The next day didn’t go as well. Mia sat down at her laptop and began to write, but what was she supposed to do now that Ian was in day care and Amy was at work? And come to think of it, what did Amy do for a living, anyway? All Mia had written about the day before was Ian’s adventures in preschool, hardly fodder for Amy’s career adventures.
Mia wandered into the plot doctoring forum. Now that she had a plot, maybe they would be of more assistance to her as long as she stayed away from the dare thread. Amy was not going to be a video game tester or a carpet walker or an Internet lawyer. No way in hell, Mia told herself as she walked into a new room and wrote on the door, “Help! What should my character’s job be?” She sat down in the room with her laptop and began to think, all the while writing down Amy’s characteristics. She’s female, a college graduate, wears glasses…
“Hi there,” a Wrimo said, entering the room. “What’s your character like, anyway?”
“I knew you’d ask this,” Mia replied. “I guess that’ll help. She’s a college graduate, wears glasses, wears very traditional clothes for someone her age. I mean, she doesn’t exactly wear high fashion and someone would probably mistake her for a mom. I guess she is since she is raising her brother.”
“Any other traits?” the Wrimo asked. “You say she went to college. What’d she major in?”
“I don’t know,” Mia said. “She doesn’t seem like the type to do a science.” Mia didn’t know how she knew that. Amy, where are you? she wondered as she fumbled her way through this situation. “But she seems like the type who’d have some kind of office job where she’d work with people. Despite her looks, she’s reasonably extroverted.”
“Hm,” the Wrimo replied, trying to think.
“But she can’t be an English major,” Mia said. “I was an English major. That’d make her a Mary Sue.”
“Not necessarily,” the Wrimo replied. “If an English major fits her, by all means make her one.”
“I know!” Mia replied. “She was an anthropology major.” Wow, I totally pulled that out of the air, she thought.
But then the door to the thread opened, and Amy entered. “What do you mean, I was an anthropology major?” Amy asked. “I had to take that class freshman year and I hated it. Okay, the class itself wasn’t that bad, but the professor put me to sleep. It was Naptime 101.”
“Well, will you just tell me what you do for a living then so we can get with it?” Mia asked.
“It’s obvious, isn’t it?” Amy asked. “I work in communications. I do a nonprofit art company’s publicity stuff. Oh, and I was an art history major.”
“Thank you!” Mia said, running up to Amy and hugging her. “This was all I wanted to know.”
“Hey, these things take time,” Amy replied. “I didn’t even decide on the major until the last minute. I had my pick of majors by the time I had to decide thanks to everything I had taken. Not that I’m well-rounded or anything. I’m just indecisive.”
“Great,” Mia muttered. She thanked the other Wrimo and walked out of the forum, sitting on an eraser bench and cracking her laptop open. But before she could begin to write, even in the absence of other characters, a rather pleasant voice filled Wrimonia.
“Hear ye, hear ye!” the voice said. Mia didn’t recognize the voice, but it warmed her writing soul. She stood up to look around and see what was causing the disturbance. “Welcome to NaNoWriMo and to Wrimonia! Some of you are new; some of you are veterans and should know better by now. But whatever brings you here, welcome! We have an exciting journey ahead of us. Your stories are waiting for you, ready to embrace you with open arms for this crazy journey we call NaNoWriMo. They’re flittering in your mind, excited little creatures that they are. This week, I ask you to use that excitement to your advantage because you too are excited about NaNoWriMo, fellow Wrimo. Embrace your story and follow it in whatever direction it may go because in the end, you will emerge victorious.”
As the voice continued to speak, infusing the Wrimos of Wrimonia with pep, a car surrounded by marathon runners carrying pencils passed. A single figure sat in the car, waving and talking into a megaphone. He had a shaved head and was wearing a white shirt that said “NaNoWriMo: Est. 1999” across the front.
Everyone cheered. “Who is that?” Mia asked.
“That’s Chris Baty,” the Wrimo next to her, LadyYashka, replied. “He created NaNoWriMo.”
