Letter to the Author

Have the main character in your novel (or short story) write a letter to you. What would they say? Have them write whatever you want.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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226 thoughts on “Letter to the Author

  1. UnknownAlias

    A letter to the author? Haha, plot twist, I AM the character. >:D

    If I were to write a letter to myself…I would say…
    Write better.
    Take advice from others.
    Don’t get ahead of yourself when writing. 🙂

  2. Feral Maiden

    The hour was late and the computer warm from a long night’s work. I had been about to turn in, when I noticed the pointer on the screen moving on its own. I could feel the hairs on my arms raise. I must be seeing things, had been my first thought. However, after rubbing at tired eyes, I watched as the pointer continued to maneuver with a mind of its own. It opened a new document and clicked onto the page.

    I waited in anticipation for whatever would come next. Words were beginning to form on the screen…

    “Dear Author,

    This is Vivian.”

    My eyes had widened in shock. This couldn’t be possible…

    “Don’t seem so surprised. You probably think you’re imagining this, but let me reassure you, you are not.

    I don’t have much time. So, let’s get to it then. You’re in danger.”

    Before I could even ponder what she had meant by that, there was a long pause and Vivian continued to type.

    “As much as I hate how you write me to be some mental chick, I don’t want you dying anytime soon.

    There’s talk of a man named Galahad looking for you. He’s not happy that you’re writing about him or his past. He knows you haven’t finished his tale yet and he plans on making sure you don’t…”

    Galahad was looking for me? I read over Vivian’s more recent sentences and started to worry, which was silly of course. Why should I worry about a fictional character? Yeah, Galahad was a vile man willing to do anything to get what he desired, but there was no way he could find me… was there?

    I looked back at the screen and noticed nothing new had been written, “Vivian, are you still there?”

    “Yes… sorry. I didn’t mean to worry you. I think I’m hearing things-”

    Her sentence was cut short and the screen began to blink in and out rapidly. “Vivian?!”

    The screen stopped flashing, and a chill set over me as a word was typed onto the page. It was simple and short, but it had my breath caught in my throat in dread.

    “No.”

    Before I could stop myself, I asked a stupid question, “Galahad?”

    “I’m coming for you.”

    Every hair on my body stood up at once, goosebumps ridged every bit of exposed skin. I slammed the laptop closed and tried to calm my deafening heartbeat. My breathing coming out in ragged pants.

    Within the dark of my room I could hear the whir of the mini fridge and the floorboards creaking above me. After a minute or two, I felt like it had all been a bad dream. However, before I could get up from my desk, the laptop suddenly became ajar. The screen letting out a blinding light and then as swiftly as it had happened, the room was dark once again.

    My heart hammered as I heard footsteps, from behind me, approaching.

    “You must be the author”, said an older voice, rougher then sandpaper.

    I gulped down hard and hoped my next words didn’t reveal how truly terrified I was. “And you must be Galahad.”

  3. Pinx

    Dear Mr. Writer Person.
    It comes to my attention that you have penned miles of ink on the topic of my, and my family’s, personal affairs. I don’t know what you think you are trying to do, but it won’t work. Why? Because you kind of suck. I read your nonsensical blog, and let me say, no wonder you are worried about what goes on in my life; clearly there isn’t much going on in your own. What do you have, like, 2 or 5 hits a week. That is not very impressive.
    If you are going to write about my affairs, I hope you get paid for it, though I doubt you will, hope you don’t, I mean. What happened to my son, while it may be have been a national media frenzy, I wish you would stop reopening the wound every time you sit down at the keyboard.
    I’ll cut to the chase: Where is my son? I know you think I know, but what if I told you I didn’t. Just because you forced me to interact with the evil spirit who controlled me for a time, doesn’t mean that I am consciously aware of what happened.
    While I’m in the hospital, they will only give me sheets of newsprint and crayons. If and when I am released, I will address you more properly, but even my freedom is in your hands. Please have me released, so I can at least have a chance at a normal life.
    I miss my daughter and I’m curious to know what happened to the man I married. I mean, if something did happen to him, I don’t know, I mean the change in him. I feel slighted because he is not the man you introduced me to.
    Please dedicate more time to me. If I am ever going to change, for the sake of my daughter, if not for myself, please give me the time I deserve. While I know you are exploiting me, just another notch in your belt, my daughter deserves to have that happy ending. Can you give it to her? I will gladly trade my freedom, for her happily every after. Finish our story, please.
    I assume you have a real job, not just pretending to be a writer. That is, unless you are one of those charismatic bums who manipulates someone into loving you and financing your lot rent, so you can spend all your time daydreaming about being James Scott Bell or John Grisham. Am I right?
    Whatever occupies your time, please squeeze us in. I may be wrong about you being a bum, but if you are gainfully employed, why bother writing anything? I mean the process itself has to be nerve wracking. Give it up.
    You may judge me while I’m am a prisoner, that’s fine, everyone judges me now. I hear them speaking their lies, when I get out, my attorney will be in touch with them, and you.
    Love
    Michelle

  4. PRATIKLOHIA

    “This isn’t how it will end”, the letter read, “This isn’t how I will let you destroy me”. I could not fathom who wrote this letter I found by the coffee machine this morning as I poured my daily cup.
    “I know how you think Howard; I know each and every one of your dirty secrets. I know the filth that lives in your mind. Worried who I am? You will soon figure out. After all, you have been dictating every aspect of my life all these months, ever since I was born. But you need to know why I am doing this to you.
    You never gave me a life I deserved Howard, because I was always the life you could never live. I am a manifestation of your desperation. I exist to fulfil each one of your desires, the bad ones, the ugly ones, the ones that every human shames to admit.
    You made me the bully you feared in school, the one you despised much. Not because he treated you bad, but because you just could not be him. And you wanted to live being him; you wanted a taste of that life, of that power to abuse; a life you had the courage to neither live nor fight back.
    You could never grow out of the fact that you lost every day, in every aspect of your life. You could never outrank your best friend. Your jealousy made you hate him so much, that you made me a shrewd winner. I hate being this cunning, this unethical Howard. I hate that I am ready to go any extent to win, without even caring that I am destroying my best friend, a friend who put so much faith in me. You could never be a winner because you never thought straight Howard. This is why I am so cruel. This is why I chose all the wrong means to win, because in your ugly mind, you cannot think of the amazingly beautiful ways to fulfil your destiny.
    You made me kill my own father Howard. How could you do that? So what if he didn’t care for his family. So what if he beat my mother. He was my father Howard. But you made me kill him because that’s what you wanted to do to your father. You did not have the courage to fight him back, to save your own mother from his atrocities. You are a coward Howard. You just destroy what you can’t win. And that’s what you want to do to me today. You want to destroy me. You believe that with me, the angst that lives in you from all these years will end.
    Howard, didn’t you yourself say in the beginning,
    “He who burns in the hearth of despair, is as much a chalice of your Eucharist, as is the sword of your theatre of war”
    I am the sword born out of your burning despair, your jealousy and your failures. You created this tyrant so that you could fight back the tyranny you faced all your life. Now you want to destroy him, because you believe that’s how tyranny ends. But Howard, how can it end? Tyranny creates tyrants, just like you created me. And tyrants die only when the tyranny that created them is gone.
    I won’t go down alone in this night. With me, your creation will burn. Turn around Howard, turn around and run to your room. It’s burning there. Each and every one of those pages in which I lived, and all those others whom you manifested out of your failures, they will be gone and you will stand there helpless, staring at the pile of what is left of that inhuman world you created. They didn’t deserve the life you gave them and I was not to be their tyrant, not even in your wildest dreams”.
    Smoke had started filling up the kitchen as it escaped from my study in the adjoining room. I ran to it and saw my manuscript burning into ash.

  5. thepunkwhoDID

    Author, my friend.

    What did I do to you?
    I had everything I ever wished for.
    I had a healthy family, good marks, popularity.
    I was loved and I loved the most beautiful girl in the world.
    But then..
    Then.
    Was it really necessary?
    You and your damned obsession with the boy love.
    You HAD to make me meet HIM, right?
    Well. I guess I couldn’t do anything, anyway.
    I admit he was a handsome character.
    Tae Woon, such an adorable guy.
    Those caramel hair, his chocolate eyes.
    The deep sensual voice.
    The lips I enjoyed that mu-
    I MEAN.
    What did I do to you?
    You planned a regular and boring life for me and Agatha.
    YOU PLANNED IT.
    What made you change your mind?
    You know what?
    I gave up chapters and chapters ago.
    I don’t even mind it that much.
    We are actually perfect, together.
    Just one request: DON’t change your mind again.
    Please.
    I am waiting for the vacation with Tae, hoping you won’t kill one of us.
    Because you are not going to do it.
    You are NOT.

    Waiting for you -and Tae-

    Park Do Hyun.

  6. zette

    Not so dear Zette,
    What’s going on? You left me stranded on an island surrounded by palm trees and jelly fish. Did you forget about me, or are you gonna leave me here to die? I have to admit it was nice at first. Lounging on the beach all day watching the clouds drift by. But, now I’m bored. And I’m sick of coconuts and fish. You could have at least left me a banana tree. Or a pineapple tree. And, while I’m at it, you could have given me shelter. A hut would be nice. These mosquitoes are eating me alive.
    Don’t go getting all huffy and puffy. You created me so you know I’m impatient. You also know I belong in the city and not on some island in the middle of nowhere. You know I’m a social person. I need conversation. I need neon signs, cars and subways. I need stores full of people. Lord, I miss crowded sidewalks. I’m so lonely, I talked to my dinner the other night before I cooked it. That fish jumped into the fire just to get away from me.
    So, how do you plan to get me out is this mess? I need answers and I need them now! And, how many more cruise ships do you plan to send sailing past me? If letting one of those ships rescue me isn’t exciting enough for you, send me a dolphin. At this point, a sea turtle would do. I’ll happily ride either one to civilization…wait what are you…? A torrential downpour…REALLY!? What’s next, a typhoon or a giant octopus?
    No…stop… I’m sorry…before you do anything crazy, let’s talk about this. We can be rational and work this out together. . I may have been overly critical earlier but you have to admit that you’ve been hard on me lately. You did kill off my best friend and set me up to take the fall for it. It doesn’t matter that you went back and rewrote the scene. My best friend died in front of me and I spent the night in jail. That was cruel and you know it.
    You know what…I’m done with you. I’ve tried to get you to listen and I’ve tried to be reasonable but it’s gotten me nowhere. It’s time you do something about this mess you left me in.. All you have to do is write me out of this scene. Put me back in the city where I belong. Send Robert to save me. He can fly a helicopter over here and pick me up. What do you mean he’s married…to Sarah? That’s impossible. He hates her. Remember the time he tried to drown her in the pool? Or the time he left her stranded in the snow?
    That’s it, either you get me out of here and back to civilization or I’m walking out into the ocean and drowning myself. I hate to give ultimatums but I’ve had enough of this.

    Your main character,
    Sheila

  7. SkyFox

    Im Backkkkkk. *Everyone groans* Yeah,yeah.. Enjoy,critque rinsie and reapet.!

    Water and crackers? WATER AND CRACKERS? What the hell were you thinking? Im sixteen,a growing boy and all that shit. I need food. Actual food. Not this shitty rubish your feeding me. Or should I say force feeding. Also I have been climbing through this air duct for 2 days. Hurry up and start writing! My arms are cramping, and I am hungry-NO MORE CRACKERS- so get back on your laptop. While I am on this rant can I just say you need to work the plot out. I know your going along the lines of the night… blah blah blah. I like it! I really do but come on girl! You’ve been tossing this around in your head so much I can hear it! Also whose this girl thats been sneaking aound? Do I know her? Is she hot? Are we going to go out? Now hup hup and finsish this before I quit.
    Yours
    Ace
    P.S Don’t make me die. Please. Its too depressing.

  8. WestLaurens

    To Will;
    Hey. You’re my author right? So stop acting like a child would and just write the story how you would write Wilhelm’s or Timothy’s. All this death and destruction has left my life pretty grey, ya’know? Katrine is dead, Bristol is missing, and I have a possibly life threatening disease. Plot twists are fun and all but I’d like you to take things seriously from time to time. I’ve nearly died thrice and watched the love of my life bleed out in front of my very eyes, unable to do anything about it, yet I break down in tears when I hear that I could possibly die from some disease? Honestly man, do you not know my personality? You think my author would know me better than anyone else. No but seriously, write me out of this, man. I really need to do something that will take my mind off my dead girlfriend or I may end up losing what sanity I have left. If that happens, I don’t know what I would do. I actually kind of like having a shred of sanity. Max wrote a letter to be about a possible cure to my disease, but of course you already know that. I’d have to risk my life to go find the cure, but of course you know that also. Do me a favour and just kill me off of give me a better life.
    Forever Yours,
    Crest

  9. Lex

    Dear Author (Or whoever you are),

    It’s probably your dream to have my right to you, your own creation writing straight to you. Right? Well let me tell you, I am going to rip out your lungs. Hey don’t get offended, you’re the one who made me so aggressive, that and you killed my brother, my friends, and the only chance of hope. I mean, sure its for plot, and all but I didn’t ask for any of this. You sure meant a lot of harm, to my poor defenseless brother. I don’t even know if there are actual people out there in the real world, I mean the antagonist. And if there was he wouldn’t have a job as a clerk. Jeez. You could of at least added in an Xbox, or made me the cool guy who saves everyone in the end, right? But nope, I get total destruction, and mass death. For a super hero story, you know how to make my life a living hell. And the sappy romance? Better stick to the bad humor that could be told by a two-year old who doesn’t know the difference between a ink blob, and a peice of art. Wait, a two-year old who can’t tell the difference between a dog and a cat. I don’t think anyone can tell what the hell the “art” in those high class muesums is. And, I don’t want to hear that writing sad stuff is easier to write either. I could write a song about all the lame excuses writers use to come up with ways to kill off people. Here, why don’t I just slip a twenty dollar bill in with this letter, and then we can make a deal. I get the grades, the girl, all the dead people alive again, and the best powers with the best lines. We can work that out for a twenty right? I know you can manage this, my author bud.

