There was a light, a simple idea, like the first star on a moonless night. Around this light a character began to form. Innocent and curious she stepped forward. Another burst of light gave birth to a sweet cottage, covered in climbing ivy. A river of rolling hillsides flowed into the darkness, revealing a further land to discover. Her feet were pricked by emerald green grass and wide eyes took in her world.
A newcomer stepped from a darkened woods, his hands and feet bloodied and bruised. He was mysterious to both her and their creator. She built him up, led him to a fate for just the two of them. They could see their future together, so bright and hopeful.
However their happiness didn’t last long before several enemies arose. Doubt and Fear, ugly warped creatures emerged from the darkness. Doubt had a tongue that lashed deep, wounding the uniqueness of the story. He twisted their words, “I’m not good enough” she muttered as if in a trance. Fear grinned and clutched and tore at all their courage.
The world slowly began to crumble, and there was no-one to stop the evil. There was nothing they could do to stop the destruction. The two characters weakened, they sat blank eyed, just out of reach of one another.
Suddenly everything was ripped, the creator tore apart her work. The world dropped in shreds into a waste bin.
A waste… the bin was where they now belonged. A waste…such a waste.
A gentle hand, old and worn, reached into the waste bin. The hands cradled the shreds softly as if they were a baby chick. The hands began to carefully glue the pieces together. A puzzle that took months of dedicated concentration. Regret; that was the name of the owner of the gentle hands.
The creator yelled at Regret at first and, after discovering that Regret didn’t leave, ignored her.
The pieces of the story were together again, and yet there was still no light, the world together but dead.
“I killed my first story when I was seven years old,” Regret murmured softly. “It was silly, but a boy at school told me it was stupid to write about princesses and princes. I tore apart my notebook the moment I got home.”
The creator listened half-heartedly, her eyes lowered and focusing on the fringe of her skirt.
“The second murder took place when I was sixteen, when I sent my manuscript in for a competition. I got a letter saying I hadn’t won and I burnt the story.”
The creator cut vegetables for dinner and tried to shake her head of any thoughts she was having.
“At the age of twenty-two, I considered myself far more mature than my sixteen year old self. However after twenty rejection letters, I once again deleted the files.”
The creator drove to work, turning up the music loud to drown out the words Regret was saying.
“I was forty-five years old, when I finally learnt the precious lesson. I had a successful career, I had a family, and I lived in a house suitable to make the most creative person dance. However I wrote, like I’d never written before. The story was simple but full of beauty, truth and an ending that left you beaming. A story of what I wished had been different in my own life. It got published the following year and a young girl approached the signing table. “Your work is such an inspiration!” she said. I lent forward and told her one thing. “If I have one tip to hand on to you, it’s this. Don’t wait. Don’t grow old and then write about what you would have like to happen. Write now and live the dream you’ve always wanted. A little hard work, a heart that is open and truthful and you’ll grasp your dream. If I had just persevered with my earlier stories, stayed with my characters, even if they need a bit of work, I could have achieved my dream a long time ago. Giving up isn’t the answer. Love your stories and your characters. Don’t murder them in cold innocent blood.”
The gentle hands of Regret placed the pages into the young creator’s shaking hands. The creator closed her eyes and held the pages close to her chest. Tears dripped down her cheeks but a smile formed on her lips.
Suddenly a light began to flicker to life and the fixed pages began to come alive. The creator opened the doors wide, the hillside was given fresh grass and a river flowed through. Her characters took deep breaths, opening their eyes to the morning sun. They reached out and joined hands, sharing a kiss. Their world was given new life and the creator laughed for the first time in months.
Regret moved away, shoving something deep into her pockets. The creatures Doubt and Fear tried to wriggle out of the pockets but Regret kept a firm grasp on both of them.
“She’ll have a hard enough time without you two getting in the way,” Regret said firmly to the two creatures. “So you just stay right here with me…out of her life.”
Regret smiled and watched the creator create more and more worlds and characters. The creator sometimes had rough patches, but she never gave up, and her characters were able to live happily ever after.
This post is a story brought about by my own inner thoughts.
You see I have a terrible habit of getting half way through writing a story and suddenly losing the ability to write it. I still love the characters, I know what is going to happen, I know the end, and I love every part of the story. However for some reason my brain just switches off, it’s like writer’s block, but only for those stories. I can still think and write other stories, but just not the ones I want to.
When I was a young writer it was easy. I’d have the good guy and the bad guy and then they’d fight and the good guy wins and it’s ‘happily ever after’. I’d finish several of my little stories in a year and I’d show it to my brothers and family. Then I started thinking of deeper plots and characters, with plot twists and romance, betrayal, loss and an ending that was so satisfying that they’d want to read it all again. Little problem was it was much harder to finish these long brilliant stories.
The story above is a bit different than just about simple writer’s block. I’ve also struggled with the problem in the story, as have other writers I’ve seen.
Anyway, enough complaining and self-assessment.
I love you guys! You are all awesome!