| 1052 words

Something I've always wanted to do is to write fiction. It doesn't have to be a whole novel or even a published short story. It doesn't have to be good or even to make sense, but just getting something out there. A single scene, or even a random (but of course well written) sequence from what could be a longer story. Similar to the idea of doing word vomits to improve at fiction in general, I feel like forcing myself to come up with some kind of unique short lego blocks of fiction can surely only help.

The problem is that writing fiction is just so hard. At least for me. I don't know what to say or how to begin. Plus I don't just want to write generic drabble (although that would be far better than the alternative of writing nothing at all). I want to imitate the many pieces of fiction which I really love. Quite the challenge since most of that kind of stuff is quite complex.

There are so many types of things I enjoy in my media, but so often they are hard to find. A good argument scene for example. A real back and forth filled with soul and vigour, where you can't help but root for both sides and cringe at the low blows; I find these are far too rare. Of course when I start out I expect I'll be hardly distinguishable from a young fanfic writer who hasn't yet hit puberty but the good news is that I'll have nowhere to go but up.

I peaked as a writer in 2016. It was in high school, and for an assignment we had to write an extra chapter of a book we'd read. I wrote an additional chapter of The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. It was chapter 7.5; a dream sequence where the protagonist was confronted by his own physche and agonized over the decisions he'd made. It was without a doubt the fiction I ever wrote.

This is not because I've gotten worse at writing but rather I just never really applied myself since then. Perhaps similar to those stories of gifted children who peak in middle school then slowly wither away under the pressures of adulthood. I was immensely proud of it though (and the validation I got from the English teacher) and honestly I still am. Want to know a fun fact? The word limit for that assignment was 1000 words. It proves to myself that I have what it takes to write a compelling piece of fiction in a short space. I guess all I really need to do is try.

I do recall agonizing over it quite a lot. Making edits and refining it by sanding off the rough edges until it constitued 1000 words of perfection. I distinctly remember the first draft being closer to 1500 words, and then deciding which overly laborious descriptions and extended metaphors to unemotionally chop off. I'll have to get faster and more ruthless as well if I want to start doing these as full word vomits. Plus when my train of thought is about to crash into the 1000 word barrier I have the option of cutting off the tracks, pulling the emergency brakes, and posting it as is. Fiction, surely, deserves to have a conclusion.

It kind of raises the question of whether it's really possible to come up with a come with a story on the fly with nothing but a prompt and a dream. Like trying to build the tracks from the front of a moving train. Some writers plot out their worlds and stories extensively, but not all of them.

I guess it kind of depends on what genre you do. I've read a lot of sci fi and fantasy, and honestly these deep down feel like kind of the same genre. Placing humanity in a larger and unfamiliar world, using these stories to examine what makes us humans special and unique. Creating wonderful thought experiments more often than just straight up narratives. However I feel like that's exactly the type of thing that would require a lot of blueprinting and structure.

I, on the other hand, contend that you can come up with interesting and even coherent fiction at the speed of thought through sheer willpower and moxy. You know what, maybe I'll give that a try now. Let words peel off of my fingers as fast as the keyboard will take them. A constant spew of pure ideas, the interior of my brain operating no different to the famous chatGPT that itself is filled with the ghosts of letters.

The glare of the lights was almost blinding. The rented suit was scratchy. The crowd deafening. But my mind was clear. I strode confidently through the sea of people, parting them where they dared to shuffle into my path.

"If I believe in myself strongly enough", I whispered to myself, "then everybody else will too".

A hundred glistening eyes watched me pass, their heads turning in unison as I strode through their ranks. I was in one of them once. Just yesterday, it felt like, and I could all too easily imagine what they must have been thinking. Looking back though? I hated the feeling of being starstruck. Hated feeling lesser than any celebrity who tried to wow and dazzle.

I thought I'd love how it felt from the other side, but as it turns out I kind of hate this too. All this pomp and for what? So that a few self obsessed weirdos (myself excluded) to pretend to be the center of the universe for 30 minutes?

I made my way to the entrance. The door was so tall and the doorway so deep that it felt like being swallowed up by some gargantuan creature. Ironic that I, who was supposed to feel in control here, felt like a piece of prey about to be consumed by an apex predator.

Ok I hit 1000 words, I'm calling it quits there. You know what. It's kind of bad, but it's ok. I think maybe I have what it takes.