Yoonji sat down, ready for a fresh start. She’d spent the last hour attempting to write a story for the local library’s annual writing competition. An idea had come to her, finally, and she wanted to get it all down before it slipped out of her grasp. Maybe it was because she was in a sarcastic mood after her many failed attempts and the looming deadline of the competition. She had decided on writing a story about someone writing a story for a writing competition for a writing competition. She didn’t intend on winning with it. She just found the idea rather amusing. She opened a new document on her computer, staring at the blank page on her screen as the blankness seemed to glare back at her with expectations. She put her fingers to the keyboard, waiting for words to somehow magically cascade from her mind to her fingers, letting the words build themselves into a story. Or a story for her character to write about. And a story for her character's character.
It was a little strange to wrap her mind around. She was writing a story about someone writing a story. After failing to think it through, she peeled off a pale yellow sticky note from her stack of Post-Its and jotted down the format of what she was intending to write. Sitting at her desk, the fan of the computer began to whir. It felt like a bad sign, and she started to feel a little more uneasy about the deadline, which was in a few days. She needed to figure out what her character's character was going to write about.
Out of ideas, Yoonji opened a new tab, going to the library’s website. After a few clicks, she had found the stories of the previous winners from the year before. She quickly read through them and came up with one common theme; Make it an utterly obvious cliché with a depressing yet “realistic” touch. The judges would eat it right up. Add in some metaphors, real-world problems, a generic name and voila! You had yourself bragging rights and some extra cash. After an hour, Yoonji had still made no progress. Desperately, she had searched up writing prompts, with no luck. Her brain was starting to feel numb, and she knew she wasn’t going to get anywhere. Closing her computer in defeat, she sighed dramatically. She’d try again tomorrow.
This couldn’t be fair. Throughout the day, she would get glimpses of promising story ideas in her head, but by the time she sat down at her computer after dinner, they were all gone. With her concept, she not only had to write a story for herself but for her character within the story as well. For the second time, Yoonji sat at her computer, feeling her brain start to melt from the overthinking. The overthinking that got her zero words closer to finishing.
She was stuck in a cycle where she would hastily type away at something random. She wrote carelessly, knowing what she was writing was pointless and that she wouldn’t like it no matter how much she added on. Then came the temporary satisfaction of pressing command a, seeing all her work highlighted for a brief moment, before pressing delete and seeing it all disappear. A blank slate. But then the deadline would reappear in her head and she would repeat her inane writing. An hour passed by. And she would know, she’d been glancing at the clock for half of that time, hoping inspiration would come in a rush. The kind of inspiration that didn’t let her fingers rest until the story had been finished, all the words on paper. Instead, all her fingers did were inattentively tap at her desk as her vacant eyes looked around, begging for the world to give a little bit more.
Stepping away from her computer, she felt like her head was going to explode from staring at her screen for so long. She needed a break. Closing her computer, she left the clutches of her room. Every detail must’ve been engraved in her brain by now. She was tired of exploring the same old thoughts and ideas. The paths of those ideas had been worn in and gave no satisfaction or answers as she finished the thought at a dead end, just like all the previous times. The cool breeze of the AC soothed her skin, as well as her mind as she stepped out into the upstairs hallway. She couldn’t escape the thoughts though, as they cycled through her head as she went down the stairs. She hopped down the last few stairs with a sudden rush of hope. Maybe a change in surroundings was all it would take to get an idea.
She went to her sink, getting a tall glass of water and sat down in a chair at the dining table. Lost in her thoughts, she drew scribbles in the condensation of the glass. She glanced outside, the twinkling stars sitting in the sky, the moon a bright sliver in the darkness. Her eyes felt heavy, and her head still buzzed absently from the pointless time sitting at her computer. The deadline was in two days, only a miracle would save her now.
Yoonji laid in her bed, unable to fall asleep. She stared at the ceiling’s patterns, her eyes following the small grooves and crevices. Yoonji- she was about to yell at herself for the millionth time. But instead, she only felt the frustrating blanket of defeat, slowly creeping around the edges of her thoughts. She closed her eyes, wishing that an idea would just magically appear in her head.
Typing. Her fingers were typing fast across a keyboard. It was silent, the only sounds were the clicks of the keyboard, which were starting to feel like a part of the silence. Not the sound of her breathing and not even the familiar and unappreciated hum of the presence of people. Just click, click, click. She wanted to see what she was typing. She looked down at her hands, and to her surprise, they were still and unmoving. What the- She looked up. The presence of someone was close. The clicks were obviously coming from them, and it was ridiculous she’d ever thought it was her that was typing. Curiosity overwhelmed her.
“Who are you?” Her voice rang, breaking the silence.
The person looked over. They had similar features; straight, black hair and a small nose. But the aura of the two couldn’t have been more different.
“I’m Haruka.” She said, looking back to the screen, typing in a hurried manner.
The words on the screen moved so quickly they looked more like gray blurs. Yet Yoonji didn’t feel the usual spark of interest. She didn’t feel the hunger for the unknown. Instead, she felt quite simple and at peace.
“What are you doing?” Yoonji’s voice felt sharp and unwelcome in this strange place.
“I’m writing your tomorrow, Yoonji.” She said matter of factly.
Now, Yoonji felt the fleeting lurch of unrest. Without anything to say, she watched the girl, Haruka, continue to type away, the words becoming gray streaks as the clicks continued at an uneven pace. Sometimes, Haruka would slow down for a moment, and Yoonji would hurry to read something, but she failed to catch even a word as the girl started to type again.
“The night, for you, is a time to sleep. For me, it’s time to write out the events of your tomorrow. “ Haruka said, finally pausing her fingers.
Tentatively, Yoonji tried to read the words which had finally come to a halt. She managed to catch three words before the screen went black. “And then she”. So that wasn’t very helpful.
“What does that mean?” Yoonji asked, already anticipating the answer.
“Everyone’s life is a story to someone, and behind every story is a writer. I'm your writer.” She responded after several seconds of tense silence.
The deadline was tomorrow. But Yoonji already had her story in place. Miracles, as it turns out, occasionally happened. It had come to her in a dream. Her dream was her savior. Now she had a solid idea and a name. And even better, she could still stick to her “someone writing a story about someone writing a story for a writing competition for a writing competition” scheme. And the best part was she didn’t have to use a generic name and incorporate those basic clichés. Maybe it was because she didn’t intend on winning, but it still felt good to write a story without the basic formula. Her main character would be named Yoongi, and he would be writing a story for a writing competition. His story would be about a girl who was also writing a story for a competition.This girl's name was Haruka, and her story would be about the life of a girl named Yoonji.