“You are legally allowed to commit murder once, but you must fill out the proper paperwork and your proposed victim will be notified of your intentions”.
That’s a writing prompt.
I’m a little distracted right now because the girl opposite me just leant forward. Low cut tops are lovely. She’s so engrossed in Law that she hasn’t even – whoops, back to my screen.
The writing prompt.
I saw it on Reddit yesterday and almost spat coffee over my screen. Swallowing helped. It sounded hilarious. There have been some really unusual writing prompts lately (“You live in a world where eating is taboo and sex isn’t”). I’ve considered having a go at some of them but other things always get in the way.
Not last night though.
After reading the prompt, I walked to the bathroom and tripped over the idea, fully forming it before I hit the floor.
God they’re distracting. Every time she moves they jiggle. Words, focus on the words.
I sat down at my laptop and began to type. It came quickly, making me smile.
So many people – on obtaining these writing prompts – immediately presume that because something is legal/not taboo, it means everyone will do it. I respectfully disagree. It is (apparently) legal to shoot a Welshman in Chester with a bow and arrow, but that doesn’t mean everybody is doing it.
She scrunched her shoulders. They’re all squished together now. Sometimes, I really love university.
My idea – for my story – was that it was an old and little known law. No one really used it because why would you? This is a government administered programme: it involves paperwork. Paperwork sucks. With the right amount of paperwork (excessive), very few sane people will attempt to commit a legal murder. And when you consider the effort required to perform a murder – in addition to the paperwork – it’s just easier to leave it be.
And then you get the “legal” side of things. If it’s “legal” for you to commit murder, does that mean you must deal with the consequences? Who gets rid of the body? Is there an investigation? Is the deceased covered by their life insurance? Is it legal for someone to stop you? If your victim defends themselves and kills you, are they liable?
She just yawned down her top.
The words kept on flowing. The story grew, detail expanding. What sort of questions will the form ask? Has the perpetrator performed any research? What sort of person is the perpetrator? Why does he want to kill the victim? What impact will it have on the perpetrator? On the victim’s family? On his emotions and mental state? On his finances?
The back story was complete in my head. I just needed to dramatise and expand.
Her head is resting on her left hand. The other hand is highlighting in waves. The effect is…mesmerising.
I wrote and wrote and wrote. I was amazed at how many words there were leaving my fingers. They weren’t tiring. I felt energised. Awake. Nowhere near my limit.
I’ve been struggling with my books. The editing process is doubt-inducing. I’ve been writing HTS for 8 weeks. In my head, the story is done, all the details completed, but the words are difficult to find. I struggle to describe the emotions – firstly, because of my chosen narration style, secondly because they’re personal feelings. I just want it done…but it’s simply creeping along.
So when, at 01:30 in the morning, I finished the final twist and immediately published that raw, unassuming, mistake-laden draft, I felt a huge sense of success, for I’d thrown out a mind-blowing 6800 words in under 7 hours – dinner and shower included. And my fingers didn’t hurt. I wasn’t tired. If I’d had more story, I’d have kept going.
She’s noticed the time. Her books have flown into her bag and she’s bounced up, casting about for something. With a frantic glance at her watch, she waltzes out.
A part of me didn’t care how many views the story got, how many people liked it. I was lucky: one of the stories written on that prompt is amazing, and has received a huge amount of attention. As a result, every other story on there is being…viewed. So some people have looked at my story (32, to be precise. 34 now), and some have even voted on it! Some people even commented!
And that makes it all the more worthwhile. It gives me reason to keep writing. It reminds me that practice isn’t perfect, and never will be.