Emails From Lake Woe-Is-Me — Fit the Fifty-Sixth

[Introduction: Melanie Stormm continues her humorous series of posts about the misdirected emails she’s been getting. Stormm is a multiracial writer who writes fiction, poetry, and audio theatre. Her novella, Last Poet of Wyrld’s End is available through Candlemark & Gleam. She is currently the editor at the SPECk, a monthly publication on speculative poetry by the SFPA. Find her in her virtual home at Wipe your feet before entering.]


Hello All, Melanie here!

This week’s emails from Writer X has me thinking about productivity. I think NaNoWriMo is a positive thing and what I’m about to say has no reflection on its value. But it brings me back to thinking about something Stephen King detailed in his book On Writing.

Forgive me if I butcher this summary.

King tells the story of his writing desk which was once set in the middle of his office, a metaphor for the way he tailored—and sometimes shoehorned, his life to revolve around writing. Following a low time, he moved the desk to a new spot against the wall, no longer in the center, but against the structural supports of the room. Because writing should support life, and not the other way around.

Maybe the correlation will become apparent after reading, but all I’ll say now is that not everything that takes a writer away from writing is bad. Go figure.

Without further ado…

Subject: I see you Gladys!!!

Dear Gladys,

Look downhill!! We’re both in Brokenheap today!!!! Tryxy and I are in the algae covered taco truck about a quarter mile down Spying Spy Hill. You probably can’t recognize us as we’re in matching panda suits, but I can see you!!! Hi!!!!!! I’m waving but you’re not waving back. You and those other people in the surveillance van are too concentrated on whatever’s going on in that armed enclosure in the valley.

Anyways, I’m sure you’re dying to know how our writing contest against the Fantasy Writer’s Meetup of Brokenheap is going. Despite my best efforts, it is going terrribly. What I am about to tell you needs to remain in utmost secrecy!!!!! Don’t put this anywhere on the internet!!!!

The only way the Fantasy Writer’s Dream Team of Ink Black Coffee Club is going to pull ahead and win this thing before November is over is if…


Tryxy and I have taken the day to gather intel on the various writers here in Brokenheap to find their achilles heel and stop them from writing so that our group has a chance to catch up.

Don’t worry, Glayds, everything we’re doing is ETHICAL and entirely mostly sort-of legal. But I can’t vouch for anything we’re about to do because THESE WRITERS ARE SERIOUS!!!! The only writer who has dedication even remotely close to the Brokenheap writers is my boyfriend, award-nominated fantasy writer Tod Boadkins!!!! And me.

Brokenheap can’t win this contest!!! They don’t even have a broken heap!!!!

In spite of all this stress, I’m glad the Ink Black Coffee Club writers forgot they banned me. I think I found something I’m good at!!!

Anyhoo, gotta go Gladys, I think I feel an email from Bevvy Hart incoming. Besides, it looks like you’re busy downloading satellite images which I’m sure is way less important than whatever it is I’m doing but that’s okay, I support your hobbies.



sent from my iPhone

From: Bevvy Hart

Fw: You’re not replying to my emails

Dear Gladys,

EMERGENCY REQUEST: I need you to create another Writer X out there to take the fall for this!!!! If I go down I’m taking the whole town with me!!!



begin forwarded message

Dear X,

It’s November 20th and it looks like it’s over for us. I can’t see how we have any path forward to beat the fantasy writers in Brokenheap. I blame myself. I should not have saddled you with so much responsibility.

Since you have not replied to my emails in the last week, I was forced to do a word search for your name in IBCC’s group emails. I was distressed to discover that we banned a writer with your same name because they plagiarized J.R.R. Tolkien. Is this you?

Let this uncertainty inspire you to reach out to me for insight. Affirmations are critical to every writer’s success.

I will be generating words later today after I realign my chakras.

Fantasy Writer’s Meetup of Brokenheap, NH:
141,091 total words written

Ink Black Coffee Club’s Fantasy Dream Team of Cradensburg, NH:
72,832 total words written

Bevvy Madison Hart: 0 total words written
Tod Boadkins: 45,056 total words written
Edwina Tómas: 8,436 total words written
Ravenhair Silkenwind: 19,340 total words written
Writer X: 0 total words written

With concern,


Bevvy Madison Hart she/her
Wandering Spirit Small Press, CEO
A Vegan Owned and Operated Press

Subject: The Curious Case of Malcom Lin

Dear Gladys,

Tryxy and I are writing you from behind one of the big rocks near Malcom Lin’s apartment over the garage of a sprawling sheep farm and knitting cooperative. I need you to pause whatever it is you are doing in that surveillance van and put your eyes on this, please. The last two weeks I’ve had an entire week to get two writers writing. This week I have to get FIVE WRITERS TO STOP WRITING!!!!

