The foreshadowing turned out to be good for the word count, Mia discovered as she wrote for the rest of the day, and she kept the foreshadowing elements in the novel. Less easy to deal with, however, were the upcoming but inevitable week two and the fact that she had still made zero progress on discovering Chris Baty or the legends of NaNoWriMo. Sushimustwrite was nowhere in sight, probably working on her own novel (about her! Mia kept reminding herself. Why wasn’t sushimustwrite around more often if that was the case) and probably getting distracted on the forums.
The pep talks during the first few days Mia found to be helpful, but they didn’t inspire her to do any research on the legends of NaNoWriMo. Instead she wandered around Wrimonia in search of inspiration for her plot.
Mia passed the forums the next day and wandered past a group of notebook tables with eraser chairs. A group of Wrimos sat at these chairs, most of them with laptops in front of them typing away, one or two of them scribbling away in a notebook that wasn’t the one the table was made of. Most of them had mugs in front of them, and occasionally someone would take a sip out of the one in front of them. Mia spotted teapots on a couple of the tables and recognized the ever familiar tiakall, who was no longer dressed as a ninja, and looked around to spot other nametags.
A minute later another notebook table appeared, along with a set of rubies, rails, and WrimoRails. Another group of Wrimos appeared and settled in at the new table that appeared. The group already writing stopped to greet the new group, and Mia spotted a very familiar face in this group, that of sushimustwrite.
But what was going on here? Mia had noticed a few small groups of Wrimos writing together in past years, but she had never spotted a big group like this one no matter how far out of Wrimonia she wandered. How did such big groups of Wrimos find each other to write?
“Hi, are you with NaNo?” a familiar Wrimo wearing a panda hat asked. Mia saw that his name was MattKinsi and that he also wore a Municipal Liaison badge.
“Yes,” Mia replied. “But what’s going on here? How’d you find so many Wrimos to write together?”
“This is a writein,” MattKinsi explained. When he noticed Mia’s blank look he continued. “That’s an event where a group of Wrimos get together and work on their novels. Well.” MattKinsi turned to a Wrimo with a low word count across the table who was studying his computer intently, occasionally tapping a key. Mia noticed this Wrimo’s nametag read Loki892. “Most of us work on our novels.”
“I just needed a Minecraft break!” the Wrimo named Loki892 replied.
“And how many words have you written?” another familiar Wrimo asked. Mia spotted her nametag to refresh her memory. quixotic_hope. That was it.
“I’m telling you, I’ve written twenty-one words today! That’s more words than I have fingers and toes!” Loki892 said.
quixotic_hope gave Loki892 a look and turned back to her laptop, then continued typing. But Mia’s attention wasn’t on quixotic_hope or Loki892 or MattKinsi, though she had quite a few questions for everyone involved in this affair. But the person she wanted to talk to was occupied, so Mia kept asking questions.
“Why?” Mia asked. “I mean, I can get some writing done on my own, but I’d probably get distracted with more people around because I’d want to talk to them. especially if I knew them well. Don’t you guys face that problem?”
“Nah, my main distraction is Minecraft,” Loki892 said.
“But what about meeting these people in the first place?” Mia asked. “Did you just all get to know each other on the forums?”
“Sort of,” a Wrimo by the name of Karilouise said from the end of a table. “But mostly we got to know each other through events like these. Going out and finding Wrimos near us in real life and making friends with them and hanging out with them in the offseason and then doing it all over again.”
“But you have Wrimos near you!” Mia exclaimed. “You can go to events like these and start your own. I might not be able to do that.”
“Keyword: Might not be able to,” Karilouise said. “Where are you from, Mia? And how’d you find us?”
“I’m from south Georgia,” Mia said. “Small town, though I guess it’s big compared to all those podunk towns that make up most of south Georgia.”
“Have you checked out the regional forums?” MattKinsi chimed in again. “If you go to your regional forum you can post and meet other Wrimos near you and even plan events with other Wrimos near you. That’s how big events like these get started. Wrimos post looking for Wrimos near them, others respond, and then meeting up happens.”
“What’s a regional forum? And why haven’t I found these in all my years of doing NaNo?”
“It’s a place to connect with other Wrimos by geographic proximity,” MattKinsi said. “Wrimos near you.”
“But I live in a really small town,” Mia said. “Do you really think there are going to be Wrimos near me?”
“Only one way to find out.” MattKinsi got up and scooped up his laptop, then led Mia to the nearest WrimoRails stop.
“Where are we going?” Mia asked.
“Your regional forum,” MattKinsi replied. “You said you’re in south Georgia, right?” Mia nodded. “You’re in the Elsewhere section of Georgia.”
“Elsewhere? So I’m not cool enough for my own region?”
“There aren’t enough people in south Georgia doing NaNo yet,” MattKinsi explained. “Nor is there anyone yet willing and able to lead a separate region down there.”
“But won’t that mean no one will show up to a writein if someone starts one?” Mia asked.
“You never know,” MattKinsi said. “The only way to find out is to make a post in the forum and see if someone else responds. You’ll never know if you don’t post.”
“But if no one posts…”
“Then you can still hang out with us Atlanta Wrimos in our chat room and get to know other Wrimos on the forums. You’ve been doing the latter for… looks like three years.” WrimoRails appeared then, and MattKinsi and Mia boarded. The driver asked them where they would like to go.
“United States, Georgia, Elsewhere,” MattKinsi said.
“And off we go!” the driver said. WrimoRails zoomed back up into the sky and across Wrimonia. Mia watched as forums zoomed past before her eyes. The large forums were soon replaced by small cozy cottages, no two alike. But before Mia could comment on this, the driver announced, “Region: United States, Georgia, Elsewhere.”
