Emails from Lake Woe-Is-Me — Fit the Twentieth & Twentieth point Five

[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.

I hope you’re off to a great start this week.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Writer X sent me several emails over the weeks that I was sick. Usually when I share an email (or a batch of them) they all come from a single week, frequently from a single day. I gather them up and ship them off to Mike Glyer and that’s how the donuts get made!

This week’s emails are a little different. The first selection was sent around New Year’s Day, but the last email, which is very short and somewhat cryptic, was sent January 8th. After that, her correspondences dropped off. *cue Marge Simpson worried sound*

I am full-on stuck in the middle of every single thing I’m writing this week. Just stuck. It doesn’t matter which writing project it is, I come to the page and stare at it for an hour and maybe get five words written.

Enough about me, what have you got in store for your week?

Without further ado…


Dear Gladys,


Staying here in Fraud Tod Boadkins’ house, I’m seeing that there is a such thing as a house you can write better in. It’s too bad I’m going to expose Tod Boadkins’ for the fraud that he is, because otherwise we could be friends and I could come over to his house and get a lot of writing done. But he’s made his choices so things will have to be how they will be!!!

In spite of the fact that he’s not aware that I’m here, we get along as house partners wonderfully. I always know where he is and he never knows where I am.

Of course he’s been pretty distracted by whatever medical condition he’s developed since I’ve been here. He’s scratching a lot. And the other night he was watching the ball drop in Times Square and he just randomly stripped his pants off and began furiously scratching something under his waistband while he screamed at the tops of his lungs. I couldn’t even hear Auld Lang Syne!!!!

Maybe he shouldn’t be eating all that gluten???

There’s also something to be said for keeping your haunted closet in the basement. You get a LOT more writing done. If it weren’t that I love Tryxy so much and he’s very attached to his abyss in the basement, I would ask the things in my upstairs walk-in closet to move into the basement cupboard.

Tod Boadkins also keeps a very regular routine which forces me to keep a more regular routine.

I’m sure you are dying to know what’s happening with my story. Well, I won’t make you wait for any details!!!

In the last week I have written 19 PAGES!!!! I bet you are wondering how I did this. Well, once I was bit by that spider I began to see that I was doing this all wrong.

You see, I was starting this story just BEFORE Fenchin finds the hummindaal and then, in one draft, I started the story right when Fenchin finds the hummindaal and neither of those two things worked. I kept thinking that it wasn’t working because the writing needed to be much more menacing (which is why I had to write all the backstory so that you know that it’s a menacing situation) and that didn’t work AT ALL.


But when I was laying there in Tod Boadkins’ dusty basement cupboard surrounded by Tide soap and venomous spiders it came to me.

I needed to start the story AFTER Fenchin finds the hummindaal and already knows how to use it a little bit

This means that I will probably have to cut 2-3 books from my total saga, but I can probably come up with ways to add those back in later.

Whoops! Gotta go! Tod Boadkins just pulled into the driveway and I need to turn all these lights off and log out of my email. Will write soon.



Dear Gladys,

It appears Tod Boadkins took a little too much of his Kill Me Dead Sleep Tonic™ last night. He’s pretty groggy this morning after his grocery run at the gas station to pick up his microwavable burrito and chef boyardee beefaroni for the day. But I’m sure his falling down the stairs this morning after I accidentally left that piece of saran wrap on the carpeted steps didn’t help. He really should be more attentive.

He just nuked his burrito and has laid down for a midmorning nap. Unfortunately that means that I can’t keep working on my story because I don’t know when he’ll wake up and I have to keep a close eye on him so he doesn’t accidentally run into me, but it does mean I can send you another email from down here under his bed.

You know how people have refrigerators full of half-used condiments they forget they have and then they go out and buy another?

That’s exactly what Tod Boadkins’ medicine cabinet is like. The first day I got here, I found all these tubes of extra strength anti-fungal cream and if he’s not very careful, someone could mistake them for toothpaste so I threw those away. I know I shouldn’t be doing him any favors but I HAVE accidentally put extra strength anti-fungal cream on my toothbrush before and I wouldn’t wish that on my WORST enemy which Mr. Tod Boadkins probably is. It says “relieves jock itch fast!” but you can’t be expected to read that when you’re bleary eyed and brushing your teeth in the morning!!!

On Tod Boadkins’ shelves I found all these books like “The ART of fiction” or “The ART of dialogue” and “The ART of Plot” and I didn’t read any of them (too busy, Gladys!!) but standing next to them felt pretty inspirational. There was an interesting book called “The Genius of YOU: Your Personal Guide to Your Unique Literary Voice.” I like its energy. I’ve been using it as a coffee coaster all week. 

I bet you are wondering how I am going to cram in all the important information that happens BEFORE Fenchin finds the hummindaal. An amateur would do something silly like write exposition or work it clunkily into the dialogue. But I am starting to feel like a REAL writer again and the way I’ve come up with is pretty clever if I say so myself.

Now, before I tell you what I’m doing, you have to agree not to steal my idea. This idea is only for the most artistic fantasy writers and shouldn’t be taken on by just anybody.

Ready? I am using flashbacks. Flashbacks are an underused writing technique that I am going to bring back in style and really make my own!!! There is nothing like a flashback to make a reader feel like the writer is a genius!!! Flashbacks are how you know that the story you’re reading is ART.

You can write flashbacks into regular sections of writing and make the reader WORK to know what the h*** is happening OR you can do what I’M doing which is write the flashback sentences all in italics.

