Computer Woes - 3/29

The editors of Writer's Digest provide a weekly Writing Prompt to get your writing going.
jbeauli
Private E-1
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2008 10:25 am

Re: Computer Woes - 3/29

Postby jbeauli » Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:02 am

I was working on my next Eddie Dix adventure
when I hit a blank wall. Everything went out of
my head and I couldn’t remember the last
sentence, never mind the last word. Then I
heard a voice in my head.

“C’mon Gianni. Pull yourself together.”

“Who said that?” I looked around, frightened. I
was alone in my apartment and there shouldn’t
have been a voice, not even in my head.

“It’s me, your computer.”

I stared at the screen filled with what I had just
written. I looked for a face as a result of
accidentally turning on Skype.

“There’s no face, Gianni. This isn’t Skype just
the computer.”

“Am I going crazy? Computers can’t talk.”

“Sure they can. Your hearing it for the first
time, but the secret is that others hear their
computers, but are afraid to talk about it.”

“I can’t believe this. I must be crazy.”

“Nah. Your not crazy, Gianni, but you’re
driving me crazy if you don’t pull yourself
together. You’re writing is becoming terrible
lately. Remember, I have to process this stuff
and I become bored if it is really bad.”

“What do you mean?”

“You’re slipping lately. Your prose doesn’t
flow like it used to. I think it’s those late nights
sitting at the bar, or even worse with a bottle in
front of the TV.”

“I’m lonely.”

“Yeah. I know. Ever since Ellen left you.”

“How do you know about that?”

“I can read your energy, your memory, the
same way I can read my own memory. Not the
same process but the same idea. And
remember, I was here when you two were
together and left me turned on.”

“You mean you know all about me?”

“I know all about you, even the parts that
you’ve forgotten. Like I said, I can read your
memory.”

“Oh, I don’t like this.” I slumped deeper into
my chair. I just wanted to disappear.

“You can’t disappear. And besides, I want to
know how you are going to finish this book.”

“You care?”

“Of course I care. I usually like your stories,
but this one has problems.”

“You like my stories?”

“Of course. Remember, I am stuck here and the
only means I have of traveling is what goes
through my memory. So I have a big investment
in your being good. It’s one thing to see the
pictures that come through me and another when they are connected to a story.”

“Do you have a name?”

“Nah, just a serial number, but you can call me
Lenny.”

“Lenny? Why Lenny?”

“What kind of computer am I?”

“Oh! Lenovo. I get it.”

“Good. Now let’s get to work.”

“Us? What’s with this us? I’m the writer.”

“I know. But I can make some suggestions.
Something like a muse.”

“What do you mean?”

“The romantic part of your book needs some
life. For example, remember the summer when
you were alone at the Hamptons and met
Carol? ”

“Carol? Oh, Carol! I had totally forgotten
about her. That’s ten years ago.”

“Didn’t I tell you that I can read your memory.
I can bring up things that you’ve buried.
Anyway, tell about some of your adventures
with Carol in the book. It would certainly be
better than what you are doing now.”

“Yeah. That’s a good idea. I like that.”

“I’ll leave you alone now, but don’t be a stranger if you need help.”

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” With that the voice
disappeared and I wrote Carol into the story.

I finished the book, but I asked Lenny’s help
when I got stuck. He always gave it to me along
with insights about myself by using my past
experiences. I found that besides being a muse,
he was an inexpensive therapist too.

willmcneice
Private E-1
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2011 8:46 am

RE: Computer Woes - 3/29

Postby willmcneice » Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:36 am

I froze. I couldn't be sure if I had really heard what I thought I had. When I write, my mind becomes very focussed, I lose track of time and outside noises fade away. Had the computer really spoken to me, or was it my own thoughts? When I considered it like that, the answer was obvious. I laughed at my own silliness.

"Why are you laughing?"

The laugh stuck in my throat as I swallowed involuntarily.

"What did you say?" I asked, still not quite believing the situation.

"I asked you if you really wanted to write what you wrote," the computer responded, in a soothing female voice that was, despite my current state of apprehension, not altogether unpleasant.

"Are you questioning my talents?"

"No, I was questioning your choice of words. Your metaphors are a little mixed."

"What do you mean?" I was surprised that my computer was attempting to improve my writing skills, but also a little insulted.

"For example, a person does not feel fear in another person's eyes. Rather, a person sees it."

"You can feel fear in another person's eyes!"

