3 Writers Meet
This story is the first piece inspired by a writing prompt from the new creative circle I have joined. I hope you enjoy it... It's a bit of silly fun.
Allie spluttered, the coffee was stone cold and far too bitter. And now her note pad was speckled with it. She had deliberately arrived at the café an hour early, hoping to finish off her character notes before the others arrived and had already worked her way through two large cups.
Clara Sian Loris and Shelley Mare were her heroes, writers she had admired for years. Their groundbreaking novels: “Prof. Frankie Glass’ pet” the feminist novel that started the Gossiph movement; and “The Lying, The Rich and the Warthog”. A dystopian fantasy that painted a bleak picture of a world ruled by the Parma Violet obsessed, evil witch of Wall Street.
it had taken a lot of courage for her to reach out to them. To ask if she could meet them, maybe have the opportunity to discuss their novels with them. She had squealed with delight when she got the email inviting her to their favourite meeting spot. She almost fainted when they asked if she would be interested in becoming a member of their circle.
Brenda Stalker, the third, now departed, member of their group had recently left in a pique of rage. Her novel, “Dr Akla”, a frightful story about the head of a blood transfusion clinic, had been, perhaps, the best selling of them all and yet it hadn’t received the literary attention the others had. That had been enough to cause the aged novelist to overturn a bookshelf and storm out of their most recent meeting.
The remaining women did not feel right meeting as a duo. Two was a great number for lovers or for people planning a day out on a tandem but it did not work well as a writing group. No, you needed three people for a successful, creative circle. At least three. The wise one, the prolific one and the one that was eager to please and learn from the other two.
They set her the challenge in their follow up email: “Create a character that would fit into her own best selling novel”. As though that were an easy task. How long had it taken Clara Sian to figure out the complexities of Mr Thumbnuts? What had inspired the giant, steroid infused wombat that was the rampaging pet in Shelley’s opus?
She’d had a few ideas in the days that followed.
Miss Marbles. An elderly lady that travelled the country taking part in green bowls competitions and solving weirdly middle class murders.
Dogless Neverbeen. A perky young civil rights activists that was handy with a catapult and had fiery tastes in fashion.
And Freddo. A bagger at a small town supermarket that found a ring under the check out and went on an epic journey to return it to its owner in the big city.
But they all seemed a little too familiar.
She struggled for a fortnight, making note after note, tearing and balling up yellow sheets of A4 paper, covering her floor with rejected ideas. And then the big day came. She woke early and trawled through her wardrobe. Jeans and a blouse… a summer skirt and a vest… a floaty dress… It was almost as difficult picking an outfit as it was coming up with a compelling character.
“Ah! There she is. Our very own little maiden, our literary virgin, our impressionable enthusiast.” Shelley was a bouncy woman with a large, friendly grin. Not the slight, dark aura’d woman Allie had imagined.
“Our dribbly little scribbler?” Clara pointed to the legal pad on the table and chuckled.
Allie blushed and quickly wiped her chin. “I errr… The coffee, it errr… The colder it gets the more bitter it becomes. I was taken by surprise.”
“Ah.” Clara nodded “And what’s this here?” She turned her head to read the smudged words on the browning paper. “Hadrian Vole - a pre teen blogger? Sounds interesting. Thinking of a children’s book then?”
“Oh, I was just brainstorming.” Allie shrugged. “I think I like this one more. Lara kneeHale… A young woman that lives on a farm but runs away to the big city to work in the mayoress’ orchard.”
“Oh, Allie. I hate to break it to you but that books been written. I mean, there are a few differences but the character is most definitely taken.” Shelley shook her head and reached for the note pad, tearing the page from the spine and rolling it into a ball. “Have you been working on it long?”
“No… No… Not really, it’s just notes really. There’s nothing worked out on it.” She pulled the pad away from her new mentor and slid it into her bag with a sigh.
“It happens to the best of us, dear. You just have to keep trying. You may not believe this but there was a book way back in the 1800’s that had a wacky scientist, just like Frankie Glass… except it was some man… of course, in those days you couldn’t write a book about a female scientist. The secret is, you have to wait until those characters are old and the copyright runs out. Then you can pretty much rewrite the book and make a fortune.” Shelley grinned and winked at the youngster. “Here… Have a mooch through these.” She took a small pile of battered old books from her bag and dropped them on the table with a thwock. “These have all just come into the public domain.”
Allie smiled and picked up a book. Flicking through it quickly. “This one’s got no words, it’s all just pictures… And they move when you turn the pages…. Chug Boat Billy…” She read from the spine “I like that! And look, he’s a hamster! And he’s wearing trousers… Isn’t that fun?”
The three women ordered coffee and a round of cakes and spent the afternoon pouring through the old books, chatting about the plots and characters, laughing occasionally at the thought of a trouser wearing hamster driving a boat.
“It’s a nice idea, Allie, kinda cute really. But it’ll never be popular.” Clara gave the young writer a hug as she packed up her bag to leave. “People will never take to a rodent in pants.”
©Madelaine Taylor 2023
Image from Toa Heftiba on UnSplash