Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Writing (01/11/07)
TITLE: Writing Maranda
By Jan Ackerson
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I paused at my computer, grinning. This was my first foray into the world of romance writing, and I was nailing it. My characters were practically writing themselves, and all I had to do was throw a few extra adjectives and adverbs into each paragraph.
Her porcelain cheeks stained with tears, Maranda grasped the photograph of Rodrigo that adorned her mahogany bedside table. “Oh, Rodrigo,” she whispered quietly, clasping the silver frame to her flawless bosom…
I was startled by the doorbell. Muttering, I stomped to the hallway, wondering who dared interrupt me when the words were flowing so freely. A delivery truck idled in the driveway, and a man with a clipboard stood on my porch.
I yanked the door open, peeved by the interruption and anxious to get back to Maranda’s weeping.
The man looked down at his clipboard. “I got a delivery for Jennica Groves. That you?”
I wasn’t expecting anything, but…”Yes, that’s me.”
He waved at the truck. There was a flurry of activity, then three men started toward the house, struggling under the weight of a square box no bigger than a microwave, but obviously very heavy. I opened the door and they dropped it on the living room floor with a thud.
“What is it?” I asked, the sound still reverberating.
“Writer’s block, ma’am.” The three helpers were panting and wiping their foreheads.
“Wha—a writer’s block? I didn’t order that! Take it back!”
“Sorry, lady, no can do. I just deliver ‘em.” He tipped his cap and the crew hustled away.
I turned and stared at the box. A writer’s block—how ridiculous! Kneeling to remove the packaging, I found that I couldn’t budge the thing at all. It must have weighed several hundred pounds.
Well, who cares? I left the block and returned to my computer.
Maranda’s sapphire eyes filled…
Maranda’s aching heart…ached…
It was hopeless. I had no idea what Maranda was going to do once she stopped crying. All I could think about was that block. Who sent it? How could I get rid of it?
For several days, I wrestled with the block. I tried to chip away at it and broke my only screwdriver. I bruised three toes kicking the thing. Having heard that Coke would eat through anything, I poured an entire bottle on it. Nothing happened.
Maranda twiddled her thumbs…
Maranda skipped about the room…
No use. I couldn’t write anything with that writer’s block around. I decided to clean the house instead. I was dancing with the feather duster when I heard the doorbell chime. Now what? I peered through the curtains; a young woman stood on the landing, looking vaguely familiar. I opened the door.
“May I help you?”
“I’m Miranda. Can I come in?”
My life was getting stranger and stranger. But I had to admit that she certainly looked like Maranda. Golden tresses, porcelain skin…”Um, sure.” She pushed past me and plopped onto a chair.
“So, here’s the deal,” she said. “I don’t like the way you’ve been writing me. First of all, you spelled my name wrong. It’s M-I-R-A-N-D-A, okay?”
“Yeah, whatever.” She waved a hand in the air. “And listen, how about giving me a better personality? Some spunk, maybe? I’m really tired of this weeping and sobbing routine, you know?”
“Uh, okay, I can do that—“
Miranda leaned forward and patted my arm. “Listen, you’re not a bad writer. You made me real beautiful—I like that. Just lay off the damsel-in-distress stuff, okay?”
I nodded, still stunned to be conversing with my protagonist in my own living room.
She continued. “Just so you know—Rodrigo doesn’t die. I think he does, and I let Pemberton comfort me, and then Rodrigo returns and I have to choose. Everyone thinks I’m going back to Rodrigo, but it turns out Pemberton is cooler after all. Got it?”
“Okay, but Rodrigo—“
Miranda snorted. “He’s all tanned skin and flashing black eyes, but he’s never had a deep thought in his life.” She stood up, tossing her hair. “So—are we all set? I’ll just be taking this, then.” With no effort, she lifted the writer’s block to her shoulder and walked outside, pausing briefly to flash me a charming smile—her lips dewy, her teeth like pearls.
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