It is hard to explain the magic of the Night of Writing Dangerously. I shall give it my best effort, however, because I want all of you to come to the Night of Writing Dangerously next year, and also because my brain has not quite recovered from NaNoWriMo yet and I have a lot of pictures to use as a crutch for this post.
People who attend events in their regions are often startled to discover how powerful an experience it can be to find themselves in a room with a dozen or so other writers. Imagine, then, the feeling of walking into a room full of 200 other writers.
Then, imagine that the room looks like this:
Only then will you start to understand the atmosphere at the Night of Writing Dangerously.
This was our fourth annual Write-a-thon, and in my not-at-all biased opinion, it was the best ever. When people arrived at the Merchants Exchange Building in downtown San Francisco, they saw our extremely fancy poster digitally displayed in the lobby.
They boarded elevators that whisked them to the Julia Morgan Ballroom on the 15th floor, where they were greeted by friendly staff members and waiters offering Cosmonoveltons and Noveltinis, our (delicious) signature cocktails for the evening.
After they checked their coats, signed in at the registration table, and gotten their draw tickets for the raffle (one ticket for every $50 raised), they headed through the bar area and into the ballroom.
Once in the ballroom, people picked out a spot at one of our tables, where their word-count tabulator and tote bag full of goodies awaited.
Each table developed a personality over the course of the night, and many people who started out the night not knowing anyone went home with a fistful of new friends. There were the fiercely competitive tables, who plugged in their headphones and valiantly ignored the (ample) distractions. There were the rowdy tables, where the Cosmonoveltons flowed and the sugar rush reached epic proportions. There were the celebratory tables, where every milestone was applauded and, in some cases, dance-partied.
Once people got settled in at their tables, they could browse the candy buffet;
enter the raffles;
or start writing in the hopes of hitting 50,000 words, being crowned a NaNoWriMo winner,
and going home with one of the fabulous winner’s prizes.
Over the course of the evening, there were speeches by Lindsey Grant and Chris Baty;
presentations on the publishing process, by Rachael Herron, and Script Frenzy, by Jen Arzt, in the Willis Polks room;
and furiously battled word sprints, for which the winner got to wear the coveted flower pot hat.
There was even an appearance by last year’s most talked-about raffle prize: mini-Chris!
Attendees stuffed themselves with an absurd quantity of food, from delicious cheeses to ridiculous donuts, enjoyed the open bar and the table beverage service, won prizes galore, wrote hundreds of thousands of words, and most importantly, raised more than $40,000 for the Office of Letters and Light’s free creative writing programs.
And I like to think they had a pretty good time doing it.