Haiku-dja Help Me?

Submitted into Contest #88 in response to: Write about an author famous for their fairy tale retellings.... view prompt

35 comments

Contemporary Fantasy Inspirational

Once upon a time

There was a teller of tales

Who lived all alone



His home a tower

Brightly lit and well-furnished

And chock full of books



Though given no name

He thinks of himself as “Scribe”

This name makes him smile



The Scribe is the source

Of stories across the land

Both past and future



All writers know him

Though they may be unaware

Of his influence



From him come ideas

Sent to writers old and new

On the wings of dreams



Bent over his desk

Quill in hand and ink nearby

The Scribe weaves stories



The stories we know

Myths, fables, classics, and more

Come straight from his pen



From Aesop to Grimm

To Chekhov, Wilde, and the Bard

And writers for screen



The Scribe is their muse

All who put pen to paper

He has inspired



He asks not for praise

Wants no cite, credit, or nod

He just loves to write



Then one faithful day

As he scribbled a new yarn

His peace was disturbed



The knocking below

Rattling the walls of his home

Was unexpected



Puzzled was the Scribe

Being no longer alone

Made him feel nervous



The knock came again

And Scribe had no other choice

Except to answer



He set down his quill

His thoughts broken by the knocks

And went down the stairs



Scribe opened the door

And found there a man who asked

“Hi, could you help me?”



Forgive me dear reader, I hope you won’t be adverse, if I tell the rest of my tale in a different sort of verse.


Japan would be proud, and I enjoyed the haiku, but I’m afraid it’s not something I can continue to do.


Between word count and deadline, haiku won’t be enough. I am disappointed, but this week has been rough.


After thirty stories unchosen, I was feeling burnt out, but lucky for me, the Scribe assuaged my doubts.


He sent me an idea, while I laid in my bed. Now it’s up to me to get it out of my head.


Forgive the pause, I’ve not meant to be rude.

I will finish the story. End of interlude.


“Hi, could you help me?” asked the man in the door. Then he dropped to his knees and bowed his head to the floor.


“I’ve come a long way, journeyed far to your tower, to beg you to give me just a smidge of your power.”


“I’m a writer, you see,” said the man who had knocked, “but for the last several weeks, I’ve been completely blocked."


"My style of prose is beloved and my first novel brought me fame. Since then my mind has gotten weak, my words have gone lame.”


The Scribe bent down and pulled the man off his knees. Then he brought him inside and made him some tea.


The Scribe took a box of cookies down from a shelf. He sat across from the man and said, “Tell me about yourself.”


“Where to begin?” the man asked perplexed. Then he described the problem with which he was vexed.


I used to retell stories, fairy tales and such. Eventually my editor said it had become a crutch.


Admittedly, my sales had declined. My literary voice needed to be realigned.


I set out to write something original, unique. After thinking and thinking, an idea came in a blink.


I wrote constantly, for nearly five days straight. Never before had I achieved such a rate.


It was like my fingers were running a race, dashing across the keyboard at a furious pace.


At last I finished my first fantasy epic, my characters were strong, my prose was poetic.


The novel impressed fans, critics, and skeptics. They all said the book was electric!


From the moment it was published, my book flew off the shelves. People clamored for it like they couldn’t help themselves.


As if overnight, I became a household name. There was talk of a movie deal and even a video game.


It was then that things took a turn for the worse. My newfound fame went from blessing to curse.


Everyone called for a sequel or my next masterpiece. It was then my enthusiasm began to decrease.


As I’ve told you already, inspiration has run dry. I can’t think of a new idea, no matter how hard I try.


My publisher wanted a sample, but I had nothing to show. I was up a creek with no way to row.


I became very depressed and started to wallow, so I went out for a drink, wanting to drown my sorrow.


I was sitting at a bar, slouched low on my stool, when I was bumped by a guy I at first took for a fool.


The guy sat down and ordered a beer, before turning to me with a scowl and a sneer.


I don’t know what compelled me to do so, but as we both sat there, I poured out my soul.


He absently listened while sipping his ale, by the time I finished, I assumed he would bail.


Instead he laughed and said he understood. What he said next quickly lightened my mood.


The guy told me about you, oh great Scribe. He said you were the god of writers, the chief of our tribe.


On a bar napkin, the guy drew me a map, and said you could help me with my handicap.