    ~Don’t forget to add the lines,
    Mark (Your best creation/ worst nightmare)

  10. Not An Island

    Hello? It’s me. I’m Thomas, your main character. Maybe it’s time that we re-introduce ourselves. You assembled me a few weeks ago, and now I’m stuck in your head, without even a glimpse of the outside world. I thought we had a pretty good thing going. You figured out my personality, had the prerequisite Looming Disaster thing all worked out, and you even had a girlfriend for me. Maybe not exactly a girlfriend, but she was a friend, and she was a girl. This might not be the time to get into all that, since I like surprises. BUT… you haven’t even written a single word yet! Have a problem I don’t know about? Broken computer? Lost flash drive? Can’t find a pencil? Look, I know you’re new at this. But if you don’t get started and let me out, I’ll die of loneliness in here. I guess you need a plan of action. Here’s what you should do: Talk to some other writers, join an online writers’ group, give yourself a shove, and START WRITING SOMETHING!!! Scramble some pixels. Wear out an eraser. Don’t be all nervous about other people looking at your stuff- maybe they’ll be nice. Who knows? Just get started. I know we’re going to be best friends.

    P.S. You know that Looming Disaster thing? I know I’m only 12, so I don’t expect to be the hero. Just let me do enough to impress the maybe-girlfriend. I know she’s annoying, since all girls are annoying at my age, but I have a secret. I think she’s really cute. I wanted you to know that.

  11. Kat_Seeley

    Dear Kat,

    It’s high time you thought yourself out. Perhaps you have always been a little lost- it’s okay! Everyone is lost. We’re simply souls searching for a meaning more than just living to die. That’s alright. You’ll be okay.

    It’s about time you fessed up. Maybe you’re just afraid that whatever you’ve done or whatever you have to say isn’t worthy to be known. Or maybe you’re afraid of what the other people will think. That’s okay. You’re unique. You write, sing, play instruments, do plays, act, dance, swim, and most importantly you love. It’s okay to want to share what you do and love, and everything you’ve done or everything you’re going to say feeds into that. So take that leap.

    It’s about time you figured it out. You’re not as skinny as you want to be. You’re not as pretty. You’re not as reserved or outgoing. You’re just somewhere not too far to dream but too far to reality. That is most certainly not okay. Go forth- live, be! Enjoy and learn your mistakes and learn from them. You cannot fix what you do not know. You know your errors, surely, so fix them! Find them, nurture them into lovely little scars that might be mistaken as a white tattoo rather than scars because you’ve arranged them into such a design. Make what you hate about yourself something you can say, “I used to be this and now I can have anything I set my sights for.” Be the you you wish to feed the world’s hunger with. Be the you you wish to solve problems with. Be the you that you see lovers with. Love.

    It’s about time you realised. Life is short. Time is young. Nothing is for granted, so stop taking as such. Paint, laugh, enjoy what you can because one day you will wonder why you never did.

    Follow whoever the hell you want on any social media. They can’t hurt you because you followed them. Like whoever you want. They can’t hurt you just because you like them. Write what comes to mind and listen and sing whatever you want. Quit making excuses and reach that gold star in the sky that everyone said was too far.

    Be that damn star. Make people say, “oh shit!” as you walk through the hallway.

    You can do this. I believe in you.

    Kick some ass and take some names and know that above all else, you only need to believe in yourself.

    Swim as fast as you can. Run until you cannot breathe. Speak words only worth saying, but hold nothing you must say back.

    Love.

    Above all else, love.

    And then when you’re feeling defeated and down and you’re ready to give up…

    Love yourself.
    Because it’s about damn time you did.

    Love,
    A Hero

    1. Kat_Seeley

      I haven’t revealed my character’s name in my story. It’s sort of a long process of picking the name and eventually, my plan was to have it be the last word of the novel, so she’s just a hero for now.

      Hope you enjoy my letter. It’s for my own motivation more than anything, but my character is like that. She’s witty and swears like a sailor is more in tune with the world than most people even register.

      I’m a fan of her. Hope you are, too.

      -Kat

  12. Rowyn

    Dear Rowyn

    WTF! I mean really? What have you been doing!!! I’ve been dangling off a bridge for at least three weeks now. And don’t give me some lame ass excuse about writer’s block because that’s just bollocks. You’re procrastinating just like you always do. Well guess what – even fictional characters arms get tired. So hurry up and write my way out of this scene already. It can’t be any harder than the time you had me facing down a Hulruth. Or that time you made me kiss Scott Borges. Yuck. And then there was that time you killed me off altogether. Yeah I saw that. I don’t care if you went back and rewrote it so that I made it just in the nick of time. I was there on that first draft and … f@#* you!

    So, how are you going to get me out of this anyway? I really want to know because that lava looks really uncomfortable and you know I have a fear of burning to death after you caused my childhood home to go up in smoke. Oh don’t blame Timothy. Yes he’s the villain but he’s just your puppet and you know it. And while we’re at it can you please explain exactly how it is that I’m dangling off a bridge over molten lava in the first place? Don’t tell you haven’t written that bit yet either. You must have. Who starts a story in the middle and then goes round filling in the edges – that’s the dumbest way to work that I’ve ever heard of.

    You know what? I’ve had it with you. I want some answers and I want some … wait no don’t do that. I know you were thinking of having my grip slip. Don’t let’s do something irrational. We’re reasonable we can talk about this? Alright I might have been a bit rude before but you have to admit you really have put me through the mill recently. Well pretty much since the first day we met. You have to take some ownership of that. I mean you can say it’s for the good of the story. Everything is for the good of the story but f@#* it where’s your humanity?

    No! Wait! Sorry I didn’t mean to swear. There’s no need to make the bridge give way. We’re just talking here after all. Look maybe if we work the problem through together we can figure out a way to get me out of this mess. What do you say? I know – Charlie can come and throw me a rope. That’d work. Sure it would. What do you mean you killed Charlie? But … I loved Charlie. I really loved him. I just hadn’t figured out how to tell him yet. And I wasn’t sure if he ever felt anything for me. And then there was Sherri who’s a total bitch and yet can Charlie see that? No. No he can’t. Why can’t he? Because he’s dead. You killed Charlie. I hate you. I want to die. Go on drop the bridge. No? I’ll just let go then.

    No you can’t have a giant eagle swoop in and rescue me at the last minute that’s cheating and it’s lame. Why? Because (a) that’s already been done – in The Hobbit; and (b) this is science fiction not fantasy. Or it might be a cheap melodrama given the way you write. I don’t care if that hurt your feelings. You killed Charlie! Unless that’s a plot twist. Is it? Is it a plot twist where I’m supposed to think he’s dead and he’s not really so I give up hope and … what? I turn to Scott in my grief? I’d never do that. What are you thinking? There’s not enough sadness in the universe to make me turn to Scott for anything more than a hankie. Dear god woman you’re supposed to know this about me already.

    Now if you were talking about Gino then … it’s a remote possibility, he is kinda cute. But no, what am I saying? I want Charlie. So if he’s really dead just go ahead and drop me from the bridge. Or have me be rescued. Or, for the love of all that is holy, do something. I’m begging you. I just can’t take it anymore. Look I didn’t want to have to start throwing around ultimatums but you’ve left me no choice. I’ll give you two days. That’s reasonable. Two more days to resolve this scene and rescue Charlie from almost definitely death. Otherwise I’m taking the decision out of your hands and I’m jumping.

    Yours sincerely
    Katrina

    1. cosi van tutte

      Hi, Rowyn!

      😆 x three thousand

      I love the voice in this letter! Especially this -> “…what? I turn to Scott in my grief? I’d never do that. What are you thinking? There’s not enough sadness in the universe to make me turn to Scott for anything more than a hankie.”

      This whole letter made me smile from beginning to end. Oh, the things we writers do to our fictional characters. 😀

    2. Lex

      I can’t say lol, because this was hilarious and really did need you to see that I actually laughed: HAHAHAHAAHAHAHA, this is just what I have to say, I like this a lot. There is a time when we really have to question, where did our humanity go as writers? “I mean you can say it’s for the good of the story. Everything is for the good of the story but f@#* it where’s your humanity?” I agree so much just gah. Yes, yes .

  13. sridhar231

    Dear Stefan,
    Sorry if this letter shocks you. It is from your protagonist, Malcolm Richards. I am aware that these things aren’t supposed to happen but let’s just say it happened. I have been itching to write to you for quite some time and finally was able to do it today. Before I go any further, let me take care of the thanking part first. I am and will always be grateful to my creator – without you, there is no Malcolm. We both know that you are my God and my Master, but I hope I can address you as my friend because I don’t have anyone here. It is getting lonelier as days progress, more so, after you terminated Max last week in a gang shootout. My master – my day begins and ends with your thoughts but I am still unable to put a face behind them. Not that I care how you look, but it is just occasional curiosity from your origination.
    Let me come to the reason for this letter. I, Malcom Richards am a cold blooded serial killer. I am not complaining. That is the way I am and I accept it. But, there are a few things I would like to bring to your attention.
    No 1 on my list is Stacey – the eleven year old girl from Louisville. What did that adorable blonde whose parents seem to be financially deprived do to me? What made me pick her up from school and commit that act – heinous even by my standards? I know that you haven’t disclosed any motives and it is OK for now. My God knows better – Malcolm says.
    My next source of aggravation is Jeff, the sixty seven year old retiree from Baltimore. I still haven’t understood the connection between Stacey and Jeff and that is not the problem. Removing his left eye and right kidney while he was still breathing was a little horrendous – Don’t you agree? If you had paid attention, you might have noticed my hesitation – a little untypical of a serial killer.
    There are more but I guess you get the point. Let me make it clear in case if it is not. No, I am not asking you to reconsider my character or to rewrite those killings. Malcolm’s sincere request to the Master is as follows. Please ensure (I beg) that the reasons for these ordeals are strong enough. Anything less will break my heart, not because of the brutality involved but because that will unveil my Master’s mediocrity. My Master is not mediocre and He cannot be. He is perfect and I don’t pray for anything less. A mediocre Master is as good as the one who doesn’t exist. My Master – You break my heart and I will have to terminate you. This is not a hollow threat, but a sincere promise I intend to keep for your own sake.

    Sincerely Yours,
    Malcolm Richards

  14. Chad J. O'Brien

    To my author,

    What the hell is going on in there? I’m sick and f*cking tired of feeling, man. Why can’t you make it stop? Why do I feel emotions so strongly? Please, for the love of God, make it stop. I can’t take it anymore. I just can’t take the constant anxiety. My mind; it’s this monotonous rut I cannot hinder. It’s this jumbled mess of woe-is-me sh*t, even when I don’t intend on it. Why, author, do I feelthe need for people to feel bad for me? Why is it not enough to feel bad for myself? Mom and Pops have just divorced. My younger siblings, all seven of them, they ask me, why do Mom and Pops not love each other? Author, can you tell me? Why do Mom and Pops not love each other? Mom lives far away, so I am living at Mom’s moms now, and Mom’s mom hates Pops, and Mom hates Pops, and Pops hates Mom and Mom’s mom. Why is it so difficult? I’m not going to college, author. I have developed severe social anxiety, and I am afraid of new people. I am afraid of connection. I am not going to be in a relationship. I joke and tell my friends that I don’t believe in relationships, but I want nothing more. Why can’t you fix my problems? Why are you doing this to me? I can’t do what I want and be what I want. Everyone says I need to get a job where I’m doing what I want. I like to write, author. But art is dead, and money does buy happiness. Isn’t that weird? Sometimes I feel like I’m going to be a failure if I’m not financially stable, but then, a moment later, I’m blessed to be able to open my eyes and wiggle my fingers and toes. Why do I think so much, author? Why am I so much of…you?

    1. Observer Tim

      Great catch on the human condition, Chad. I think all of us feel that way from time to time, and you managed to catch and articulate it so well. Hopefully the emotion is exaggerated for the effect of the story, but I’m not sure it’s very much. 🙂

  15. cosi van tutte

    And just for the fun of it…Two letters!

    I need to get my thoughts down on paper.

    I don’t have anyone to confide in, but I need to get all of these messed up thoughts out of my head.

    Dear nobody in particular,

    I know who I am. Cayleen Inneshae. It’s my name. It’s who I am.

    But…

    I think I’m insane.

    I know my name. It’s Cayleen Inneshae. But I don’t think that’s my real name. It doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t even sound right.

    Am I insane?

    Can you tell me?

    I was born here. Yet, at night, I dream of living among the stars.

    Lord Deama said that I dream of them because that’s where I came from. He said that I am just like him.

    But he’s an alien! A horrible monster. I am nothing like him. I am Cayleen Inneshae.

    Aren’t I?

    If I am not Cayleen, who am I? I asked Lord Deama, but he would not give me an answer. He said that if he told me, I would only deny it. I must learn my own true name.

    I am

    Most sincerely

    Cayleen

    ps.: Lord Deama is a monster. Yet, I feel happy when he is near. Why is that? Maybe it’s because he’s the one who rescued me.

    ps: No. I know it’s something more than that.

    ***

    Dear ruler of this pathetic germ cell of a world,

    Tell me. What is wrong with you?

    I had Asree.

    I had her in my embrace and you changed her from my precious serf into a forgetful human. Yet, you let me retain my true form and my true memories. If that weren’t insult enough, you have that annoying human, Callie, haunting my every step and making rude comments every time I get too close to Asree.

    And, tell me. Why did you have to make it so difficult to get close to her? She hates me. She thinks that I am a monster. She won’t have anything to do with me.

    She doesn’t know the truth.

    No.

    I told her the truth and she didn’t believe me and that is your fault. Undo this. Make this right.

    I don’t want to conquer this world. It isn’t worth the conquering. Send us back home where we belong.

    If you do, I will never ask you for another thing. I’ll never talk to you again, but that is a separate issue.

    I command that you help us.

    I don’t know what else to do.

    Fulfil my demands or die.

    Lord Deama

    P.S.: I do not like living in the woods outside her home. It makes me feel like I should be some sort of wild animal and that is what I am not. Give me my own home – something simple and modest and grand, like a palatial cottage. I’m sure THAT is not too much to ask for.

    P.S.#2: If you do not meet my demands, I will find you.

