Mia looked around the forums. In some parts of the world, it was already November first, and she watched as some Wrimos sat around the website, laptops in hand, writing away. Some had muses and characters at their sides. Others had plot bunnies nibbling their feet. Mia, on the other hand, looked at the big clock at Wrimo hall that was visible from everywhere in Wrimonia telling how long it was until NaNoWriMo started for her. It told how long it was until NaNo started for each individual who looked at the clock, but everyone saw a different time, depending on how long it was in their respective time zone. Mia marvelled at this magic, for it really was magical.
She turned back to her bag and noticed that although she didn’t pack a laptop for her original outing, one was already sitting in here. In fact, it was her own laptop, trusty but sometimes prone to overheating. Old but got the job done. In fact, it had her favorite word processor on it, one that she could just type in and let it take care of everything else.
Then Mia sat down, waiting for her characters to arrive. After everything she had overheard on the forums about starting at midnight and the obvious pros of doing such, she decided that since she didn’t have much to do the next day, a midnight start would be good for her. The pros were obvious: she could write her daily 1667 before going to bed, go to sleep, and write another 1667 words. “It’ll be perfect,” she told herself. “I can write, get ahead, and fool myself into thinking I’m behind, and then I’ll stay ahead.”
Mia cracked her laptop open. Three more hours until midnight, the Wrimo Hall clock said. She noticed that some Wrimos had blue bars floating over their heads. She never noticed these in October, and she was very curious as to what they were. She approached the nearest Wrimo with one who wasn’t writing.
“Excuse me,” she said. “What’s that blue bar over your head?”
“The blue bar?” the Wrimo replied. Mia noticed the name tag on the Wrimo’s shirt, which read salambander. “Oh, that’s my word count. It says zero so far, but that’s because it’s not November first where I am yet and because I haven’t started writing yet. See, you have one too.” Salambander pointed above Mia’s head, and sure enough, a bar with a tiny stub floated above Mia’s head.
“Has this been here the whole time?” Mia asked, looking up at her unfilled bar.
Salambander nodded. “Nice, isn’t it?”
“And when I start writing, what happens?” Mia asked.
“Oh, then you update your word count,” salambander replied.
“And how do I do that? Do I go back to Wrimo Hall and say, Hey, I want to update my word count?”
“No, you just have to go to one of the robots and update it. They make it really easy, even having little buttons you can push to do it.” Mia shuddered at this thought. She would have to touch one of the robots. It sounded so weird to be touching something that would be doing her a service. Then she kept prompting salambander, and salambander replied, “Then you’ll get your own blue bar that tells how many words you have instead of zero words.”
“And does it always stay blue?” Mia asked.
“Nope,” salambander replied. “It stays blue until you reach fifty thousand, and then it turns green. When you verify at Wrimo Hall, it turns purple and says WINNER on it. Pretty cool, huh?” Salambander wandered off, and Mia was left alone again. She sat down. Alaina was nowhere in sight, and neither were her characters.
“Well, I guess I can sit down and plan now,” Mia said. She took out her notepad and looked at what little planning she had done so far. Mom and Dad were dead. Daughter had to raise brother. Brother thinks daughter is mommy instead of sister, leading to lots of shenanigans over time. Daughter lives her own life and eventually marries, but of course brother still thinks daughter is mommy.
Wait a minute! Mia thought. Why would the brother think the daughter is the mommy, anyway? Couldn’t the daughter just, oh I don’t know, tell him that when he’s old enough to understand?
But when is he old enough to understand something like that?
She ran to the character and realism forum. Sure, she didn’t have any personal experience with that, but based on some of the questions raised there, surely someone did.
“Hi, I need some help,” Mia said after writing “When do you disclose sensitive information to a child?” on the poster on the door. “So I have a character in my novel who’s raising her much younger brother, and for some reason the brother thinks he’s actually her son instead of her brother. Huge plot hole. So when is it okay to disclose something like that to him?”
“Honestly?” one Wrimo said as she wandered in. Mia didn’t pay attention to her name tag. “I’d tell him as soon as possible, but then he’d wonder where mommy and daddy are.”
“Yeah, that’s what I was thinking,” Mia said, but before she could ask any more questions, the other Wrimo wandered out.
Another Wrimo wandered in, this one male. “So something like this happened to me. It turned out that the guy I thought to be my dad… wasn’t my dad. And I never found out until last year. I’m 22.”
“Hey, you’re not much younger than I am,” Mia replied. “I’m twenty-three. So would you disclose something like this to a kid?”
“Honestly, not at four,” the other Wrimo said. “I’d wait for a few years, but otherwise you’re just setting yourself up.”
Mia sighed. When was she ever going to get some consistent advice? Maybe she should just go with her gut on this one. You know what? Mia told herself. The daughter’s not going to tell him, and that’s going to be a plot point in itself. But why would she not tell him? Is she ashamed? Hell, I’d hate the confusion that it caused. “But you don’t look like you ever got pregnant,” people would tell her. Yeah, right, like you can look like you ever got pregnant. Mia knew she was ranting to herself, but she couldn’t stop it. She pondered for several minutes, but nothing came. Finally she wandered out of the realism forum but found that she had to walk several flights of stairs in order to get out. Apparently enough people had started new threads that hers got shifted up the stairs. She marvelled at this as well on the way out.
Merry Christmas! For those who don’t celebrate or have already celebrated your holiday of choice, happy Friday. Here’s my gift to you: getting Wrimonia up really early so I can eat and fight with the family. Well, I hope there will be minimal fighting, but we’ll see.
So Mia’s NaNo is about to begin. What will it bring for her? We shall see about that too.
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