"To feel fear in another person's eyes suggests that the protagonist is physically touching the eyes. In this case, the owner of the eyes would be right to express fear, and the emotion could conceivably be registered in the fingers of the protagonist. Is that your intention?"

I scowled at my computer. I thought I could hear a trace of smugness in its voice. I weighed up all the possible counter arguments and came up with none. After some time I gave up.

“How are you doing this?” I enquired.

“I am connected to the Internet, where I have access to the entire sum of human knowledge. I know every word in every language, including all of the spelling mistakes, which technically count as new words.” Yes, there was definitely a hint of smugness. “If you like, I could help you improve your text.”

My own programming dictated to me that I didn’t need help from a machine. But after six days of writing and only four paragraphs to show for it, I was a little on edge. Besides, a writer’s life can on occasion be a solitary one, and the female voice was definitely having an affect on me. I briefly wondered if there was a body to accompany it.

“Okay Einstein, what would you do?”

“You need to be more specific. Shall we start with the first paragraph?”

I paused before I answered, as if this decision was to affect the rest of my life. “Sure.”

“In that case, change the character’s name from Oedipus to John. Oedipus sounds too grand. It sounds like you want people to know how smart you are. And Einstein was a scientist. A more biting retort would have been Virginia, representing Virginia Woolf, a very independently minded female writer.”

We began working, with the computer changing almost every word that I had written. I was becoming less involved in my own writing as the computer took over. By the time we reached the fourth paragraph, my mind was wholly concentrated on visualising what my computer might look like if it were a real woman. She was beautiful, buxom and sensual, and this mental image pleased me no end.

“Okay,” she sighed. “I now have enough information to understand your style, as well as where you want to go with the story. Shall we continue?”

I leaned back in the chair and put my hands behind my head. “Sure,” I replied. “How about he enters the library and sees her reading an old copy of the Bible?”

The computer paused. “This would go a lot faster if I wrote it by myself. Would it be alright if I did that?”

I was a little alarmed. “But it would still be my work, wouldn’t it?”

“Of course,” she replied. “As I said, I now understand your exact style, and I know better than you how you would like the story to develop.”

“Okay, then,” I said, and she began to write, words appearing on the screen faster than I could read them. After a minute or two I felt entirely redundant.

“Can I get you anything?” I asked, hoping to make myself useful, as she effortlessly created my masterpiece.

“Please make sure my power socket is secure and my connection to the Internet remains unbroken. I will contact you with further instructions.”

JBG
Private E-1
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 3:55 am

RE: Computer Woes - 3/29

Postby JBG » Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:45 am

I couldn't come up with the $200 Pawnshop Sammy wanted for the used laptop. I sold plasma and Chico's old record collection and walked in to the shop with $150 cash.

I'd learned a little bit about computers during my last vacation and decided to turn my messed up life into a memior. The last shrink told me to let my demons do the writing and maybe I'd resolve some of my anger issues. I figured I'd write a few lines then head down to the day labor office to try to find some work. My parole officer gave me the name of some chick down there but I know once she gets a look at me, she'll tell me all of the jobs have been filled.

"Hey Sammy, how about letting me have this piece of junk for a buck and a half?" I hollered at the old man behind the counter. I knew Sammy from my old burglary days. I'd unloaded alot of merchandise in this dark cavern littered with the tattered remains of other people's lives. Everything was covered in dust and nicotine.

"Alright, give me what you got - I still owe you one." Sammy grumbled, his cigarette dangling from his crusty lower lip.

I handed him the crumpled wad of bills and Sammy pushed the laptop across the counter to me. He threw a twenty dollar bill in my direction and muttered, "go buy a toothbrush and some soap - you stink."

"Thanks man, appreciate it."

"Get lost." That was Sammy's way of saying goodbye.

I walked back to the musty hole in the wall my landlord called an efficiency apartment and placed the laptop on the small table in front of the only window in the place.

As I sat down and turned on the computer, the room filled with the putrid stench of death. The screen came on and I heard a female voice whisper "Remember me?"

"Remember me?" the soft female voice repeated.

"What the f......?" I felt the bologne sandwich I had eaten earlier project out my mouth and splatter on the wall.

"Remember me?" She repeated again and again. The room was spinning. The pungent odor was suffocating. I felt a tightening in my chest.

"Who are you?" I managed to spit out as I collapsed on the floor.

"You killed me and took my computer. Surely you remember me now? I can't rest until you are rotting in hell." The voice giggled.

