Being able to write a 1,148 word short story about a passive-aggressive cat-fight with an imaginary best friend over the last copy of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl at the bookstore.

Now breathe … and let me start from the beginning:

It’s hard to imagine how a simple Daily Post prompt can turn into a huge problem. (Okay, maybe not a huge problem, but it was still a problem.) Last week’s prompt was so simple, even a five-year old could do it. So, why was it so difficult?

It wasn’t. It was fun, and I was having so much fun that I kept on going. Who knew that talking about your imaginary friend could get your creative juices flowing? It felt like being hit suddenly with a bolt of lightning, I couldn’t stop writing. I started right from the beginning: explaining how my imaginary friend came to be, what she liked doing (hitching a ride in a kangaroo’s pouch), the kind of parents she had, and her favourite food (lasagna). It felt, good. I, was on a roll.

Then came the reality check, when you realize that you hadn’t thought everything through. There was still one problem: how would I meet this long-lost imaginary friend?

The bolt struck again.

Like a mad scientist, I set to work sewing in scenes and filling my tale with snippets of dialogue. I was firmly in the grip of mad hysteria; fleeting and incoherent thoughts jostled for space inside my head, while each new word sent a welcome shiver racing down my spine. With all the commotion that was going on, I didn’t notice that something else was happening in the background …

“More power, Igor!” yelled the Mad Writer.

A face crisscrossed with large, unsightly stitches, which seemed to have been made by a reckless tailor, appeared from behind a row of machines stacked in a far corner of the room.

“But thur,” said Igor, looking at the power gauge in front of him. “We’re already at theventy-perthent full power. More would be – “

The Mad Writer cut him off. “What did I say about questioning my orders, Igor?”

Igor held his tongue and turned his gaze towards the small helpless figure pinned to a granite slab in the middle of the room. It was squirming uselessly against the leather straps, in an effort to free itself. It’s no use, he wanted to say, those straps could have easily held down a troll. In Igor’s opinion, there was nothing worse than a mad writer. Sure, he’d worked for a couple of mad scientists with questionable morals in the past, but they were nothing compared to his current employer. Mad scientists were simply misunderstood –usually by an angry mob wielding torches and pitchforks – when all they wanted, was to create something for the greater benefit of humanity. Mad writers were a much crazier kettle of fish all together; they created things, sometimes terrible things, and they enjoyed it. That was what bothered him most: they took pleasure in what they created.

“Igor!”

“Right away, thur.”

He disappeared once more behind the machines and made his way to the far wall, careful to avoid stepping on any of the live wires that lay on the floor. This part of the room was covered in darkness, so he had to feel his way along the wall until his fingers rested on the cold metal of the lever. He took a deep breath as he slowly eased it down.

Igor took a step back and made his way back to safety behind the row of machines. He wouldn’t risk getting any closer, after all, his previous experience had taught him that this was usually not an appropriate time to be curious. It was a survival tactic, one that he’d gotten very good at over the years.

He could hear the Mad Writer cry out triumphantly. “Igor, it’s working!”

The lights flickered, as shadows danced along the walls. Four large glass orbs supported on ten foot tall posts, which had been positioned around the slab, glowed white-hot with the energy of about three thousand lightning bolts. The machines hissed loudly beside him while the dials flashed red in warning. A shrill inhuman cry came from the figure, before the whole room abruptly plunged  into darkness.

“Marthter?”

Nothing.

This was odd. Past experience had also taught him that this was typically the part where lightning flashed long enough to illuminate whatever horror that lay on the slab, as it broke free from the straps. But there was no lightning, thanks to the fact that they were in a room without windows, which made Igor more nervous. It was much better to die once knowing what would happen to you, than to die hundreds of times trying to imagine what would happen to you.

“Marthter?” he called out again, this time the panic in his voice was unmistakable.

Still nothing.

He had to find the door, something wasn’t right. It was hard to make anything out in the impenetrable gloom, so he crouched down on all fours and started shuffling forward.

Grrr …

He paused. “Marthter? Ith that you?”

Grrr …

He froze. Whatever it was, it had quietly padded its way behind him. Igor gave a whimper as turned around to face the creature … 

You see, while I was busy enjoying myself, I hadn’t realized that my main character had gone through a drastic change over the course of the tale. My (somewhat) sweet and innocent nine-year old had turned into a monster, and I was left scratching my head to find answers to some really important questions. At what point did my main character change? When did the sweet kangaroo-pouch-riding and lasagna-loving nine year-old, turn into – and I really hate to say this – a bitch? This wasn’t the story I’d envisioned from the beginning, that is, if there ever was a grand vision at all.

Do you know what the worst part about this sudden turn of events was? It felt good being in this genuinely unlikable character’s head. It was almost how, I imagine, Goldilocks felt when she broke into the Three Bears’ home and found the last bed to be just right. But this was better than just right, this was great! I could have gone on forever.

