The prompt we had the other day was as follows;
“You discover you are a character of a book, and you meet the author who wrote your story. Write that scene.”
I found this very cathartic:
“So it’s your fault.” I stated, glaring in low simmering temper. The woman raised brows, motioned for me to take the empty seat across from her desk, strewn with my life. “You are the one who wrote my story?”
The author nodded, steepling fingers as if preparing for a therapy session. “I felt it time we talked, to better understand one another.”
I remained standing, taking note of the disjointed items before her. There was no order to my life, as if events laid about like forgotten playthings. A stuffed dog lay against a pile of childhood memories, some faded and tattered, barely recognizable. My childhood home, my father’s old Officer uniform hat, jumbled into the pile or what could only be described as fragmented things.
“Why?” I asked with authority. I was no longer a child.
Brows lifted again. “Why?” She echoed, lines etched her pursed mouth and eyes that squinted back at me. She appeared more like a writer of mystery than the Dark Comedy. “Why did I write your story?”
“Yes, why is it like the way it is?” I noted my parent’s divorce, our moving to Maryland, away from friends and family. I saw childhood friends too faded to even remember how we played as children. I fought the urge to fling the items from her desk.
The author shrugged. “Why does an author write any story?”
“My story sucks-“
Temper rankled. “You could’ve written me to have more money.”
“Yes, I suppose I could.”
“And to let things work out when I try to do things.”
“So you are not happy with your life?” The tone was more statement than query but enough to merit a response.
“I…” My voice faded as I noted a photo of my husband and son together, full of smiles. “Well, not… exactly.” I also saw the pile of friends and colleagues met through the years, some of which weathered with use. Faces smiled. “I just want something more of a career.”
“That is why I asked you to come here.” She touched an unfinished manuscript, marked red with editing and overthinking. It sat atop short stories, poems, sketches, post it notes. All unfinished. “It is about this.”
“My writing.” Whatever anger smothered under her reprimanding tone.
“I’ve given you people to encourage you to finish this, as well as time-“
“But not focus. I don’t have much focus-“ I countered.
Her chin dipped in reproach. “That wasn’t me, and you know it.” She turned to the boxes overflowing with ideas and projects. “We need to do something about this. It is getting out of hand. Every time I write, you’re off on another idea, or wasting time.”
I shifted uneasily. I had no answer.
“I realize you are creative, but until you focus and finish…well, I can’t move your plot forward.”
I sat staring at the pile, watching three more items poof in existence on top of it. The author sighed, pushing them off. “Really, this is getting ridiculous. I’m sure you can find time to clean this all up, and to finish what is important.”
“Even if I do, it doesn’t mean I’ll succeed.” Temper bubbled again.
“And you think that is what this is all about? Money?”
“I have to live on something!”
“And until you get this out, until you can focus on just one or two things, you won’t find any success.” She peered into my soul, unrelenting and firm. “And no, it’s not about money. Success is so much more than that. This is what you’ve set as a goal, for yourself. So do it. No more excuses.”
“Then write me some focus!”
She shook her head, pushing the pile of unfinished stories. “What do you think your main conflict in your story is about, anyway? We call that Deus Ex Machina in the business. You don’t want some cheap plot device, do you?”
“Winning the lottery would be nice.” I retorted. But she was right. Having the author just write a solution would be cheating.
“You can do this.” She stated firmly. “You have readers waiting for you to finish.”
I nodded. “Fine, I will try.”
The author smiled, grabbing up a small Yoda figure from the pile of memories. “Do, or do not, there is no try.”
What was a prompt, ended up being a revelation for me. Try it yourself. Write the scene of the author of your story.