The Killing Floor

Henry Wallace was a writer. He had written fourteen novels during his forty-year career, and now, while finishing up work on his latest, The Killing Floor, he has hit a brick wall. Henry has writer’s block.

Henry Wallace began writing in his twenties, usually as a way to internalize the outside world. He had found organizing his thoughts through a diary to be the best way of thinking, and thus he started to write about his world. He wrote about his day in general detail, and would then dive into the fractal of human experience and focused intently on the small details.

These ruminations gave Henry a unique perspective on life, and slowly he began to embrace and practice them. Henry was now, after four decades, able to look at a random stranger on the street and see their entire lives, their past and their future, with amazing clarity. He knew the names of the stranger’s fifth-grade teachers, could even vividly see how they would die.

None of what he saw ever proved true, of course, but Henry was able to construct elaborate self consistent worlds where the rest of humanity lived out entirely different lives, where deviations from our world took place at Henry’s will.

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Ward, 1

The not-protagonist is a writer, a shut-in who’s constantly struggling with putting fingers to keys and black text on white background. He’s been at this for a bit, writing that is, and still hasn’t figured out how to make a proper go of it.

If he was to put a metaphor to his struggles, he may compare climbing a fourteener – a mountain peak that is at 14 kilometers elevation – to writing a novel, and if this was the measuring stick, then every one of his attempts seems like a five-story building, and it’s so much fucking effort just to make it up the first flight of stairs. And he wonders if it’s really what he wants.

Wonders every day. And decides to write a character who does not have this struggle. They know full well who they are, what they are here to do, and understand why they are doing it. He writes a character with purpose, creates a persona out of thin air who could do that which he himself cannot.

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