I need a diversion so that I can climb into this guy’s apartment!!!

Target #1: Malcom Lin
Age: 24 year old
Occupation: MA program at Local College
Fantasy subgenre: Epic Portal Fantasy

Oh, would you look at that!! Guns are going off over at that armed commune and people are scurrying everywhere!!! That’s just the distraction I needed.

Hang on, Gladys, I have to put my phone in my pocket while I’ll shimmy up this drainpipe!!!

Okay, I’m back Gladys and this is WORSE THAN I IMAGINED.

Malcom Lin lives in a one bedroom apartment. It’s kind of bleak in here. There’s no television and he has a desktop computer left on in his bedroom. His bed stand is stacked with books on Russian Formalism and a highlighted and much-marked up copy of Chekhov’s collected short-fiction.

Hold me, Gladys!!!! I’m scard!!!! Could it be that I’ve found a fantasy writer THAT HAS ACTUALLY READ CHEKHOV?????

I did a quick sweep of his computer and he has files open for each one of his characters. He’s got their backstory, their motivations, defining moments, notes on their physicality and comportment.

GLADYS!!!! He even has a file with the outline for A FULL EPIC PORTAL FANTASY TRILOGY!!!!!

I checked his draft and he’s in the top three producers for Brokenheap’s team. I should just tuck my panda tail between my legs and trudge away. Kiss the John Deere mousepads that the winners get goodbye. This guy is too good to stop.

Thanks a lot, Gladys. You can stop that firefight you started as a diversion. I need to get out of Malcom Lin’s apartment without getting shot.



sent from my iPhone

Subject: ONE DOWN FOUR TO GO!!!!!

Dear Gladys,

There is no dour mood that eight root beer floats can’t fix!!!!!! I consumed those root bear floats yesterday afternoon and I still have the might of a thousand fields of sugar cane crackling through my brains!!!!!

This morning when I saw the latest numbers from Brokenheap come in, I noticed they were significantly decreased by exactly one fifth of their usual progress. My sugar-fueled idea worked, GALdsy!!!!

I’m writing to you now in a significantly better mood. Whcih is good becaue it’s cramped here behind the fridge of my next quarry. Who happens to live next to the quarry here in Brokenheap. It was great seeing you this morning, btw. Glad I could help with that little stand off you’re caught up in. I forgot I had all that ammunition laying around in my trunk. Where did you get that little FBI jacket? It’s cute on you!!! I’d like one but only if you can get it in pink.

I’m sure you’re dying to know who my next quarry is. Well it is none other than David Wash—wait.

I didn’t tell you how I solved our Malcom Lin problem, did I???? I have to admit, it was pretty genius. Before I flung myself out the window and into the firefight, terrifying everyone below, I sat down and read some of Malcom Lin’s story and it is REALLY good. SO GOOD in fact I thought “Wow, this is almost like a published book!!!” How do you get someone who is writing a really good book to pause writing that good book for—oh, I dunno, the next EIGHT DAYS????

Easy. GET THEM AN AGENT!!!!!! It’s the golden rule of writing. Once I had that in mind, I called Tryxy who immediately began searching Publishers Marketplace for the perfect match. Tryxy telepathically planted the urge to get Malcom Lin’s slugline, synopsis, and book marketing plan in that agent’s brain ALONG WITH MALCOM’S EMAIL ADDRESS and all I can say is that I saw Malcom Lin excitedly wringing his hands this morning while googling how to write a Book Marketing Plan!!!! He’ll be puzzling over that for at least a WEEK!!!!

This next writer is going to require a different strategy.

Target #2: David Washington
Age: 36 years old
Occupation: Blaster at Brokenheap Quarry
Fantasy subgenre: Fantasy Steampunk

At least David has the good New Hampshirely habit of leaving his doors unlocked. It has saved me a lot of trouble replacing the doors after I kick them in.

I had the opportunity to observe David a little last night when I was running off those floats and I noticed that he came home from a twelve hour shift at the quarry and put a bag of carrots in the microwave, planted himself in front of his computer and wrote at least eight pages in a steampunk adventure. But when he got to the end, his face looked long and sad. He trudged to his bathroom and glumly brushed his teeth. Tryxy has been tracking his limited online activity and David regularly googles articles about burnout.

I just so happen to have a solution. Theeee Perfect Solution, a solution that’s been drastically reducing writer’s word counts since 2004!!!!!







sent from my iPhone

Subject: Burn kit

Dear Gladys,

Can I borrow your burn kit??? I thought I saw one in your surveillance van. I also need to borrow your sewing kit so I can patch up this panda suit or else I won’t get my deposit back on it. Who knew it was so flammable????

