Mia typed the final words of the legends, then stared at her laptop. Should she validate? Could she validate with both works adding up to fifty thousand? Wasn’t this cheating? And what day was it, anyway?
Mia passed the NaNo Rebels forum, remembering the people she knew who rebelled from the NaNo rules. She had never been a rebel herself, but after knowing them, maybe this was her year, writing a novel that was less than 50k in length.
“Can I do this?” she asked. “My novel ended at forty-six thousand so I wrote something else for the rest of the words, and now I don’t know whether or not to validate.”
A Wrimo by the name of Kataja approached Mia, and Mia noticed the moderator badge on Kataja’s nametag. “It’s up to you,” Kataja said. “If you think you’ve won NaNo, then by all means go ahead and validate and win. Lots of rebels validate every year. No one’s making you do anything, whether that means to validate or not to.”
Mia smiled. “I’ve won this,” she said. “I’ve earned this victory.”
“You have, but you haven’t done it officially yet,” kataja said. “You need to validate first. But hurry!”
Mia ran out of the NaNo Rebels forum toward the nearest unoccupied validation robot, who unleashed a USB cord and hooked it into her laptop. It hummed as it counted her words and announced, “Fifty-one thousand, four hundred seventy-two words.”
She did it. She really did it. The robot printed out a certificate and badges for her, which landed in Mia’s hands. Mia clutched them for a minute while she reveled in her victory.
Mia couldn’t believe having come back from a loss the year before. But there was one more thing she needed to do before leaving Wrimonia for another ten months. She ran across Wrimonia and down the path toward the archives.
Sushimustwrite was there, tapping away at her laptop. Mia watched Sushi’s fingers for a minute, almost hypnotized at how someone’s fingers could move so fast and still create words, how someone could still make words in their brain and type them out at the same time. “Good, you won,” Sushi said. “I was wondering. I can finish this now.” She continued typing.
“Look, I have the legends,” Mia said.
“Then print them out,” Sushi said. “I have a book to finish.” Sushi pointed to a printer in the back of the archive room, then took another gulp out of a red mug.
Mia ran toward the printer, hooked everything up, and waited. A few minutes later the printer spit out only the pages containing the legends. Mia handed these pages to Sushi, who pointed to the binders.
“Put it on the shelf.”
Mia punched some holes in the pages and slipped them into a binder, then grabbed a permanent marker. What was she supposed to title this? Sushi looked up.
“Might I suggest a title?” Sushi asked, not looking up from her typing but slowing down a little.
“Go on,” Mia said, open to any suggestion she could get.
“How about Legends?”
“No, too dull.” Mia paused. “How about Legends of Wrimonia?”
“But that’s my title!” Sushi exclaimed.
“So? I finished first. That deserves some kind of titling authority.”
“Okay, fine. But I’m the author so I get final say here.”
Mia penned “Legends of Wrimonia” on the cover in her best handwriting, then set it on the shelf next to The NaNoLand Chronicles. The latter looked much fancier, but this cover would have to do for now.
“Thanks for everything, Sushi,” Mia said as she turned to walk out the door.
“Thank you, Mia,” Sushi said. She felt around for something in the desk, then emerged with a pair of headphones. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a book to finish.”
Of course Sushi had a book to finish. Even high word counters wrote until the end of the month. Mia walked out of the archives and back into the forums with a purple bar and her third winner’s certificate. As she found herself walking out of Wrimonia, she thought back to all the memories of NaNoWriMo over the years. This year was no exception. And even though next November was so far away, it would still be jam packed with memories as well.
Sometimes being a character in someone’s book wasn’t so bad after all, Mia decided as she walked down the brick path and toward the rest of her non-noveling life.
I’ve been puzzling over what to title Mia’s legends for quite some time, finally deciding to leave it to when I posted this segment.
Will there be a threequel? Who knows? I have no ideas for one at the moment, but I’m not eliminating any possibilities.
As always, share, don’t be a jerk, donate to Nano if you’re so inclined.