After leaving the archives Mia set to work on the legends back in Wrimonia, scribbling what she knew about the legends in a notebook. The inspiration garden… noveling nirvana… the Pit of Procrastination…
It was all a big mess, but it had to get down somehow, and Mia spent the next several days concentrating on this instead of her novel. Mia looked down at what she had scribbled down, then looked around for inspiration. But instead of inspiration she saw a sign declaring where she needed to be for the day.
Forty thousand words. Was it really day twenty-four already? It couldn’t be day twenty-four; Mia’s word count was at…
Good question. What was her word count, anyway? She looked up at her word count bar but then remembered she hadn’t updated that in a few days. Time for a full word count update. Mia started up her laptop and opened her novel.
Thirty thousand, five hundred sixty-eight word, her word count read. Well, crap. Time to get back to writing.
But instead of working on her novel, Mia found herself turning back to the legends that she was busy penning. She already knew parts of what she was going to write down, but other parts still had holes in them. Mia sighed and kept poking the words, which seemed to wiggle away from the page. She couldn’t be getting this sleepy yet…
But the problem wasn’t the words for a change. It was exactly the problem Mia was trying to solve for the past two months.
All the little details of Wrimonia started to shine over the next two days as Mia devoted her time to finding Chris Baty. “Do you know where Chris Baty is?” Mia asked random Wrimos as they passed her in Wrimonia.
“He’s probably catching up on his own novel,” a Wrimo wearing a hat with ears said. Mia noticed her nametag read autohaptic. “He tends to fall behind and catch up.”
Another Wrimo said, “You know how some Wrimos go into NaNo hibernation to catch up? He’s probably doing the same thing right now. Good luck finding him.” This Wrimo’s name was aggy c., and her characters followed right behind her.
Mia walked past the forums. That next scene was there, but it wasn’t there. This was a writer problem and Mia knew it. But how on earth was she supposed to explain this in a forum post?
Mia walked past the NaNoWriMo Ate My Soul forum, walking around it and toward the back. She had never been to the back of this forum before.
Gravestones stuck out of the ground, each of them engraved with something like “RIP Protagonist” or “You served me well, unnamed minor character”. Mia passed a Wrimo named murphyslawyer, who was digging a plot for one of her characters and cackling evilly.
“They have no idea what’s coming…” murphyslawyer muttered.
“Who doesn’t?” Mia asked.
“My character. Character torture is a hobby of mine, you see.”
Mia gulped and stepped away. Once murphyslawyer found out…
Another Wrimo with a shovel was busy digging a couple more plots, while a few more gravestones lay next to the plots.
“What is this place?” Mia asked.
“This is the character cemetery,” the Wrimo replied. This Wrimo’s nametag read FireFallon. “This is where we bury our dead.”
“Our dead?” Mia asked. “I have plenty of those in my novel.” She paused. “Not that I planned it that way, I mean! I swear most of these characters were supposed to live. The people in my novel are having a huge ethical crisis over this right now.”
“Excellent!” FireFallon said. “Ethical crises create a lot of plot and conflict and therefore add to your novel. That’s something to be proud of.”
“But my characters would take up a good big plot in your cemetery,” Mia pointed out. “That always happens in zombie novels.”
“That’s okay,” FireFallon replied, giving the grave another good dig. “We have all kinds of space here. And it’s not just for characters who die, either. It’s for characters in novels unfinished or characters the authors didn’t take time to develop, so they died a fledgling death.”
“Is this supposed to motivate me to finish my novel?”
“You could say that. I’m just the caretaker around these parts.”
“You don’t understand. I’m a character too.”
“That’s nonsense. We’re all Wrimos here. Sure, it makes us a little mad, but yes, we’re all Wrimos, all going for that novel month.”
“No, you really don’t understand. I’m a character in a Wrimo’s novel around here. You know who sushimustwrite is, don’t you?”
FireFallon looked confused. “Can’t say that I do. What about this Sushi person? And is this Sushi person edible?”
“She’s my author, and no, she is not edible,” Mia said. “I’m a character in her novel, and if she doesn’t finish my novel I could end up here too.”
“Then that’s a problem between you and her, isn’t it?”
Indeed it was a problem between Mia and Sushi, but how was Mia going to find Sushi and beg her to finish the story? Mia had spotted Sushi in Wrimonia over the last few days looking rather demotivated about her progress. Sushi’s word count bar didn’t budge thanks to already being over fifty thousand words, but her word count progress meter available in Wrimo Hall showed limited progress. But where would Sushi usually hang out?
Mia already deduced the Atlanta forum as a typical hangout but never found Sushi there no matter how often she visited. Mia tried to think of other things Sushi might like. High word counts, the Knights, the Atlanta Wrimos, the Church of NaNo… who else? Mia dashed back to the Knights of NaNoWriMo, remembering that she had in fact been knighted.
“Ahoy, Knight Mia!” rosiedoodle said aboard her mount. Mia noticed that rosiedoodle’s word count was also quite low. “How has your NaNo been? Your mount has missed you.”
And Mia looked toward the end of the Knights’ area, where her mount stood, tied to the forum. He did look rather sad despite looking well-groomed. And then she remembered.
“Oh no! I completely forgot I had a mount here.” She ran up to her pony and hugged him, then untied it from the forum. “I’m so sorry. He has been taken care of, hasn’t he?”
“Don’t worry, we have a Mount Caretaker here,” Lady Pendragon said. “But in the end your mount is your responsibility. It’s a hard life being a Knight, you know.”
Mia hopped aboard her mount. “Listen, I’m on a couple of very important missions here. Have you seen Sushi?”
Lady Pendragon nodded. “All over Wrimonia, of course,” she replied. “Why?”
“No no,” Mia said. “I know she’s all over Wrimonia. But have you seen her charging with all of you?”
“I wish I had been charging more this year,” rosiedoodle lamented. “Maybe my word count would be higher this year. But no, Sushi hasn’t been charging with us much this year. There’s been something in the NaNo air. I don’t know what it is.”
“I think I know,” Mia said. “I just need to find the last ingredient. But before that I need to find Sushi.”
“Well, best of luck to you,” Lady Pendragon said. “Let’s do a CHARGE before you leave, shall we?”
All the Knights present mounted their mounts. “Mia, shall you do the honors?” rosiedoodle asked.
“Of leading the charge, of course.”
“But how do I do that? And why now?”
“You yell the first CHARGE, of course. It’s straightforward enough. And we all need a good charge right now. Have you seen how far behind I am? And you?”
“Besides, we’ve gone over this,” Lady Pendragon said. “Charging is what we do as Knights.”
Mia couldn’t believe it. She, a character in someone else’s book, was being asked to lead a charge.
“I think I can do that. Everyone secure on their mounts?” No one objected, so Mia pumped her fist in the air and yelled “CHAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGE!” before saying “Giddyup” to her pony.
“CHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGE!” everyone else yelled.
And forward the Knights of NaNoWriMo went, charging in their novels, charging through Wrimonia to get those last words needed for fifty thousand.
One of the first scene ideas for this book was to have Mia freak out over landing in the character cemetery. Here it is.
Share, don’t be a jerk, donate to Nano if you’re so inclined.