Mia hit her quota for November first, going over by twenty words. It wasn’t much, but it was progress.
Zombies, Mia told herself while walking around the forums later on the first. Zombies! Whoever thought that was a good idea anyway? But it was her plot and it wasn’t too bad to write so far, so she might as well stick with it.
But the forums were there and they were distracting. The next day Mia found herself wandering around the forums while putting off writing and ran into a heated discussion outside the Suggestions forum.
“Cheater!” Mia heard a Wrimo yell. “There’s no way you could have done that.”
Mia looked at his nametag and saw that it read olafstar. He looked familiar; Mia thought he was the person behind a few other inflammatory posts on the forums. She looked up and saw that Olafstar was pointing at a Wrimo with long dark brown hair, a name badge with ten past winner badges, and a full bright blue word count bar. Fifty thousand thirty words? But it’s only November second!
Mia stared at this person with such a high word count. How was this possible? Could someone even type that fast? “That’s what, two thousand words an hour?” Mia asked aloud before realizing what she said.
“Over two thousand words an hour, every hour, for twenty-four hours straight,” Olafstar said. “That’s impossible.”
Mia remembered the word count scoreboards she had seen in past years. “No it’s not,” she replied quietly, noticing that this Wrimo being accused of cheating hand’t said a word. “I’ve seen people do it before on the word count scoreboard that isn’t there anymore.”
“I’ll believe two plus two make five before I believe Sushi actually wrote fifty thousand words yesterday,” Olafstar said.
A whistle blew, and Mia looked around. Something, no, someone, was flying down from the sky. Mia watched as the person landed. This person looked familiar, this someone with long red hair and a flowing cape and a big stick. Dragonchilde! No, Heather Dudley. Whatever her username was now.
“Hey!” Heather said, pointing her big stick at Olafstar while Mia and the long-haired Wrimo looked on. “That’s not okay. You know it’s against the Codes of Conduct to accuse someone of cheating. NaNoWriMo is a self-challenge, and people who finish the fifty thousand words in a day get just as much out of NaNo as you do by writing the fifty thousand words over the course of a month.”
“But fifty thousand words in a day just isn’t possible,” Olafstar retorted. “That’s two thousand words an hour every single hour. You have to sleep sometime.”
“I’ve written fifty thousand words in ten days before,” Heather replied. “It was really hard. I’ve seen people who can write faster, and I’ve seen her write in person. It’s definitely possible.”
When Olafstar opened his mouth to protest, Heather added, “It’s not the individual Wrimo’s job to tell you how they wrote such high word counts in a day,” Heather replied, still wielding her big stick. “And it’s not your privilege to know how they did it, either.”
Olafstar stood there for a minute, looking like he was about to run away from Heather, but he stayed put. Another Wrimo entered, a short Wrimo who was dressed as a ninja. Mia noted her high word count and nametag that read tiakall, along with the Municipal Liaison and moderator badges.
Municipal Liaison? Moderator? Here was someone else who might know about the legends of NaNoWriMo!
Tiakall also carried a stick, though slightly smaller than Heather’s stick, and she pointed that stick at Olafstar the entire time she was within seeing distance of this Wrimo. “You didn’t read the Codes of Conduct, did you?” she asked, making sure the stick remained very close to Olafstar’s face. “It’s against the Codes of Conduct to call any other user a cheater, no matter their word count. And having seen Sushi write in person, I happen to know that she can write fifty thousand words in a day and that she’s no more a cheater than you are.”
Olafstar opened his mouth to reply, but tiakall kept talking over him. “You’re quite a bit ahead on your word count as well. Guess that’s not possible either, is it?”
“But–” Olafstar said before tiakall interrupted him again.
“Your behavior through these forums has been unacceptable. Please don’t come back until you learn to speak respectfully to others and follow the rules of Wrimonia that you so love following,” tiakall finished.
Olafstar had nothing else to say to this. He turned around and ran away from the square before Heather could shake her stick at him.
“What just happened?” Mia asked the three Wrimos standing there. She noticed that tiakall also had quite a high word count, but nowhere near the full blue bar that the Wrimo known as Sushi had. (Mia couldn’t see her nametag and therefore didn’t know whether Sushi was in fact her full username or whether it was short for something else.)
