This scene continues where Part Sixteen leaves off. Did you miss Part Sixteen? Read it here.
Thegrumples shrugged. At least it did end well. She approached Mia, who was still staring at her laptop. “What’s up?” thegrumples asked.
“My characters aren’t showing up at all,” Mia said. “I’m not blocked, really, I just don’t know what to do next.”
“You know what helps me right about now?” thegrumples asked. “I heard about it from other Wrimos. It’s called a word war. You write as much as you can for, say, fifteen minutes or so and report back.”
Mia looked up. It would be a great way to get the words out, and she hadn’t written at all that day. “All right, I’m in,” Mia said. “Can we do it here?”
“Well, we can,” thegrumples replied, “but it’s much more fun with more people. There’s a whole forum for these word wars. Let’s go.” And thegrumples led Mia to a forum whose plaque at the front read WORD WARS, PROMPTS, AND SPRINTS. Mia stared at the plaque and noticed that people were milling in and out of the building, and many writers had chosen this area to sit down and write. In fact, ever eraser bench here was occupied.
“So what do we do?” Mia asked.
“First we declare our word war,” thegrumples said. “Fifteen good for you?”
Mia nodded. It didn’t really matter to her. They walked into the forum, and immediately Mia felt a swarm of Wrimos running around. They ran from forum to forum, but mostly they just ran in and out. Mia and thegrumples looked around the forum and after about a minute, thegrumples pushed open the door that said “Fifteen minutes word wars”.
“This is where we declare our war,” thegrumples said. “We declare our current word count, then go outside and write for fifteen minutes, and come back here to report on our progress.” Before they left, several other Wrimos entered the room.
“Five hundred ninety-seven!” one Wrimo yelled. Mia saw that her name tag said erinanne.
“Six hundred two!” the Wrimo accompanying her said, and Mia saw her name was bereccabox. They congratulated each other and left the room. Mia and thegrumples went outside the forum.
What was once a peaceful area with the exception of novelists typing furiously now resembled a war zone minus the violence. Words fell from the sky, making dents into the ground. Hyphens flew everywhere, landing on the heads of Wrimos who weren’t writing. Mia and thegrumples sat on benches that were next to each other, and they opened their laptops.
An old man wearing a camouflage suit approached them. “Are you ready?” he asked.
Mia and thegrumples nodded. “I may as well give this a try,” Mia replied, looking at her laptop. What on earth was she going to write?
“Okay,” the man said. He adjusted his helmet and his name tag. It wasn’t a regular Wrimo name tag. Instead it said BattleJesus, and Mia pondered this for a moment. He didn’t look like Jesus in any of those paintings she saw in buildings as a child. Then again, she never went to church if she could help it. “Ready?”
Mia nodded. “Wait,” thegrumples said. “We need to check our word counts first. Write yours down, Mia.” Mia scribbled her word count on one of her notebooks, and thegrumples did the same on one of hers.
“Okay, now are you ready?” the man in the camouflage suit asked. Another word fell from the sky and landed on his head. “Blasted words,” he said. “I keep telling them to land on the writers, but they never listen, do they?” He sighed. The two of them nodded, and Mia wondered what he was talking about. “Set?” They nodded. “Go!”
Both of them started to type. Thegrumples was already typing furiously, and Mia stared at her, trying to figure out what to write. Amy was already seeing some dashing young man she had met after the murder scene, and Mia had no idea where that came from. That character just decided to stalk her down one day and beg her to put him in the novel. Come to think of it, he resembled writer’s block, except his hair was actually blond instead of brown and much shorter than Writer’s Block’s had been.
“They’ll go on a date!” Mia exclaimed, and she started to type. “But where?” She already knew that Amy was never the type to go on a traditional dinner date. Ergh, dinner, Amy would think. That would be a second or third date. You can’t escape from a dinner date with a really good excuse, like if someone in your immediate family died.
“Hm,” Mia thought. “How about a walk in the park? They can meet in a coffee shop and then go for a walk, and since it’s September it’ll be a pretty nice day out since I conveniently placed this novel not in the north where it’s freezing by October.” And so Mia began to write.
Except the words weren’t coming as quickly as the words did for thegrumples.
My fingers won’t move, Mia thought as she started typing the entrance into the coffee shop. The mysterious date was already sitting in the coffee shop, waiting for Amy to arrive. Amy, of course, was wearing an outfit that was traditional and fashionable for her own style. Ian was in the capable hands of one of her friends. Hmm, more conflict, Mia thought to herself as she continued to type. But then she stopped as Amy entered the coffee shop.
Now what? Mia thought. Does Amy approach her date? Does she buy her own coffee and then sit down with him? He’s sitting in front of the counter, so she’ll have to pass him on the way. Awkward.
Fine, she’ll approach him first. Amy walked in and… wait a minute. Mia thought. This is weird. What if they want to go Dutch or something? Or even worse, what if they get in a fight?
No! Mia told herself. But before she could write that scene, a word fell in front of her. Not just any word. The word defenestrate. Mia stared at the word. “I’m not throwing anyone out a window in my novel! You are not going in.” She kicked the word, which flew toward another Wrimo who was word warring.
“I don’t want this word either,” she said before kicking it to another Wrimo, who ran toward the word. “You!” he yelled. “You’re just what I needed.” And he wrote the word defenestrate into his next sentence. “He couldn’t take it anymore, so he defenestrated the urn containing his grandmother’s ashes.” Then he stared at his laptop.
“My stars, what have I done?” he asked himself. Mia turned away from them and back to her own novel. How on earth could people write that quickly? she asked herself, especially with the atmosphere here? She turned back to her own novel, which predictably enough hadn’t seen an increase in words since her last idea.
Amy and the mysterious lover, whose name, it turned out, was also Ian, walked toward Mia, coffee in hand. “So shall we go to the park?” Ian asked.
“That sounds lovely,” Amy replied, taking a sip of her soy latte. She and Ian walked to the park, passing the place where they met: the sidewalk past the murder scene.
“Do you know if they found the killer?” Ian asked.
“I don’t know,” Amy replied. “I just know that I’m keeping an even closer eye on Ian than usual.”
“Wait, me?” Ian asked.
“No!” Mia screamed, interrupting them.
“TIME!” BattleJesus yelled. He pointed a gun in the air and shot it. No bullet came out; instead, more words emerged. “All hands off the keyboard. How many words do you have?” Thegrumples stopped typing, apparently finishing a very fascinating thought.
Mia looked at her own word count during the last few minutes. Her current word count wasn’t that bad, but over the last few minutes… “Three hundred two,” she said.
“Nine hundred eighty,” thegrumples replied. When Mia looked down, thegrumples said, “It’s okay. It really does take time to get used to. I couldn’t have write this many words in my first few days of NaNo either.”
“I was just expecting more,” Mia replied. “And now I have two characters named Ian and no way to distinguish between them.”
“What are they like?”
“One is about four years old and really likes to play with toy cars. The other is his older sister’s date and really likes grownup cars.”
“Well, name one of them Mr. Ian Woon and there you go,” thegrumples said. “If it really confuses you, then kill one.”
“I can’t kill a little kid,” Mia replied. “That already happened in my novel, and I didn’t even know him.”
“Well, write him out. You say he’s a date?” Mia nodded. “Well, make the date go horribly, and bam. He’s gone.”
Mia smiled. This wasn’t such a bad idea. And hey… “This could be where Mr. Ian Woon makes his entrance.”
Welcome to the wonderful world of word wars, Mia. Once you start, you don’t go back. If word wars were really like this, I wouldn’t get any writing done!
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