Mia still hand’t found out any more about the legends of NaNoWriMo over the next few days, nor could she shake off that feeling of being followed. Even worse, her plot still hand’t progressed at all in her head, and she started to worry that maybe that crazy idea of zombies would have to sneak into her novel after all. Zombies! Why would zombies fit into what was supposed to be a lit fic novel? It made no sense at all.
But the feeling of being followed wouldn’t go away, and next thing Mia knew it was October 31 and she was still waffling over whether or not to include zombies in her plot. Why was making a decision like this so hard? One would think that she could just decide yes or no and get on with it.
Because it was October thirty-first, Wrimos on the other side of the world were already entering November and entering word counts, their blue bars hovering over their heads just like they did in past years. Most Wrimos had a few hundred or thousand words, but Mia noticed a few folks with ten thousand or more. Given that it was already late afternoon for Mia, this was unsurprising; some folks could have stayed up late to write all the words. But on a work or school night?
Little blue birds flew to Wrimonia from the sky, and lots of Wrimos with word counts in the vicinity caught the birds and started typing at their request. A few Wrimos without word counts and who Mia knew weren’t due to start NaNo for hours more still watched these birds with interest.
“What’s going on?” Mia asked someone, looking up at the blue birds flying into and out of Wrimonia.
“That’s the NaNoWordSprints account on Twitter,” a Wrimo by the name of honeyelle explained.
“Not Twitter again,” Mia said. “I thought I didn’t have to join Twitter to do NaNo.”
“You don’t,” Honeyelle said. “But a lot of Wrimos are on Twitter, and for those who are we run word sprints, or word wars if you want to call them that, over Twitter. You know what a word war is, yes?”
Mia thought back to her first year of NaNo when she wandered into the wars, prompts, and sprints forum and found herself in a war run by BattleJesus. She remembered dodging the words and entering her word count at the end of the war. Yes, she was definitely familiar with a word war. But a word war over Twitter? Didn’t that prove to be too much of a distraction? She already knew that social media in general was too much of a distraction. She had a Facebook account just because it felt necessary but didn’t bother to read anyone’s updates except those of her closest friends because otherwise she’d find herself reading updates of people she didn’t really care about, all those updates of people getting engaged or married or having kids or heaven forbid, getting divorced (Which is already happening in some circles from college). Mia didn’t need to add Twitter to the list of distractions.
“Yes, I know what a word war is,” Mia said. “I’ve done them since my first year. I don’t like to do too many of them, though. My writing tends to suffer when I do.”
“That’s okay,” honeyelle replied. “Not everyone writes in word wars all the time. Some have to have a word war to sit down and get going. Others just need a war to get those final five hundred words or so in order to get to a milestone. You know, ten thousand, twenty-five thousand, even fifty thousand. Use them however you like. But some people on Twitter find the NaNoWordSprints account to be productive and let’s face it, a good use of Twitter. If you’re going to be on Twitter, you may as well use some of that time to write, yes?”
“I guess so.”
“That’s the spirit,” honeyelle said. “SO that’s what’s going on with this. The people running the sprints are a few staff members and volunteers, mostly MLs, from around the world, but there are few former MLs too who did it last year while MLing. You might know Sarah Mackey and Heather Dudley. They’re doing some of the sprints, and the rest are mostly MLs or past MLs. It’s fun, and even if you aren’t on Twitter you can still follow along if you want.”
Mia thought about this. Maybe she would. She could just follow the account, right? She didn’t have to join Twitter if she didn’t want to. That would be far too much of a waste of time when there was a novel to be written. Besides, NaNo starts tomorrow! She couldn’t afford another distraction just before NaNo gets here, especially when there are so many things to see and do in November.
“Oh, there’s the bell,” honeyelle said as a quiet tinny bell went off. “My sprint shift is next.” And Mia noticed that honeyelle did have a small word count over her head. Honeyelle ran off, and Mia found herself looking at the sky where the blue birds were all flying toward Wrimonia. She didn’t stare at them for too long, though; she had something to figure out.
Mia passed a group of Wrimos with word counts, all in the lower thousands, and found herself in The Polling Booth forum. The Polling Booth! She had never explored this forum before, primarily because she never had a question that she needed to poll Wrimos about. But now she did, and even though she might not necessarily listen to the Wrimos’ advice (as much as she hated to admit it to herself) she may as well get some good advice while she was there.
So Mia entered the Polling Booth and started a new thread, this one featuring red velvet chairs and couches.
“Zombies in my novel: Yay or nay?” Mia titled the thread. She started speaking to the thread about her novel: the plot, the characters, the other ideas she had so far. And then she got to the big question.
“Should I include zombies in my novel?” Mia asked. “I don’t think I can include zombies in my novel. I don’t write zombies. All my novels are mainstream or lit fic, and zombies don’t have a place in those kinds of books. When did you read a lit fic novel with zombies in it?”
A Wrimo entered the thread, and Mia spotted her nametag, a user with no word count bar by the name of Starrlilly. “So what do you think about my idea?” Mia asked. “Should I include zombies in my novel?”
“Go for it,” Starrlilly replied. “I’m kind of biased. I don’t write mainstream or lit fic at all and honestly, all books could use a few zombies in them.”
Mia looked around the thread and spotted a vase with sunflowers in it. She picked one up.
“Well, thanks,” Mia said as another Wrimo entered the thread. This Wrimo went by Inoru no Hoshi.
“Yes!” Inoru no Hoshi said. “Include all the zombies in your novel. Your book is begging for it.”
“But I don’t write zombies,” Mia replied. “I don’t write zombies in my books at all, and I’d have no idea where to start.”
“Have you seen Zombieland?” Inoru no Hoshi asked.
Mia shook her head. She had heard of it, but zombies. They were creepy.
“You need to see it,” Inoru no Hoshi replied. “If you’re going to use zombies in your novel in an urban setting, you need to see it. Especially if you’re going have the book take place in the near future.”
“But when am I going to watch it?” Mia asked. “NaNo starts tomorrow. I don’t have time to watch it.”
“Who says you have to watch the whole thing?” Starrlilly asked. “Just watch some Youtube clips. Problem solved.”
But that was procrastination, and Mia still had a plot to plan before November arrived. One that decidedly did not include zombies.
But Inoru no Hoshi and Starrlilly kept insisting, and they dragged Mia out of the thread, past the forums (Mia noticed the Games and Roleplaying forums as the last forums they walked past), and into a dark yet familiar pit. Mia saw the sign next to the steep hill: “The Pit of Procrastination”.
Oh, the memories Mia had of this place, the place she found herself in last year when not wanting to work on her novel. She never knew this place was here until last year when she found herself not wanting to work on her novel, stuck during Week Two and unable to figure out what to do next. Mia faced the pit, noticing the lack of way to get back up and remembering how she struggled to escape last year.
Should she enter the pit? NaNo was due to start in just hours, as Mia saw on the countdown clock. Eight hours, twelve minutes to go, Could she escape in twelve hours?
Mia looked down the hill, took Inoru no Hoshi’s and Starrlilly’s hands, and the three of them jumped into the Pit of Procrastination.
I just cut almost 1600 words because they essentially reproduced what I wrote in a previous scene. Whoops. Wrimo mentioned in that scene, you’ll get in another scene, promise!
Share, don’t be a jerk, donate to NaNo if you’re so inclined.