Never Write Alone

read on prose.com

Writing without an idea for content or intention is fraught with dangers familiar to anyone who has written for fun. What unfolds, however briefly satisfying, invariably reaches a disappointing end that stinks of overlooked hindsight. Here are several such walls I have tumbled into face first:

1. Total Abstraction
e.g. Writing from the perspective of a shoe, garbling language, describing a dream.

2. Brain Diary
e.g. Collating unedited thoughts, biased preaching, or uneducated philosophising.

3. Predetermined Twist
e.g. Writing with an end in mind and quickly reaching it; often telegraphed. Often starts with the title.

4. Desperate Twist
e.g. ‘It was all a dream’, ‘I was the real monster’; often involves a blatant shift where the writer figures out how to end it. Title is often written as a disguise.

On my 9th birthday I was given a small navy leather-bound book. My heart sank at the thought of being given a bible as a gift. Dread and guilt boiled up at the thought of parents so poor and boring. My mum soon parted the red sea by fluttering through the gilted blank pages, breezing my face with an incredible smell and an imposing adventure, as yet unwritten.

My dad handed me another gift with a wink. The wrapping paper was joyously colourful and littered with cartoon dinosaurs; I was so relieved. I tore apart the paper to reveal a long similarly navy, similarly leather-bound box. It initially snapped back shut so my dad quickly prized it in half to reveal a beautiful chrome pen, like nothing I had seen before; it was like if bullets were designed to be ridden into space.

I sat with my book in one hand and my pen in the other, feeling giddy; I owned these two incredible items! My mum took the pen, popped of the lid to reveal a shiny gold fountain nib and slid it onto the end. She handed it back and I noticed I was at the centre of 10 gazes.

“What are you going to write?” Aunty Rita smiled, staring at the first fresh page of my book.

I was scared but buoyed by adrenaline so I wrote.

‘Daniel held the bullet like a knife and drew black blood from the bible. Everybody was staring at him and wondering what he would do next. In his head he saw that he would finish his last sentence at the very end of the page and stand up. Everybody would be scared. But not as scared as Daniel. He would show them a trick. The knife would disappear.’

I looked up to see everybody still staring. Uncle Geoffrey’s expression was completely blank. Aunty Rita looked angry. Gran seemed was still reading with a wide eyes. Pa’s head was tilting as he squinted and read back and forth.

I looked at my mum and dad who looked at everyone else. They turned to each other and smiled, my dad shared his smile again with me, my mum gave me a wink.


I originally wrote this on Prose. Visit https://theprose.com/danielpratt to see my other writings. I also edit and spellcheck things there more regularly 🙂

What is a prose?

I’ve started posting stuff on theprose.com, starting with my pre-existing Not Words and my Nonsense Short Stories I write with a random first sentence before falling asleep.

It’s all here, baby: https://theprose.com/danielpratt.

 

Here are a couple of excerpts:


Not Word. 1. Hacro

Hacro
Noun.
Definition: A method of speeding up a repetitive task on a computer that still involves human action. A human macro.
Example: Changing the last character in a list of sentences by mindlessly pressing the same short sequence of keys until they all appear done.
(Most often involves the sequence ([right-arrow], [down arrow], [delete]) x [NUMBER OF LINES YOU’VE SPELT WRONG])
References: Macro. Human.


Night Shorts. 3. ‘Jonathan was a shoe’

Jonathan was a shoe.His tongue was stitched in such a way that the front and back facing sides seamlessly merged creating a bulging soft item that inexplicably felt both smooth and rough depending on where you touched it.There were bubbles in his sole that you could see all the way through. They were distributed in such a way that you could look through a bubble in the heal and see out one of the sides. If Jonathan ate too much his bubbles glowed red and made him feel self conscious.He didn’t know if any of the patterns in his design were mirrored or copied in another shoe. This made him feel awkward and lob sided which sometimes made him sad and sometimes lonely. He would cheer himself up quite quickly by remembering his foot was on an accomplished young athlete who he was very good friends with.His arms were laces. They were very soft and had shiny plastic intertwined throughout their threading which made them look like they were covered in glitter. This sometimes made people think he was a girl but he was a shoe and would tell them so but that it didn’t really matter anyway.He was a size 5 in a brand that over estimated their sizes so always believed he was really a 4 1/2. Wanting to be thought of as more manly, he would lie and say he was a 5 1/2 or use units that made it sound bigger. He started to get away with it more as he got older, by which time he had forgotten it was a lie and started to stretch and sag into at least the made up size to which he referred.One day his owner died…


Were those even excerpts? That last one seemed especially long and the first one was definitely an entire piece of something.

 

So, given that what a prose is is:


prose

prəʊz/

noun

  1. written or spoken language in its ordinary form, without metrical structure.
    “a short story in prose”
  2. another term for sequence (sense 4 of the noun).

verb

  1. talk tediously.
    “he was still prosing away about the advantages of a warm climate”
  2. dated
    compose in or convert into prose.


…I think we’re both pretty happy with how things have gone down here and totally get what a prose is, right? Right? Write?