Let me see now. The last time I worked in a physical office was in 2014. I couldn’t miss it less but I do have some nice memories of the chats we had during lunch breaks. Now, all the chats I have are online, which is fine because I’d rather write than speak anyway.
The reason I recalled these office chat memories is that I was working on a scene from the dreamer/hunter book this morning and concentrating was hard what with a kid up early because it’s Christmas and she has to see her presents at 7 am and chirp about them for two hours, and then need help with assembling her paper animals from the only parent who’s awake and, incidentally, also the parent who cannot read an assembly diagram to save her life. (pauses for breath)
This is obviously not an environment conducive to creative writing. It is even less conducive to creative writing if the writing itself is giving you trouble and let me tell you that both the dreamer and the hunter were getting on my nerves in this scene. I had the urge to complain to someone. To whine. To speak behind my characters’ back.
I had the urge to do what I do every day with my friend who also happens to be my co-worker. We complain to each other about silly news, sillier oil price forecasts, and anything else that rubs us the wrong way. You have to let out your frustrations or they’ll choke you eventually. So, how would an everyday work-related chat look if it was about a writing work in progress? A chat that takes place while I’m slaving over said work in progress (and actively looking for distractions)? It would probably go like this:
Me (to Friend): Oh, great, now T.’s gone and told V. he still wants to kill M. He could’ve just shut up about it but no. He’s so honest I want to scream. Dumbass.
Friend: Sounds annoying. And boring. What’s with all this honesty, anyway? So not interesting. I don’t mean it personally, of course.
Me: I know, right? But there he is and I can’t do anything about it. He’s told himself he’ll always be honest with the family because in the end honestly saves a lot of trouble. Which is actually true, now that I think about it but it’s still irritating he’s doing it right now when she’s already worried about a bunch of stuff and now she’ll have to worry about this, too. It’s just superbad timing for being honest.
Friend: What’s V. doing, anyway? Except being worried, that is.
Me: Don’t get me started. She’s on her way to an ancient uncle and she doesn’t know if he’s still alive but of course he is because he will have to tell her The Big Secret, which I have yet to figure out. I mean, there are more than one Big Secrets but the biggest will be that T. won’t have to kill M. at all because… ugh, I’ve yet to get there. And none of them are helping.
Friend: That sucks. Why is it always so hard for characters to just play along? That’s what I’d like to know. Why does it always have to be difficult when it can be easy? And dumb, too. Dumb and difficult.
Me: No idea.
Friend: Is The Big Secret going to get anyone killed?
Me: T. might end up murdering M. before V. gets home and reveals The Big Secret but I’m not sure yet. I mean, he has a kid in the house. Speaking of which I might have the kid kill M. without even trying. I mean, he’s already sucking out her memories and her energy, so it would make sense.
Friend: A superpower kid? That’s kind of Firestarter, isn’t it? Not that there’s anything wrong with it.
Me: Oh, thanks, now I have to worry about originality, too. Nope. I’m not doing this.
Friend: Course not. What’s originality, anyway? Everything’s been discovered. Just tell the story, dumb characters and all.
Me: That’s what I’m trying to do but they’re making it so hard I hate their guts. Seriously. I’ve never had this much trouble before. Oh, look how beautiful Sheremetyevo airport is. Like a space station or something. (sends picture over Skype)
Friend: Yeah, it’s cool. Hey, look, I found a ranking of the 14 most beautiful airports in the world. Not sure about some of them. (sends picture over Skype)
Me: Meh, airport X is not even decent, let alone beautiful. Stupid ranking. Right, okay, back to V. and T. Oh, by the way I had this brilliant idea how to tie the whole thing to Sakha religion. You know how they have this concept of three worlds and three souls?
Friend: They do?
Me: Oh, yes, it’s fascinating. So, M., the old T. and S. will each represent one of these souls each. They actually fit with the souls rather well if I say so myself. No, screw modesty, I’m so blipping proud of myself I could hug a radical vegan.
Friend: Wow, okay, good for you. And I have to make my character a bit less disgustingly predictable. No idea where to start. I hate her.
Me: But they’re all predictable to us, aren’t they? Shouldn’t be so predictable to readers. You’re worrying too much.
Friend: You think? I’m not so sure. Worst thing is even the unpredictable things I can make her do sound blipping predictable. I want to drop the whole thing and write something else.
Me: You tried that last year. Didn’t work, remember?
Me: You can do it! Oh, look, a quiz. “Tell Us How Often You Pee and We’ll Tell You Your Personality”! Want?
Friend: Want. Can’t get much dumber than that.
Me: Don’t say it. Every time you say it, five minutes later we find something dumber. It’s getting scary.
Friend: Right. Sorry. Okay. Meh, I’m an open-minded, generous personality.
Me: Well, you are. And I’m obsessive. Which I’m not. Okay, look, I’d better get V. on the next plane and see what T.’s doing. I might just let him kill M. and have it over with.
Friend: I just had an idea. I’ll have X. vandalise a car. Nobody will see that coming. Ha!
Me: I sure wouldn’t. See? I told you. Wait, I found the funniest meme on Twitter. Last one, I promise!
Friend: Give it here. Car vandalism can wait.