If I had thought my panda suit could catch on fire while behind David Washington’s fridge, I wouldn’t have lit all that calming incense around me. It detoxifies your blood stream after excess sugar consumption. Tryxy told me about it. He’s very into smells lately.

…Is that fire trucks I hear in the distance?

Nah, couldn’t be.

Anyways, I’m sure you’re dying to know how I’m going to take on the next of Brokenheap’s fantasy writers. I am too!!!!

I’m sitting here in Arlene Perry’s living room and I have no idea how to crack this nut!!!!

First of all, in order to get to her computer, I have to climb over all of her himalayan pink salt lamps and some of them are VERY HOT Gladys!!! If I’m not careful, I could catch on fire again.

Target #3: Arlene Perry
Age: 48 years old
Occupation: Bus Driver for Brokenheap Homeschooling Cooperative
Fantasy subgenre: YA Fantasy

Well that’s interesting. I made it to Arlene’s computer (she’s out right now picking up the kids from the homeschooling cooperative) and she’s got an article on home remedies for tooth aches and a stack of books about natural cures for rheumatoid arthritis. I’ve also gone into her kitchen to see what she has for snacks and there’s an overwhelming number of colloidal silver bottles where she should be keeping ranch-flavored corn nuts.

Since you’re busy with that whole stand off, I’ll have to text Tryxy and ask him to bring me some corn nuts.

I’m mystified on what it will take to get Arlene Perry to slow down her word count for the next week!!!!

Wow, those fire trucks are getting louder. Do you smell that, Gladys???

I’VE GOT IT!!!!!! I was going through Arlene Perry’s medicine cabinet to borrow her dental floss and I noticed it was FULL of Oregano Oil!!!!

I know exactly what to do for her!!!! Gotta go, Gladys!!!! I have to call Tryxy!!!!



sent from my iPhone

Subject: Have fun at the stand off!!!

Dear Gladys,

Don’t worry, that noise in the valley is just me being carried away by the fire department. They took away my panda suit which is probably for the best as it was very flammable and, once they figured out that I wasn’t an arsonist, are taking me to the clinic in Cradensburg to get these blisters treated.

I was also able to call Tryxy re: The Arlene Perry Plan and he was able to get everything set up faster than you could snap your fingers and say “Toot-Toot-Malaroot-Snoot” we’ve got Arlene Perry’s week WRITING FREE!!!!!

I bet you’re wondering how we did it. A little known thing called EXCELLENT HEALTH INSURANCE!!!! Tryxy got her grandfathered in to his demonic health insurance plan complete with dental, vision, the WORKS with ZERO COPAY AND ZERO SPENDDOWN!!! Then, he called her to let her know and Arlene was over the moon!!!! She’s fallen into our wicked devices, Gladys!!!! Everything is going to plan!!!! This evening, an emergency trip to the dentist, tomorrow, an internal medicine specialist and three whole days of physical therapy!!!!!

I’m on FIRE!!!! Not literally, Gladys. Just figuratively.

By the way, on the way to the paramedic van, I noticed that the armed commune has taken out a rocket launcher so, you know, you might want to watch out for that. But before you do that, could you please get that other Writer X identity crafted??? I NEED SOMEONE TO FRAME!!!!

I feel another email incoming!!!!



sent from my iPhone

From: Bevvy Hart

Fw: I’m coming to your house to face you

begin forwarded message

Dear X,

I’ve looked everywhere and it’s becoming clear to me that you are the Writer X that we banned last year.

As far as I’m concerned, I’m willing to let this stay between us if you get us to the finish line and secure the winning spot in our contest against Brokenheap. There are the dreams of non-plagiarizing fantasy writers to think of, if that matters to you, not to mention the John Deere mousepads and free book of stamps. Those books of stamps represent a twelve dollar savings in your postal needs. To win, we need a heart to heart, so I am coming over to your house now.

I will be generating words later today after I instruct you how to be a write team coordinator that wins.

Fantasy Writer’s Meetup of Brokenheap, NH:
151,238 total words written

Ink Black Coffee Club’s Fantasy Dream Team of Cradensburg, NH:
91,690 total words written

Bevvy Madison Hart: 0 total words written
Tod Boadkins: 52,634 total words written
Edwina Tómas: 13,887 total words written
Ravenhair Silkenwind: 25,169 total words written
Writer X: 0 total words written

With a clear set of chakras,


Bevvy Madison Hart she/her
Wandering Spirit Small Press, CEO
A Vegan Owned and Operated Press















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3 thoughts on “Emails From Lake Woe-Is-Me — Fit the Fifty-Sixth

  1. I’m glad that X is “sabotaging” those writers by helping them. (Now I’m more than a little curious about Gladys, however….)

  2. Pingback: Emails From Lake Woe-Is-Me: Writer X Turns 2 - File 770

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