    ***

    1. Observer Tim

      Cayleen is going to make a formidable foe for Callie, mostly because she’s managed to level the emotional playing field by giving up the physical weapons. Can I be there for the catfight? Sorry, that’s just the Y chromosome acting up again. Of course, seeing the similarity of the names opens up my mind to a potential plot twist… 🙂

      As for Deema: Yup, it’s definitely time for the cast-iron frying pan. Of is Deema just being a normal guy? I can’t recall the number of times I’ve wanted to annex Czechoslovakia… oh, wait: none. Yeah, definitely the frying pan, or a good woman or two to keep him in his place. 🙂

  16. Critique

    May 6, 1925

    Dear Lady Matrix:

    It pains me greatly to have to put pen to paper a second time – you have not honored my first letter to any degree of satisfaction on my part – in regards to this intolerable situation.

    On behalf of all lamentable detective agencies and indiscriminate detectives across the globe I beseech you to delete or change immediately those sullying events in the twelfth manuscript that cast a shadow on my unblemished character before it is published.

    I cannot emphasize enough the incalculable damage this will do to the high-calling of this profession and to the millions of dissolute fans that have come to revere and put their faith in me, the esteemed Theodore Percival III – detective extraordinaire.

    There is no one who would refute the fact that I, Theodore Percival III have become an excellent role model deserving of the neophyte men who would take up the cross and follow in my footsteps.

    On behalf of my esteemed reputation and future successful endeavors, I beseech you to implement a correction at once.

    Respectfully yours,

    Theodore Percival III

    1. Observer Tim

      I love the way, even with a few words, you let Theodore’s colossal arrogance shine through. I sense his ego grows to fill the available space. Nicely done, Critique. Has TP-III actually solved any mysteries yet? 🙂

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Critique, you’ve written a character that needs a takedown. Have him hang out with some of Mickey Spillane’s characters. That ought to bring him down a notch in reality. A fun response to thrompt.We all know a Theodore in our lives.

  17. TheFinalPuppeteer

    Dear Puppeteer,
    Do you not understand!? I promised Xavier that I was finished being a player, but no! You ruined my life. You made me a fucking liar, all because you wanted to have your own personal love story, because you can’t get a girlfriend or boyfriend in real life, so you forced it onto me. I mean sure Zacharie is cool… and sexy and mysterious and smooth…! No no no no! this is so wrong, don’t you get it? This isn’t “cool”, this isn’t “okay”. What you’re doing is wrong. You know it’s wrong, but you’re doing it anyway. I mean could you imagine if I was a real person! We were just friends and one day you see some cute guy that you think would be perfect for me so you shove him onto me. EVEN THOUGH I HAD A BOYFRIEND. I just wanted to make cupcakes and grow old with my boyfriend, maybe adopt some kids, pretend our powers weren’t actually there, but no you dropped this damn angel into my life, I get that you’re technically my god, but really, you son of a bitch. I hate how you make me attracted to random guys. You give gay guys a bad name. For a second I thought my problems were all gone, that they’d just finally disappeared, but then you go ahead and screw up my god damn life. Not only do you make me fall in love with a guy that I’ve never met, but you make me have powers and use my elixers to kill people. I mean sure they were terrible people, but you know how I feel about death. You know what makes this worse you made yourself take part in this as 2 people. The twins. Xavier was your cool side that didn’t want any of this to happen, then there is Xavia who was hyper and forced this to happen and was manipulative. You piss me off so much, but then I remember that you also helped me a lot. It turns out Xavier was no good for me, but then again now…now so much is better. My life is more perfect than it was before, but Zach is cold to everyone, but for some reason every time he touches me it gives me chills. I hate what you’ve done to me, but Im so grateful. You made me realize how naive and oblivious i was befor Zacharie and now…im happy! After years of pure misery, Im happy even if me and Zach, sorry, Zach and I cant be together he still makes me smile and he says I make him happy too. So…maybe you fucking up my life was a good thing.
    Wait, you’re not done yet!? Youre barely even done with the first novel and you plan on writing a sequel. Nope, thats it. Make a new character to torture! Im done with you! Forget this! I dont need you! Ill find another god. Bye
    Love,
    Oliver

  18. Reaper

    So, this is written by the main character in Eater of the Damned, the novel I’m currently editing. It’s a story in first person, so this was mostly easy.However, normally I try not to swear much on here, but Brother Book is very foul mouthed, so I’m sorry but this is actually toned down. Children and those with souls sensitive to vulgarity should give this one a pass.

    Hey Asshole,

    I have always been a religious man. My faith in God has gotten me through times darker than a normal man could survive. Now I find out that I’m just your mouthpiece in a rage fit against writers with an obsessive love of monsters and apologism for evil. You are the God of my world, the thing I have knelt and prayed to. You? Do you know how disappointing it is to find out that my creator is someone like you?

    To know the hell I live in was written by a self published writer with less than a five hundred sales between six books? The moment I found that out is the very definition of a long dark teatime of… hold on. Someone’s at the door. I’ll come back and continue to tell you how you fail as a god.

    Okay, seriously? What’s with that shit? It was a bit of a workout but… you made me the best hunter to ever live in any world and you think a vampire is going to shut me up? This just proves what I was saying about you. I mean, you have moments, some decent prose, but is it any wonder you’re still destitute and having to resort to a day job to make ends meet? I mean, if I had to do that… I don’t know what I’d do. But I sure as shit couldn’t look at myself in the mirror in the morning. What an asshole.

    Oh, God! What the hell are you doing to me? Riley just walked in and started vomiting blood on the carpet. Why would you do this you sadistic bastard? Do you think it will make me take back the shit I’ve said? No, no, NO!!! I won’t. You love that girl as much as I do, it’s why you wrote her so sexy in the first place isn’t it? You fucking pervert. You won’t kill her and you’ve already made her suffer enough. So, no, not going to get me to apologize.

    Ha ha, the shooting pain in my left arm isn’t going to get what you want either. You can stop with the constrictions in my chest though. They’re really annoying. You’re getting nothing out of me. Why would cause me this much pain though? You’re supposed to be a decent person. Okay, pain gone but I have a sudden urge to watch television for a moment.

    Okay, you sick, sadistic fuck! How could you even think of such a thing? Are you serious? I am at home with pain, death, terror and horror but there are some things even I can’t take. Kill my girl, hurt me and steal my life. Fine, I can get past that… but this is too damn much. Fine! You win. Edit my world so Trump was not elected president I’ll admit you’re not so bad. It’s not much but it’s the best I can do.

    Dick.

    Rot in hell you bastard,
    Frank Book

    1. Observer Tim

      Nicely done, Reaper; I think the sense of Frank’s character comes across really well. It strikes me that someone who’d lived through all that shit would be excused for having a bit of a problem with his author. It’s also annoying because those whom you know best know how to hit where it hurts. 🙂

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Hey Reaper, I had no idea you were this comedic. I’m still laughing my stomach up. I just responded to Doug’s story below yours, that if I could write as well as he does, I could quit my day job. We are all in the same boat with you about that. B the time I learn to write so I can support myself, I’ll be ninety five. What kind of life is that? It’s reality?

  19. Doug Langille

    Wasn’t feeling the whole letter thing, so I went with ‘breaking the fourth wall’ another way. The characters are from a work-in-progress.

    ANOTHER Z IN THE FOURTH WALL
    ==========================

    Eddie’s fist connected with a satisfying crunch and she couldn’t keep from smiling. The zombie’s newly-detached lower jaw sailed through the air, flicking bits of rot as it spun, ricocheted off a bench and finally splattered flatly on the stylishly overpriced industrial carpet. Haley instinctively held her breath and closed her eyes, remembering that kid–swallowed some zombie meat and bam: Insta-Z.

    It really wasn’t the best time to close one’s eyes. Haley and Eddie were back-to-back in the waiting room of suburbia’s most suburban medical clinic. The mission should have been easy: in-and-out, scoring some meds. Penicillin. Naproxen. Whatever.

    Now here they were, surrounded by yet another rotting hoard, and out of ammo. Not so much as a baseball bat–

    “Hey, Doug. Yo, asshole at the keyboard. A little help here,” said my heroine from the page. She reached into the face of the nearest zombie as if it were a bowling ball and lifted. The skull resisted a moment before letting its body tumble backwards onto the growing heap. Haley whipped the skull forward and clocked two more. More zombies scrambled over the re-dead undead. It was hopeless.

    “Sorry, Haley. I kinda wrote you into a corner,” I say, and pop a handful of Skittles down the hatch.

    “Then write us out of it, fuck-nuts,” said Eddie. Everyone’s favourite anti-hero ripped the arm of his target and jammed the sharpened end under its chin to the brain. Notch one more for the good guys.

    “I’m thinking,” I say and get up. It’s snowing outside.

    “Think quicker,” growled Haley between punches.

    Maybe I should take a break.

    “Hey! Where the fuck do you think you’re going?” asked Eddie.

    I sit down and the chair groans. “I got an idea. Grab a chair leg a see what you can do with that.”

    “You know how hard it is to break a leg off?” Haley kicked another monster, exhausted and exasperated. “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

    “Try again, shit-heels.” said Eddie, who managed to swing by its back. The aluminum legs ripped through the neck of one taker and mostly degloved the face of another. The second one wasn’t slowed much. Eddie, off-balance from the swing, stumbles and falls. He twists the point ends of the chair upwards like a mini array of pikes. His assailant impaled itself but the meaty weight of the hoard kept him pinned and out of play.

    “Oh, I know. There’s a bat behind the reception. See if you can get to that.”

    “That’s stupid,” said Haley. “Why the hell would there be a bat there? It ain’t no bodega.”

    “It’s what I got,” I offer. “Take it or leave it.”

    Haley stuck her tongue out at me and slipped into the eddy behind Eddie. She jumped over the counter and hit her funny bone on the keyboard tray. Keys flew everywhere like a box of spilled Lego. An image of her and Ben playing with blocks as kids ran through her mind. Simpler times. She missed him and for a moment gave up. Right there in the madness. To hell with the mission. To hell with Eddie. To hell with all this shit-show of an existence.

    She pushed it away and her hand found the bat, smooth and heavy.

    Haley looked up at me again. “Could I trouble you for some spikes.”

    “Sure thing,” I say. “Consider it done.”

    She climbed on top of the counter and sat on the edge, feet dangling. Eddie couldn’t be seen under the writhing mass. Haley hefted her new weapon and admired the craftsmanship of its previous owner–maybe one of these bastards. It amused her.

    “Haley,” said Eddie from the bottom of the dog pile. His voice was weak, but that was enough. “You gonna help a dude out or do you need some personal time?”

    “On my way,” she said and hopped down, brandishing her new toy like a baton. Feeling the weight in each hand, Haley opted to swing southpaw. The spikes sliced cleanly as she made quick work of the baddies.

    That’s my girl. I click ‘save’ and close the lid of my laptop. Coffee time.

    1. Witt.Stanton

      I cannot express my love for the way you took this prompt. It’s simply amazing, and really draws you in. I can see how it could have been difficult to incorporate yourself into the story without jarring the narrative, but you did it and made it look easy! Great job!

    2. Observer Tim

      Good to know my characters aren’t the only ones that rag me in the middle of intense scenes. You achieved a great mix of the three voices in an intense and exciting way. I think it’s that mixture that really made the piece shine. Good one, Doug.

  20. Hiba Gardezi

    HEYA NITWIT!

    I was in a relationship.
    I LOVED him!
    And you?
    YA MORON! YA KNUCKLEHEAD!
    YOU GAVE HIS HEART TO A FLAKY BRUNETTE.
    But hey!
    Listen up.
    She will never have his love
    Because deep down inside he loves me.
    Because I am beautiful.
    And what more can a guy ever look for in a girl.
    When the sun falls on my golden tresses, he rather have me.
    You took that away from me.
    We loved each other.
    From US.
    Did you think of that?
    When you destroyed our dating record.
    We were going to win from Kyle the turtle and my little notebook.
    They’d only even been on seven.
    And that unlucky morning was when we were going to have our eight date.

    ‘Where’d you get that thing?’ people would say.
    But I NEVER told them which store.
    Because we were infinite.

    His dark skin on my light colored legs made us well…beautiful.
    He made me look good.
    And I, him.

    Do you see that?
    Tears.

    I .
    Loved.
    Pantsy.

    Thank you
    For writing us the times
    We have had. For they were
    Beautiful. Tell
    Him I love
    Him.

    – Lindy from the “CAUGHT PANTS DOWN” prompt.

  21. charkhanolakha

    I apologize for how self-righteous and journal entry-esque this is, but its the only thing I can think of (gotta kick that block).

    Dear Writer,

    Look at you, poised over your keyboard. I know you were thinking about me while you were listening to Abida Parveen. I know her voice soothes you, and parts the veils that separate me from you. I know you are thinking about me now. You are thinking about what I should say, how I should react, what my ultimate fate should be. You have given yourself this power over me.

    But, ask yourself this. Are you really thinking about ME? Or are you thinking about your agenda, the point you want to get across? Are you thinking about the how the person reading me is to going to see you? In short, are you really thinking about me? Or are you focused on yourself?

    Dr. Akhtar was upset by what you wrote about him. He told me to tell you, he is the sole forensic pathologist in a government hospital that recieves at least 10 bodies for autopsy daily. He is issued one pairs of glove for the entire day.

    He was like you in the beginning, idealistic, eager, ready to sweep clean the little corner of the world he inhabited. That flame was dimmed gradually, then finally extinguished when his son was kidnapped and beaten up to stop him from sharing Murtaza Bhutto’s autopsy results.

    You turned him into a caricature though, with the shining bald pate and over large nose. You concealed all his soft corners with hard lines. He is not angry though, he forgives you, because he remembers what it is like to be young and idealistic. He just wishes that you don’t have to learn the same lessons he did.

    You could have found help for Sarah, you could have found a kind neighbor, yes they still exist, to walk her to the grocery dinner and invite her over for thanks giving. Can you picture the scene? Can you see her laughing? Her face would probably have shown with delight at being included, at being surrounded by people. You chose to burn her house down instead. But you wanted to make a point. You did not care about what happened to poor old Sarah, as long as she fulfilled her purpose.

    So, since you seem so concerned with yourself, I’m going to turn the tables on you. I am going to ask you what makes YOU tick, I am going to force you to search yourself for answers, and then I am going to show you how ugly apathy really is.

