Fighting the Eternal Struggle with my Arch-Nemesis

Writer with an owl on his head, Microsoft clip art

There are few things crueler to a writer than successive days of battle with the arch nemesis, and nothing more to show for it than a blank mind and a rising panic.

You didn’t know writers had nemeses?  You suspect that I’ve conveniently invented my arch nemesis to have an overly dramatic way to describe something that’s probably ridiculously insignificant, don’t  you?

Are you insinuating that writers overreact to things? That our over-active imaginations tend to turn ants into fire-breathing lizards with horns and machine guns and a magic talisman that turned people to gerbils?

Okay, fair point.

Now I’m wondering if I should even bother to tell you about this whole “arch nemesis” thing, because, it’s just another example that illustrates this tendency to hyperbolize everything, which means the next time I have an authentic problem, you all will just suspect I’m crying gerbil lizard.

It’s true. Writers learn every life-lesson from reading stories and fables with morals.

I’m not helping my case am I?

Well, in this case, I am not entirely exaggerating. Instead, I’m personifying a more abstract concept in concrete terms for comedic effect.  That’s something else we do. And, for those following along, I’ve now stretched my initial teaser with its promise of epic action and blind fear over seven paragraphs, which, with any luck, has heightened your interest in the piece as a whole, and kept you reading along greedily, eager to find out exactly who or what I consider to be my arch nemesis.

My arch-nemesis, in fact, looks a great deal like me, which might put you in mind of the “evil twin” trope.  It makes me wonder which one of us is the “evil” one.  After all, no one is the villain in his or her own tale.

Where was I? Right, I was padding out the story, trying to hit my word count, and, with any luck, “punch” the whole thing up a bit and heighten the suspense without unduly frustrating my readers. It’s a fine line, and I suspect,  with this sentence, I’ve very nearly crossed to the side of frustrating. Sorry about that.

My twin sounds like me, too. She speaks to me in my voice, only she is much more critical of things than I am.  She looks over my shoulder as I write, and tells me that everything I just wrote is humorless, unoriginal, and boring.

She loves to tell me that every idea I’ve ever had is not good enough, and encourages me to just give up. She tells me I should just tell you all I had too much going on, or had an emergency or just couldn’t hack it, and you’ll all forgive me, and then I can be done, and go to bed early.

I generally refer to her as my internal editor.

She’s not all bad. She does have some good points. She has better hair than I do, and is much better than me at bowling and miniature golf.  I’m slightly jealous of her incredible knack for the scathing insult, and her impeccable taste in literature, food and screenwriting. She never tires of reminding me of her aptitudes and opinions in the most hurtful ways imaginable.

How I loathe her.

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