Short Story – The NaNoer’s Conundrum

This is a little short story I wrote about what my personal experience with doing NaNoWriMo this year was like.  Just as a warning, it gets pretty meta at the end.  Also, I didn’t edit this, so it might not flow the best or there might be typos or grammar errors here and there, but oh well.  Here it is.

All characters belong to me.  (Carma is the ML of my NaNoWriMo region, with the first person perspective being myself.)

On Halloween night, as we squatted in the little hostel, waiting for the clock to strike midnight, all the hopeful participants of NaNoWriMo held their laptops tight and stared at their screens. As for me, I’d been gobbling down artificially flavored and colored gummy candies most of the night to try and stay awake. I knew exactly what I was going to write before going to sleep. I’d been planning this out since the middle of October. I knew for a fact that I was going to win this year.

“It’s midnight!” Carma yelled to everyone in the little room. “Go, people! Start writing!”

I opened up my word document and began typing on the keyboard, but something had happened. My sleep-deprived brain wasn’t working the way it should. I couldn’t remember exactly what it was that I had wanted to write. But I had to press on. Just finish the prologue and then I could fall into sleep’s embrace.

At last I made it to the end of the prologue, though the entire time I wrote it, I knew this wasn’t what I had envisioned, wasn’t what I wanted it to be. But I couldn’t change it now. It was too late. Seven hundred words exactly. Fine. It was time for bed.

My sleep was invaded with dreams of strange things that were oh so vivid at the time, but by morning I had mostly forgotten it all. How annoying. So was that snoring. Terribly annoying. I went down for some breakfast but rather than a good breakfast I just ate a few brownies. That’s a healthy breakfast, right? I felt a little ashamed of myself when I heard that everyone else had written deep into the night, getting around six thousand words or more, when I only had seven hundred. Oh well. I wasn’t going to let it drag me down.

In the coming days, I had been steadily writing a chapter each day. But as I wrote, I found I disliked my main character more and more. He was a terrible brat and I was laughing when Mina and Vlad decided to pull horrible pranks on him. Good, I thought, he deserved it for being such a killjoy.

I regretted laughing at his misfortune soon. New revelations struck me about this boy’s tragic history and now I felt awful. I understood him more because of it. Poor Arthur. How could I have done this to him? But I didn’t, I remembered. I wasn’t the one doing any of this to him, despite what many other writers liked to say. No, I had no control over what happened in this story. I was just writing it all down. I wasn’t playing God with their lives or their world, like so many others seem to think.

“I’m glad you agree,” Vlad told me when I thought this. “I do despise authors who think that. It’s so arrogant of them.”

“Yes, yes, I know,” I muttered, trying to concentrate on writing. Even if I wasn’t making everything happen to them, I did still have to figure out what it was that did happen to them. They aren’t kind enough to tell me their life stories, but they will give me bits and pieces and let my brain slowly find out the rest as I go. It’s never fully accurate when I write it down, of course (hence why we have to do so many drafts), but if we can get it mostly accurate, that’s good enough.

“But you know, it is fun when you do little ‘fan fictions’ about us,” Vlad said with a grin, resting his chin in his hands as he gazed at me from across the room.

I glared at him. “What are you trying to imply?”

“Nothing at all,” he said, holding his hands up.

“Oh, no, I see exactly what you’re doing. You’re trying to put different ideas into my mind and keep me from writing my novel, aren’t you? I don’t know what the point of you sabotaging your own story is, but mark my words, I will not give in to your schemes!”

But as the days went by, as NaNo was coming closer and closer to its end, I found myself struggling to stay focused. Any piece of music I listened to reminded me of some other story I wanted to write. My brain screeched when I opened my word document and refused to make words. The scenes in the story got so awkward that I could hardly force myself to move on with them. It was a bloody disaster.

And then even more characters entered the story. Insane characters that I could hardly keep up with. Vlad’s son Neculai, Lagatto’s partner Hope. Then there was the infamous time that a samurai burst through a window. Yes, a samurai.

“I don’t know what I’m doing anymore,” I moaned as I threw myself onto the couch. The samurai had really taken the cake. Vlad patted me on the shoulder in what I assumed to be a sympathetic gesture.

“Don’t get so down on yourself,” he told me. “You’ve passed fifty thousand words, haven’t you?”

“Yeah,” I mumbled. “But that’s not the point. I don’t know what I’m doing with this story anymore. It went from an angsty teen vampire novel to an insane comedy to I don’t even know what anymore. I’m starting to lose my sanity.”

“It’s really not as bad as you’re making it out to be,” Vlad said with a shake of his head. “You’ve still got me, so you can get through this.”

“Actually I don’t. You’ve ceased being in this story for the time being.”

He stopped and stared at me. “I’m gone? Why is that?”


“Ah, I see.” He cleared his throat and shook his head. “Even so, I’m sure you’ll be able to get through it soon enough-”

“I have absolutely no idea what to do anymore and I feel all ambition to continue has left my body.”

Vlad frowned at me. “Is that so? And what are you going to do about it?”

I shrugged and rolled over onto my back. “I dunno… maybe take a break. Write some short stories. It might help.”

“Fine, do that then.”

And so I did, and here I am.


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