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Birthday Party

(It is night.  You are standing in front of a house.  The porch light is on.  You approach the door and ring the bell.
The door opens.  Madeline is standing on the other side of the doorway.  She is holding a tray of funny hats.  You can see other people inside the house milling about, each wearing some type of hat.)

MADELINE:  Hello!  I'm so glad you could come!  Here, pick a hat and I'll let you in.

(She holds the tray out in front of you.  There are six hats to choose from.)

(You select one and enter the house.
In the front room you see several people, some talking in pairs or small groups, others holding down the floor alone with their tiny plates of party food in hand.)

MADELINE:  It's quite a good turnout.  It's mostly writing buddies, but there's some of my family over there (she waves) and some friends of friends have come as well.  There's even a few people that found their way here from the other side of the planet.  (She laughs.)  That's the internet for you.  

(You and the hostess leave the entryway and enter the living room.  You see a poster on the wall that says something about NaNoWriMo.)

MADELINE:  That's what got me started, you know?  I'm forever in debt to NaNoWriMo and my local group of WriMos that inspire and encourage me.  You should check it out!  It starts in November, only three weeks away!

(The doorbell rings.)

MADELINE:  Duty calls!  Find me again before you leave.  So glad you came!

(She goes back to the door.  You sit down on the couch and are invited to join in a game of charades that has been going on.  The participants tell you that the category is titles of books.  A partygoer in a camo Santa hat is the charader.  She holds up a hand.)

GUESTS: Five words!

(Camo Santa hat nods and holds up two fingers.)

GUESTS:  Second word!

(Camo Santa hat flicks her cup and a slight ploink is heard.)

GUEST 1: Flick!

(Camo Santa hat shakes her head and holds her cup up to her ear, flicking it again.)

GUEST 2:  Listen!

GUEST 3:  Hear!

YOU:  Noise!

(Camo Santa hat points at you and waves her hands as if to pull you toward her.)

GUEST 2:  Sound!

(Camo Santa hat points at Guest 2 and smiles and gives a thumbs up.)

GUEST 3:  Second word is Sound.  Okay...

(Camo Santa hat sets down her cup and holds up her hand.)

GUESTS:  Fifth word!

(Camo Santa hat draws her brow down low and bares her teeth.)

GUEST 1:  Growl?

(Camo Santa hat deepens the emotion on her face and makes fists, shaking them at the guests.)

YOU:  The Hulk?

(Camo Santa hat drops her head into her hands, trying not to laugh.)

GUEST 3:  Frustrated?

GUEST 2:  Embarrassed?

(Camo Santa hat waves her hands in the air as if to clear the slate.  She takes off her hat and points to the fringe around the brim.)

YOU:  Hat?

GUEST 1:  Santa?

(Camo Santa hat points at the fringe again and pets it with her hand, then rubs it against her cheek.)

GUEST 2:  Fur?

GUEST 3:  Soft?

(Camo Santa hat points at Guest 2 and makes the same motions she did at you earlier.)

GUEST 3:  Pelt!

GUEST 1:  Skin!

GUEST 2:  Hide!

(Camo Santa hat shakes her head and points at Guest 2 again.)

YOU:  Fur.

(Camo Santa hat waves her arms.)

GUEST 2:  Like fur.

(Camo Santa hat nods vigorously.)

GUEST 1:  Furry?

(Camo Santa hat smiles and points at Guest 1 and gives her a thumbs up, then shakes her head, touches her ear, and points at Guest 1.)

GUEST 3:  Sounds like furry?

(Camo Santa hat nods and points at GUEST 3.)

YOU:  Slurry!

GUEST 1:  Blurry!

GUEST 3:  Jury!

GUEST 2:  Fury!

(Camo Santa hat jumps up and down, pointing at Guest 2.)

YOU:  Second word is "sound", fifth word is "fury".

(Camo Santa hat looks at you, waiting.  You blink at her.  Camo Santa hat holds up one finger, three fingers, and four fingers in succession, then holds her index finger and thumb about an inch apart.)

GUEST 3:  The other words are all small words.

(Camo Santa hat nods.)

GUEST 2: First word "the"?

(Camo Santa hat nods, face expectant.)

GUEST 1: "The Sound -something something- Fury."

GUEST 3: The Sound and the Fury!


(You feel like this is a good time to find something to eat.  You make your excuses and find your way to the food.
The only light on in the kitchen is the chandelier over the table.  It illuminates a cake, surrounded by cupcakes and snacky party fare.  The cake is decorated with stats for Madeline's blog.)

CAKE:  Top post - A Tale of Two Heroines.  Top referring site -  Top non-US country pageviews - Malaysia.  Top browser of viewers - Firefox.  Top month for total page views - August 2014 with 701.  Total views - 4,848.  

(The cake looks like it is probably more for display than eating, so you pick up a cupcake instead.
It's delicious.
You see a few people you know and exchange pleasantries, but feel that you've done your duty in showing up, so you decide to head home.  On your way to the door, Madeline stops you.)

MADELINE:  On your way out?  Glad I caught you, then.  Don't forget to enter to win a door prize!  Just comment on this post here or where it's shared by me on Facebook, Google+, or Pinterest.  Like, +1, <3, share, and re-pin this post for additional chances to win.  You have until midnight Oct. 17th to enter to be a winner.

YOU:  What do I win?

MADELINE:  (laughing) Sorry, that is the most important part, isn't it?  Some of my NaNoWriMo advice has been included, along with the advice of other WriMos, in the new version of No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty.  I'm giving away two copies of the book, autographed by Chris and me.
NaNoWriMo Store

(You assure her that you'll enter and make your way to the door.  As you walk through the living room, you see the charades group again.  You wave goodbye and open the door to leave.  As you walk out, the charader runs up behind you and holds the door open, pointing outside the house.

GUEST 2:  Outside?

GUEST 1:  Night?

GUEST 3:  Stars?

(You shake your head and head for your car.)


Special thanks to Kentucky Route Zero for the inspiration for the format of this post.


  1. Congrats to Andrew Woodard and Summer Wilson, winners of the giveaway!


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