I’m back running the Brighton community for National Novel Writing Month this year, which includes organising a ton of events.
My co-Municipal Liaison and I have already hosted a couple of weekly write-ins a week at coffee shops, a virtual write-in and a social night where we can think about anything other than writing.
As well as weekly events, there’s one which is a one-off, mainly as it’s pretty big. The virtual pub crawl. I’m not sure how it started, but since I started running the Brighton Wrimos, I have curated them.
The idea is that in our group chat room, I put up a post on the hour, every hour. They take the form of a fictional pub and some flavour text, then challenges with normal and hard modes. Then finally an optional writing prompt in case people are stuck and need something to throw into their novel.
People drop in and out regularly, sometimes only doing on challenge or two. If they’re maniacs, or me, they can write take part in the whole thing. We have had several 5,000 and 10,000 words days, just from this marathon.
The 2017 Challenges
Just in case anyone wanted to see what the challenges are like, or to try some to boost their own word count, here are this year’s selection. The theme for NaNoWriMo 2017 was superheroes, so I was able to flex my knowledge of fictional pubs and coffee shops. I did stop just short of referencing the Nine Worlds Ice Cream Parlour from the Legion of Super-Heroes, so I count that as being very well behaved, so I could have done much worse.
10:00 – CC JITTERS, CENTRAL CITY
The home of the Flash is also the home of some strong coffee. Everyone’s rushing around all the time, which means take out customers and a lot of empty tables for us to write at. We start to write and then realise that frequenting Flash’s local coffee shop is possibly a bad idea; garishly dressed villains hold everyone inside hostage! Flash will be here soon, so will we be able to quietly write without his Rogues noticing us?
* Hide behind the counter and write: Word War for ten minutes!
* Try to convince the Rogues you’re a writing-based villain collective and here to help them out: Word War for fifteen minutes!
* Option: Someone does something really fast!
11:00 – POP’S CHOCK’LIT SHOPPE, RIVERDALE
“A Town with Pep” it says on the sign into Riverdale. Hopefully that’ll spur us on to making more words! A girl claiming to be a teenage witch directs us to the Chock’Lit Shoppe which looks like a 1950’s diner. We realise there aren’t many plugs after some kid named Archie blew out most of them with a hare-brained scheme, so we’ll have to write as fast as we can while our batteries last!
* Help fix Archie’s mistakes: Sprint ahead, writing for solidly for the next 300 words!
* Race Jughead in a burger-eating contest: Sprint ahead, writing for the next 500 words!
* Option: An act of extreme clumsiness!
12:00 – HARRY’S HIDEAWAY, WESTCHESTER
A little pub hidden away, perfect for mutants and hopefully for writers. We settle in to the blissful sound of silence while X-Man after X-Man angsts quietly in their own booth. Part way through writing, a bouncer asks us exactly what kind of mutants we are…
* Convince the bouncer that we’re X-Men from an alternate universe: Sprint until you hit the nearest 000 or 500.
* Convince the bouncer that we’re all his alternate future clone’s twin: Sprint until you hit the nearest 000 or 500… then keep going until you hit the next one.
* Option: Consider an alternate version of a character, maybe in a dream, in a hypothetical conversation or something similar!
13:00 – WARRIORS, OA
You know where’s peaceful to write? A police bar. No one’s going to interrupt us there, right? We settle down in the official pub of the Green Lantern Corps and try not to make any jokes about bad Ryan Reynolds films. We don’t succeed, but we do try. The problem is, while there may not be criminals, there are some rowdy as heck space cops in here.
* Tell the Green Lanterns to keep the noise down: Word War for fifteen minutes!
* Paint our laptops yellow and threaten the unruly Green Lanterns with them: Word War for twenty minutes!
* Option: Add something green into your story
14:00 – THE QUIET ROOM, NEW ATTILAN, NEW YORK I THINK?
This is a place where Inhumans can… pssh, I’m just kidding, no one cares about the Inhumans. Let’s avoid this place and just have lunch instead.
* Ignore the Inhumans and have lunch in New York somewhere nice.
* Be crazy dedicated to the cause and take part in a quick ten minute word war before eating!
* Option: Add some food to your story!
15:00 – THE OBLIVION BAR, A POCKET DIMENSION
This is a safe place for supernatural creatures in the DC Universe, a good hiding place to write. The wifi is surprisingly good here, as well. The only problem is the occasional shady magic user like John Constantine, The Demon Etrigan or the Shadowpact. We’d probably best try and avoid them in order to get some words written!
* Stick with Zatanna and the less shady magicians – Type /rolldie 400. Write that many words!
* Embrace chaos magic with John Constantine – Type /rolldie 666. Write that many words!
* Option: Add a little magic, real or fake
* Other Option: Rhyme a sentence if you can, in the style of Etrigan!
16:00 – THE BAR WITH NO NAME
This is a hangout for supervillains, but they’re good at hiding, right? It’s the home away from home for people as great as Kingpin, as lowly as Stilt Man (and Lady Stilt Man). We try to cultivate a bit of a villainous look at first, just to keep ourselves incognito amongst the criminals… but then The Defenders attack and all heck breaks loose!
OH YES, IT’S EPIC MUSIC WRITING HOUR!
* There is only one challenge! Put on the YouTube link below to get your adrenaline pumping and then write like crazy!
* Option: Write a fight scene!
Alternatively, if you want to keep on theme, here’s a superhero one!
17:00 – TIME IN A BOTTLE, LONDON
Okay, the last place was a bad idea, I’m sorry about that. Superheroes and villains fighting is rarely good for productivity unless we’re the ones writing them.
This pub is a neutral zone, so heroes like Knight and Squire can socialise with Jarvis Poker the British Joker.
* Hang out with Milkman, Salt of the Earth and Captain Cornwall: Word War for fifteen minutes! (you’ll stop on the first message)
* Defeat Morris Major and his Morris Men assassin army!: Word War for twenty minutes! (you’ll stop on the second message)
* Option: Add something excessively British
18:00 – JOSIE’S BAR, HELL’S KITCHEN
Back in New York, we find a place which is pretty much empty. The only people inside look weirdly familiar. Were they the heroes busting up The Pub with No Name?
“Were you hanging out in that villain bar earlier?” A blind lawyer asks.
There’s only one solution to break the tension…
* Shots! Three ten minute Word Wars!
* Shots and a chaser! Three ten minute Word Wars with a 15 minute chaser!
* Option: Drinking ensues
19:00 – THE ICEBERG LOUNGE, GOTHAM CITY
How did we end up somewhere so classy? I have no idea. Still, it’s spacious, it’s air conditioned. It’s also suspiciously bird-themed. As we start to write a few of us notice the clothes of the people in here. It’s not Halloween, right? So why is that guy dressed as a clown? Why are people dressed as plants, harlequins, big lumps of clay? Something bad’s about to go down and we should probably
* Juryrig a laptop into a makeshift bat signal: Sprint to 1,000 words!
* Pretend you’re a bat-themed hero and get them to calm the heck down: Sprint to 1,667 words!
* Option: Bats. It’s always bats. Add one to your story.
Good luck writing! Feel free to nab this for your own writing marathons or if you’re desperate to get more words, run yourself through some of them.