Ah, the City of Angels. Home to celebrities known around the world such as Will Smith, Reese Witherspoon, and NaNoLA’s Lucky the Lemur. How could you not get starstruck by Lucky’s cute, cuddly, over-caffeinated presence? Sure, lemurs may not be native to Los Angeles, but it’s a region perfect for the out-of-place.
Put on those shades, because our LA Municipal Liaisons, Sara, Jennie, Chris and Xander are about to dazzle you with just how Hollywood tackles National Novel Writing Month. (And check out how NYC, Atlanta, the Philippines, and London take on the writing madness, too!)
The Los Angeles region rundown:
Best Local Writer Fuel — ”It’s not food or drink; I’d have to say it’s the other Wrimos themselves. Nothing gets me typing like the sound of other people typing. That, or a Starbucks Red Eye” — Chris
Other suggestions: Bananas from anywhere (S.M.), the caffeinated cookie that is the Starbucks Gingerbread Latte (J.V.), ”Freud claims pancakes but really anything flat and circular” (X.B.).
Best Way to Beat Writer’s Block — “Solar de Cahuenga, a cafe/restaurant in Hollywood has a very writerly feel to it. I hate that I don’t get there more often; if not to write, to people watch” — Xander
Other suggestions: Caltech’s haunted Morgan Library (S.M.), the “Mysterious Universe” podcast, especially if you’re writing sci-fi/horror/paranormal fiction (J.V.), anywhere in the early morning when, as a friend put it, “dreams are closer to the surface” (C.W.).
Regional Genre of Choice — “Historical fiction to steampunk chick lit to noir to flying monkey space operas.” — Sara
The Can’t Miss L.A. NaNo Event
“The Great Train Escape! Ten hours of writing on a train from LA to Oakland. Beach views, wine, and a flying monkey named Bubbles. Sheer heaven—from the Smog to the Fog!” — Sara
“Hands down, the Great Train Escape. There is nothing like having a writing marathon on a train. And during those ten hours, you might be visited by a flying monkey bopping you on the head… or maybe that was just me.” — Jennie
The Runners-Up — ”There is a soft spot in my heart for the Thank God It’s Over parties. It’s a collective celebration of our crazy accomplishments. The month may be over, but we’ve all got new stories to share.” — Chris
“Just because it’s mine: Midnight Blast-Off. We find an all-night diner with outlets and parking, and write at the stroke of midnight of November 1. Oh, and it’s Halloween, and at the Hollywood IHOP.” — Xander
The Municipal Liaisons
(from L to R: Chris, Xander, Chris Baty, and Sara)
Chris (3rd year ML, 8th year Wrimo): A college friend mentioned NaNoWriMo in 2003. I checked out the website on awhim, and got hooked immediately (I blame Chris Baty). I wrote one post on the forum that year (“50K!” in a shoutout thread) before collapsing from exhaustion. A lot has changed since then.
Xander (2nd year ML, 3rd year Wrimo): I discovered NaNoWriMo from some blog I no longer follow. I had lots of time and needed something after graduating. The next year, after moving cross-country, I actually attended write-ins to meet people. Most of my friends are Wrimos because of this, so it only seemed natural to become an ML.
Sara (2nd year ML, 8th year Wrimo): Inspired by a friend who’d heard about a guy writing a novel in a month, I engaged the philosophy of embracing an insane goal and a ridiculous deadline in 2000. In order to become a scientist, I completed six years-worth of college in 2.5 years.
As of 2003, November is the month when molecular biology complements my earlier theater degree, and all manner of scientific craziness runs rampant in my novels.
Jennie (1st year ML, 5th year Wrimo): This is my first year as an ML, but I’ve been hosting local write-ins for the last few years. I first saw NaNoWriMo being bandied about on Livejournal in 2006. In 2007, I finally signed up and promptly forgot about it after a week.
Despite my shameful start, I have won NaNoWriMo every year since 2007, and I hope to win many more!
A Guide to the Local Wrimos and Culture — ”I love meeting participants who tell me that they’ve never won NaNoWriMo; I tell them, ‘With me around, you’ll hit 50K.’ Every year, a bunch of these participants reach 50,000 before I do!” — Athena
“I learned that other people were doing this crazy novel-writing thing at my first Thank God It’s Over in 2003. One of my favorite things about NaNoWriMo is when I see people who start the season shyly showing up to write-ins, who end up talking to everybody at the TGIO. We writers can be an introverted group, so it’s great to see Wrimos come out and connect with each other.” — Chris
“For our mid-month party, everyone is encouraged to wear a silly hat. Then we take a group picture in the middle of Hollywood, with everyone staring at us, as we proudly wear our crazy hats and spell out NaNoWriMo. The tourists go nuts with their cameras. We feel like movie stars!” — Sara
The Region In a Nutshell — Fabulous City, Glamorous Writers.
“I made a joke about how we come out “mostly at night… mostly,” and keep laughing myself silly, but that’s just me and my late night write-in.” — Xander
Check out the region in November!