“Thanks,” MattKinsi said, and he and Mia deboarded.
The Georgia Elsewhere forum was a small yellow forum that could be considered small only if compared to the other forums. A couple of eraser benches graced the front of the cottage and a large garden filled the front area. Mia and MattKinsi entered the forum, which looked much like the other forums Mia had encountered except that it was cozier. On the wall hung a calendar and a map of Georgia with pins in various places throughout the state, along with information about the region and an introduction to the Municipal Liaison, who happened to be… MattKinsi himself. MattKinsi reached into a small clear container and handed Mia a pin.
“What’s this for?” Mia asked.
“This map shows where everyone in this region lives,” MattKinsi explained. “If you write your name on the pin you can also find Wrimos near you and you can have writeins just like the one you ran into today.”
Mia nodded and looked at the map. Her town was near the Florida border, of course, but there weren’t too many Wrimos there. Mia saw only five pins. There were more than five people at that writein she ran into earlier, and all of them lived near each other or at least appeared to. Here only five people had shown up in the forum from her town.
“So how does this help find Wrimos near me?” Mia asked.
“You can contact the Wrimos individually,” Matt said. “Or you can post a thread in the forums. I think there’s already a thread for your city.”
He led Mia through the forum. The rest of the forum was just as cozy as the entrance area, with sunflowers outside each thread. MattKinsi and Mia finally found the thread for her city, and they entered.
“Here you go,” he said.
“Wait a minute, you’re my Municipal Liaison, or at least that thing up front says so,” Mia said.
“Yep,” MattKinsi said. “That means I lead the region and answer any questions you have and do anything I can to make NaNo the greatest experience possible for all of you. So if you have any questions about NaNo, ask me. Chances are I’ve got answers.”
“Wait a minute,” she said, remembering where she had seen MattKinsi before. “You’re the prophet!”
“The prophet?” MattKinsi asked.
“Yes!” Mia said. “You told me you didn’t know where Chris Baty was last month. But you never said anything about the legends of NaNo.”
“I’m afraid I don’t know anything special about them,” MattKinsi said. “I know what’s been passed down from year to year and from Wrimo to Wrimo, but nothing more. Not even the Church of NaNo knows everything. Heck, I don’t know why they’ve adopted me as their prophet. Must be something to do with that licking thing.” MattKinsi sighed.
“But you’ve gotta know something!” Mia exclaimed. “You’re the prophet!”
“That doesn’t give me any special standing,” MattKinsi said. “Especially when that standing is accidental as it is.”
“But that means someone out there respects you. They see something in you and your knowledge of the NaNo community and know that you’ve contributed something valuable. And you have.”
“Aw, thanks Mia,” Matt said. “Now go find some Wrimos near you.”
Mia wandered around her regional forum until finding a thread with her town in it. Excellent. There was even activity in it. Excellenter still. Mia stepped in the thread and saw two couches and a vase with sunflowers sitting on a table. No one was in here at the moment but based on the slightly messy state of the thread, someone had been in here before, likely multiple someones. Mia looked around and saw a list of Wrimos who had signed the town log. None of these names sounded familiar based on her adventures in Wrimonia, but maybe she could meet them in person sometime.
Then she turned to a calendar on the wall. This, she figured was an event calendar for the city, at least based on the marker hanging from the calendar. Mia imagined that in many busy regions this calendar would be in a more prominent place and would be filled with events. Come to think of it, wasn’t there a calendar in the region common area, even though she couldn’t edit it? Not that she had tried, but MattKinsi didn’t draw her attention to that for some reason when they entered the forum.
But this calendar was notable in a number of ways. First, it spanned October, November, and the first week of December on one large sheet. This didn’t strike Mia as completely out of the ordinary, though she did find herself wishing for a calendar like this at work.
The second was that besides the major holidays in the non-NaNo world such as Thanksgiving and Veteran’s Day, it was almost completely empty.
Okay, that was a lie. It did have a few observances on it. There were word count goals for every day designed for those writing the core fifty thousand words. 1667. 3334. 5000. And so on throughout the month. And there were other dates such as “NaNoWriMo begins” on November first, “Donation Day” on the fourteenth, “ML Appreciation Day” on the sixteenth, and “Back Up Your Novel Day” on four separate day throughout the month. But none of these were local events that Mia could participate in with other Wrimos who lived near her. She wasn’t expecting too much, to be honest. But seeing the nearly empty calendar was, to be honest, disheartening. This city was a college town. Surely there would be someone on campus doing NaNo. Maybe another English major would be nuts enough to do it.
But as MattKinsi said, start your own event. Maybe that was what Mia had to do. Someone had to step up and start something themselves; otherwise everyone would wait for someone else to do it. So Mia grabbed the marker hanging from the calendar and looked through her own calendar for a free day. When she found a consistent free day she wrote in a write-in at a local Starbucks on the calendar. If she started it, they would come. Right?
So now we know where Mia lives! And you can probably figure out where she went to college. It’s not mentioned, I don’t think, but she didn’t move after she graduated.
This raises another question. How did Mia run into the Atlanta Wrimos in the first place? Wrimonia’s a weird place, even weirder than you’d think. You can find lots of things if you look hard enough. Think of how you encounter Wrimos during November. Regional forums, regional chats, all sorts of ways.
The Wrimos in this section are from my own region. I read part of this section out loud and the general consensus was that I had the characters/Wrimos just right.
Share, don’t be a jerk, donate to Nano if you’re so inclined.