Recently there was a thread in the secret ML forum about making plot bunnies and the question came up: what are plot bunnies?. In the novelist sense, plot bunnies are ideas for plot changes that typically come up once you are working on your well-planned novel with its completed plot. Just like bunnies, they are cute, distracting and they tend to multiply. A few plot bunnies can be helpful since they may represent good changes to your plot, but it is very important not to let them take over your November noveling, because that way lies madness 😉
The above plot bunnies are the prizes I’ve made for the Naperville Public Library write-ins; they will be going out to the winners of newly revamped word wars (using a new online tool I hope to complete before November).
Speaking of write-ins, with so many new members this year, it occurred to me that it might be a good idea for me to talk about our write-ins. After all, I know that we have many more members than all the folks who came out to our three preparatory events.
What are write-ins?
Write-ins are events where people come together at a pre-arranged public location to work on their novels. Typically they will bring their laptops (plus AC adapters) and just type out their novel for 2-4 hours.
Is that all?
Not at all! There is a little chit chat (probably less at the library locations and more at the Caribou Coffee location) and usually some mildly competitive games. A popular one is the write-in word war sometimes also known as word sprints.
What are word wars?
A word war is when you agree upon a period of time (usually 13 or 17 minutes or some other round number like those). People note their starting word count (if you are using an editor like focuswriter (which is a nice multi-platform, free, open source editor), then you can very easily see your wordcount). Everyone starts at the same time and ends at the same time. Usually the one who has the highest wordcount wins (but there are rules to say once you’ve won a prize, then the next highest wordcount will win the next time). There may be other variations to baseline wordcounts so that everyone is challenged.
My oh my! I could do my whole daily wordcount in word wars!
Yes, you could. In fact, I often do that using our online jabber chat room (which has a bot to time word wars). Of course, you need a jabber account, but you can get one free by NaNoMailing NewMexicoKid (me).
What if I need help with my novel?
Typically the write-ins are intended for writing. Some chit-chatting is allowed, but mostly people come to work on their novels.
But I want to chit chat!
Interestingly, sometimes people go out to dinner after write-ins or arrange to meet for lunch before write-ins. And, of course, you can make arrangements to do a meetup type of event if other people are interested.
Your write-ins sound like fun, but they are too far away for me
Our region definitely is geographically large. We encourage people who are too far away from our events to post in the forum and make arrangements for their own (unofficial) write-in events. Coffee houses and places like Panera are good locations for hosting these at.
Are write-ins safe?
We definitely want our events to be safe. We have MLs or long-time regional members hosting all of the official write-in events, which should help. Aurora librarians will also be available for the ones at the Aurora Public Library. Most likely the unofficial write-ins are ok to go to too; however, use common sense (meet up in public places at reasonable hours; if possible, come with a friend; exercise appropriate caution after an event when going out to your car, etc.).
I was really hoping for a party
Great! There’s still time (as of this writing) to RSVP for our kick-off event. And we will begin accepting RSVP’s for the TGIO (Thank Goodness It’s Over) party about a week before the end of November. Both are pot-luck lunch events at the Naperville Municipal Center.
What if I don’t have a laptop? 🙁
If you go to the Aurora Public Library or Plano Library events, it is possible to check out a laptop. For the NPL ones, contact me (NewMexicoKid); I have one spare laptop I can let you use for the duration of the write-in (it’s a Linux machine with OpenOffice).
What should I bring to a write-in?
In addition to your laptop and AC adapter, it can be helpful to bring extension cords and power strips and (for the library-based ones) snacks to share.
… what if I think of more questions later?
You can always post your questions here or NaNoMail them to me (NewMexicoKid) or my co-MLs Katherine (KatherineWriting) or Dave (TRDEDEAN).
More plot bunny pictures