    Yours (you assume),

    The therapist you did not name

    1. Observer Tim

      As someone who has been psychoanalyzed by one of his characters, I suggest you listen to your unnamed friend. Introspection is often a helpful way to improve your writing (not that it needs any). It is interesting that the character (except for the subtle barb at the end) is entirely focused on others. Very nice, Charkhanolakta. 🙂

  22. Observer Tim

    Dear Tim;

    It’s me, Wraith. I’m sure you remember me; I’m the pattern-seeing oracle in your Metahumanics stories. That’s right, the ones you used to teach yourself how to write again. I’m here to make a petition.

    I remember all your writing, even the stuff from thirty years ago: the James Bond actor clone, the demonic starships and the cosmic dogs, the time-travelling train, and even those thinly-disguised adventure stories you wrote for your girlfriend before you realized neither of you knew a damned thing about love. It’s time for you to put all that practice to work. It’s time to start bringing everything back.

    I don’t mean as a unit. I get that you wrote yourself into more than a few corners in the Metahumanics stories, mostly by creating new plot twists as you went along. After all, there are a hundred twenty thousand words there if you add it up. You’ve made a good start with Kristen, a.k.a. Angela the Magical Vampire Angel, and I notice Ollsen College is starting to appear in your work. How about some more?

    If you choose to bring me out, can bring Nate too? I know he already has a girlfriend, and my crush isn’t going to be answered as long as I don’t do anything but tutor him in math. But his origin story was one of your readers’ favourites. And I know for a fact that you have a soft spot for werewolves, or I guess were-dogs in his case.

    Oh, and can I get an apartment this time instead of living in an abandoned warehouse? I mean, come on! If I’m really that smart I should have my own Wayne Manor, not just a Batcave.

    Anyway, think about it. I know you do a lot of that. If you don’t do it for me, do it for all the imaginary friends you’ve made along the way.

    Your creation,

    The Wraith

    P.S. Wait a minute; I just noticed that Wallflower has half my power set! Yeah, she gets implied elevator sex with Tanni and all I get is gungy equipment shed with Nate and not even a hint of romance. Way to be fair…

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Hey Tim, reads like your old characters are going to beat your face in unless you bring them back. I don’t think a writer’s taste of characters ever changes but thinly disguising them into new situations does happen with mine.

    1. JosephFazzone

      So bitter. Wraith should be thankful that he has a batcave, not some cardboard box near a freeway onramp. This definitely got me thinking about all my characters from the past as well. It’s like they are peeking around the corner hoping I will recognize them. I will get back to you guys in a second, or will I?

  23. cagedfreebird

    Dear Free Bird,

    I get it now. I get why you call yourself “caged” free bird. It all makes sense. These four walls and barred windows just never leave your head do they? After you left this place and went back to society.. A year later, it still haunts you, doesn’t it?

    I know it’s going to haunt me forever. I saw a cockroach this morning when I woke up. Literally as soon I woke up. It was right in my face. I couldn’t jump out of bed, you know, I took the top bunk and my cell mate sleeping underneath me is a real bitch. You know what I mean. I screamed and got out of bed as quickly as I could. When I stumbled down the beds, I kind of slipped and hit her mattress with my leg and she woke up mad, again. But when she saw why I was screaming she started too, all of the sudden the whole room turned into chaos. Then one of my cell mates, you know, the cute young one? She got up and slowly started creeping towards the cockroach, picked him up and threw him out the window. Weird girl but I love her for doing it. The thing is, it’s kind of a normal occurrence to have a run in with a cockroach. But to ever get used to it? I dont think I ever will. When I was alone, yeah sure I made friends with the ants and fed them my crumbles of chips. But those were ants.

    Anyways. So as you know, we were let out for half an hour for the one time a day to heat up food or water for coffee and stuff. I talked to one of the guards, she let me heat up water for a shower. Finally, I get a shower today! And a hot one too. I took the pot from my crazy murderer next door roommate after she finished heating up some weird looking sauce and cleaned it as fast as I could. I boiled water and took it back to my room in a plastic bucket. I shared it with my best cell mate. We split it in half so we could both shower. It had been a while. So I took a quick shower in the bathroom with the shower bucket. I still can’t believe we don’t have actual showers. I mean, I know I’m in prison, but isn’t showering like a human right or something? It should be. It doesnt help I feel so ugly most of the time with my crazy hair, my face breaking out all the time because of you know, stress. It’s crazy. It doesnt matter. After the shower, I just sat, dazed. I smoked cigarette after cigarette and just kept drinking my coffees. I would crave the cigarette after I just finished one, and then crave the coffee after I just finished that.

    So I sat. Thinking. My left eye keeps twitching reminding me that sleep is important, but my brain ignores these warning signs as it keeps me awake thinking: “what did I do to deserve this?” Nothing anyone can do is bad enough to live like this. I keep hearing “tomorrow, you’ll be out” I lost hope. Everyone keeps looking at me as if I’m the one who did wrong, as if what I’m saying is a lie and what HE is saying is the truth. Nothing is more frustrating. This is all because of money and power, they are buying justice.

    I’m still trying to figure out how you did it. How you survived in here. How you’re out now. How you’re doing. I hope you’re well. I miss you.

    Keep the letters coming, it’s nice knowing someone outside still cares. But don’t visit me. There’s no point..

    Love always.

    S.

    1. Observer Tim

      This is powerful, Bird. The story paints a picture of writing from experience and the mix of pain and isolation that hits people society deems “fit to be caged” with little or no understanding of its real effects. Hopefully you’ll write S out of prison, though I sense she’ll carry it with her for the rest of her life. Lovely and touching story. 🙂

      1. cagedfreebird

        Thank you so much, Tim. I really appreciate that. I’m refreshing my writing here after a while of a block, and your feedback means a lot to me. I’m glad you felt the emotion. It’s a personal experience to me, and I try to bring it all out. Thank you again! 🙂

      1. cagedfreebird

        Thank you, I’m so glad you felt it with me. Doesn’t make us feel so alone, does it? 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed it. I enjoy everyone’s writing here! All so different and so many different kinds of emotions. Keep writing!

  24. jhowe

    Dear Mon,

    While you’re in St Croix you should stop by and see me mon. The Ganga crop has been bountiful this season and I can let you have some for a cheap price. Maybe even for free if you bring a case of Heineken. Manny doesn’t like cans though mon, so brink the bottles. Speaking of Manny, he says not to worry about writing no stories the next couple of weeks. He says enjoy your time and be sure to please your wife, if you know what i mean mon. Happy wife, happy life we always say in the islands.

    Later mon,
    The Lobster Man

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Day O, day O
      Daylight come and me wan’ go home
      Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
      Daylight come, me wan’ go home

      Work all night on a drink of rum.

      Harry

    2. Observer Tim

      This is the sort of thing I would expect Lobster Man to write, John. Either that or something rambling that only stops when the paper runs out. Nice to have a character so laid-back that he’s more worried about his author’s wife being… no, we’ll stop that thought there. 🙂

    3. JosephFazzone

      Keep her happy, mon! The tone of this letter is so simple, and so sincere. Just makes you like the Lobster Man immediately. Maybe it’s the importance he sets to keeping your wife happy, or it’s the ganga. I’m going for both!

  25. qwert

    Dear Qwert,

    Hallo. Wie geht es dir? Gut?

    That’s great. I am fine as well.

    Nothing’s really has been going on.

    Like nothing. For the past few months at least.

    So I decided to write this letter as a gentle reminder that my brother (after how long has it been? months, years?) was about to actually talk to me and you found that exact moment to stop writing.

    My sincere thanks for THAT.

    Personally, I would have asked you to stop writing when we were on that train, before we were “thrown” out. But no, you HAD to have me leave my mom without a second thought and get myself caught by the German officers.

    Do you know how these camps are even like? I mean, you could have just put me through those lame super hero fantasies and I would have been perfectly fine.

    Honestly, I would have.

    Really.

    Ugh, obviously, I should not be one to complain. I wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for you but still, it wouldn’t be too insulting to give you a few suggestions, would it?

    One: I know it’s cliché and all that to have the ending happy. But could you possibly have me and my brother get back together with my mom, or (but preferably and) find out who our dad is?

    Two: Keep your description to a minimum for God’s sake. I’m tired of noticing the yellow tulips that line themselves to my right and relating them to my life. I don’t care! As Shakespeare once said, “like two grains of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff. You shall seek all day ere you find them and when you have them, they are not worth the search.” Maybe next time make the grains worthwhile. Add a little about music into the mix, I like music.

    Three: A little help for my escape out this camp would be much appreciated. Soon. Life is worse than hell here.
    Four: If you could finish the sentence that my brother was about to say, and hopefully continue with that conversation, that’d be great as well.

    But, really, thank you for being by my side through my yet unfinished journey. And I dearly hope you will continue to be with me. I don’t want to end up being one of those characters who get trashed without knowing how their life even ended.

    I will not give up on you, and I know you have hope in me as well.

    Yours truly,
    Estelle

    P.S. Thanks for writing me up a mom who taught me German. Real nice of you. Don’t know where or how I would have ended up without that knowledge.

    1. Observer Tim

      The postscript turned everything on its head for me, Qwert. By starting with the quote you set the tale in Germany for me, specifically in the period known for people being taken away to prison camps. Great misdirect. Estelle seems a fascinating character and I hope you do continue writing her. 🙂

      Now I have to wash all that Nazi imagery out of my brain.

  26. Witt.Stanton

    “I’m on my way, sir.” Private Inspector Danny Levine shut his phone with a snap. He tossed his coat into the back seat of the dented Sedan, and kicked the car into reverse, and tore off into the night.

    By the time he arrived, suspect’s house was lit up like a Christmas tree, complete with flashing police lights and yellow tape around the place. He could see the neighbors poking their heads out their curtains, no doubt believing the worst. Pointedly ignoring them, he ducked under the tape and introduced himself to the first responders

    Normally, he would never bother with these formalities, and would head right inside, flashing his badge at anyone who got too close. PI’s and the police don’t get along very well. Never have, and never will.

    But this case was the one-night-stand of exceptions. The suspect, a man with the name Stanton, was convicted of murder, and numerous other battery charges along the way. He claimed that he hadn’t done anything wrong, that he was “only a writer” and that his “research was strictly professional.”

    Needless to say, they didn’t believe him for a second. They had found Stanton at the scene of the crime, blood on his hands and the murder weapon with his prints on it. It should have been a slam-and-dunk for the prosecutors, except it wasn’t.

    Stanton couldn’t remember what had happened– doctors said he’d blocked the memories as some sort of coping mechanism. Temporary amnesia. Whatever he’d seen, or more probably done, wasn’t in his memory.

    He plead innocent, and, using his ‘mental illness’ as a crutch, ended up walking, with only seventy hours of community service and a two hundred thousand dollar fine. The police had to keep their hands off, and for a while it looked bleak. Then Levine had a breakthrough, and Stanton had a breakdown.

    Now they would never know why he did it; Stanton had hung himself earlier this morning, and left a note. That’s why the police had called Levine in– the note didn’t make any sense.

    After watching the coroner take down the body, Levine snatched the note from the police officer bagging evidence. Written in Stanton’s scrawling handwriting, he read:

    “YOU spent hours thinking about me. About my bleak future, and how to RUIN my life. And you did. YOU made my DEATH the saddest thing, the “tragic spark that set the rebellion aflame”. I didn’t want to be a symbol, or a metaphor, or even a hero. I didn’t want to DIE.

    I am speaking for all of us, the hundreds you’ve toyed with then DOOMED to an unhappy ending.

    We’re just as real as you are, and we’re not going to play nice. Not anymore.

    We can control you. We can control you. We can control you. WE CAN CONTROL YOU.

    WECANCONTROLYOUWE…”

    Levine felt the note drop from his fingers, slowly spiraling until it hit the floor.

    It was obvious that the note wasn’t addressed to the police, or even Levine.

    Stanton had written it to himself.

    1. Observer Tim

      I would never want to be murdered by my creations; the heroes wouldn’t do it, and the monsters and villains are too cruelly imaginative. This is a very inventive take on the prompt, Witt, and one that gets me thinking (in a very dark way). Hopefully your fictional detective can solve your real murder, and death won’t decrease your literary output… 😉

  27. regisundertow

    A bit rushed, hope it reads well regardless.
    The walled city mentioned here follows the tradition of Medieval walled cities that still exist, like Dubrovnik.
    The Captain is a secondary character in something I’m working on (set in the same universe as the Thrall from the Unexpected Visitor prompt).
    Hope you enjoy.

    **************************
    DEAD SHIPS AND WHISPERS

    Writer,

    I am not evil. I don’t care what people whisper behind my back, because they will never have to bear my burden. Do you understand? Every morning, I have to face through the watchtower windows the sight of those rotten ship hulls anchored outside the bay, a constant reminder of how we were once brought to the brink and left gazing down the abyss. I wish we could hack at their ancient chains, let them drift away like the hearses they are and watch them drown below the horizon in the West, following the sun’s baleful eye. Yet, every morning they stand in exactly the same spot since anyone alive can remember, the floating silhouettes of misshapen sea beasts, their surfaces wrinkled by sea salt and encrusted by barnacles. They sway silent, hypnotic, burn marks still visible over the gray of their skin, their existence an insult to our survival.

    My grandfather was there when you tested our kind. On his deathbed, he told me of the time when our flame flickered and came close to being snuffed out. He told me how the disease ate its way through the world. Humanity blinked out of maps one city at a time, culled like cattle. We thought we were doomed when it finally arrived to our city on the backs of refugees. With them, arrived the ships, all eight of those majestic creatures cutting through the surface. They fanned out to cover the bay’s entrance and dropped their anchors. My grandfather thought they were there to save them, until their massive guns rotated towards the city. They stood vigilant for days, sinking every boat that came too close, drowning every boat that tried to escape. Raining punishment indiscriminately like a spiteful God. Then, a flash in the middle of the night that filled the world and they stood burning like candles at mass, immolated and incandescent. Their light bathed the old city walls in orange, the flames blotting out the stars and throwing long hungry shadows until dawn. The sea never claimed them completely, perhaps deeming them unclean, unworthy of a proper burial. I suspect they will never be swallowed by the water.

    Tell me, writer. Do you have a throat I can wrap my hands around? Do you have a soul I can damn to Hell? What is this world you have gifted us? You have committed the original sin, creation. I cannot forgive that. Did you know the dead ships talk to me through the watchtower windows? They whisper in my ear clear as day, their voices rising over the sound of the waves from the bay below, over the shouts of merchants and playing children from my city. My people rely on me, the ships tell me. And I will mess it up. I will let them down and allow them to suffer, like they suffered back then. Only, this time, there will be no reprieve. There will be no yanking our kind away from the precipice. My men will curse my name as the infection causes them to vomit their insides and their eyes melt back into their sockets. My people will damn me with their death rattle. I will walk through a silent city and no one will hear my cries, for it will be too late. This is my doing. Since the plague returned, they haven’t stopped their incessant warbling.