I didn’t … No, I couldn’t go on.

Maybe it was the euphoria, the mad rush to finish my story, which finally led me to this point. I had quite literally, lost the plot. Not only did my ‘bitch’ have no teeth, since she had no idea how to get the book away from her imaginary friend; but the book itself had slowly been edging its way past the cashier’s till to freedom, when no one was looking. I had forgotten about Gone Girl – my raison d’etre for making up this story – and, I had no clue how to continue from where I left off. I was stuck with one more half-finished writing project with no idea where to go next. (I happen to have a lot of these on my computer.) So, I did what everyone else has probably done on countless occasions – I closed the document and sent it to my ever-growing pile of unfinished projects. (It’s not something I’m proud of.)

So, what’s the point of this pointless post?

I need a word-clipper, something to keep me from rambling. I wonder if there’s an app for that. Also, can I have it specially made for me? And, I’m welcome to any suggestions on how to end my story. It’s probably cheating, but who cares, right?


Image credit: Creativity by jeanbaptisteparis, via Flickr.

 

 

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11 thoughts on “Creativity Is …

  1. Inspirations sometimes is like the sea waves…flow with it like a sea surfer!

    Creativity is when you utilise & manoeuvre those waves for your stunts and to ofcourse find your way safely back home.

    Don’t dump all those headless crazy bits of ramblings and scribbles…just pick them up someday and you’ll discover new routes you never saw earlier and carve awesome stuffs out of them… I was enjoying those bits
    Keep writing!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words 🙂 I feel inspired already!! I will definitely keep writing, though sometimes I think my greatest fear is publishing some of my stuff here. But thank you for your encouragement …again. I guess it’s back to work then!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, Art. Thanks for your Like and comment on my idea for the Writing201 Workshop opinion piece. Sadly, I’m needing to reset all my posts, so I think I’ve lost that whole page to the Black Hole I suspect follows me around the Internet . . . But I greatly appreciate your input and encouragement 🙂 Will keep at it!
    Christine

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  3. Hi, I found this book that takes almost ALL the mystery out of writing. Truly, it’s the book I wish I had twenty years ago. Because I can’t write a short story to save my life. It’s scary to me even to pick the book up off my desk because I’m so terrified that tho this books is the thing I’ve always needed, what if my last writing dream fails even though I have this book that explains *everything*?

    It’s called The Modern Writer’s Workshop: A Guide to the Craft of Fiction by Stephen Koch. It’s the real deal. It answers every question you may ever have had about writing a short story. I tell you, it is perfect. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Dusty 🙂

      Thanks for the referral. I’ll definitely be adding this one to my growing list of books-about-writing-that-I should-get, right next to Stephen King’s On Writing and Strunk and White (it keeps popping up everywhere I look apparently).
      However, how-to’s are great, but what I feel I really need is tons more courage and perhaps a brown paper bag to hide my face when I post something.
      Thanks again. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lol 😉 This book GIVES you courage by demystifying the process. I swear I will double your money back if you don’t find it useful. It’s THE last short story writing book you’ll ever need, want. And I read King’s book on writing; it didn’t do ANYTHING for me (except it gave me a lot of info on my favorite writer and that’s right, I said FAVORITE WRITER OF ALL TIME forever and ever amen). Well, if I knew your address I would be an asshole and SEND it to you. xo 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Haha!! He’s mine too. I’d practically bow down at his feet (Church of the Most Devout King Fans) given the chance!
        But because, it’s you, I’d be willing to give it a shot. I’m not sure if Amazon delivers (here), though.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi Dusty 🙂

      Thanks for the referral. I will definitely be adding this to my growing list of books-about-writing-I-should-get, which before now only had two books: Stephen King On Writing (I’m dying to get my hands on this one) and Strunk and White (because almost everyone recommends it).
      But what I really wish I had right now, is courage – tons of it!. I guess it’s what I still struggle with.
      Thanks again, Dusty 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Haha! I want to join that church!! Oh that’s right, Strunk and White! I’ve heard as well, that I should have it. One of my new faves is On Writing Well by William Zinsser. But, ever since I got the Koch book, I’ve read no other writing book. Koch demystifies the process SO well that I consider it the Holy Grail of al of them. I couldn’t write a story if my life depended on it. My imagination mostly uses myself for all the protagonists. And that, says Koch, is fine. To a point. So is a thought, a view of an interaction, a song, one certain line of poetry you like, *anything* that gets you in the door. I’m reading it through with no intention of writing anything until I finish it, and then, after I begin rereading it again I’ll start writing. Trust me – I’m not a doctor. PS Where do you live? (You don’t have to say). I’ll quit bugging you now. SO so so nice to hear your voice. ❤

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