By Heywood Jablomi
Sick of this idiot yet?
Brandon Smith, sophomore, spent a solid hour sitting in front of a blank google drive document last week, “waiting for inspiration”. Not realizing that being in an entry-level creative writing class meant his paper could be borderline incoherent and his classmates would still be forced to find praise for it, he wanted to go above and beyond for his next assignment. He imagined submitting the first part of a grand insight into the human mind, a meta-narrative on the creative process itself, something that would last for generations.
Unfortunately, he was writing checks that his clearly stunted creativity couldn’t catch. In his caffeine-fueled stupor, he made the grave mistake of thinking the first idea to pop into his head was even worth considering, and decided to write about writer’s block. Somehow, Brandon missed the memo that every creative writing student in history has had this idea, and the only ones that found success in later classes were the ones with the common sense to scrap it. Brandon fumbled on through his story, infused it with transparent metaphors, quoted generic writers, and just barely hit the word minimum before going to sleep with a misplaced sense of triumph.
Two days later, Brandon came to class with his freshly printed story, expecting to wow the entire class. Instead, he found that someone else in his group had produced almost the exact same story, the same plot about writer’s block with the same weak metaphors and the same overused structure. After both writers refused to comment, we asked the professor for his thoughts. “This is pretty standard, we see it a few times a year. The first time it happened, I almost had them written up for plagiarism, but the stories were just barely different enough for me to give them the benefit of the doubt. From then on, I just let it happen. I’m tired as hell of reading it, sure, but at least they’re always short.”
It’s not all downhill for Brandon, though. One of his classmates posted snippets of his story on r/im14andthisisdeep, and it’s rocketed to the best of the week section and might even break the first page for best of the month. A hollow victory for sure, but at least there’s a place for writers like Brandon.