Missed Friday’s installment? Read Part Thirty-Three before continuing.
Everything was gone. Writer’s Block, Inner Editor, the black bubble that Writer’s Block had been blowing to surround them. Mia looked up. It was just like the day she was browsing the adoptable threads in the Plot Doctoring forums, except she didn’t get sucked into anything. She got up and wiped herself down. Then she noticed where she was.
NANOWRIMO ATE MY SOUL, read the nearest plaque. Nothing could be more true, Mia thought as she ran into the forum. She stumbled into the nearest thread, conveniently titled “I hate myself and want to die” and collapsed on the nearest couch, metal pencil still in hand. As she panted, she looked around the room. Other Wrimos appeared to be in similar states.
“Why?” Mia asked as she looked at the pencil. “Inner Editor and Writer’s Block have been chasing me down, and I barely escaped. I’m behind and I’m not sure if I’ll catch up, and my characters just killed someone with the traveling shovel of death and it doesn’t fit in my novel at all.” Mia burst into tears.
“It’s okay, Mia,” ororo said, looking up from the laptop. “Remember all the signs around Wrimonia about first drafts sucking?” Mia nodded. “It’s true. I’ve done this since 2002 and all of my work sucks.”
Another Wrimo with long hair entered and collapsed on another couch. “Hi ororo,” she said. “Hi Mia,” she said after reading Mia’s name tag. “My life sucks. Everything about it.”
“My novel sucks,” Mia said, commiserating. “And I don’t want to quit. I can’t now that I’ve bought the halo.” She looked up at it. “I don’t know about the noveling karma anymore, but it’s definitely telling me not to quit. I paid for this thing!”
“My characters just hurt me instead of their villain,” XantheKelsylva, the long-haired Wrimo, said. “Look at this.” She showed off a slash on her arm. “And I thought we were better off as the writers.”
“No, we aren’t,” ororo said. “I’ve already suffered their wounds too. At least we’re just the authors, right?”
“Yeah, imagine how much life would suck if we were all characters in someone’s NaNoWriMo novel,” XantheKelsylva said, and everyone laughed.
Despite the run-in with Writer’s Block and Inner Editor and despite their hovering over Mia whenever she tried to write (they kept at a distance after Mia’s escape, and Writer’s Block stopped blowing the bubbles), Mia did write three thousand words that day. She really wanted to reach forty thousand words, but the pull of the Inner Editor was just too strong, and no more traveling shovels of death could be found. The next day Mia found herself in the NaNoWriMo Ate My Soul forum again, Writer’s Block and the Inner Editor at her side, and stumbled into a forum with a picture of a soap carving on the door. It reminded her of Fight Club, except the words didn’t say Fight Club. Instead the pink bar of soap said Suck Club. Mia entered, pushing the door open and noticing a large bar of soap with the same emblem on the center table.
“I suck!” a Wrimo named Pookel exclaimed. “My life sucks, my novel sucks, and everything sucks. Can we just say suck?”
“Well, my novel sucks too,” another Wrimo said.
“So does mine,” Mia commiserated.
“Then you should join the Suck Club,” Pookel said, pointing to the bar of soap at the center of the table.
“The Suck Club?” Mia asked. “What’s that?”
“Read the wall,” the other Wrimo said. Mia got up and read the wall.
“Welcome to Suck Club.
This is the place for everyone whose work sucks.
The first rule of Suck Club is you don’t talk about Suck Club. Others will do that for you, while pointing and laughing.
The second rule of Suck Club is you don’t talk about Not-Suck Club. Those people with talent make us cry.
The third rule of Suck Club is when your plot says stop or your characters, you will continue to flog them, dead horse-style.
The fourth rule of Suck Club is no strong characters, no tight plotting, no exploration of themes and NO GODDAMN ENCHANTING POETIC TURNS OF PHRASE
The fifth rule of Suck Club is if this your first night at Suck Club, or if you’ve been here for years, you have to Suck.”
Mia finished reading the rules on the wall and realized that they described her perfectly, a far departure from her opinion at the beginning of the month. “Let me in!” she said. “I’m writing a sucky novel!”
“Welcome to the Suck Club,” Pookel said. “Take a small bar of soap from the table as a token of your membership.” Mia grabbed a bar of soap and pocketed it, not noticing that it wasn’t a bar of soap at all but a rock in the same color as the Fight Club bar of soap. Mia walked out of the forum, ready to write as she settled on the nearest eraser bench. She took out the pencil and examined it. The metal, the fake eraser end that wasn’t an eraser at all, the pointy end that couldn’t be written with at all. Somehow, somehow! though Mia didn’t know how, this thing had saved her from Writer’s Block and the Inner Editor. They would be back, though, Mia thought as she caressed this pencil and typed away at her novel. She laid it on her lap and typed over the pencil.
The voices were still there, and what she heard before as mumbling voices were no longer mumbling. They were much louder now but still indistinguishable. She typed the next sentence and leaned in toward the pencil.
Nothing. Mia gave up and continued to type. Three thousand more words, she told herself as she kept typing. That was all she needed to get one step closer to getting back on track, but Alaina and her characters must have taken an extended vacation on a most inconvenient time. Mia looked around, and sure enough, they were nowhere to be found. Chris Baty was also nowhere to be found, as he was probably also working on his own NaNoWriMo novel. (Mia had heard through the NaNo grapevine that Chris often got behind on his novel and played catchup during this time of the month.) She looked back at her novel and continued to write.
Suck Club is another NaNo thread from the early forum days. The thread isn’t often reintroduced anymore, though, which shows the often-fleeting nature of the Internet.
On another note, people have asked if I ever appear in the novel. I’ll go ahead and answer this one and tell you that no, I don’t appear. That’s why I’m mentioned a couple of times early and why the fourth wall is nudged here: Mia meeting her maker is a little too meta.
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.