She wandered around Wrimonia. Her plot bunny was safe at last, but now she needed a place to write. On her way out she passed people she hadn’t noticed all month. Vendors.
“Here, I have cures for writer’s block for sale,” one vendor said. “Just drink this potion and all your writer’s block will be gone in five seconds. What do you say, missy, eh?” The vendor, Mia noticed, wasn’t a Wrimo at all but a black-toothed woman wearing all black and a black hat. She smiled at Mia and held the potion, which was in a pencil-shaped container, in front of Mia.
Mia looked at the container. Banishing writer’s block was awfully tempting, as it took Alaina to do it last time. Could Mia even do it herself? Alaina had led her to believe no, but to be honest Mia had never actually tried. Mia looked in her wallet. Something like this had to be very expensive, and she couldn’t afford it.
“Oh no, missy, I don’t want money, so you can put that back right now,” the vendor said, nodding at Mia’s wallet. “I want words,” the vendor added, lowering her voice to a whisper.
“Words?” Mia asked. “But I don’t have any to spare. I’m already behind.”
“Oh yes, words will be the cost, but this is well worth the cost, you see. Once you banish the writer’s block you can regain the words you’ve lost in no time and more thanks to this concoction. I created this back in 2004 when I was suffering from writer’s block.”
“What’s in it?”
“Oh, a little of this and a little of that.” Even after more pressuring from Mia the vendor didn’t say anything about its ingredients. “Oh fine, there’s a bit of cabbage in there, but no more! The other ingredients are secret.”
“I don’t know,” Mia said, looking at the blue bar above her head. “I really don’t have any words to spare.”
“Well,” the vendor replied. “It’ll just cost you fifteen hundred words. That’s just a day’s quota.”
Mia gulped. It wasn’t all that much, and she was already behind as it was. “No thanks,” Mia said. “I’ll get past writer’s block on my own.”
“But wait!” the vendor said. “I haven’t told you about my other offer yet.”
“Does this cost me words too?” Mia asked.
“Oh, but this one’s even better,” the vendor replied, holding out a small bottle in the shape of a fountain pen. “This one will guarantee the absence of the inner editor immediately after you take it so you can write in peace.”
Mia grinned. Now this was something she could get behind.
“I invented this one during NaNoWriMo 2005 when the Inner Editor was trying to get in my brain and tell me that my writing was inferior to all the other writing around me, and finally I just mixed something up and it went away. Brilliant, I tell you. So what say you? Would you like essence of Inner Editor Be Gone?”
“Let me guess, that’s going to cost words, too,” Mia said, looking at her blue bar. Every word was valuable at this point. Giving away words just wasn’t an option.
“Oh yes,” the vendor said. Mia looked above the woman and noticed that the woman’s word count bar was at exactly four hundred seventy-two words. So she was a Wrimo. Then she looked for badges on this woman’s top. There were none. What was this woman talking about doing NaNo in 2004? Now she was talking shit.
“So how many words will it cost?” Mia asked, deciding to reveal the woman in the end.
“Just 1667 words,” the vendor replied, smiling her black-toothed grin. The woman’s word counter rose to just over two thousand as Mia stared at it, but still she said nothing.
“That’s another day’s work,” Mia said. “I’m better off just writing.”
“No you’re not,” the woman replied. “For if you buy both of these, I’ll give you a deal. Listen up here, young lady.” The woman waved her hand, and both of the bottles floated in front of her. “If you buy both of these, you’ll get a word discount, and you’ll have to give up only twenty five hundred words. How does that sound?”
Mia gulped as she looked at her word counter. Still, that’d be fewer words than before, but still, that was an awful lot of words. She thought of how long she had worked to write all those words and tried to reach up for her word counter.
“No,” Mia replied. “You’re not taking my words. I saw your word counter rise as we’ve been talking. You’re doing something sketchy here.”
“Not sketchy,” the woman replied. “Strategic.” The woman grinned, and before she could say anything else, Mia ran away from her, making sure not to take any of the bottles with her, as tempting as it sounded.
As she ran as far away from the woman as she could, she noticed several Wrimos with smoking laptops.
“No!” one Wrimo yelled, staring at her laptop. She pushed some buttons on her laptop in the hopes that something would happen. Instead sparks flew, and not in the pleasant way.
“What happened?” Mia asked, approaching the Wrimo with the smoking laptop.
“It’s gone!” the Wrimo exclaimed. “All gone!”
“All of it?” Mia asked, now poking at the Wrimo’s laptop. Normally this would be seen as one of the worst acts that could be performed on another Wrimo’s machine, but as the laptop was currently smoking and probably wouldn’t be returning to a normal state anytime soon, the Wrimo didn’t say anything.
“I think so,” the Wrimo said, gulping.
Mia peered at the laptop. “Do you have a backup somewhere?” she asked as other Wrimos gathered around them.
The Wrimo shook her head. “Nowhere,” she finally confessed. “I thought everything would be okay. It’s just a year old. I got this as a present for winning NaNo last year, and it’s been working great.” The Wrimo looked back at her laptop, which was now playing “The Final Countdown” for everyone.
“I think it’s gone,” Mia said.
“But I was on track!” the Wrimo exclaimed, falling into Mia’s arms and sobbing. “I was even a few hundred words ahead!”
Mia patted the Wrimo on the back and let the Wrimo sob on her shoulder for a few minutes.
“What am I going to do?” the Wrimo asked.
“Well, the way I see it, and I’m completely new here so it’s probably all wrong, is that you have two choices,” Mia said. “You can start all over, and you probably don’t want to do that. But if people can get green bars in the first few days, then you can too. But you wrote these words in November, so it should be okay if you generate words and use that to verify what you have so far. You said you were on track, so you can figure out how many words you have.”
The Wrimos around them nodded their consent. “I vote for the second one,” another Wrimo in the crowd said.
“Me too,” another Wrimo replied. “Me too.” Everyone ran in and hugged the Wrimo with the smoking laptop.
“Thanks,” the Wrimo with the lost novel replied. But before she looked around for words to generate, possibly from the word war forum, a cute white bunny approached them. “But I hated my old novel anyway, so it was probably for the best.” She embraced the plot bunny and ran into the crowd. Lady Lunas handed the Wrimo a notebook and pen.
“You’re going to want these,” Lady Lunas said. “Paper and pen won’t blow up like computers do.” The Wrimo thanked her and took the materials, then sat down to write her new story.
I’ve never handwritten a novel, but some Wrimos, like Lady Lunas (she’s real!) do so every year. Pen and paper do have the benefit of not blowing up like computers do though.
And why does the vendor want words? I’ll let you figure that out. Remember that Mia still thinks she’s writing a serious novel and is, of course, behind.
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.