “Welcome to the Spork Room,” Scribbles said enthusiastically. “We have everything you need for an enjoyable NaNoing experience. To your left, see the sporks of all shapes and sizes. Here’s a spork starter kit.” Scribbles grabbed a small box and handed it to Mia, who opened it. Six sporks sat in the box, ranging from small to large, and each of different metals. “There’s a plastic spork, a regular spork, a titanium spork, a platinum spork, and the ever-special diamond spork. Spork collectors everywhere have sought out the diamond spork but have failed to find it. It’s been hiding here, so don’t tell anyone.” Scribbles and Mia walked toward a table. “We also have caffeine and comfort drinks of all kinds, chocolate, hugs, and woobies.”
“Woobies?” And that’s when she saw it: a fuzzy blue blob floating around the room. Mia thought it was the only one at first, but then she saw several more float up from the floor.
“I think someone called for them now,” Scribbles said. “Let’s go see.” They walked across the room to where everyone else was seated on reupholstered couches around a newly polished coffee table. Mia spotted the nametags: boldlygo, thegreatwhitewolf, Joanna_of_Blythefield, Alex Collins, larelmian, tsuraseyu, lastcrazyhorn and several others. Thegreatwhitewolf was the center of attention here, and Mia and scribbles listened in.
“It’s my real life,” thegreatwhitewolf said. “I want one thing and they want another and no one can agree at all. And then there’s my work in progress, and there’s another story entirely.”
Joanna_of_Blythefield got up from the couch, and as she did, another couch magically appeared and squeezed into the circle. Mia and scribbles sat down on the couches and watched as Joanna_of_Blythefield grabbed the blobs and handed them to thegreatwhitewolf. Thegreatwhitewolf hugged the woobies. “Thanks,” thegreatwhitewolf said.
Then everyone else started to give thegreatwhitewolf words of sympathy. Boldlygo and larelmian hugged thegreatwhitewolf. Alex Collins and lastcrazyhorn provided chocolate, and tsuraseyu and scribbles provided sporks. Mia reached toward the table behind her and discovered several chocolate bars. “Here,” Mia said, handing the chocolate bar to thegreatwhitewolf. Thegreatwhitewolf thanked her, and Mia decided to try out her own misery on this group.
“I don’t have a plot yet,” Mia said, looking from one Wrimo to another. “I have no clue what to write about, and NaNo starts in days. Days! I’ve gone to the Adopt a Plot thread in the forums and I’ve tried poking at plot bunnies, but all of those plots were just too silly for me. I’m a serious writer, for crying out loud!” Mia jumped up from her seat.
“It’s okay, Mia,” lastcrazyhorn said. “Really, it is. Lots of Wrimos go into the first without a clue of what to write about, and lots of them are just fine.”
“But I won’t be,” Mia replied. “I’ve never written with no clue of what to write about before.”
“Then it’s still okay,” boldlygo replied. “But it’s okay. Hope isn’t lost until the first.”
Mia poked at the new woobie that had just entered the room of its own volition. It was blue and fuzzy like its predecessor and mewed as it approached Mia. “What’s it doing?” Mia asked.
“It’s yours,” Alex Collins replied. “I called for it. Since you don’t have a plot yet, the woobie will comfort you, and you’ll be at peace with yourself and can come up with one.”
Mia grabbed the woobie. Alex Collins was right; the woobie was oddly comforting. Fuzziness aside, the woobie also glowed a pale shade of yellow and felt warm against Mia as she snuggled it. The woobie reached out with an arm and pawed Mia on the cheek, and this action, oddly enough, made Mia feel much better. She set the woobie on the ground again. “Thanks,” she said the woobie. “Now I have to figure out what to write about. We have just a few more days!” Mia rose from her seat and headed for the door.
“Good luck!” everyone said as they sporked their lives and petted the woobies. Mia pushed the door to the Spork Room shut.
Back on the square, Mia wandered around and watched as plot bunnies of all shapes and sizes chased other Wrimos around. The other Wrimos scooped up the plot bunnies, embracing them, even for their silliness. Heck, probably because of their silliness, Mia thought as she passed a Wrimo cuddling a plot bunny with fangs. “Of course I’ll write about a vampire afraid of blood who turns into a werewolf at night,” she whispered. “It’ll go perfectly with this other subplot I’ve had planned since last December.” Mia sat down on a huge eraser. Well, it wasn’t an actual eraser, just a bench in the shape of an eraser. Even Wrimonia had to work erasers into its architecture, Mia grinned as she examined the rest of the bench. Bright yellow pencils held up the huge eraser that she was sitting on, and another eraser supported her back. Clearly someone thought of everything.
She noticed a sign next to her. “Back up your work!” it read. “Someone loses their entire novel every year. Don’t let it happen to you!” Mia shook her head. Surely it wouldn’t happen to her. Why, her trusty laptop was only a year old, a graduation gift from her parents. Why would it ever go kaput on her?
But then she remembered all those tales from college. The time her hallmate’s computer died the night her final paper was due. The time her flash drive died and it contained her English paper. It was only a page and a half, but that page and a half took days to write! Mia thought, remembering how long it took her to rewrite that page and a half of genius. If it took her that long to write a page and a half, how long would it take her to write a book in a month?
