In the spirit of documenting my NaNo experience this year, I decided to start with the kick-off party I (quite bravely) attended in Leeds today.
Now I'm certainly not a mix-in kinda girl but, as I've previously said, I intend to become a social bunny this November and I'm trying to immerse myself in the feeling and spirit of NaNo as much as possible. So with that in mind (and after a lot of dithering) I attended the meet-up at the West Yorkshire Playhouse today.
The tradition was to take a piece of fruit along for recognition (and nutritional extra bonuses). I duly collected my apple from the market in Wakefield and hopped on a bus. When I got to the Playhouse I joined a table of about seven others all clutching various pieces of fruit. A few minutes later the influx of people who had met at the train station began and our number swelled. We had to move tables.
Well, the twenty five plus of us gathered in a large circle and proceeded to give a brief introduction to ourselves: forum name, previous NaNoWriMos attempted and won, a fact about ourselves and a fact about our novel. This had forced some pretty serious thinking from me the previous night about how I could condense my plot into a summary (a useful exercise for any writer). Essentially, my novel is that a teenage girl is dumped at a service station and the story progresses through seven perspectives as she makes herself at home, showing each character in various lights. Easy!
After the 'official' introductions we broke up to mingle (having been moved by the staff again by this point). Now, me being me, I was too shy to do much. I let people come to me which meant I only spoke to six people while I was there. At times I felt myself slipping back into my shell and forced my way violently out of it as best I could.
I did excuse myself fairly early (who passes up a free pub meal at home?) but I came away with the knowledge that there are some very strange writers in Yorkshire (some of whom stole my apple to adorn a fruit sculpture and for all I know are still keeping it hostage), and that there are a lot of people out there who just want to write while having fun doing it.
Am I glad I went? Yes. It was a social experience, and while I didn't make the absolute most of it that I could've, I did utilise it a bit. If nothing else I've learned that I can stand up in front of a large group and talk for twenty seconds.
That'll be handy for a future university lecturer...