The Unbearable Clicheness of Writing

147-03-march-13th-2016

It was a dark and stormy night when she heard the crash coming from the seaside-facing office. She hurried down the hall.

“Everything okay in there?” She peered around the door to find him at his desk—his face buried in his hands, his old Underwood pushed off to one side. Instead of answering, he gestured at the overflowing trashcan in the corner.

She walked over and discovered the shattered bottle of Dewars. In his agony, he must’ve thrown it, but it had bounced off the mountain of crumpled Eaton’s Corrasable bond that filled the bin.

At last he spoke. “It’s all so cliché. Every single word I put to the page. Try to understand, Barbara.”

It was the whole reason they’d driven the Roadmaster out to Point Sur–to clear his block.

She went to him and rested a hand on his shoulder. “Don’t be so hard on yourself, dear. What is it they say? ‘Write what you know’ or some such.”

He let out a bitter chuckle and reached to roll a fresh slice of paper into the typewriter. “Very well then.” He mashed the keys one by one and began again:

It was a dark 
and stormy night.

This has been an edition of the Sunday Photo Fiction prompt, hosted by Alistair Forbes. To read more or to submit your own, click the blue frog button:

17 Comments

  1. peterkirsch

    Feels like I’ve read this before.
    Clever. Very clever.

    1. feels like I’ve written it, over and over and over!

  2. This is spot-on. Nicely done.

  3. Great title, and yes, oh so horribly true to life! The genre should be labeled as “writer’s horror”! 😉

    1. That’s the truth. Thanks Joy!

  4. “It must be thunder and she opened her eyes to the near darkness for a full minute before closing them again. It always frightened her, even now. She waited for a flash of lightning, but it did not come. The dimly lit bedroom was familiar to her after so many years, but the house was empty, except for her. Empty of fun and sadness, of love and success and failure.”

    The opening of my first novel. SINK RATE. Because that’s how the story begins.

    1. LOL! Because sometimes it actually IS a dark and stormy night. Just one of the struggles we face…The key difference is my version is cheesy and yours is great.

      1. Thanks. It came back to that after all. I tried many other openings and after letting them stew in the literary crock pot, they came out limp and soggy. so I relented because that’s where the story begins, darn it!.

  5. Nicely written. I’d like to think this is where the saying originated.

  6. Lovely take. Yes, dark and stormy nights can be cliches, but sometimes people like to read what is cliches. It’s familiar 🙂

  7. Clever idea for a story – not clichéd at all!

  8. It’s like our words become unfriendly strangers to us. Great take!

  9. Kudos! I’m simultaneously amused, intrigued, and fascinated. Perhaps there is nothing new under the sun, but you’ve shown there are always new ways of bending its rays. This is an application sui generis of EBL: ebulliently bad lit. (That’s how I finally remembered his name.) You should enter the contest: http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/index.html

    1. Lol, that’s great, I hadn’t seen it. Those lines are wonderful!

  10. I don’t believe there is anything to gain from criticizing people, aside from constructively and privately (unless they’ve simply presented no other alternative), but I also believe false praise is sometimes more dangerous—and certainly far more deleterious—than a quick sting. So while I relish recognizing a splendid effort, I’m also judicious in doing so. I enjoyed your story because you committed to the theme from the title to the tiniest detail that persisted until a well-framed conclusion. The overflowing trashcan, the filled bin, the block, writing what you know, a fresh slice of paper… “classic hallmarks.” If I’m not mistaken you also chose trademarks of the era. Well done!

  11. Excellent. Love that start at the end. Which I suppose is better than an end at the start 😉

  12. If this is turning out to be a memoir… I am not sure it will have a happy ending?

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