Guest Post: The Quarrel by Debra Young

It never fails. I sit down to write and the blue screen of death flares up in my head, the gears grind to a halt and it’s quiet up there, but for the voice, irritable and argumentative.

What? You want an idea? What? I got no ideas. What do you think I am—an idea machine? She says.

“Um, yeah.”

(I apologize for her lack of proper grammar. She’s a brat.)


“Look, you’re not supposed to just take up space. Give me something.”


“Ok, let’s try this—tell me what’s wrong.”

You stressing me!

Now we know the issue here is Resistance. We read Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. Yes we did.

“Sorry. Relax. How ‘bout a cup of tea?”

Don’t want no cup of tea.

<<Crickets>> and sulking.

“Glass of wine?”

Alrighty! Wine, red.

So we have a glass of wine, red. We wander back to the laptop on the dining room table. Sunlight slants in through the blinds, cars sweep past outside, a bird twitters.

“Your call. Say anything you want. I’ll run with it.”


“Now what is it?”

Thinking! Thinking!


<<More crickets>>

“Um, no rush here, but I’ll take anything.”

Well, I had one but Doubt Demon snatched it ‘fore I had it good.

“Why’d you let her in?”

She sneaked up!

“You’re supposed to squash her.”

Yeah, well.



‘Member that time you submitted a manuscript with the line edits showing?

Oh don’t go there! A part of me withers. It had been my first time submitting to that magazine and I swear I double-checked the manuscript before hitting send.

“Can we pretend like that never happened?”

Okey doke.

“Idea, please.”

What if…


What about those half-done novels? You should take a second look at them or a third or fourth, whatever.

I squirm. There’s potential in a couple of those manuscripts, but…

No buts. Finish what you start. Nothing ever sold…

“I know how it goes!”

Just sayin’.

“You know what, I’m going to do this myself.”

There you go! Don’t wait for inspiration. Chase it down and grab it ‘round the neck! I’m going to take a nap. That was exhausting.

This whimsical mockery is my weapon against Resistance, the Big Bad. We all have our ways of dealing with the blank page, of facing that moment when it’s time to sit down and write and maybe we aren’t sure what we’re going to write but we know we must begin. I’m especially bad because I write in a crazy-quilt fashion, non-linear pantsing, with outlining and beat sheeting when I hit the wall. It’s nuts and I don’t recommend it. Still, don’t let that blank, white page or screen become a flag of surrender under the jackboot of Resistance. Poke fun, have fun, and begin in whatever way you can.


Debra YoungDebra Young writes both literary and genre fiction. She recently moved from southern California and now lives in Andalusia, Alabama with her cat Loki. Her previous publishing credits include The Horror Zine, Dark Fire Fiction, Swords and Sorcery Magazine, Grave Shadows, and Black Fox Literary Magazine. She is currently at work on several short stories, a literary novel and an epic historical fantasy. She blogs at penpanther, a writer’s journal at and tweets @kindayya.

Debra’s short story “Crossing” appears in Black Fox Issue 12.

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