Short Stories · The Writing Process


It was a dark and stormy night. Well, it was dark, anyway. And cold. Amanda huddled under her fleecy heated blanket, on the sofa, in the TV room. And it was time to write. She knew this. Her husband knew this. But she reminded him anyway.

“Don’t disturb me; I’m going to write now.”

“Right, OK.”

She opened her laptop.

Unnoticed by either Amanda or her husband, the tiny winged figure in red beside Amanda’s left ear whispered, “Not so fast! Why don’t you just check the 500 Words group, hmm?”

“Hmm.. why don’t I just check the 500 Words group?” Amanda wondered, opening Facebook. And she scrolled down the group, liking and answering posts. Half an hour later she was still fully absorbed in this task when the tiny winged figure in white hovering by her right ear said, “Look, are you actually going to do any writing tonight?”

“Goodness, there’s half an hour gone and I haven’t written a word!” said Amanda. She stabbed the Close button on the Facebook tab with decision.

“Right. I am going to DO some writing!” She shuffled herself more upright on the sofa, opened her word processor and rubbed her hands together as she considered the blank screen.

This did not please the little red figure. He leaned towards her ear.

“What are you going to write about, eh? You don’t even know!”

Amanda froze. She realised she hadn’t a clue what to write about.

Red continued, “All those other writers, they have actual PLANS for real NOVELS…. You haven’t ever managed that, have you? You’re such a failure. And look, they’re doing opals on Gems TV! Your favourite! You need a pair of earrings, don’t you?”

Amanda’s head drooped. She didn’t know why, but suddenly she lost all enthusiasm to write. She felt like a fraud. How could she put finger to keyboard when she hadn’t got any kind of plan? Other people had plans and were well into writing novels! And she was just farting around with bits and bobs. Her eyes drifted to the TV screen where a shouty little man was enthusing about opals. And they were pretty… And such a bargain, too. Amanda’s hands slipped from the keyboard.

The tiny white figure was watching all this with her arms folded, a determined expression on her face. She fluttered up to Amanda’s ear and whispered, “You can DO this; you know you can! Writing is what you’ve always wanted to do, ever since you were a kid! Who cares if you’ve nothing planned to write, so long as you write! Just get going and see what comes to you! You – “

White broke off as Red shoved her hard. She fluttered away, crashing into the back of the sofa. Red then grabbed Amanda’s ear and yelled, “Look! Emeralds AND opals! You MUST BUY!!!”

Amanda’s eyes were fixed on the TV screen now, and she was drooling slightly. The prices really were good. Perhaps something for next Christmas..?

White recovered herself, grabbed Red by his wings, and kicked him hard. Several scarlet feathers remained in her hand as Red lurched away. White hastened towards Amanda and hissed, “Switch off the TV and get writing! You’ll be able to fill in your word count spreadsheet if you do and you know how much you enjoy that!”

Amanda’s eyes wandered from the TV screen back to her laptop, where the cursor blinked patiently. “Perhaps I could just jot down a few things – at least get my 500 words done, fill in my spreadsheet…” she mused.

But Red had recovered himself and flew to Amanda’s ear. He’d been doing his job for over 40 years and he was damned if Amanda was going to be productive now. He drew breath.

” — “

White punched him hard in his tiny red stomach. He tumbled head over heels, fluttering backwards, bumping into the coffee table and knocking a ginger biscuit off its saucer. Winded, he landed on the floor. White flew down and sat on him, pinning his wings to the rug.

“YOU,” she said, “are staying RIGHT HERE until Amanda has finished her writing for tonight. Do you understand?”

Red bucked and heaved but got nowhere.

“Do. You. Understand?”

“Yes,” sobbed Red, sulking.

They both heard tapping from above. Amanda had started to write.

For some time, the only sounds heard were the tapping of keys and the soft whimpering of Red. Finally he could take no more.

“Just let me put her off a little! She’s missing all the spectacular offers on Gems TV. She’s still got a small amount of savings left – let her spend all of it!”


White had slapped him with all her strength. His eyes closed and minuscule bluebirds appeared fluttering crazily round his head. White, satisfied he wouldn’t be moving for a while, flew up and perched on Amanda’s shoulder. She’d written over 700 words! White’s little chest puffed out with pride. She gave Amanda a small pat on the back of the neck and Amanda shivered. She whispered, “You can do this – you’ll see. Don’t give up!”


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