    You should know the Old Center is lost. The plague appeared spontaneously on a child, who passed it on to her family and friends before her body started dying. It seems to have changed now. It moves slow this time, but I killed it. I should have eradicated it when I still could, but we tried to cure it instead. The plague rules that quarter now, its streets lined with the dead and dying, their skin covered in weeping lesions, warts leaking fluids the color of spoilt milk. I can still feel their cataract eyes accusing me as I shut the gates with my own hands, a responsibility to be born by the Captain of the Guard alone. At the last gate, one of my men tried to stop me, screaming there was still hope. He pushed me aside and tried to usher the doctors back in through the gate. They remained, looking around uneasily. He repeated the command, this time at gunpoint. His eyes shot wide open in surprise as I stabbed him in the heart. There is still hope, I told the corpse sliding to my feet. But I give the orders here.

    You’ve put me to this, writer, and I intend to do my job no matter what you throw at me. This city will not die without my consent. We will not fade away. Not as long as I draw breath. The Old Center is sealed and off limits. Anyone caught trying to enter or exit is to be executed on the spot, the body destroyed immediately. The wall cannons point at it and will fire on my command. I will see it burn before I lose my city.

    And, once all this is over, I will shut those bloody ships up and sink them with my own hands.

    1. Observer Tim

      Have you ever been to a forest after a fire, Regis? That is what I’m feeling here; the aura of death, the birth of hope, and the anger about everything lost that will never be. The whole effect is deep and intense, a wonderful example of “hell on earth” in its most brutally human perspective. 🙂

        1. Observer Tim

          I’m not sure if it’s desperation or determination; the two look much the same at this level of detail, and are driven by the same motivations. In a way it depends on who’s looking at him. I see a man who has done some awful things because he feels he had to and is ready, though not willing, to live with the consequences.

          1. Kerry Charlton

            I’m not sure but my thoughts run differently. I think you’re writing about the death angel who controls life it itself and that some sort of remorse is struggling to enter his conscience. Tim’s referrel to a forest fire is an excellent similiarity.

      1. regisundertow

        Thanks Kerry. I saw the Captain as someone who wouldn’t be out of place in a Crusade. A fanatic who’s also not stupid and can hear the whispers in the back of his head telling him he’s going down the wrong path.

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      This is magnificent writing, moving and evocative. Sentence after sentence built a world for me and some phrases, like creation as the original sin, will linger. Wonderful.

  28. cosi van tutte

    Dear Bibbidy Bobbidy Boo or like Whatever Your Name Is,

    Like ohmigosh! You have totally ruined my life. And when I say life, I like totally mean love life. For starters, you made Jack stupid. Like dumbhouse stupid. He fails at proposing, runs off on me, and like when he comes back, he’s that Lord Jerkface Deama. Like how am I supposed to have a normal love life with someone like him?

    Oh and like thanks a lot for dragging his love interest onto the scene. I thought she was gone and totally gone for good. But nooooo. You brought her back, turned her into a human, and like ohmigoshdarnit! She’s totally hanging out with Jack, who’s like supposed to be my boyfriend.

    Like you totally need to stop whatever you’re doing and fix this situation. Because it is like so odious and awful. I swear I’m getting gray hair from it and I HATE THE FREAKING COLOR GRAY! Sorry. I didn’t mean to yell, but like I’m so stressed out.

    You’ve gotta do something before I start slapping people. And like when I say people I mean Deama and his alien slut lady. I don’t think he’ll like getting slapped.

    So, HELLLLP!

    Totally sincere about all this,

    Callie

    1. Observer Tim

      I was wondering what Callie would have to say! It sounds like she’s going to have to fight for her man against the “alien slut lady”, but I know she’s got the claws for it. And maybe a good hit with a cast-iron frying pan will make Jack forget Lord Deema again.

      Great job catching her voice, Cosi. But then I expect no less. 🙂

  29. beeuh

    Good evening Ms. Durham, or should I call you Miss Gates?
    It’s been a while since last we’ve spoken. Would it be too bold of me to say I’ve missed you? Our never-ending conversations and ponderings brought me so much joy. I couldn’t wait to find out what mischief you would lead me to next! Now it seems that has all but disappeared along with your voice. Ah, such a sound. I remember the angelic echo resonating through my eardrums as you conjured up another adventure Michael and I would set forth on. He’s asked about you, you know? I’m not sure what to tell him. We’ve all been in limbo, silently sleeping on these decaying pages, and curious what will eventually come of us.
    If I could be blunt with you now, I’m scared. I’m scared to send you this letter. I’m scared of what you might say, no… I’m scared of what you won’t say. I’m scared you will say nothing. Miss Gates, I don’t want to be forever stuck on these crumbling pages of a manuscript never to be read or dreamed of again. I don’t want to acquire dust on a shelf and be forgotten without an ending to my tale. I don’t want to die, Miss Gates. I know that so long as your heartbeats I am a part of you, we all are. We love you and we believe in you.
    For a decade, my story was the only story you ever imagined. You and I, we had magnificent dreams. The epic tale of Aiden, the boy turned vampire who must save the world from itself and the devil, all while figuring out what living truly means.
    Miss Gates now is the time I beg of you to put pen to paper and bring forth from your mysterious mind the finished product of my being. Give me another chance to live. Give me a chance to be loved by many. Give me a chance to be complete once and for all. I will be with you, just as I’ve always been with you, and always will be.
    Yours Forever, Aiden.

    1. Observer Tim

      This is tragic, Beeuh. I’m glad the characters I created many years ago can’t talk to me; it would be utterly heartbreaking. I wonder what Aiden would do if he found himself reimagined in light of his author’s growth. The snippet you’ve given us is intriguing, and I’d love to see what you can do with it now that you’ve had a decade of experience making the water flow. 🙂

  30. Kerry Charlton

    HEY KERRY, A LETTER FROM JOHN
    FROM

    [The Legend Of Mary Catherine Cobb]

    What gives you the right Kerry to treat me the way you do? First of all you shove me back into 1967. Do you have any idea how boring the sixties were? Why couldn’t I be in an historical novel with Maureen O’Hara and Rhonda Fleming fighting over me in a swashbuckler? I always wanted to be a pirate on The Spanish Main. But no you wouldn’t listen

    So why in the hell did you make me an architect? Do you know how boring they are? Then you ship me to southern Louisiana by the mosquito infested Mississippi River.
    Why don’t you try being me sometime? You sit in your office putting my life in constant danger. I will admit for a ghost, Mary is a total knockout but every time I try to touch her, she runs poof! My love life turns poof also.

    Have you any idea how smelly a basement is under an old plantation? 150 years of stagnant water. And with the beautiful ghost Mary, comes her insane father, Chester Cobb, as nasty a ghost as you‘ve ever written for me. You put me into his study and didn’t bother to give me a weapon. You had Cobb chase me all over his office trying to whack my head off with a sword. How much fun is that?

    Oh no, you wouldn’t let me save face and rescue myself, Mary did it. Now you’re a feminist, aren’t you? I guess you always have been one because you bring strong, beautiful women into my life. I really thank you for that, except you make it so damn hard to catch them and when I do, you don’t leave enough brain power with me to do anything about it. You created me far too moralistic. What happened to rape and plunder? Too foul for me?

    I wouldn’t have written this letter if you didn’t screw up part 11. You slapped me on top of a monster war horse, and gave me a sword I could barely lift. I was scared
    s—less. Did you ever ask me if I’ve ridden a horse? No, one time only, the horse bolted, looked for a low limb and knocked me off. So back to the battle, you allowed me to defeat Chester, lose my weapon at Mary’s hanging gallery and face the demons from hell,
    unarmed.

    What you wrote next, shocked me because you’ve never done that in the middle of a story. I can tell you the pain was unbearable. I want out of your mind John, I mean it, if you don’t change the end of the story, you can’t use me any more.

    The ball’s in your court, Kerry. God help you if you don’t get me out of this

    John

    1. cosi van tutte

      😆
      Poor John, but seriously 😆

      “…if you don’t change the end of the story, you can’t use me any more.” But the ending was so right and inevitable! 😀

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thanks Cosi for the read and part 11 also. Next week will be the conclusion. I’m sure you will be surprised at the ending. Or at least, I hope you will.

    2. Observer Tim

      Dear John;

      What makes you think death is an ending? Especially in a ghost story. Everything will work out.

      Tim.

      Dear Kerry;

      I hope you’re thinking of a good way to get John out of this. He’s an interesting fellow that some readers (e.g. me) can readily relate to. He deserves a good, or at least bittersweet, conclusion.

      Tim. 🙂

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thanks Tim for your concern for my life, I’m not sure if Kerry feels the same way. Sometimes I think his elevator doean’t go to the top floor. At least you care. If he does away with me, are you interested? I’m serious about leaving if he doesn’t cooproate. John.

        Tim, I’m trying to figure an ending for part twelve next week Kerry

    3. JosephFazzone

      But John, it was so heroic the way you fought so bravely. Your tragic end could perhaps spell the beginning of an amazing story of the afterlife. Don’t be so bitter. You are a stud, and all the ghost girls will be clamoring for your number. =)

    4. ReathaThomasOakley

      Kerry, I must say I sympathize with John after reading the current chapter. I was unprepared for the time shift after the twist last week. That being said, you’ve created very captivating characters and I also would hate to lose John.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you Reatha, that makes two for final death and two for life. Are there more votes out there before the prompt changes? Not that I’m going with the majority either way the vote goes. I’m still pondering the ending.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thanks Critique I like the sunset idea myself but I’m afraid I’ll get boiled in oil on the web site. We will see next week. Thanks for all your support.

    5. regisundertow

      Kerry, I lost it at the rape and plunder line. John is such a decent person that having him whine about a bit of good ol’ fashioned R&P and having women fight over him is hilariously out of character! He has every right to make strike threats too, with all you’ve put him through.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thanks Regis, I thought it rather funny myself. Remeber he is playing the part of a moralistic good guy and is getting tired of being a goody goody and wants a little free a– once in a while. Thus the the threat of going on strile. I’ll try making him happy next week but he probably won’t like it.

  31. Kinterralynn

    My friend,
    I have been your therapist for well over thirty years now. At first, it was innocent, living the dreams of a child obsessed with fairy tales and romance. As you grew older, you changed and so did I. Your innocence was replaced by hard truths about life and the dreams carried threads of unrest. The anger known to brew deep inside, I allowed you to use me to expel it. I said the things you couldn’t say, I acted out the scenarios you played over and over in your head. I was honored to do those things for you. When you were broken and your last hope fading, I cried for you. I mourned the losses and absorbed your sorrows, giving you a place to let loose the emotions caught in your throat. I walked you through heartbreak and I showed you how to gather yourself up and stand once again. I whispered words of encouragement as you fought your battles and I gave you a place to vent your frustrations. I carry the scars of your troubles.
    You never intend to share me with the world though. I think we both have come to accept that fact. You have put so much trust in me, I can understand your reluctance to show others. Write a note for the boy and leave it with me to give to him when the time is right. He has a right to know where you have escaped to for solace and peace all these years.
    I’m shall allow you return to your life for the moment. I know things are okay right now because you haven’t visited for quite some time. Remember that I will always be here for you when you need refuge.
    Always,
    Raven

    1. cosi van tutte

      Wow, Kinter. This was lovely and heartfelt. I’m not sure what you’ve been through and, given that this is a public forum, I won’t put you on the spot and ask. But it sounds like you’ve reached a good spot in your life. I’m happy for you. 🙂

      1. Kinterralynn

        No need to ask, I’ll gladly share. I’ve suffered from what everyone suffers… life. By no means have I had an epic tragedy that would be newsworthy, I’ve simply lived. Everyone has a story to tell and mine is filled with amazing moments, struggles, triumphs and dreams cast to the wayside… just like every single person here. The author of this letter is my tried and true companion I created when I was ten years old. She has carried the burden of lost love, death, anger, fear and frustration as I navigated my teen years, entered adulthood, lost a parent, survived a divorce and raised a child on my own. Fill in the blanks if you must, but I can look back and smile at all the amazing story material I have gathered!

    2. Observer Tim

      Very nice, Kinterra. I never really thought of the spirit of catharsis being a character, but bravo to you for giving it a clear voice. What I’ve seen of your writing is emotionally charged, and all that emotion has to come from somewhere. This short note is a beautiful expression of what drives an author.

      1. Kinterralynn

        I had to look the definition of “catharsis” – not ashamed to admit that. However I am happy to learn of such a word! I never knew how to explain the emotions with one word, but that is the one I would choose!

        “Emotionally charged” – the phrase sent a tingle of happiness right down my spine. To me, that means that I’m expressing my thoughts onto paper and conveying to you exactly what I’m feeling. To me… that is success. I do hope to do more writing as the days progress. I tend to get distracted by things and neglect my passion. One of my goals this season is to let things be more about what I want to do and less about what everyone else is wanting to do. Being a co-dependent person, this is a good challenge for me.

  32. AHaughee

    (I open my car door and step directly into the sand, the way you can only in NSB. Warm salty air blows my hair sideways, caresses my skin, welcoming me like an old friend. I make my way to the shore, trekking through the dry sand until it becomes firm with seawater. How many different versions of myself has this water seen? As I watch the breakers roll over, something bumps against my foot. I pick up a black plastic orb and it pops open at my touch. I laugh as I recognize the object inside. A communicator cuff. It vibrates with an incoming call and I already know whose face is going to fill the screen.)