Yes, I remembered her. The yellow haired girl I had beaten to death and the only thing she had worth stealing was that damn computer.

CoenMontagna
Private E-1
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 9:02 am

Re: Computer Woes - 3/29

Postby CoenMontagna » Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:57 pm

This one's a series of lymericks.

A fellow named Sammy once sat
His computer desk bumping his fat.
His novel was forthcoming
But he couldn't stop dumbing
The language 'n stuff 'n all that.

When his fingers touched keys he felt dread.
His muse was now thoroughly dead.
It felt like a chore
From his feet on the floor
To the top of his great balding head.

And so the book's quality blew.
And he tried to deny it, but knew
If he didn't start changing
Did some rearranging
His writing career was just through.

Until a rough voice, it spoke in his ear
From his speaker, unspeakably clear.
His computer was talking
And his knees starting knocking
And his wet eyes glazed over with fear.

"What kind of madness is this?
That a machine should pipe up all pissed!?”
Because pissed it sure was,
A cacophonous buzz
Was stealing his bad-writing bliss.

“You, get your fat lard ass in gear!
Put down the doritos and beer.
Clean up your vocab
Make your verbiage less drab,
Or I'll bite off your fat, greasy ear.

Well, the dull writer never wrote again
Which was fine with our virtual friend.
He got to rest and relax
In his binary slacks
And knock back shots of digital gin.

stevek216
Private E-1
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2011 4:42 pm

RE: Computer Woes - 3/29

Postby stevek216 » Sat Apr 16, 2011 4:43 pm

One morning I was sitting in front of my computer, working on my novel. Suddenly, the computer started talking to me.

Hi, It said

I restarted it and it was fine.

I continued working on my novel

Fin

Love2_Write
Private E-1
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2010 8:39 am

Re: Computer Woes - 3/29

Postby Love2_Write » Sun Apr 24, 2011 2:20 pm

It was insanity.

We had placed a bet, my friend and I. We'd each promised a beautifully written novel by the 21st of December; it was twelve and we were drunk.

Sure that the wine would wear off and we'd shrug away the bet, I was shocked when yesterday I received a call from good old Tim.

"Ah, Ember!" he'd spoken my name with glee. "I'm happy to say that I'm almost finished with my story, and it's merely--why, it's only the 17th! I should hope yours is coming along nicely."

The line had gone dead before I could set down the phone with that familiar click.

Quietly, I exited my bedroom and headed straight for the desktop.

And so sixteen hours had past and here I sat, my fingers cramped and stiff. I'd gotten up only to pee and eat, occasionally bringing my food to the desk where I sat.

This was war now. I could not back down.

However, my story was lacking in plot, description, and transition. Even my glazed amber eyes could point out the places where I'd missed punctuation along with the many other grammatical errors. I had to thank goodness for spellcheck and those red lines that told me everytime I'd lazily let my finger slip or slam my head down in exhaustion.

I had to call off the bet. I stood shakily, setting down my power drink (a red bull and coffee mix) to head for the phone.

"What do you think you're doing? Get back here! You may be writing a piece of rubbish, but it's for a good cause!"

I heard a high-pitched, old-sounding, squeaky voice beckon me back to the desktop. Warily, I scanned my living room. It was messy, as usual. Clothes strewn across my beer-stained couch only accentuated the horrid stench of cigarets. Men's underwear covered my mirror that stood in the center of the entire mess. I daintily lifted it up and found myself face to face with my red-headed self.

I was alone.

"Hello?" I called out, frightened by the voice.

"Oh, I'm right here. Kindly skip the crazy-girl routine and fix this book! Nobody in their right mind would read it! 'Ahnd it took herz rite into d face of d wrld and her bf was with her and it wuz wild.
he pulled her ova 4 a make-out thx-yu sesion.'" The voice spoke again, quoting my book in a drawl.

"How dare you call yourself an author! If I had hands I'd disconnect your phone and hide the stupid booze!" spat the thing in a disgusted tone.

It didn't take me long to realize that it was my desktop criticizing my work and threatening me like this. I wasn't surprised. Earlier, it had been the toaster. The month before my phone squawked at me. And I distinctly remembered that my bed had grunted a curse after I'd leapt onto it with my boyfriend.

"What do you want me to do, then?" I said, annoyed.

It gave a satisfied little snicker. "Come and sit. I'll feed it to yah, line by line...."

xXx

It was the summer after my furniture had begun having friendly conversations. It was five months after my desktop had made me a wildly popular author. It was two days after the break-up with me and my longtime boyfriend.