“Oh!” Mia jumped to attention and listened to the rest of the pep talk.
“Good luck this week, Wrimos! Remember, by the end of Day Seven, you should be at 11669 words, but I present a challenge to you. Let’s get to 12,000 words by the end of the week. Can I ask that of you, Wrimos?” Everyone cheered. Mia hoped that she could get there. If she could meet today’s goal, then meeting it every day should be doable, even if today took hours, and she had a life outside of writing.
“Then happy writing!” Mia noticed his floating blue bar, which read 1709 words. Chris was just ahead of her, but Mia had no time to ponder this as the car drove past her line of vision and turned to another area of the square.
“Does this happen all the time?” Mia asked LadyYashka.
“Every week,” LadyYashka replied. “Sometimes guests come in to give pep talks. Published writers, too. Neil Gaiman came in one year.”
“Wow.” Neil Gaiman? That sounded pretty cool, and Mia frowned. “But I don’t get to hear his pep talk now.”
“Sure you can. They keep an archive of all the pep talks in Wrimo Hall,” LadyYashka explained. “It’s pretty neat to go up and listen to all of them. I’m pretty sure some non-Wrimos listened in on that one.”
Mia pondered this for a moment but then looked at her laptop. She really needed to go write, and so she sat at the nearest eraser bench (the same one she sat at a moment ago) and opened her laptop again. Surely words would come this time, she thought as she began to type, dillydallying at the keyboard and typing out the beginning of a scene now that she knew the occupation of her main character.
But nothing came. Mia started to write about Amy’s day at work and tried to think about what exactly goes on at a nonprofit art company in the first place. “Uh, Amy?” Mia asked. “What do you do for a living?”
“Publicity,” Amy replied. “I told you that stuff. Art companies don’t promote themselves. People don’t want to culture themselves anymore.”
Mia sighed. “What do you mean you’re not helping me?” She stared at Amy. “Fine, then, I guess I’ll have to go the character and realism forum.” Mia closed her laptop and entered the character and realism forum.
“Help!” she wrote on a door. “What do publicists do at nonprofit art companies?” She cracked her laptop open and stared at it, trying to think of preliminary material to write. Amy would likely have a computer at her job. This was the 21st century after all, and Mia had no vision of making Amy work in an art company in, say, the forties. And of course she’d have to work with a lot of people, so she’d be using email and phones a lot and would probably know a lot of people.
“Honestly, you have a basic idea,” one Wrimo replied as she entered the thread. “It’s a lot of promotion, lots of getting people to work with you, lots of meetings. But if she likes it, lots of fun, especially if she’s an art history major as you said.”
Mia nodded. “Yeah, she’s really into art,” Mia said, “and she dabbles in it herself.”
“Then you have enough to be able to make up stuff as you go along.”
“But I don’t want to make stuff up,” Mia insisted. “That just doesn’t feel right.”
“Sometimes you have to,” the Wrimo replied. “Remember, editing is for December.” Mia sighed in defeat as she looked back at what she had written in her novel. Twenty-two words today. Crap. She turned back to the laptop yet again, expecting to see something new written. Oh, fine, Mia thought. She reached for the bag of chocolate candy bars next to her and unwrapped one, munching on it. NaNoWriMo did know how to serve chocolate, she had to admit as she tossed the wrapper back in the bag.
“Fine,” Mia said. “I guess I’m writing about Amy’s first day on the job.” Amy, Mia had decided, was going to promote a new event at work that day. That should make something exciting happen, right? But what was she going to promote? And weren’t art companies usually not in it for the money? Mia shrugged. As much as she learned about random paintings as an art history major, she realized that even with her internships at galleries, she knew very little about the publicity aspect.
“But they have to be similar, right?” Mia told herself. “I mean, it’s kind of similar.” Then she laughed at her logic or lack thereof. With that attitude in mind, she began to write. Amy’s first day at her new job was coming to mind, and it was all about the new event. A new event that would change not only the gallery, but Amy’s life.
I’ve had those brain farts in the middle of writing, too. It’s great procrastination.
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