Write vs Wrong

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Two writers are having a conversation about the craft. They disagree on the state of writing, especially on one particular aspect

Submitted: September 21, 2016

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Submitted: September 21, 2016



I had completed five pages. It was hard and it was quite the struggle. But I did it. I was really proud of myself. I wasn't sure what the five pages would turn out to be. A short story? Chapter 1? It was too early to say. But all I knew was I had a good starting point. That is the goal for every writer. To know that what you finish is gonna continue what you were doing for the next day.

I walked into the living room and laid down on my couch. My brain needed to relax. I did my job for the day. Now it was time to shut down the mental office for the day. Everything was going right on schedule.

Except for a knock on the door.

It really wasn't that big of a deal, I guess. People knock on the door all the time. I got up and looked to see who it was. When I made it to the front door, I should have turned around and went back to the couch. Nothing good was gonna come from the visit. Nothing ever has and I was pretty sure that it was gonna continue in this pattern. 

Kyle Lund was a guy in my Creative Writing Class over at NSU. He was a good writer, not particularly great. Had an obession with Commercial Fiction. He believed in the James Patterson way of writing. Very formula and no room for art or growth in characters and situations. Kyle never really understood that there were still some of us who preferred real stories, real situations and real life in our fiction. That was where I fell into the matter. I was inspired by the likes of Larry McMurtry and Richard Russo. I recently read Nobody's Fool for what had to have been the 100th time. I still loved that book and a lot of my work was inspired by that particular book.

Kyle was medium height with an average build. He had brown wavy hair and big thick Buddy Holly glasses. He was holding a leather notebook in his hand. It had papers falling out of it. I shook my head. 

"Kyle, what can I do for you?" I asked.

"Steve, can I come hangout with you?" Kyle asked.

I shrugged and motioned for him to come in. He made it to my kitchen table. I walked over to the fridge and grabbed a couple of Pepsi's. I handed him one and sat in my recliner. Kyle opened up his drink and took a sip.

"I was wondering. Would you like to work with me on something?" Kyle asked.

"Not a big fan of collaborating," I said.

"Come on Steve," Kyle said. "It will be great. You haven't even heard the premise yet. I've started on notes for the story. I think it will make a great book."

"You know, it is true. I haven't heard your pitch. Please continue," I said. 

Kyle smiled and opened his notebook. "OK. It's a Detective story, It's about a Cop who goes after a Terrorist." Kyle said.

My expression was as dull as Kyle's pitch. "Wow. Brilliant. So your gonna copy every thing in the mystery genre. Hooray for originality." I said.

"I haven't even got to the best part," Kyle said.

I faked excitement. "My apologies," I said.

"OK, so hang on the edge of your seat. The Cop goes through some of the most harrowing scenes man. I'm telling you, there is this scene where The Cop and his sidekick are fighting terrorists in a big high rise right," Kyle said.

"Of course they are." I thought

"When the Cop finds a bomb in the middle of the room they are fighting the bad guys in. So the Cop has to make a decision. He can't disarm the bomb. He and his sidekick are on the top floor of a twenty story building. So guess what they do?" Kyle said.

"I don't know. Die?" I said.

"No way, Steve. They jump out the building. Full sprint to the closest window. They land in a pool. Luckily it was still full of water. There are gonna be a lot of action scenes. Fights of all kinds man. Gunfights, fist fights and maybe even a sword and knife fight." Kyle said.

"What about a pillow fight?" I asked.

"What? Your just being silly," Kyle said.

I took a sip of my Pepsi. "Of course," I said.

"You wanna work with me on this? I could use an extra brain on this one. We could even turn it into a screenplay. Man this is gonna be awesome." Kyle said.

I was shaking my head. I couldn't believe I just sat through all of that. I was convinced that all Kyle had was just another rip off of "Die Hard" or "Lethal Weapon" or any bad cop movie from the 80's or 90's. This was my main problem with Kyle as a writer. Afraid to take chances. Going all formulaic action. There was nothing wrong with that, except that they had beat that tired old horse so much you could see the flesh coming off. 

"No thanks man," I said. "I don't really do collaborations. I prefer to stick with my own work and vision."

"Come on Steve," Kyle said.

"I'm not gonna be apart of the old tired bringing back crappy plots for stories or movies." I said.

"No man, this is original." Kyle said.

"You just described "Die Hard" as the plot of your story. Cop who goes after a terrorist. Bomb in middle of room. Jumps through a window unscathed. Yeah that is "Die Hard." ." I said.

"The cop isn't Bruce Willis," Kyle said.

"Come on. Dude take a chance. Try something out of the box. Throw all the action scenes you want. Don't bring "Die Hard" back. Don't sell your audience short." I said.

"OK, not the same old argument from you," Kyle said. "Dude the audience knows what it wants. They want a lot of action and explosions. Cool stunts and fight scenes. They want escapism. No one wants to sit there and have a story being told to them like they were literally having a book read to them."

"Nobody wants that either," I said. "But just going for the mindless stuff, you are selling your audience short. Short on the story and short on what the writer wanted to do with this work."

"You know, if you are just compare everybody that wants to write Pop Fiction to James Patterson, you need a more compelling arguement than that." Kyle said.

I shook my head. Kyle took a sip of his Pepsi.

"You are in my house, asking me to collaborate with you on a story. How would we do this?" I asked.

"I give you the premise, you right up a few chapters. I look them over and rewrite them if necessary. True collaboration." Kyle said.

"Basically you are asking me to give up my morals and become a James Patterson type hack?" I asked.

"No," Kyle said.

"What about Preston and Child?" Kyle asked.

"Those guys are original. They have compelling characters and the premise of alot of their work is truly original. I respect those guys a lot. I don't write in that particular style, I wish I could." I said,

"What are you working on right now?" Kyle asked.

I didn't know for sure what my five pages were. "It's a piece about life in a Men's Clothing Store." I said.

"Wow," Kyle said. "I am on the edge of my seat."

"It's about the mundane life of retail and how one guy trys to shake up the normal routine of retail culture. I have five pages done, I am not sure what I want to do with the story. It has the potential of a novella." I said.

"You are can't even make it a real book." Kyle said.

"I just started. I know what the plot is gonna be, I just don't know what it will end up being." I said. 

"How can you criticize my work, when you don't even know what yours is gonna end up being?" Kyle asked.

"It is simple," I said. "I am at least trying something original. You are relying on the use of cliches."

"You know I am tired of the writers like you, who bitch and complain that people who prefer excitement and escapism over your old fashioned Hallmark Channel type movies. People don't want a story. They just wanna see someone get punched in the mouth and good to win over evil." Kyle said.

"You want fighting watch UFC," I said. "Good wins over evil more often with mind than brawn."

"You know what? Your missing out Steve." Kyle said.

Kyle got up and walked out of the house. I sat there and realized that I had just proved my point. 


© Copyright 2018 Robert Logan. All rights reserved.

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