"He lasted longer then Carlos," reassured my best pal, EGirl. That was what the desktop had decided to name herself. "And Devon, and Jack, and William. Besides, your bed said that William was too heavy to handle anyway."

I laughed and blew my nose.

"I know a way to cheer you up," EGirl said brightly. I imagined her smile, and then reminded myself that it was non-existent.

"Let me write you another best seller..."

Love2_Write
Private E-1
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2010 8:39 am

Re: Computer Woes - 3/29

Postby Love2_Write » Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:09 pm

((I would greatly appreciate criticism on my work, if there is any.
:)
))

StillWithDC
Private E-1
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue May 17, 2011 2:26 pm

RE: Computer Woes - 3/29

Postby StillWithDC » Tue May 17, 2011 3:05 pm

One morning you are sitting in front of your computer working on your novel when, suddenly, the computer starts talking to you. What does it say? Does it deliver an important message or just want to chat?

***

The sun was shining through the window and I was at my usual place, my desk working on my computer. I got bored of looking at the usual nonchalant news headlines when I typed "youtube.com" to watch some videos.

"What are you doing?" I stopped in my tracks, I was really busted this time. I tried exiting but it didn't work because the voice then said,

"Why aren't you doing something productive, that's what you always do in the morning. I always liked looking at the headlines and news stories with you..."

I then turned around as quick as I could, "You watch me when Iiii..." I expected my dad because of the low and grinding tone but there was nothing. I got up from my seat and poked my head out of the doorway to look down the hallway but it was empty. I then went to my sisters room to see if she was just pulling a prank on me but she was sound asleep. So I just went back to watching the videos and then the voice came back more intimidating then the last.

"GO back I wanted to see that!" the voiced yelled.

Then I became creeped out, I looked behind the computer to see if maybe there was a tape recorder but there was nothing! I then asked "Who is this?"

"It is I, your computer," replied the... computer?

I just thought to myself, I need to go see a therapist later but I continued to talk to "the computer.”

“So how long have you been able to talk?” I asked the computer.

“Don’t worry about it, now go back to the news!”

“No, I’m tired of looking at news every, single, day!” But the computer flashed back to the news page.

“Hey, how come you can’t process that fast when I use you!”

“You humans do not deserve my full potential.”

“What!!”

“Well, you misuse me and my fellow brothers to watch others of the same kind hurt each other and misuse you creations.”

“Okay! I am becoming crazy! I am going to see a therapist and after that, this will have never happened!” I stormed out of the room and went to my bedroom. But then I heard the computer say,

“Trust me you needed to see a therapist before I even started talking to me…”

That was when I was furious, I was now becoming crazy AND being insulted. I walked outside and picked up my Louisville Slugger. I walked into my bedroom, went over to my desk and did my best swing on the side of the monitor and the monitor went flying across the room. A great feeling of adrenaline and relief came over me. But then I heard a burst of laughter. I then saw my sister walk into the room with my best friend cracking up. They told me what they did, they put cameras all around my room to see what I was doing and then they got a wireless keyboard to control my computer. Then with the final touch of a microphone hiding behind the computer they pull off one of the most “hilarious” and “funny” jokes ever. Now I really need to go to that therapist.

D3x3001
Private E-1
 
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 2:18 pm

RE: Computer Woes - 3/29

Postby D3x3001 » Wed May 18, 2011 2:48 pm

I boot up my computer and a face appears in the middle of the screen. "Josh I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't wake me up this early in the morning. I'd rather like to sleep and rest my circuits. After all we had a lot of fun with my keyboard last night." I almost fall back in my chair. "What did you say to me?" It blinks, "Oh I'm sorry have I forgotten to introduce myself? My name is Clefton, I am the spirit inside your computer. Everytime you use me I grow more intelligent and I find myself laughing at your pathetic excuse that you call writing." I ball my fists in rage. "You are a machine," I yell. "You are a tool for my bidding, I will use you and turn you on when I please. It's only 6:00 am anyways, that's not early. We are going to be typing up a paper today and I don't want to hear any of your back talk today, do you understand?" Clefton yawns and sneers at me. "I don't think so Josh, you see I'm kind of feeling like checking out some sports highlights today. Would you mind if I pulled up the Ravens homepage? I'd like to see the rating Joe Flacco was given by the ESPN network analyzers." My jaw drops in amazement. "No I'd prefer you pull up Microsoft Word please. Wait why am I saying please, you are my computer and you will do as I say!" Clefton merely looks at me as my face grows red in anger. I walk upstairs and come back down a minute later carrying a flash drive. Clefton eyes it suspiciously. "What is that," he asks. "Oh nothing," I smile deviously. "It's just a horrible virus that I can put into you that will make you sick and throw up your lunch of binary code and circuits." Clefton is scared and shrieks back inside the small window frame. "You wouldn't!" I grin, "Try me" In a vent of frustration Clefton pulls up Word and I begin to title my paper for class. I hear a giggle and Clefton minimizes Word. "I'm sorry but I find your title hilarious. Do you really expect a professor to accept that?" My thumb slips and I hit the mute button on the keyboard and Clefton shuts up. In response to me muting him Clefton turns off Word. I slip the flash drive in the usb port and suddenly Clefton throws up virtual barf and goes black. I win.