“Sorry you had to witness that,” Heather told Mia. “Every now and then someone gets called out for cheating when they don’t realize NaNo is a self-challenge. Someone else’s high word count doesn’t invalidate your own accomplishments.”
“But fifty thousand words in a day?” Mia asked, looking up at her own 1687 words in her blue bar. “That’s writing more than this–” Mia pointed up at her blue bar. “–every hour for a day. When would you sleep?”
“I didn’t,” the long-haired Wrimo replied, stepping forward, and Mia noticed that she was still bleary-eyed. And now Mia saw her nametag and donor halo and full blue bar and ten purple winner badges as well. But the name on the username badge stood out as the long-haired Wrimo pulled her hair back…
“Sushimustwrite?!” Mia exclaimed as several years of seeing that name around Wrimonia and a month of hearing that name rushed to the front of her mind. “It’s you!” Mia stayed rooted to the ground despite a desire to run up and hug this sushimustwrite person. This may have had to do with the fact that tiakall had pulled out a pair of chopsticks and was now sneaking up behind sushimustwrite.
Sushimustwrite didn’t notice any of this, probably because tiakall was living up to her ninja skills. But tiakall sneaked ever closer to sushimustwrite and grabbed her ear with the chopsticks, then proceeded to nibble.
“Sushimustwrite, you’re being eaten!” Mia yelled, jumping back. She was not going to approach sushimustwrite now, at least not while tiakall was in the vicinity. What if tiakall ate her too?
Sushimustwrite jumped forward. “But you told me nibbling was okay!” tiakall said.
“Mia said you were eating me,” sushimustwrite replied. “You know eating me isn’t okay. We’ve gone over this too many times.”
But tiakall didn’t relent, instead stepping closer to sushimustwrite and clicking the chopsticks. “But you’re so delicious. Why won’t you let us eat you?”
“I’m your friend, not food.” Sushimustwrite turned away from tiakall.
Tiakall clicked the chopsticks again. Mia had had enough. She stepped forward toward sushimustwrite and stepped between sushimustwrite and tiakall. “No,” Mia said. “You are not going to eat sushimustwrite.”
“Mia!” sushimustwrite exclaimed.
Mia turned toward sushimustwrite. “Wait, how did you know my name?” Mia asked.
“Mia Wonnor?” sushimustwrite asked. “It’s on your nametag, for one. But I can’t believe it’s you!” Sushimustwrite threw her arms around Mia, ignoring the chopstick clicking in the background. “I’ve been looking for you for ages.”
“I could say the same of you,” Mia replied. “Everyone has told me to find you this year, and the way they’ve been talking about you, they made me think you’re everywhere in Wrimonia.”
“Not entirely a false statement,” sushimustwrite replied. “I get around this place. Not so much yesterday thanks to being a little busy.”
Mia looked at sushimustwrite’s full word count bar again. Fifty thousand thirty words. Safe to say that she was busy.
“How did you do it, anyway?” Mia asked.
“Very carefully,” sushimustwrite replied. “One fifteen minute nap, lots of tea, fast typing and writing speed, an uncanny ability to pants the heck out of my plot, and turning off my inner editor. It’s not for everyone, and it may not be for you. I didn’t think it would be for me my first year, or heck, my eighth or ninth. But then cosmam bribed me with alcohol if I succeeded last year, and it was mathematically possible, so…”
“You mean you’ve done this twice?” Mia asked. “Your hands. Your poor hands.”
“My hands are fine. The rest of my body is the problem. Have you seen me sit and type?”
Mia shook her head. “So what are you writing about now? Are you continuing with this novel, are you starting a new one…”
“Actually, I finished that book yesterday,” sushimustwrite said. “So I’m starting a new one now. I was just seeing what my main character was up to so I get an idea of what would happen later. This book contains more plot than the book it’s a sequel to.”
“Oh cool, what’s it about?”
This is probably my favorite part of the novel. A few folks asked me why I wasn’t in the first Wrimonia. The answer is that I couldn’t figure out how to include myself. This time I figured out a way. And now the fun begins.
The cheating scene is based on something that really happened.
Share, don’t be a jerk, donate to Nano if you’re so inclined.