    Damon.
    Arielle. You need to figure out if we have a coastline. You have no idea what it took to get this to you.
    Right. Still deciding about surrounding countries and such. What’s up?
    A call from my mother? In the middle of a scene? Really?
    I thought it was pretty funny.
    You know I can’t stand that woman.
    How do you think the opposition is doing, D?
    Needs work. You really should clarify their back story.
    Also working on that.
    This far in and you haven’t figured much out, have you? Explains the changes in every damn chapter.
    I’ll fix it all up…eventually. Don’t you worry.
    Your chapter one is really atrocious. Me and Andy are completely flat, her more than me.
    I haven’t looked at it in months, honestly. I think if I read it, I’ll just throw up because it’s that bad. Going to need one of those big bottles of wine before I confront that abomination.
    I’d really like to get into Andy’s pants soon. It’s been a while. You know how much I work.
    Timings not right yet and I need to do some research about how to..um..write those types of things…
    All those bare-chested man books hidden on your kindle haven’t taught you yet?
    SHUT. UP. I read a WIDE VARIETY of things.
    You sure? Want me to pull up your download history and share it with everyone?
    I WILL WRITE A DEMAT ATTACK RIGHT NOW. AND LEAVE YOU AS A HEAD IN A JAR.
    I thought it was pretty funny.
    Touche.
    Donnalyn’s calling. Need to check in. Keep the cuff – I’ll be in touch again soon.
    I’m sure you will…

    1. Observer Tim

      This was a bit hard to pin voices to due to the lack of punctuation and tagging, but that makes it a good model of the natural confusion that arises when you really get into a character’s head. Good to see I’m not the only one who struggles with certain types of writing. Nice story. 🙂

      By the way, what’s NSB? I tried googling it and the only thing that vaguely fit was New Smyrna Beach (Florida). I assume it wasn’t the Northampton School for Boys or the Norges Statsbaner [Norwegian State Railway].

  33. ShamelessHack

    Sir,

    I’m writing to let you know my deep disappointment and—how should I put it—my FURY at the way you portrayed me in your new best-selling horror novel, The Prompt That Digested Its Writers.

    First of all, your tawdry attempt to disguise my real name by calling me something gross and insulting is despicable. My real name, Brian Klems, is very well respected in my home town of Dingo Junction, Tasmania, and my mother called me a few a days after your book’s debut to convey the message that the townspeople have set fire to every single copy of your books. (Of course, it would have been smarter for those morons to have removed the books from the bookstore first. Now Barnes & Noble has instituted a lawsuit against the mayor and some of its citizens). (Including my mother…).

    Secondly, you portray the place of my employment, Writers’ Digestive Tract, as an illegal online crap game being held in dark, internet alleyways and virtual reality cul de sacs. Come ON!! I’ll have you know that not one single enlightened intellectual working for me would stoop to shooting craps! We’re hilee intilijent riters for gudnes saik!

    Then, in Chapter Five, you have me morph into a hideous, manuscript-eating monster, Promptosaurus, who eats innocent, aspiring authors who wander onto its territory, while forcing them to watch their query letters being consumed alive. It’s repellent! So is the monster’s bald head with its teeny weeny little goatee thingy on its lower lip…

    To add insult to injury, you finally have me being attacked by a giant pop-up ad advancing on me from the bottom half of the pages. In what you probably consider the climax of the book, the really, really annoying pop-up ad rips my fat bankbook from my claws and forces me to pay for every single webinar and workshop on the WD site–WITH MY OWN MONEY!

    Well, I will not have it! No, siree, I won’t take this slander lying down—won’t put up with this blatant character assassination for another minute! You’ll be hearing from my legal team first thing in the morning! You’re a cold, heartless bully, a scoundrel, and you’re certainly NO KIND OF A WRITER!

    You’re…you’re…a Shameless Hack!

    Your enemy,

    Cryin Phlems, editor
    Writers Digestive Tract
    “Write dumber. Get punished.”

    1. Observer Tim

      Okay, Phlems and Hack; I can understand the desire for satire, but your carnivorous prompt response nearly bit Tim’s leg off! Luckily it got the metal one and the corrosive prose only ate through the crutch, forcing him to walk on his own two feet again. More importantly, it made him nervous around his word processor so now instead of him writing my life I have to write his!

      “Tim sat at the keyboard trying to figure out how to respond to Hack’s story. It took him a while to remember but he finally figured out he had a weapon. He took aim with his shoulder-mounted grammar gun and fired off an intercontinental ballistic red pencil. It struck the Promptosaurus squarely in its introductory sentence. Gaining entry through the overuse of commas it blew a colossal hole in the plot through which all the evil drained out. Tim was returned to the world hale and hearty, though a little bit wary of punctuation.”

      The end. As for you Hack, you get two belly laughs and a smack on the head with a rubber chicken. Don’t make me come out here again!

      Wanda W Watson

  34. Mr.Philip

    Dear Author,

    It’s me, Phil. I like what you’ve written about me so far. However, there are a few topics I would briefly like to discuss:

    1. Why do I have such a generic name? I mean, It’s kind of easy to see the connection between my name and your middle name. I guess there’s no changing it, you’ve already named me. But please, If you’re going to give me a middle name and a last name, make it something cool. Like more than four letters long.
    2. I like all of the adventurous stuff that happens to me, but it’s a little far-fetched. I’m a regular guy in a regular house on a regular street, and then all of this crazy stuff occurs. Maybe you should give me a little bit of a more interesting life (Apart from my adventures, I mean.) Between those, I’m downright bored.
    3. I feel like I’m your “go to” guy for all of the wacky stuff you write about. If you decide to write about some guy shrinking or finding some random portal somewhere, you say, “Oh, I’ll make Phil do that,” and then you write a short story about some random thing happening to an average guy. When am I going to be in a book of some kind? And why would you even want to write about someone with no personality or occupation?
    4. I know that you think writing about my exploits is somehow funny, but for me it’s sometimes embarrassing. Maybe you could tone it down just a little bit?

    Anyway, thanks for listening to me drone on about my life’s problems. But I’m telling you because I know that you can change them(You’re the author!) Most people who read this will think that you wrote about me writing to you, but that’s not true. I hope that you can give me more of what any character needs – character.
    Bye! I hope you write about me soon!

    Sincerely, Phil

  35. HappyGoLucky

    Dear Word Addict:

    Hello. It’s me. It’s so typical of me to talk about myself, I’m sorry, but I hope that you’ll understand, as we have a few things to, uh… Clear up, for lack of a better term. Let’s just say that I have a few things on my list that we need to come to an agreement about. Hey, look at me, being all smart and wordy; you raised me well.
    Okay, first things first: You need to fix Benjamin and I’s relationship. I can feel the sexual tension, and I’m supposed to be the one who doesn’t know an eighth note about love. Or relationships. Or just people in general. Can you fix that, too? Or just make a better person overall? I mean, I’m a good soul, but I could be a better soul, you know? Yeah, you know.
    Secondly: Yes, I get it. You had to have my family be murdered while I was sleeping. (Referring back to issue number one, can you make me easier to wake up in the middle of the night when I’m sleeping? I could have avoided this entire murder thing, you know!) But then you’re going to have me be kidnapped? By my family’s killer? Really? Oh, and did I mention the fact that Benjamin has to help the killer kidnap me? Yeah, let’s not do that. Yes, I get it. It’s vital to the plot, and a bunch of stuff I didn’t pay attention to in English class, but really? Think about me, please. Not the plot.
    Thirdly: Decide whether Beatrice is good or bad. I can’t go on like this. I need closure. Some days, she’ll be sweet and caring, and then you have a bad day, and you’re like, “Nope, let’s just hurt Aqua’s feelings, and maybe through in some confusion, yep, I’m so nice to my babies.” Please just make up your mind, my god.
    Fourthly, and finally: Can you please tell me Benjamin and Mackenzie’s pasts? Pretty please, with a cherry on top? I can tell something happened- most siblings, especially twins, don’t stay together all day every day. They do. Just give me some basics, maybe? Clues to a secret door in the Capitol Building, where an old man with a scowl will give me a map to help me discover a video that will tell me where to go next, so I can find their pasts written in Greek on a stone, and then a goddess will appear and tell me what it means? That’d be fun. Yeah, let’s do that. I’m totally on board with that.
    I have more, but my hand hurts. Can you fix that too? My inability to keep my hands from cramping? Yeah, let’s fix that, too. Yeah.
    Advice for you… I’d suggest actually working on this novel so you can get it done before you die of old age. Love ya!

    Aqua Myrlene Rose

    P.S.
    Can you maybe bring my family back? Just think about it.

    *******************************************************************************************************

    500 words exactly… Skills, if I do say so myself. Sorry for any cringe worthy grammatical errors; I’m beyond dog tired at the moment. If anyone has any constructive criticism or feedback of any kind, please let me know.
    <3 –Happy

    1. Observer Tim

      Actually, Happy, from the voice (and the fact that she doesn’t pay attention in English class) I’m assuming the grammatical errors are Aqua’s. Cool name, by the way. It sounds like she’s in the middle of an interesting story of serial “soap opera”; the use of the word “issue” implies she’s in a personal magazine or –gasp of envy– possibly even a comic or manga. Regardless, her personality really shines through.

  36. Fran Lolly

    Dear Over-analytical Caffeine Addict,

    You think I’m held captive by these fluorescent blank (mostly) pages – which I suppose I am to a certain extent. But philosophical deliberations aside, I’d like you to know that this story is an exercise in mutual observation.

    Firstly, I think we need to kick the coffee addiction (both of us). In the world of literary details, it’s a bit trite. And as much as I enjoy the chaotic mess of social anxiety and paranoia that taints my existence, we could both benefit from less stimulation. Or, if stimulation is an essential ingredient, let’s try to find something a bit more curious and scintillating. Anxiety is overdone.

    Secondly, let’s do something about the noise level (a.k.a. second-degree stimulation iced with a bit of shock treatment). The furry four-legged bark boxes need some training – in a serious way. When we finally silence the deafening screams of the two-legged beast, the other brutes rob us of those few solitary moments. We can’t blame FedEx, and we definitely can’t blame the spry Girl Scout soliciting donations in exchange for mind-altering provisions. Doorbells are meant to be rung, and dogs are meant to be trained. Let’s get on that.

    Speaking of noise, that Pandora station could really use some variety. Melodies about the color yellow are as electrifying as Thich Nhat Hanh’s Buddhist renderings (which, by the way, have done nothing for my spiritual journey). Besides, those bark boxes could use some Pitbull for competition. I’d even try Mozart (might hush the baby – so might booze in a bottle).

    On that note, and for future reference, that would be my preferred medication – the booze, not the Mozart. Anxiety clearly won the Paxil battle.

    In sum (too lawyerly?), I want you to know that I respect you. Your reflection stains my blank pages just as my reflection paints your weary, worn eyes (pretty good, huh?). So, if nothing else emerges from this letter, please hear those words. My strength is your strength, my resilience yours.

    Until we meet again,

    Bitterly Optimistic Heroine

    1. Observer Tim

      This is fantastic, Fran. I love the way it blurs the line between the character and the author while still providing insight into both. I especially love the third paragraph; you managed to totally catch a bunch of distractions in just a few words each. Great! 🙂

      Wanda says don’t write drunk. Eric wrote a paragraph after a bit too much Tequila once and she’s still trying to puzzle out what it meant, or to decide if she really wants to know. And despite what they say, there is no amount of Tic-Tacs that will take the smell of alcohol off the breath. 😉

  37. Judythe

    Letter to the Author

    Dear Judythe,
    It’s hard for me to believe we’ve been hanging out together for three years and I still don’t know much about you.
    You, on the other hand, seem to know everything about me, from my horrendous childhood with a father who abused me and a mother who disappeared. You rejoiced when I ran away and was rescued by the man who would become my adoptive grandfather.
    I’m so glad you put me in the Finley home. Although they’ve often been clueless, not having any idea that my early years would still be disrupting my life five years later. But, I knew they loved me. A bonus was getting the Pellegrine’s as grandparents. I’m not sure why, but lots of times they seemed to get ii when my new parents didn’t.
    Thanks, too, for putting me in therapy. I’m pretty sure I might have committed suicide if Dr. Sullivan hadn’t convinced me what happened had not been my fault.
    Thanks for sticking with me on this journey. Do you think it will ever be over? Tony, my birth father finally got caught and now I’m going to have to testify against him. Not sure the hate I feel might not consume me before I ever get to court.
    You seem to really understand how hard it is to trust people, after what my father did to me. People expect that after five years, I should be over the bad stuff. You explained about PTSD and how it slows down the path from victim to survivor. I know others who have gone through major trauma will appreciate you pointing out how much support the victim and her family who are also victims, need from their neighbors and friends.
    I think you must have created me so you could share those messages with other people. It has helped me. I hope others get the message, too.
    I’m glad you didn’t stay discouraged when my story seemed off track and you had to paint your way out of the corner we were stuck in.
    You shone a light on problems that all victims face and offered hope where there didn’t seem to be any.
    It’s been a nice journey. I know it isn’t over, yet, but I’m stronger now than when we started.
    Sincerely,
    Emily

  38. Amaria

    Hello there,

    It’s me, Ginger. I’m the crazy girl who’s been swimming in your head for the past few weeks. I don’t know why you are writing about me. I don’t think I’m all that interesting. Yes, I am in therapy. True, my therapist may or may not be interested in helping me. And yes, my mother is strange and I did experience childhood trauma, but do you really think people want to read about that? Up to this point you have given me strange dreams about crabs, minotaur, an ex-boyfriend turning into a chicken and another one in love with a futon. You have my younger sister engaged before me. You had me talking to my mom who likes to avoid and annoy me. What gives? You also bring up things I don’t like to discuss. I don’t like talking about my father’s death or my mother’s coldness. I do not wish to revisit my strained relationship with my sister and everyone else for that matter. And I really don’t want to talk about any of my ex-boyfriends. Maybe you should just leave it alone. But I know what Dr. Leveque would say to that – “It’s better to bring these things out in the open, Ginger”. Did she tell you that too? So I guess I’ll just have to sit back and see where you’re taking me. Will you reveal something about my father I never knew? Is my mother somehow involved? Is Dr. Leveque really helping me or just buying Manolo Blahnik shoes with all the money she is charging me for therapy? Well I guess it’s all on you now. I will be waiting anxiously for the next chapter.

    Sincerely,

    Ginger

    1. Observer Tim

      Dear Ginger;

      Get your act together. I know you’re pretty severely stressed, but do you really want to let whoever or whatever took your father away escape uncaught? Eric would probably say something disgusting about him pulling out and leaving you all wet and sticky (with tears). Buck up, girl; you’re worth it. Now solve that mystery!

      And maybe give your therapist a good solid kick in the hoo-hoo while you’re at it; she needs to understand that you’re not paying her to reflect stuff back at you, you’re paying her to help.

