White Temple Hell sculptures

Fiction is hell

Fiction is hell.

Not one word will seep from my pitiful brain on to this accursed page. I don’t have a single idea worth the spirit-sapping monotony of 12pt Courier. My paragraphs are formatted to double-spaced lines, but you couldn’t tell – you’d need two lines.

Utter dejection.

It was all going so well. I’d read about creative writing; I even did a course.

Back then I was happy, naïve. Everything seemed sprinkled with potential; every real-life encounter manifested an event to be mastered; in every sunrise shone the promise of perfect prose.

I was a poacher in training, yet to set forth upon a hunt in the wilderness of imagination.

Metaphors abound!

Allow me to labour the analogy, by way of a huntsmen’s gear.

Compass: 250-word limit.

Map: the hero’s journey.

  • Everyman protagonist encounters a problem that threatens catastrophe.
  • Protagonist embarks on a quest into a strange world.
  • Protagonist is confronted with a terrible ordeal, and, at their lowest ebb, all seems lost.
  • Protagonist prevails!

A duck call: the literary lures.

  • Add drama by starting in the middle.
  • Use flashback to reveal character, back-story.
  • Inject metaphor into the beating veins of the story.
  • Incorporate self-referential meta-humour.
  • Insert thematic bookends.

And of course, The rifle: my word processor, before which I sit – alas, lost for words.

All this preparation, all this training, and I forgot to pack bullets – imagination bullets. Can’t take it anymore.

But wait… My writer’s anguish is the tale; my creative block the ordeal. The protagonist prevails!

Thank heavens!

2 thoughts on “Fiction is hell”

  1. IMHO, forcing a weekly word count on yourself stifles creativity, leading to writers block. You begin to panic when the target’s not met. It’s a vicious circle; you’re frustrated you can’t write, but you’re too busy worrying about it to let the creativity flow.
    Creativity doesn’t travel in a straight line, it peaks and troughs. Naturally, life events distract from the process, but does it matter if some weeks you write fewer words? Surely what counts is the quality, not quantity. The best thing I’ve found for moments such as these is to do something totally unrelated. Tell yourself you’re not going to write for a while. The ideas soon come crawling back — usually in the middle of the night!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good advice – taking a break I mean. I felt pretty revitalised after my honeymoon, having not written a word.

      And I don’t have solid daily targets, but I do like to feel like I’ve done at least something each day, even if (as I’m doing now) it’s brainstorming a way for my characters to escape a scene.

      Think that might be next week’s post, actually. How to extricate your protagonist from an impossible situation without going all-out MacGyver.


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