Tag: writer

The Lazy Author

Once there was an author with a deadline and no story. Unfortunately, the author was lazy. “I do not want to write this story,” the author said loudly. The deadline didn’t change.

She sat down at her computer. “Shouldn’t you just write yourself? All the other authors say that their characters just take over the story and do all the writing for them.” But the story did not write itself. Perhaps the problem was that it didn’t have any characters yet.

The lazy author called for her oldest child. “Will you help me write my story? I’ll give you a cookie.”

“Sure,” the child said. “What do you need help with?”

“The whole thing.” The lazy author said. “It needs to be twenty thousand words, and the topic is hairless cats.”

The child frowned. “But I don’t know anything about hairless cats.”

“Neither do I.”

“Twenty thousand words sounds like a lot of writing.”

The lazy author shrugged. “I think it’s only like 40 pages. And…”

“I think I have homework.” The oldest child left and didn’t come back. The author frowned. Homework was important. Why had the oldest child put it off this late? She would have to talk to the child about the dangers of procrastination… later.

The lazy author called for her second child. “Will you help me write my story? I’ll give you a cookie.”

The middle child looked skeptical. “Do you really have a cookie? The last time I helped you, you promised to give me a cookie later, and you never did.”

Patting her pockets, the author realized she didn’t have a cookie. “I’ll get you two cookies later, to make up for last time.”

“Hmmmmm.” The middle child didn’t look convinced.

“It’s only twenty thousand words, and the topic is hairless cats.”

Rolling his eyes the middle child held up a hand and started counting off demands on his fingers. “I expect a written contract this time. I want to be paid in cash within three days of completion of the work. I expect to be paid by the hour. I expect to be paid for research time. I expect an entire package of cookies to make up for the back pay.”

“An entire package of cookies?”

The middle child shrugged. “You owe me interest and late fees.”

“I’m not paying by the hour. You type one key at a time!”

“Take it or leave it.” The middle child was perfectly calm.

The author sighed. “I’ll get back to you on all that. Later.”

The middle child wandered out of the room, apparently completely uninterested in his mother’s looming deadline. The lazy author realized that she was running out of options.

But, she really, really didn’t want to write the story. So, she called for her youngest child. “Will you help me write my story? I’ll give you a cookie.”

“A sprinkle cookie?” the youngest child asked.

“Sure. It’s just twenty thousand words about hairless cats. Can you do that?”

“Uh huh.”

And the youngest child sat at the computer and started typing. Thrilled that the story was at last being written, the author hurried out of the room. She didn’t once stop to think that the youngest child didn’t know how to type. Or how to read.

This of course meant that the child finished writing much sooner than she expected. She looked up from sending emails on her phone to see her youngest child looking at the screen, inches away. She jumped. “Where did you come from?”

The youngest child giggled. “All done.”

“You wrote the story?”

“Uh huh.”

Thrilled, the author raced back to the computer. There was a ten-page document waiting for her. The word count said there were 100 words. The word count was generous in its definition of words.

The youngest child beamed. “Sprinkle cookie?”

The lazy author sighed. “I’ll get you one later, okay? It’s mommy’s turn to type.” And in the end, she wrote the story all by herself.

The Little Read Story

Once upon a time, there was a short story that bravely set out to change the world. It was certain that it had something important to say. The story knew there was a reader waiting for it, all it needed to do was find its way there.

Its lines were carefully packed with goodies sure to delight. There were silly puns and thoughtful metaphors and underneath it all there was an enduring message of hope. It was not too sweet and not too sour. It was just right.

Unfortunately, the story had to cross the dark forest of the editorial process in order to reach the reader. The author sent the story on its way with a word of caution. “Be careful who you listen to in the woods. Not everyone has your best interests at heart.”

“I’ll be fine,” the story said. “The woods don’t scare me.”

But the woods were scarier than the story thought. It was dark in the woods, and very confusing. Sometimes the story wasn’t sure which way to go. The story remembered hearing rumors that stories could be lost in the editorial process forever, never reaching any readers at all. Suddenly, the short story was terrified.

Just then, a friendly amateur editor greeted the story. “Little story, what are you doing in the woods?”

“I’ve come to deliver goodies to my reader. She’s waiting for me at the other end of the woods.”

The editor smiled a wide smile, “That’s wonderful. But did you know that you have a comma out of place right there? And are you sure that’s the right word choice? It implies entirely the wrong thing for the context. In fact, I think you are headed in entirely the wrong direction. Let me give you a few pointers, or you’ll never make it out of here.”

The little story took notes. Then, just as it looked down to check the comma, the amateur editor slipped away, and changed all the road signs as he went. The short story quickly lost its way.

It got stuck in unexpected swamps of indecision, and second guessed all its metaphors. Thorny bushes of self-criticism tore up the silly puns. The story clung desperately to its hope and trudged its way through the long paths of grammar and spelling checks.

It was not the same story once it emerged from the woods. And the little house on the other side of the woods was not the house that the short story expected to see. Had the reader moved?

The short story straightened its lines and knocked on the door. “Hello?” it called. “Were you expecting a story?”

“Come in,” called a strange voice.

The story hesitantly entered the not-quite-familiar house. “Where are you?” the story asked.

“Just in here, dear.”

The story followed the voice and found the reader tucked away in bed, already wearing her reading glasses. But she didn’t look quite right. In fact, everything about her seemed a little bit off.

“Reader, what big eyes you have,” the story said nervously.

“That’s just the glasses. They magnify things, you know.”

“Reader, did you always have pointy ears on top of your head?”

“Silly story, how could I keep my reading glasses on without ears?”

The story looked at the reader again. Something was really wrong here. “Reader, why are your teeth so sharp?”

“The better to criticize you unfairly,” the reader roared, and sprang out of the bed. But it wasn’t the reader at all. It was the friendly amateur editor. But the editor wasn’t looking so friendly any longer.

The story gasped. “What did you do to the reader?”

“What reader?” The amateur editor laughed. “I think you need to be set aside. You just don’t really have the potential you used to have. Maybe someday the writer can figure out what went wrong. For now, there aren’t any readers waiting for you at all. You are just a terrible story.”

With a cry of dismay, the short story prepared itself to be shut away in a drawer, little read and little remembered. And that’s just what happened. Fortunately, the story still had its message of hope to keep it company in the dark drawer.

A long time later, the writer came across the story again. “Oh, dear. This little story certainly met an unfriendly editor. Look at all the changes. It’s hardly the same story at all. And it had so much potential. Its heart is still good. I think I can revive it.”

The little read story was rescued from the dark drawer and set on its feet. Its goodies were restored, better than before. The next time through the woods, it stayed focused and didn’t get distracted or lost. The short story found its reader and delivered its metaphors and puns and message of hope. It was no longer little read or little remembered. It was loved. The story and the reader lived happily ever after, and the world was just a little bit better.