Good Narrative Principles

Writers Block


IMG_5770Used to be Harry’s favorite thing was to head to the bar right after work, order himself a tall one, take out his notebook and start writing. He liked sitting at the end of the bar, at the periphery of the action. That was his sweet spot. There was enough conversation and general noise to work against, but not so much that it drowned out his thoughts.

When he first adopted this habit, he’d bring along his computer, but the possibility of spilled drinks ruined his concentration. The bar was nothing special. They brought out a chafing dish brimming with greasy chicken wings at 5:30 pm that served as dinner. Ten pounds later, he limited himself to beer and chewing gum.

Harry was productive. Everything he saw, thought or felt went into his notebooks. At first, he wrote down daily musings, but gradually his writing took shape. One day, shortly after he swore off chicken wings, Harry realized he was writing a novel. He spent the next few nights chasing the structure as it unfolded before him like a catcher’s mitt. It was joyous. He couldn’t wait until his writing time at night.

Halfway through the novel, the bar closed and was replaced by a nail salon of all things. And just like that, Harry’s muse abandoned him. While he never believed in such seemingly flighty notions as “muse” or “inspiration”, Harry was stuck. He shoved his notebooks into the back of his sock drawer where they would no longer torment him. With his newfound freedom, Harry planned his upcoming vacation to the minute and then started trolling real estate sites to see what was out there. In short, he made mischief until his wife found him a nondescript bar nearby their home that just might do.

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