The Writer's Cramp 9/1/20 W/C 597
|Rework the Problem
“Oh no, the electricity is off.” Thunder boomed, lightning illuminated the space.
The four of us sat around the card table I had drug out of a closet. Our house was still empty since the moving truck got stuck in the storm in Osh Kosh. Something about a foot of snow. We were lucky to have brought along some camping gear. So we had the candle lantern, the tiny cookstove, and some disposable dishes and glasses. I found some mismatched chairs around the house we had just laid claim to.
So Marcie, Josh, Harry and I sat in the dark room with only the light from a few candles on the card table. The dehydrated camp meal already eaten, we talked the storm away. The house was remodeled many times over the hours. Then we turned our attention to finding a way to finishing Harry’s novel. He was stuck on a plot point. Now this was not a new problem. It had been a problem for five years. He said he’d lost his ‘muse’.
What I thought, and I didn’t tell this to Harry, is that what he really lost was his last girlfriend, Shirmey. Yes, that was her unfortunate name. Shir just left five years ago without a word and at that point Harry stopped writing. He just couldn’t seem to get any motivation to finish his great work. So we as friends thought we could help him this evening. We thought the lack of any stimulation from TV, radio, other female friends, even alcohol could help him reach a breakthrough.
“It’s no use, fellows. I’m dead. I’m going to chuck it all. Throw it all away.” Harry was pacing.
“Well, think of this. What if you have the hero kill off the girlfriend? Wouldn’t that give him a chance to meet someone new? A new plot point? You got to admit the girlfriend in the novel is kind of a whiner, a real pill,” said Marcie. I think she was subtly referring to Shir.
“Oh I don’t know.” Josh stood up, started pacing also. “I kind of like her, is her name Lilly? Whatever. She’s sort of sexy. She has possibilities. You could rewrite her a bit. I wouldn’t mind meeting Lilly in a bar some night.”
“What? Are you wanting to hit on my fictitious character? You’re sick!” Harry punched Josh in the arm. “I’m not going to knock off the girlfriend, Marcie, so don’t suggest that again.” He grabbed my hand and lifted me from my seat. “What if you were in the story? What would Angie do?” Then he sat down.
“Ummm… well…I think I would kill the hero. Yep. He’s a butt-hole. Kill him. Murder. Or suicide. Make it bloody. I think it would sell millions.” I sat down.
Harry stood again. He looked at the three of us. “Kill the hero of the book I’ve worked on for over five years? I’d have to rewrite the whole bloody thing.” He mused about this for a long moment.
“I love it! Angie, you’re a genius! This just may work. And you’re right. Jim IS an A-hole and deserves a painful death. He’s toast. Just as soon as I can get back to my computer, the novel will be finished,” Harry shouted. Then he sat down.
We clapped. Finally, a breakthrough. Harry was finally on his way. We raised our red plastic glasses in a toast to his success.
Thunder started again. The storm seemed to be coming back. It was getting late and the candles were burning down.