I set out at once, filled with hope and unafraid, determined to find your tower and ask you for aid.


As the man had been speaking, the Scribe sat silently, nodding along and sipping his tea.


When the man finished talking, he uttered a sigh, before looking to see how the Scribe would reply.


The Scribe said nothing at first, then a smile appeared on his lips. At last the Scribe said, “Why don’t you write about this?”


It was such a brilliant idea, the man began to weep, then with a yawn, he fell fast asleep.


As is often the case when things aren’t as they seem, the man awoke to find it had all been a dream.


Upon jolting awake, he sat up in bed, as the dream he’d just had replayed in his head.


Thanking the Scribe for the great revelation, the man ran to his computer with renewed motivation.


The man started to type, once again a storyteller, excited to write another bestseller.


I thank you for reading, dear judges and friends. It is time for this story to come to an end.


I wish you all well and send you good vibes. Should you ever feel stuck, just seek out the Scribe.





April 09, 2021 15:14

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35 comments

Rachel Loughran
08:00 Apr 14, 2021

This was great - so original and impressive that it was wholly in verse. I admit I scrolled down at the start thinking "he's never written the whole thing in haiku, has he?!" but I loved the mix of poetry form. Great work as always.

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Michael Boquet
12:33 Apr 14, 2021

Thanks so much

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Daniel Hayes
15:43 Apr 13, 2021

Hi Michael, this was a very well written story. I loved the verse and poetry, and it flowed really well. I thought this was very creative and overall I thought you did a fantastic job!

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Michael Boquet
22:40 Apr 13, 2021

Thanks!

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Daniel Hayes
00:04 Apr 14, 2021

Thank you for writing such a great story!!!

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H L Mc Quaid
07:58 Apr 12, 2021

I'm impressed you wrote so many haikus! I struggle to write one, let alone a dozen. And well done for bending the format to tell your story. It was different, and fresh, I enjoyed it. :)

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Michael Boquet
14:05 Apr 12, 2021

Thanks so much!

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Ellie Yu
21:22 Apr 10, 2021

This is intimidating and impressive at the same time - I can't believe this entire thing was in poetry, it had such a natural flow! Congrats on pulling it off. You make it look so easy! The only thing I have to say is about the punctuation when the man speaks for multiple paragraphs. I'm not sure if it applies here, since it's in poetry, but I'll put a link (scroll down to #11): https://blog.reedsy.com/guide/how-to-write-dialogue/dialogue-rules-punctuation/ Basically, if the same person is speaking for multiple paragraphs, you would put a ...

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Michael Boquet
23:38 Apr 10, 2021

Thanks for the tip. I know that's how it's supposed to be done, but my intention in this piece, since it's verse, was that I want to clearly distinguish between the man speaking and the 'narrator' speaking. If that detail is what keeps this piece from being chosen then I'll be disappointed, though I've kinda given up on any of my stories ever getting chosen regardless, lol. Anyway, thanks again. I appreciate you reading.

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Michael Boquet
23:46 Apr 10, 2021

Though looking back over it I may just take out all the quotation marks from that portion. It's clear from the prose who is speaking over that section, I think. I don't know, now I'm paranoid lol. Thanks for making me think about it though, I genuinely appreciate it. It's good to see things from a different perspective.

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Ellie Yu
00:37 Apr 11, 2021

Oh yeah it's totally up to you! Thanks for considering my words!

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Sam Ackman
19:34 Apr 10, 2021

Really impressive story!! Very interesting style. I find the topic of this story something we can all relate to as we all try to write :p. The scribe was quite an interesting characters. I’ve started different tactics for idea generation - it can get difficult! I really enjoyed this read 😊

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Michael Boquet
23:21 Apr 10, 2021

Thank you!

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21:11 Apr 09, 2021

This was so much fun! I'm not surprised you changed poetry style halfway through--doing the whole thing in haikus would have been almost impossible! I love the idea of a magical Scribe who inspires people with ideas as well (who may or may not just be a dream). I think I need to visit him this week!

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Michael Boquet
21:16 Apr 09, 2021

Thanks so much. May you find inspiration!

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Cassandra Durnin
16:55 Apr 09, 2021

Wow. First off, the title really intrigued me. Secondly, the format and poetry was really cool, and such a fun read. I always love reading your new stuff to see the writing style and overall execution, cause you always do it so well. Great work!

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Michael Boquet
16:56 Apr 09, 2021

Thanks so much!

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15:43 Apr 09, 2021

Alright, so where shall we begin? The title, perhaps? It was amazing! You had me hooked from the beginning (the title was a great pun by the way), and when I saw this story was written in verse, I knew I was going to like it. First off: haikus! They're so simple, yet so beautiful, and I felt as if I could really understand the Scribe's life through them. Second: the second part! Wow, you're a good poet. I love poetry, but I put down my pen when I have to rhyme. Your rhyming wasn't forced, and it came almost effortlessly. I loved this sto...

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Michael Boquet
16:28 Apr 09, 2021

Thank you so much! Not to be cliche, but it literally came to me in a dream last night.

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16:29 Apr 09, 2021

Haha, no worries! I came up with my latest story while listening to sad orchestra music, so we're the cliche club :P

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Michael Boquet
16:29 Apr 09, 2021

Lol, awesome! I'll check yours out now

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16:32 Apr 09, 2021

Aw, thanks :)

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J. Storbakken
16:15 May 12, 2021

The yesbefriendingbard

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Rachel Smith
19:14 Apr 13, 2021

Oh wow, this is so brilliant. I loved it! It made me smile.

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Valerie June
03:47 Apr 12, 2021

Wow this was amazing Michael! I can’t believe that you wrote the first part in haiku’s and, at the same time, it flowed and read like a regular story. I was stuck in a case of writers block for a week or two (thank goodness it wasn’t longer. I’ve heard of writers being stuck for months.) I hope when I’m struggling to find inspiration I will seek out the scribe.

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Michael Boquet
04:08 Apr 12, 2021

Thanks so much. I'm glad you liked it

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Amarah Friedman
19:55 Apr 10, 2021

I love this. It's cleverly formatted, and breaking the fourth wall is a dangerously good move, particularly for this piece. I'm intrigued by the narrator. Especially with the forth wall break, I'm forced to wonder if it's you as a writer or simply a character. Your rhythm work is especially strong, but sometimes the verses rhymed, and other times they didn't. It felt a little disjointed in certain places. Perhaps there could be more consistency or symmetry between sections? I truly enjoyed reading this. May we all be visited by the scribe...

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Michael Boquet
23:28 Apr 10, 2021

Just to clarify, you mean that the passages in the first section don't rhyme compared to the passages in the second section, right? If you haven't read them, I'd recommend Plain Bad Heroines, Lakewood, and It Will Just Be Us. Those are some of my favorite recently read horror novels.

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Amarah Friedman
16:51 Apr 11, 2021

I mean within each separate section itself. For example, I noticed it in these stanzas: "I set out at once, filled with hope and unafraid, determined to find your tower and ask you for aid./ As the man had been speaking, the Scribe sat silently, nodding along and sipping his tea." You have several consistently rhyming stanzas, and then there's a break. This happens a couple times. Maybe it's intentional and I'm missing why? Really good work though; it's hard to make that much rhyme. I'll look into those books. Thanks for t...

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Michael Boquet
20:59 Apr 11, 2021

Oh, I see. Yeah, that's intentional. The rhyming word is on the second and fourth beat of each phrase. So, "unafraid' and 'aid' are meant to rhyme with each other. Then it's a new phrase. Admittedly, the rhythm may not always be uniform as I'm not quite skilled enough to set a meter

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Amarah Friedman
16:13 Apr 12, 2021

I get it-- that's a really hard thing to do. Good job, though!

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Gerald Daniels
09:10 Apr 10, 2021

Great story and quite brave to tackle the brief in this style. Loved it.

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Michael Boquet
12:58 Apr 10, 2021

Thank you!

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Claire Lewis
22:23 Apr 09, 2021

Firstly, I applaud you for tackling an entire story in verse. I haven’t been bold enough to try it, but I’m very impressed by how well you pulled it off. The premise and the characters are smart and well-written. My only suggestion is in regards to format. Maybe the interludes where you break the 4th wall can be differentiated a bit more (perhaps italics or breaks of some sort). Those were my favorite parts and I think it might be valuable to make them stick out a bit more.

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Michael Boquet
22:56 Apr 09, 2021

Thanks so much. This is the first time I've tried something like this and I'm really proud of how it came out. Thanks too, for the suggestion. That's a great idea.

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