Prompt: One morning you are sitting in front of your computer working on your novel when, suddenly, the computer starts talking to you. What does it say? Does it deliver an important message or just want to chat? (taken from Writer's Digest )
I took another swig from my coffee mug and nearly spit it all over my laptop - cold again. I'd been sitting at Borders for 2 hours trying to force the words onto the page, but it just wasn't happening.
My novel was due at the publisher's in less than a week and I still couldn't get the characters to cooperate and finish up the story. They kept going off on tangents, ignoring the plot line entirely.
"Ethel, look at this," said the blue-haired lady at the next table, which launched she and her friend into a rather loud debate about whether Jennifer Lopez uses botox or not.
I pulled my earphones out and plugged them into the laptop, logged into Pandora and hit the link for soft jazz, then turned my attention back to the task at hand.
Suddenly the music was interrupted and I heard, "Jan, we have to talk."
I took out my earphones and looked around to see who had spoken, but saw no one I knew. Weird.
Earphones back in place, I heard the voice once more, "Jan, it's me, Dirk Hansen, we need to talk."
Dirk Hansen? The detective from the book I'm writing?
"Yeah, that Dirk Hansen. I think I'm falling for Scarlet and I want you to do something about it. She won't give me the time of day," came the voice again.
Ok, now I know I'm losing it, my computer is talking to me…no, my character is talking to me.
"Hey, Jan - Scarlett here. Tell Dirk not to get his panties in an uproar, even though you've been writing as if this whole thing is leading up to a romance, are you kidding me?"
Wait - I'm the writer, I'll decide how this story goes.
"That's cute, Jan. You think you're in control," Scarlet said, "but what are you going to do when you find out that I am working for his wife and that the two of us are about to expose his embezzlement from the agency? Dirk Hansen will never work in this town again. In fact, he's headed for jail!"
Hey, that's not in the outline! Dirk's not even married - embezzlement from the agency? It's his agency, for crying out loud!
"I heard that, Scarlett - you must be some kind of crazy; and to think, I was falling for you. Jan, go ahead and write it just like she said. I've got a few tricks up my sleeve that will make her wish she'd never heard of Dirk Hansen!"
I couldn't take anymore. My own characters trying to hi-jack my novel. "Listen you, two, I don't give a flyin' fig what you think. Just shut up and let me write!" I blurted out.
"Well, I never!" said the blue-haired lady, to which her companion added, "This is a free country, girly and a public place. We can sit here and talk if we want to!" Then she flashed a hand signal that left no question about how she felt.
I packed up my laptop and high-tailed it out of there. Just wait until I get my fingers on that keyboard again, I thought, "Dirk and Scarlet aren't going to know what hit them!” No more writer's block!
(Copyright © 2010, 2011 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)