A bright white bunny hopped into her lap, this one not even having the decency to nibble at her feet first. It gazed into her eyes with the “Pick me!” look that animals in pet stores have when humans walk by. Mia knew that look. It was how her house became a menagerie when she was a kid. Dogs, cats, birds, ferrets all over, but everyone loved it, and somehow her house became the local attraction. Ironically (or was it a weird coincidence? she could never remember which was which) she didn’t own a single pet now.
The rabbit nibbled on Mia’s finger. Too late now, Mia told herself. Common decency was gone. This bunny wanted blood, and blood it tried to take as it bit a little deeper.
“Bad bunny!” Mia exclaimed. The bunny meeped.
“You say you don’t know what to write about,” the bunny said, now hopping in excitement. “Write about that!”
Mia stared incredulously at the bunny, not sure whether to hug it or do something less innocent. It was a cute animal, after all, but she had no idea if Wrimonia arrested people for animal cruelty. Nevertheless, she would never kick a bunny outside of Wrimonia, so why would she do that here?
“Write about my situation?” Mia asked, pointing to herself and thinking that she must look silly talking to a cute bunny rabbit, but if Wrimonia had taught her anything, it was that no one looked silly around here. Why, right this instant, a Wrimo walked past in deep discussion with Mr. Ian Woon, the latter trying to heal his injuries before the first. It was doomed to fail, of course, but this Wrimo didn’t know that. “Why would I ever want to do that?”
“Because it makes a good story,” the bunny replied. “You can write about someone writing a novel in a month.”
Mia shook her head. “That’s the most ridiculous idea I’ve ever heard of. I’d have to figure out what they should write about too, you know.”
“So?” the plot bunny retorted. “Just choose something silly from the Adopt a Plot thread.
Mia sighed. This plot bunny wasn’t helping manners at all, though it was interesting. And cute. She had to give it points for that.
“Okay, so let’s say I write about someone writing a novel in a month,” she said. “What’s in it for me? Besides the book, I mean. What do you do?”
“Oh, I just sit here and breed,” the bunny replied. “And I give you even more ideas throughout the month.” The bunny left out the fact that the breeding would make Mia curse her existence in a few weeks. No need to frighten a new Wrimo right away.
“Oh great,” Mia said. “So you don’t help me at all.”
Mia sensed someone looking over her shoulder and looked up. Standing over her was a woman wearing a long red dress. She had long flowing red hair, bright blue eyes, and wore a turquoise necklace.
“But I will,” the woman said.
“Who are you?” Mia asked, trying to figure out where she had seen this woman before. She looked so familiar. Was it a dream? Somewhere in the deep past? A past life?
“Good to meet you, Mia,” the woman said. “I am Alaina, your muse.” Alaina placed a hand on Mia’s shoulder. Alaina looked almost not real, but somehow very real at the same time. All Mia could do was stare as the plot bunny hopped into the distance. That idea was gone.
“But what are you supposed to do?” Mia asked.
“The plot bunny is wonderful,” Alaina explained, “but it won’t provide everything. No, Mia, I am your one true source of inspiration. Come with me.” Mia rose and followed Alaina. She noticed that Alaina, like Mr. Ian Woon, wore no name that, and it was only now that Mia noticed that some Wrimos were also walking around Wrimonia with people devoid of name tags. “I provide you with ideas, just like the plot bunny does,” Alaina said as they entered the plot doctoring forum again. “But I also provide you with other ideas. Once you have a plot, for example, you need characters. You need a push to keep these characters moving, to keep them interesting, to keep your plot going in a direction that you want it to go. Sometimes your characters will go in all sorts of crazy directions, or sometimes you have no idea where to take your story. This is where I come in.”
Alaina and Mia were now standing just outside the forum door. “But I’ve never seen you before,” Mia managed to sputter. “How do I know you’ll give me good ideas?”
Mia didn’t say anything else, trusting that her concerns would speak for themselves. Instead, Alaina chose not to lead Mia into the forums but to a garden between the plot doctoring forum and the Reaching 50,000 forum. “This is the inspiration garden,” Alaina said. “Well, it’s a garden to you,” she added. “To everyone else it’s whatever they want it to be. You see what you want here, and it will appear.”
“But why’s there a garden?” Mia asked.
“Because this is your story,” Alaina replied, and then fell silent. Mia still didn’t understand and waited for Alaina to explain to her. When Alaina didn’t say anything else, Mia finally looked around the garden. There were rose bushes everywhere, roses in all shades of red and white and pink and yellow. Roses of all sorts of symbolism that Mia remembered her mother telling her about as a child. There were tulips and lilies and orchids and other flowers that were sure not to grow well together. A fountain with water rushing out of it sat in the middle of the garden, and Mia watched it, mesmerized, as the roses morphed into writing implements, pencils and ballpoint pens and fountain pens and bottles of ink sprouting up from the ground. Water poured from the ends of the typewriter. She had never seen such a beautiful thing.
“Wait,” Alaina said. “It will come.”
Oh, I’m so evil. You have to wait all the way until Monday to find out. This was completely unintentional.
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