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A dare is a challenge to include an idea into a NaNoWriMo novel. Dares can be anything: characters, scenes, quirks, dialogue, or even plots. Unlike adoptables, which are generally ideas that the original writer chooses not to use, dares are often silly ideas that aren't necessarily abandoned ideas.
A few examples of dares include vampire kittens, a character who is vowel-deficient, and flying saucers of milk.
Uses of dares
WriMos and Screnziers use dares in several ways. Writers can challenge themselves to include a dare in their works as a tribute to NaNoWriMo with the knowledge that only a select group would understand the meaning behind the dare. Even then, not everyone may know about the dare because not everyone reads the dare thread. In this sense, the dare acts like a Mr. Ian Woon.
Dares can also be used to write one's way out of writer's block. Writer's block happens to everybody, especially when writing at a quick pace. Because NaNoWriMo and Script Frenzy are about quantity over quality, using a dare to get out of a tight spot is welcome and even encouraged. In this way the dare also serves as a plot ninja.
Because of the potential for plot and numerous dares including characters, several NaNoWriMo novels have been written entirely based off forum dares. This is one idea proposed when a WriMo has no idea what to write about.
Dares may also include bonus points for incorporating even more elements of a dare. For example, a dare to include a trebuchet may include a bonus points option to include a trebuchet in a modern-day novel, or double bonus points if the trebuchet is a major plot element. While bonus points are optional both for the dare creator and the acceptor of the dare and do not have to be announced, they add another element of fun to incorporating dares into one's novel.
Kass Fireborn introduced the dare on the NaNoWriMo forums in 2002 . The dare thread became popular quickly as Wrimos presented their challenged and accepted the challenges of others. Raksab introduced the concept of bonus points and other rewards for dares quickly and shows off this accomplishment in their signature to this day. As the thread grew more popular, several spinoff threads began in genre forums, specifically in the science fiction and fantasy forums, where the dares could be more focused on elements that appear more frequently in such universes.
From the NaNoWriMo 2007 off-season to the end of the NaNoWriMo 2010 off-season, the forum moderators began locking a thread after it reached 500 comments to ensure site stability. Wrimos were free to continue contributing dares in a new thread. Now that the NaNoWriMo website runs on Ruby on Rails, locking long dare threads is no longer required.