That way you can even flashback to a single sentence WITHOUT EVER EXPLAINING A THING. I even wrote this one scene where I write ONE SENTENCE in present action and then ONE SENTENCE in flashback italics and I think it is REALLY going to BLOW PEOPLE AWAY WHEN THEY READ IT!!! No one will know what is going on!!!!

When this eventually gets turned into an audiobook—which it will inevitably will—then people will have even less of an idea what’s going on!!!!


I wonder why Tod Boadkins doesn’t just eat the gluten free stuff he’s already bought and has in his house like I’m doing? I just thought of that.

K. He’s waking up and I think he’s going down to go play his World of Warcraft marathon and shout at discord. I wonder when he actually gets around to writing??? I gotta go, this could be the only chance I get to have a shower today. Crap. I’m going to miss Tryxy’s call on his lunch break!!! I need to be there for him, he mostly talks a blue streak about Lil Nas X’s twitter feed, but you should understand he’s having a very hard time right now and needs all of our support. I’ll tell you later.


sent from my iPhone

Subject: Weird thing I found

Dear Gladys,

This Tod Boadkins mystery is getting stranger and stranger. But I still haven’t found any SOLID clues that he’s a fraud.

First of all, it appears Tod Boadkins has two angry closets and I KNOW that that’s IMPOSSIBLE. The one in the basement is VERY angry, but the one up here on the second floor is mildly angry and thumps sometimes and makes hissing noises which makes me think that IT’S the Imposter Closet. It just doesn’t have that certain je ne sais quoi that the basement closet has.

Secondly, I’ve been going through Tod Boadkins’ emails and it turns out he’s supposed to be attending a special writing retreat Hang on.

Todd Boadkins just jumped in the shower. This is my opportunity to wash my clothes so that he doesn’t hear. Unfortunately it means that he spends a couple minutes screaming and swearing as the water goes scalding hot and then is ice cold but we all have to make sacrifices to keep our pinks pink.


Ugh!!! That basement is SO CREEPY!!! The thing in the basement closet is whimpering and saying something about how he’s “the real Tod Boadkins and he’s been locked in the closet for four weeks now and will somebody please call the FBI.”

So as I was saying.

I was going through Tod Boadkins’ emails and he’s supposed to be the special speaker at a “writing” retreat next week and he tried to back out saying that he has an undisclosed personal medical condition that has flared up in the last week. This seems MIGHTY strange to me, Gladys. So I took the liberty of pretending to be him and wrote the New Hampshire “Writer’s” Collective and let them know he WOULD be attending next week and for them to go ahead and send him his honorarium but this passed ANOTHER email from the New Hampshire “Writer’s” Collective which said they had already contacted their lawyers because they PAID him his honorarium and he was contractually obligated to attend. So now they’ve got his email asking for more money and now they’re REALLY mad.

Who are all these people in New Hampshire who think they’re writers, Gladys????

Anyways, Tod Boadkins always has that axe hanging around for some reason and he’s not even splitting wood!! If he’s not careful I could trip on it and fall!!! So I took the liberty of throwing it in the Imposter Closet which was very hard to open and had a lot of otherworldly wind.

But what I’m REALLY writing to you about is what I found in Tod Boadkins secret room. I found it accidentally and, weirdly, I don’t think Tod Boadkins knows about his secret room. But I found all these newspaper clippings inside it on ruins and abandoned passages in the library and the local underground castle and he had all this yarn pinned to maps. I don’t know why it was up there so I took it down so that he could see the maps better.

Anyways, it was the OTHER thing I found in the secret room that worried me. Gladys, I think Tod Boadkins is LOOKING FOR THE SAME WRITER THINGS I’M LOOKING FOR. You know, THE THINGS I CAN’T TELL YOU ABOUT???

Look. I found this note among a bunch of old scraps of papers that looked like the declaration of independence but weren’t.

This is a very bad development, Gladys!!!! Not only am I going to have to hurry up and EXPOSE TOD BOADKINS WHILE ALSO WRITING MY EPIC FANTASY NOVEL, I’M ALSO going to have to STOP HIM FROM FFINDING THE ANTI-HORCRUXES BEFORE I DO!!!!!

ANyway. I’m not sending pages this week because I still have some more flashbacks to put in, but as soon as I’m done, you’ll be the first to know!!!

Ugh. He’s screaming again and banging on the walls. If he’s not careful I think he’s going to bring down that fire extinguisher I perched on top of his shower shelf!!!! His next concussion is his own fault, Gladys!!!










Hey, it’s Melanie again. The following email is the last thing she sent me which was about a week after. And then…radio silence.

Subject: I’m going in

Dear Gladys,

Writing you from the trunk of the car again. Fingers cold.

Tod Boadkins’ is on his way to his legally-obligated special speaking event at the “writing” retreat. Left a day before I was expecting. Had to throw myself into his trunk without prep.

NO heat in the trunk. He’s been driving for several hours. Most of it is him pulling over to scratch himself.

Wherever we are now, there are seagulls.

And waves. I hear waves.

Tod Boadkins is getting out of the car. Some is shouting at him. He’s shouting back. Lot’s of profanity.

Gotta go. Check on Tryxy!!!


sent from my iPhone










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2 thoughts on “Emails from Lake Woe-Is-Me — Fit the Twentieth & Twentieth point Five

  1. It’s true. I feel like the greeting card industry has missed a huge opportunity in the Sympathy Card market.

    I’m imagining an entire line of condolence cards made just for people going through puberty, or second puberty, or demonic puberty!

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