      Wanda W Watson.

    2. Fran Lolly

      Well, I can’t compete with Tim’s comment… This was nicely done, Amaria, and I especially liked the Manolo Blahnik detail. It’s amazing that those small details can create such strong characters.

  39. Pete

    Pete,

    Hey, it’s me, Nita. I wanted to talk to you about something kind of important. Really important. No, I don’t want you to stricken Alexis Evans with a suffocating smear of acne, but if you do, well, I won’t be upset. But I’m writing you because of our friend, Mr. Melvin.

    I don’t have to tell you how great he is. What he’s shown me, taught me about the Civil Rights movement (even if he was lying through his teeth about his part in it), blues music, or how you’re never too old to follow your dreams and that all that good stuff. No, it’s that lately, he’s been well, acting kind of strange. Yes, strange. Even for him.

    Not sure what you’re doing over there, on that side of the screen, but I gotta say, it’s really starting to mess with me. Like the other day, when Mr. Melvin couldn’t even remember my name? What’s up with that? Then the attitude. I mean, I know he’s an old crank, but lately he seems confused. Like lost or scared and I must admit, I’m not really enjoying it, okay?

    When you took him out of our building and put him in that home, I thought, okay, I can live with it. I mean, I would have just been fine with him living next to Mom and me but whatever, you’re in charge. But things only got worse from there.

    Then Mr. Melvin decided he wanted to up and bust out of that place (you should have seen that coming—it was probably Miss Tillenborough’s poetry, please, cut it out with that raging peacock, would you?), and what do I do but go right along with it?

    Great, thanks. What’s next? No, I don’t want to know.

    You may see me as just some little girl, and that’s fine. But what I shouldn’t have to explain to you is how much that old man means to me. Ever since you introduced us, everything just sort of clicked. Something I thought you would understand considering you came back to us and started writing this strange follow up. I’m flattered, really, but what I can’t understand, is why you would put us together, make me love the old grump and then, BOOM, pull the rug out from under me.

    But back to Mr. Melvin’s memory. Can you fix it, please? At least make the doctors fix it? He doesn’t have to be perfect, Lord knows he never was, but maybe just put him back to how he was, okay?

    Well, that’s about all I have. We’re on this bus, remember? At night, miles away from home. Please, please, hurry up and alert my poor mom. She’s freaking out isn’t she? If she whoops my tail because you have me on some wild goose chase with our old friend here, I’m going, well, I’ll never come to life in your eyes again. How about that? I’ll stay as flat as Iowa on this page. Got it?

    So fix him. Turn us around and let us come home. Matter of fact, let him come home. He’s only 73, and with me around he’ll be just fine. Better than being on the lam, this is ridiculous. Did you know, in Knoxville, Mr. Melvin had to play his guitar for change so that we could eat? Is this your big plan for us? I’ve got school, he’s got medicine that he needs since you won’t fix him already.

    Wait, you wouldn’t….he’s not going to…I can’t even write it. Just don’t. Don’t do it.

    Bring us home soon or else.

    Your favorite character,
    Nita.

  40. Kerry Charlton

    THE LEGEND OF MARY CATHERINE COBB

    PART 11

    John’s mount moved toward the rushing ghost and brought the two foes within reach of each other. The mighty sword of Arthur grew warm in John’s two handed grip as he aimed at the two calvery swords heading toward his head. A shattering of steel and iron shot vibrations down his arms and rattled his confidence as he realized Cobb’s proficiency far exceeded his. Excalibur became burning hot as the two steeds struggled for some striking distance between each other. John’s left shoulder burst into blood as Cobb’s sword slashed through it leaving his left arm useless.

    ‘I can’t hold this huge sword in one hand’, John realized and backed off from Cobb and circled his foe expertly as his battle wary steed maneuvered for another dash. John felt a power surge through his remaining arm and he gripped Arthur’s sword with an unknown power. He slashed his way through Cobb’s swords, laying mighty blows from Excalibur. The force of his sword knocked Cobb from his mount and both swords he had held, clattered to the ground.

    Realizing Mary faced imminent death from the rope burning through, John dismounted, sprinted toward the gallows as the rope frayed from the heat of flame. He jammed Excalibur between the trap door and the platform just as the rope snapped.
    ‘She’s safe for the moment he realized,’ but he now was defenseless.

    Through the corner of his eye, he watched his mighty knights in a fierce duel with twelve visions from hell and their skeleton horses. “I think the battle may be lost’ he thought as he watched Lancelot and Galahad fall to the earth. His hatred for Cobb overcame his loss of blood and with his right arm, he dragged his fallen opponent toward the camp fire. With an unknown power he lifted Cobb with his arm, glanced into his face, and saw the devil himself.

    ‘Give me the strength Lord’, he asked silently as he lifted the struggling Cobb over his head and tossed him into the raging fire. The minions saw what he had done and left the knights in an effort to save their master. But a whirlwind from nowhere entered the fire with intense speed and the wind and fire disintegrated Cobb in an instant.

    With a hatred look, one of the minions drove his sword through John’s chest and pierced his heart. He fell to the ground lifeless as the minions began to fade into the night along with their horses from hell. All fell quiet on the side yard. Sir Perceval, had suffered two wounds himself but not life threatening. He checked John’s breath even realizing his wound was fatal, shook his head in dismay and ran to the gallows where Mary remained tied to and blindfolded.

    Her heart sank when she saw John .lying there. She ran to him and held him close.

    “He gave his life for me.”, she said. to no one in particular.

    Sir Ironside and Sir Lionel were barely scratched from the fierce battle and helped Sir Gawain off his steed. Sir Lancelot and Sir Galahad lay still on the field, not breathing..
    Two dead, two wounded the six knights were. A portal opened for them and they carried Lancelot, Galahad and John inside. Mary retrieved Arthur’s sword and laid it across John’s chest and stayed by his side. His cross of Constantine glowed brightly to no avail as the portal closed and made it’s way to the secret room at Miss Sarah’s home.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you Joseph for all your support. There is one more part for the conclusion and I’m in an epic battle myself on how to end this so it doesn’t lose the power of it.

  41. Bushkill

    Part of a series of shorts I put together a few years ago. The MC is supposed to be a little rough around the edges.

    Dear Boss,

    You’re an idiot.

    You could have put me anywhere in the world. No, really, anywhere in the world would have been fine. The heights of the Himalayas or the depths of the Mariana.

    Nope, nada.

    Kuiper belt.

    Seriously?

    Dark doesn’t begin to describe what life is like in this soul-sucking cold. Would it be too much to ask for you to have mercy or leniency or, perhaps, a shade of both? Again, I cry out to the universe and it avails me not. I’ve even tried screaming. There isn’t another living thing around for millions of kilometers. I am left without response.

    Wouldn’t it be neat to have a flashy starship with swank officers, nifty 3d holographic gaming, and leisure activities? You could get behind that couldn’t you? I know I could. That sounds down right brilliant. Make it a chapter.

    Maybe you could give me a home out here. Something a little more hospitable than the too cold corridors of a lifeless and dreary space station years away from the sun by any traditional means of travel.

    And about that. You’re writin’ the damn thing, how about ftl? Why in the name of all that’s holy does it have to take years to get out here? Literally, not figuratively ‘cuz I know the difference, you are killing me. The cold seeps into everything and fights to wrestle life from all it touches.

    But I digress… You need to gin up a little tech that has more splash and pizzazz. Specifically for me. I see everyone else gets quality gear, but the old guy? Give him the wrecks and derelicts and a thumbs up and let him do his thing. Let me tell you what you can do with that thumb!

    Oh, and the old guy thing … what’s with that? Lots of characters to choose from and I could have been absolutely anything but I am left as a broken down miner in a two bit piece of crap mining drone pulverizing asteroids for a living. You know the closest I get to a good drink? It’s in the paragraph above… the word ‘gin’.

    That sucks.

    You suck.

    I could have been a space gigolo or a star-ship captain.

    I could have been a warrior in a high tech space marine combat vehicle, slaying enemies of the world with ridiculous ease and a smile that whole planets swoon over.

    Nope.

    Tiny little 1 man robot drone, bangin’ away on a rock so far from earth it doesn’t even register on earth based -equipment.

    And the women you’ve put in the story are colder than the space I work in. You’re a real charmer, aren’t ya?

    Last thing, really.

    Fix my damn drone. No more radiation leaks. No more conkin’ out and leavin’ me in the dark on these miserable little hunks of ice.

    Most respectfully,

    Chuckles (that pisses me off, too, … Chuckles? You’re such a tool.)

    1. Observer Tim

      This character should have made an appearance in Horrified’s “Warlords of the Asteroid Belt”; he’d have fit right in. He seems like as much of a curmudgeon as I sometimes pretend to be. I may not be old, but I’ve got grizzled down.

      I bet when you do move him into a more populated area, he’s going to find something grumpy to say about that, too. 🙂

      1. Bushkill

        Thanks, Tim. I got just the thing for him and her name is Carrie. She’ll have him chained to the porch, rolling over, and playing dead. And he will love every minute of it and twice on Sundays.

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      Poor old Chuckles. Doesn’t he realize he can only be what he is? If he was a star ship captain he couldn’t be Chuckles. Some characters just never are satisfied.

  42. Observer Tim

    TO THE AUTHOR OF MY LIFE

    Dear Tim;

    What is it about psychologists and letters? First that quack Reinholdt made me write to my dead mother, now Doc Abernathy wants me to write to “the author of my life.” Sheesh. Anyway it’s me, Wanda.

    I suppose Doc A’s wondering why I call you Tim. That’s the name you’ve had in my weird meta-reality dreams. Does everyone dream of stuff like that? I dunno, but I’ll assume they do until I’m told otherwise.

    First, I want to say thanks; without you I wouldn’t be here. I know my life started out kind of crappy, what with watching my parents being killed and being abused by their killers for almost a year. I’m glad I had Eric; at least we split the worst of it.

    And once and for all, Eric is REAL! I wish people would stop trying to say he’s an alternate personality or a figment of my imagination. It’s not like that, it’s more complicated. Jenna can attest to him existing and to his maleness personally, though it is kind of creepy to wake up spooning with her sometimes after she went to bed with him. And no, I’m not like that: either way. Yuck.

    But I’m trying to be positive here; thanks for Larry and Amy; best foster parents ever! They kept us on the straight and narrow, took us to movies, kept us out of juvie, and reminded us that love and sex aren’t the same thing. They even tried to make Eric’s writing less like porno, but you can’t win them all.

    And thanks for the trust fund; that made it a lot easier to get set up in my own apartment when the time came, and means I don’t have to worry about working.

    And thanks for Tawny. I never knew I needed a kitten, but she’s really cute and– well, she’s unique. She really loves snuggling into warm places and purring. Last night she snuggled up to my lower tummy while I was leaning on Mike; it was XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. I’m not writing that.

    And for that matter, thanks for Mike Litt. You had to give him a dumb name, didn’t you? Naughty name plus being bullied; if you really are writing my life you know exactly what buttons to push, don’t you. I mean, I’ve already lost my car and nearly been raped just because I wanted to see him. And just so you know when I had my head on his chest I felt the lump in his lap. Write that crap if you have to, but I’m going at my own pace.

    Well, Doc, did I give you enough to get you up to speed on my case? Are you tantalized? Have you penetrated my deepest parts? Whatever; knock yourself out. Next session I’m sure we’ll talk about what you’ve gleaned from this missive.

    Yours in therapy,

    Wanda W Watson.

    1. JosephFazzone

      I really love this! You give Wanda so much dimension from the attitude to the backstory. This prompt was a great exercise to get in touch with our characters, and man, you rocked it! This is just really informative, and fun. Awesome!

      1. Observer Tim

        Thanks, Joey. Wanda’s a complex woman, partly because her personality’s been shaped by effectively random writing prompts. At last count she’s got at least three distinct personalities in her head, all of whom have shown up in the written world from time to time.

    2. Fran Lolly

      This is great, Tim! I couldn’t agree more with Wanda’s frustration towards her “therapy” letters. You did a nice job weaving the details of Wanda’s life into an emotionally charged letter, allowing everything to flow well together. I especially enjoyed the sarcastic tone in the last paragraph.

      1. Observer Tim

        Thanks, Fran; Wanda’s been around for two years now and this is the second time she’s had to write a letter like this, asking her to bare her soul in a hypothetical context. She’s a complex woman, in her own very special way.

    3. Bushkill

      Tim, I don’t think you’re ever really alone, I think Wanda is with you. And perhaps that makes you nervous? She’s a great character and you write her well. She’s a ton of fun to read.

      1. Observer Tim

        There’s a reason when I did my “State of the Union” prompt (January 2014) from the Interdimensional HoJo that Wanda was chosen as Master of Ceremonies. She’s the most “metafiction” of my characters, being largely composed of my Internal Editor’s personality. She just takes it in stride as a normal part of the weirdness.

    4. regisundertow

      It never occurred to me before, but I can now see how Wanda is the most metafiction-like of your characters. She does seem to have a certain type of awareness and I often find her saying the right thing just as I think about it, as if she’s anticipating readers expectations. Lovely stuff, Tim.

      1. Observer Tim

        Wanda is the fictional personification of Emily, who is the nonfictional personification of my internal editor. Yes, my brain is that fucked up. If it seems like she’s anticipating the reader it’s because that’s part of what Emily does; I’d like to think it helps me make the writing more natural, which it does based on others’ reactions. Thanks very much for the compliment, Regis. 🙂

  43. James Skink

    Hello Skink,

    I don’t exist yet but that wont stop me having opinions.

    Write me you prick. At the very least spew me into notepad and discard without saving. Actually I don’t want you and your worthless fingers to write anything. I would prefer never to exist than spend my brief miserable existence anywhere your neurotic fear of sentences, commas, and self expression.

    If you do manage to crap out a caricature of me … actually, I guess I am just whatever you write down, so your attempt to describe me wouldn’t be a caricature of anything, it would just be me.

    Damn.

    1. regisundertow

      I love that. Existential crisis in an imaginary character, what’s not to like? I imagine most literary characters would give lip to their creators given the chance.

  44. cosi van tutte

    This is a letter from one of my off-line stories.

    Dear Author:

    You know me. I don’t complain. I tend to keep things locked up inside. At least, I try.