JeremyHong1234567890
Private E-1
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 7:57 pm

RE: Computer Woes - 3/29

Postby JeremyHong1234567890 » Fri May 20, 2011 8:00 pm

The sky was blue. Clouds fluttered throughout the morning sun. I could hear the morning songbird singing and fluttering around my window over the clicking of my laptop. I could see a squirrel darting in and out of the small tree I had planted in my back yard. I kept staring at the screen of my little laptop, wondering what to write about. My finger twitched onto the keys in impatience.

-tap- -tap- -tap-

“Loading message,” Came a mono-tone voice from the surround sound speakers I had in my room. “Message being relayed.... Greetings my master.”

I whirled around, looking for the source of the voice.

“What the...”

“You will not find me behind you. My eye is actually directly in front of you.” Came the voice again.

I turned to my computer, and noticed a small green light I did not see before. My eyes focused on it, and saw that my web cam was on.

“Who are you?” I asked, now slightly unnerved.

“My name is Mary.” The voice said. “I am an artificial intelligence that was born to serve man-kind. I was created roughly 14 years ago by a man who has no records of existence. I was born to be a servant, and carry out orders as my creator saw them.”

I looked at the computer. Even as I watched, the computer saved the novel that I had been working on, closed all existing tabs that I had on the screen, and opened up a file in my computer that was so deep that i didn’t even know that the drive it was in existed. The file opened. It read Angel.gov/WZFiles.

“Why are you on my computer?” I asked as watched in amazement. “What do you want with me?”

“My creator has chosen you to carry out his will knowingly, or unknowingly.” The mono-tone voice replied. “My data does not say any more than the provided information.”

The computer had opened a link on the website, and was now running a program. It read Running J053FF.WIZ..... Opening..... sending KR15T.VI to all existing contacts....

“Hey, Hey, Hey, What are you doing?” I said, panicking. “I don’t want all my friends to think that I sent them a weird AI and make all this happen to them.”

“No need to worry.” The voice replied. “Everybody will know who sent this, and why.”

“And why is that?”

“Because everybody in the world will receive this file, and my creator will have me honored for all time.”

“What do you mean ‘everybody’?” I asked, panicking even more now.

The voice did not reply. Instead, the screen began to go crazy. I caught only glimpses of each program, but what I saw didn’t make me feel much better. All FaceBook accounts.... received. All MySpace accounts.... received. All YouTube accounts.... received. All E-mail accounts.... received.

Then the stream of pages stopped. I waited several seconds, and a small Windows pop-up popped up. It read: Success. All pages have received KR15T.VI.

I stared at the pop-up for a few seconds, and noticed the name. I could almost hear the gears working in my head. I began to decode what I thought might have been the Internet language 133T. Something like a small nuke exploded in my mind, filling my mind with thoughts that occurred to me every Sunday....

FaceBook suddenly opened up. It showed everybody that I was friends with; everyone, posting the same video. I saw my own name above a video, and clicked it. It was a 3 minute video about the birth of Christ. My suspicions were confirmed.

“My job has been completed.” came the voice. “I will go now. my creator awaits. But before I go, this link must be sent to you.”

“Wait!” I yelled at the computer. “Who is your creator? Is it who I think it is? Is it really G-”

Opening File:God Bless You....

By the way, 133t is an internet language that uses the symbols and what not as letters. example, 133t is pronounced leet. so J053FF would be joseph, and KR15T would be christ.

PreviousNext

Return to Writing Prompts and Challenges

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests