He’d lost patience with his wife.  Before they married, he’d assumed her talent for writing would provide the lifestyle he craved.  He’d read about authors whose debut novel had gained instant acclaim, securing huge money deals and movie options.

But, one year later, only a smattering of her short stories had been published.  And it rankled.

“You’re wasting your talent,” he accused her.  “You need to write a bestseller!”

Wanting to please him, she had agreed, but struggled coming up with a strong storyline.

Agitated, he pulled a book from the bookshelf, suggesting she use it as a guide.

The book was ‘Wuthering Heights’.

***

Analysing the book from cover to cover, she extracted what she perceived were the vital ingredients that made ‘Wuthering Heights’ one of the greatest novels ever written.

A ‘pantser’ rather than a ‘plotter’, she let her mind run free, ploughing these ingredients into her first draft.

Her setting… a gloomy house with a touch of the macabre.  Her protagonist… dark and brooding.  Her story… one of love, passion, obsession and vengeance.

She racked her brain for powerful dialogue that would enthrall readers just as Emily Bronte’s had.

Fearful of her husband’s constant demands and overbearing presence, she strived for perfection, sacrificing food, exercise and sleep, for draft after draft.  Weeks became months as she incarcerated herself in a world of editing and re-editing while falling deeper and deeper into depression.   Caring nothing for her health or well-being, her husband offered no support.

***

It was he who found her, slumped over her laptop; her final draft displayed on the screen.

She would never see her novel published and reach the bestseller list.  It would be her husband’s name on the cover, taking all the credit and basking in the acclaim.

His newfound celebrity, however, would be short lived.

Night after night, he’d hear tapping at his bedroom window exactly like the tapping of a keyboard… reminiscent of Cathy’s frozen finger.  The window would burst open, an ice-cold blast of air fill the room and… voices.

Insanity would find him continually reciting quotes… from ‘Wuthering Heights’.

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Preston Randall
Preston Randall(@preston-randall)
1 month ago

What a fantastic, scary, imaginative story! I found myself cheering her on and then agonizing through the writer’s decline, and then cheering wildly again at the final line. Anyone who writes will identify with and love this story… and others will love it too.

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
1 month ago

Oh, I do like that, Linda. Lovely and creepy, nicely done 😱

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Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
Reply to  Linda Rock
1 month ago

You’re far too kind. That one down there is far more talented at the genre than I am ⬇️

Emily O'Leary
Emily O'Leary(@emily-oleary)
1 month ago

Oh this is a wonderful story Linda! Non-writers can be truly grating, just like the husband in your story. They really have no idea how much work goes into our writing, how much of ourselves we give to our stories. And your poor protagonist literally put all of herself into it!
Brilliant, and very well done!

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Marianna Pieterse
Marianna Pieterse(@marianna-pieterse)
1 month ago

Linda, your story reminds me of the saying that you cannot build your happiness on someone else’s pain. I was hoping that your protagonist would prove her husband wrong by showing him what she was capable of, but did not expect the ending. Great story!

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Greene M Wills
Greene M Wills(@greene-m-wills)
1 month ago

My favourite book to frame your wonderful story! I felt the poor woman’s emotions all the way and as the ‘pantser’ that I am too I could only sympathise. The keyboard noise on the window gives just the welcome chill of a well written story. Great, Linda, great!

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
1 month ago

Wow! Linda. It is a roller coaster of emotions for me.
First, I feel so happy that her hard work and suffering paid off for her story. But later, I am so sad that she neglected herself and was gone. Then, others benefited from her story’s success. Well done.

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  Linda Rock
1 month ago

You’re welcome, Linda.

Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
1 month ago

Linda, what a powerful well-written story! You cleverly described the greedy husband, writing ideas, browbeaten wife while twining “Wuthering Heights” through your story.Then POW, you finished on a powerful punch line.

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Allan Neil
Allan Neil(@allan-neil)
1 month ago

Lovely! You’ve managed to weave hope, inspiration, despair and tragedy into one riveting story. Very well done, Linda

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Thompson Emate
Thompson Emate(@thompson-emate)
1 month ago

This is cleverly written. It’s one of the best stories that you have written. It’s a touching story mixed with horror. He got what he deserved. A worthy 5-Star rating story.

Last edited 1 month ago by Thompson Emate
Alan Kemister
Alan Kemister(@alan-kemister)
1 month ago

Brilliant. The second sentence described his deceitfulness beautifully. I just knew he would he would come to no good. I read through with bated breath to find out how. Insanity seemed like the right outcome.

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Fuji
Fuji(@fuji)
28 days ago

What a brilliant story, Linda. I love the way you’ve woven ideas from Bronte through every part of the story. I especially loved the reference to the tapping of “Cathy’s frozen finger” toward the end, and the comparison to the tapping of a keyboard. All of us writers can relate to this story! I must have watched Wuthering Heights a dozen times or more – mostly to see a young Olivier, but also for the glorious drama. There are scenes that are simply unforgettable, just like your story!

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Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
22 days ago

Congratulations to a fantastic story, Linda! It’s very well crafted and extremely powerful. Like a lot of other writers on this platform, I can relate to what you say in your answer to Preston’s comment, “Sometimes we strive too hard for perfection!”
I also related to a couple of movies as I was reading your story: “The Wife” and “The Shining”? In the first one, the husband taking all the credit for a work done by his spouse. In the second one, the writer going so deeply into the writing process that he/she loses touch with reality.
This is definitely one of your best ones!

Susan Giles
Susan Giles(@susan-giles)
21 days ago

As a former literature major, I especially enjoyed this. And I learned a new word, “pantser”. It just makes sense! Thanks.

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Greene M Wills
Greene M Wills(@greene-m-wills)
17 days ago

Wonderful, Linda, I am very glad for you!

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Melissa Taggart
Melissa Taggart(@melissa-taggart)
17 days ago

Congratulations, Linda! A well-deserved win!

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
15 days ago

Congratulations Linda, I really enjoyed this story, great writing 🙂

Last edited 15 days ago by Carrie OLeary
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