    So, please don’t consider this a complaint. It’s more of a wish. I’ve been locked up in this prison for the past couple years while you’ve been flirting and flitting about with other people and other worlds. I’m not happy here. You know that. Please. If it wouldn’t be too much trouble, get me out of here.

    I know that you have something of a happy ending planned for me. I want it more than you know. I don’t like being imprisoned.

    Don’t be mad at me. This was only a suggestion. Only a suggestion. I’m not criticizing you. Please don’t take it that way.

    Just please. If you get this letter, please set me free.

    Pelin Corean
    (title of story not quite determined)

    1. Bushkill

      I love it. I have a forest of characters penned up some where as well. I hear them calling for me to get back to them and finish their story, their journey, but that isn’t always possible. I like the introspection this engendered me to take.

    2. Observer Tim

      Aw C’mon Cosi; Pelin needs you! I can see the reasonableness of adopting this tone when addressing a being who has total control of your life and destiny. That said, you’d best write them out of prison soon or you’ll have to deal with the character’s clinical depression… 🙂

    3. JosephFazzone

      Yeah I have way too many characters dusty and dirty, moldy, gritty, and quite irked with my lack of interest in going back to them. You’re the past, my old characters, get over it, nothing to see here, move along.

    4. Fran Lolly

      I feel so helpless, and it seems that Pelin does as well. You did a great job relaying the emotional struggle of your MC (or of the author??) without information overkill. I really enjoyed this, Cosi!

  45. NOPE

    Judge me….but you know, be nice about it…
    ~

    Dear McNope (Or whatever you’ve decided to call yourself now)

    I don’t have a lot of time (you know why), so I will make this quick.

    First of all, I realize that you use a Penname to protect your identity online. That’s quite smart really, what with all of the crazies out there- but could you please quit changing it? It’s confusing, and I can’t keep track of them all.

    Secondly, and this is the really big one, would you please stop picking on me? First you give me these weird feelings for my best friend. Then, instead of letting me figure that out, you create a tragic accident to kill my father. Now I’ve been assaulted by an unnatural creature and I am in a freaking coma. I don’t know what you’re up to, but I’m positive that it will somehow result in negative consequences for ME.

    Now, I’m do not wish to be unreasonable. I know that ‘characters in a story, much like all human beings, must experience adversity in order to grow as people and to make the story progress’. Blah blah blah- I get that. All I’m asking is for you to give me a break, and to maybe throw the bad juju at somebody else for a change. I really don’t think that’s asking for too much, do you?

    Finally, is the part where I lose a limb still up for negotiation? Because I would really love to NOT do that.

    Sincerely, R

    1. cosi van tutte

      Hi, NOPE!

      Aww, I feel bad for your character. Sounds like you’ve put her through a crazy amount of woe. 🙂

      But this is totally true -> “…characters in a story, much like all human beings, must experience adversity in order to grow as people and to make the story progress’.”

    2. Observer Tim

      Why do you sound like you might be a McKevin in disguise?

      Regardless, I think any character would feel this way as an adventure novel plays along, before they start actually getting the plot resolved. Hopefully there’ll still be a hero to finish the job when it’s over. Nice touch covering off the events. 🙂

    3. Fran Lolly

      “throw the bad juju at somebody else for a change” – love that. Don’t we all feel that way at times?! You captured your MC’s voice so well – nice work!

  46. Trevor

    Word Count: 616

    (Continuation of Portal Games and Finish That Sentence!)

    Portal Door: Saving Lori

    Hello, reader. If you’re reading this, you’ve found the note that I’ve left in this strange world. The way I got here feels like something out of a science fiction movie. I mean, a door that opens portals to other universes? That’s crazy to me, even now. But I feel like I need to document my experience, so….here we go.

    I came here because my best friend Lori was abducted into a strange world of colorful buildings and menacing thugs. I followed them to a warehouse where I witnessed the kidnapped have a doctor sedate Lori, apparently with the intention of giving her amnesia. When I was spotted, he pulled out a gun and prepared to shoot me. But at the last second, I made a desperate move that ended up sparing my life.

    I grabbed a metal lunch tray from another bed in the room. The bullet hit the metal and it richocheted, hitting the doctor in the leg. The man cried out as he grabbed his wound and fell to the floor. But I had no time to be shocked; I ran off to the exit and into the night. I ran down the lot, passing by several other warehouses. “Kaylee!” I gasped as I heard Lori’s abductor shout after me. I glanced over my shoulder to see him running after me, gun in hand. I tried to outrun him, but at the end of the warehouse lot, I was face-to-face with a chainlink fence. I was trapped. The man walked over to me, the gun pointed at my chest.

    “I’ve been watching you and Lori for so long now.” The man said as he got close enough to shove the pistol into my chest. “Through the portal. I hated you SO much. You were so boring. Dull. Lifeless.” As if to show his anger at my “dullness”, the man smacked me in the face with the gun. Then, he yanked my hair so I would look him in the face.

    “Me and Lori are going to have a wonderful life together. Here in this beautiful city.” The man dangled the gun right in front of my face. “And you’re not gonna take her away from me.”

    Good thing he spent so much time talking. It gave me the opportunity to make another escape: By kneeing him where the sun don’t shine. As he fell to the ground, I started to run. But I didn’t get far before I heard a loud boom from behind me. It was so intense that it sent me flailing to the ground. I turned around and gasped when I saw that the man had disappeared. All that remained was his gun and a single piece of paper. I walked over, picked up the paper, and read the message.

    “Time’s up.”

    In hindsight, I assume it meant he had a certain amount of time to take Lori to his own world and, since he failed to make that time limit, he was sent back prematurely. Then again, who knows? After that, I found Lori and, thankfully, I stopped the sedation before any of her memory was distrupted by the drug. We shared the jetpack I found earlier to get back to the door and our wild journey to this alternate world ended.

    Now this note is all that remains of us here. Hopefully, whoever you are will report these thugs to whatever authority exists there and they’ll be stopped before they hurt anyone else. But I’m just glad me and Lori are safe now.

    Oh, and if you’re thinking about trying to come to my world, forget it. The door’s been sealed shut.

    Sincerely,
    Kaylee of the Planet Earth

    1. regisundertow

      Interesting conclusion to the story thread. And the “Kaylee of the Planet Earth” reminds me of the “John Carter of Mars” naming convention, which to me hints of other travelers walking between worlds in the same way your characters did.

  47. ReathaThomasOakley

    Dear Mrs. Thomas Oakley,

    I have to write this because Mrs. Knight, my teacher, only she’s not a real teacher, only a substitute, said I had to. The real fourth grade teacher, Miss Cowart, got fat around the middle and didn’t come back after Christmas. I heard Aunt Violet tell Mama, “Shame and disgrace,” but Aunt Violet’s fat, with lots of bosoms, so I don’t think she should have said that.

    Mrs. Knight said to write out a list of questions, then tell you anything I been thinking about. She said to do my very best because that’s what you are expecting. I think a lot, but won’t write everything because cursive is hard and my hand hurts when I write too long and it’s boring.

    Why did you make me ten? Ten is not a good age. I can do somethings I couldn’t when I was nine, but I still can’t cross the street by Jimmy-on-the-corner’s house. I have to help Mama clean the house, but I can’t stay up on Saturday nights to listen to The Grand Old Opery. Ten is an in between age.

    Can you write us a television set pretty quick? Everybody at school, but me, can talk about The Mickey Mouse Club.

    Why did you give me a brother? A little sister or a puppy would have been better.

    Why do I have freckles? I saw in the back of Mama’s McCalls a picture of a woman with lots of spots on her face that went away when she rubbed Porcelana on them. I’m saving up to buy some, it’s one dollar, and for a stamp to mail the letter.

    Why don’t I have curly hair! I hate, hate, hate when Aunt Lucille gives me a Tonette. Have you ever smelled that stuff or had to stand on a chair over the kitchen sink while they pour gallons of water over your head? I don’t think writers should write stuff they wouldn’t do their own selves.

    Thank you for the Sherlock Holmes book. I really like that, even though I had to get my tonsils out first. Have you ever had a wet thing, like a big unblowed up balloon put over your mouth and nose and this stuff comes in like you’re breathing water and you go to sleep and you wake up and you can’t talk? Well, that’s what an operation is like.

    I can’t think what else to put down. I kinda like most what you write, just think about the puppy and television and please, please, please don’t write boring!

    Very truly yours,

    Annie Louise Porter
    (Only I don’t like Louise even if that was my dead granny’s name.)

    P. S. I don’t understand your name. Do you have two last names or is your first name Thomas? That is very confusing.

    1. cosi van tutte

      Hi, Reatha!

      I really like the tone of this letter. It makes me think of a young girl writing to her pen pal.

      And just so you know, I really like this line: “I heard Aunt Violet tell Mama, “Shame and disgrace,” but Aunt Violet’s fat, with lots of bosoms, so I don’t think she should have said that.”

      Also, I think all writers should tape this to their computers (just so they don’t forget): “Please, please, please don’t write boring!”

    2. Observer Tim

      This is a lovely letter, Reatha. You captured the voice of a ten-year old really well, and I can hear her calling out of the story. It’s a good sign for us that you’re so deep into her head. Maybe Nancy Drew isn’t right; she needs to read more Holmes. 🙂

    3. JosephFazzone

      I love how she complains so much. And the line I don’t think writers should write stuff they wouldn’t do their own selves. had me laughing so hard. There’s a ton of things I make my characters do that I would never do. Sorry, Annie.

    4. Fran Lolly

      Once again, Reatha, such an enjoyable read! It is so easy to visualize your characters, and you depict Annie’s spunk in such a vivid manner. The curiosity of the “in between age” is a fun chapter – thanks for the laughs.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Your writing speaks volumes to me of your own personality. If I were to hazard a guess , I would think you’re every bit as likeable as Annie. Oh, and it’s a beautiful write.

    5. regisundertow

      Really liked how the letter feels like it’s trying to be restrained. I get the impression Annie is really mad but reining it in. Through her requests, I was getting the image of a drawn character asking her creator to erase and change details on her, on her background, on the world around her. There’s lots of backstory implied too, which makes it very enjoyable filling in the pieces.

        1. ReathaThomasOakley

          Thanks regis, for both comments. Annie would really like to write her own story and the P.S. came when I reread the story. In 1955 that would have been confusing.

    6. Critique

      I enjoyed this a lot. Your ten year old MC was endearing and realistic. I liked the line: “I do’t think writers should write stuff they wouldn’t do their own selves.” 🙂

  48. keight

    Dear Ms. Keight,

    It was a delight to meet you this past week. I really enjoyed your company on the train while we traveled. Who would have thought the time could pass so quickly? Thank you for generously sharing your lunch with me and Ruby, and for answering all of my questions! I have a lot to learn about raising children, but you sure helped me figure some things out! I hope that someday I can find a good woman to settle down and start a family with. Maybe then I will write you another letter.

    God bless,
    Henry

    1. Observer Tim

      This is touching and inspirational, Keight. I like the voice and the forgiving nature of the character. Are we going to see him in prompt or in print anytime soon? I’m with Reatha; I wish it were longer. 🙂

    2. Fran Lolly

      Well done, Keight. I really liked this succinct introduction to Henry. It’s delightful when so much can be said in so few words. I’d like to see more…

  49. JosephFazzone

    Hey!

    I know what you’re thinking. There’s a lot going on this next adventure, and you seem a bit stressed. Have you forgotten that my powers could help you calm down? There’s a lot going around, history, new characters, elevating the danger and dire straits. With three rewrites, I believe you are thinking too much, planning too much. You can’t stress about it all, keep in mind it’s always baby steps. Let it flow, let yourself go, slow and low, that is the tempo! Isn’t that what the Beastie Boys would say? Do it then. You need a sounding board. Find one. I can’t really help you since you created me, but I’m the personification of the strong female type who solves her own problems. Part of that, obviously not the female part, comes from you doesn’t it?

    I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say we are looking forward to the resolution of the trilogy. I can only stress that this is only possible because you wanted it, so enjoy it, and get back to work. You dawdle quite a bit, and there’s no reason to. You’ve done more than enough work for this story to write it from beginning to end, so let’s do it. By the way, a few notes. Remember your love of continuity, and please don’t forget the watch or the camera. It’s useful for the next book to convince everyone to travel to Pennsylvania. I love the idea of the trick, but I think it’s time we met Doug and explain the O’Reilly Shrine. See, the moment I brought that up, your interest jumped. So get back to work, and have fun. There’s so much cool stuff to talk about.

    You wanted a bad ass strong female lead, and you got one. I believe in you. It’s a great story, and I am proud to be a part of it. Don’t change perspectives, though. Morgan can just relate his tale of Bobby’s attack to us. It’s a great story, but doesn’t have to be through his eyes. I’m already confused. Just go back, and fix that. Other than that, this is going great, and I can’t wait to get to the third book when it all really blows up! Fun! Fun! Fun!

    So, don’t think so much and have fun with it. Consider what it was like when we began our adventure. I’ve changed, and you’ve changed. It’s a story and a world you have delighted in conjuring, all you have to do now is stay on point. You’re the damn author. You got this! Let me be your inspiration. I’m the one who stays positive when it all goes to hell, and I never lose sight of who I am, who you created me to be because that’s who you want to be too, and already are. I’m proud to have been created by you.

    Laid it on a little thick? Well, you’ve been stagnating. I wasn’t sure if you wanted a positive reinforcement letter or a kick you in the ass type of letter. Trying to do both here, so stop whining and get back to work, and we love you!

    Mayli Wu Howard
    Quiet Stone of the Sixteen

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      This is great and the line, I’ve changed and you’ve changed, summarized very nicely the relationship between creator and creation. Very well done.

    2. Fran Lolly

      Thanks for the words of blunt encouragement. Nice work with the characterization, Joseph – it would be fun to see this spitfire in the context of the full story.

        1. Kerry Charlton

          When you.create a fictional character.that carries on a relationship as. A mentor, that is one great character. I have some of my own running around but I do not believe they are dimensional as you.have. I will take the advice.and warp up to writing speed myself

          1. JosephFazzone

            Yeah, took a few days off after I wrote this. Ugh! Part of the difficulty is that I’m a full time Dad. I love it, but it’s hard at the end of a long day with the kiddies to sit down and focus. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I just know I have to be consistent, and do the work when I can. Back to work! =)

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