The Vanishing Writers Organization

April’s prompt was to imagine that HRW disappeared overnight and Joe Barboza’s submission was a perfect fit. See the full prompt after the story.

When Hampton Roads Writers first disappeared, I’ll be honest, I saw it as an opportunity. An approaching freedom. A release. And I felt good for my creator, newly unchained to pursue those wandering sentences and random plot structures that had so compelled him, now without concern for outside voices that might critique and inhibit. That might suppress his true creative instincts and box him in with external perspectives. He could finally let go. Which meant I could. And every sentence from then on, I believed, would be an adventure. Each new paragraph a discovery. Each new twist a surprise, even to its author. And with no further implorings to return and fix this or tweak that.

A never-ending first-draft.

That’s what I wanted. That’s what we both wanted.

But then the sentences…they wouldn’t end. At all. The structure, circuitous before, seemed to spiral to nowhere like a coiled serpent slowly swallowing itself. The newly enlarged fictional world I had expected to roam untethered had instead narrowed to default creativity and easy outs. I wasn’t becoming more my character—I was becoming decidedly less. Minus the guidance and objectivity provided by those previous voices now vanished, I, too, seemed to be fading away. Becoming common and cliché. And I was reminded of Richard III and that tortured line of self-lament on his own halted evolution: “…deformed, unfinished, brought into this breathing world scarce half made-up…

That was me now. Shoved away in a drawer. Abandoned eternally to unfinished first-draft purgatory.


by Joe Barboza


original post

4/18 Characters Corner Prompt:

Imagine Hampton Roads Writers Org–Where Characters Connect–vanishes overnight. In 250 words or less, tell us what happened, or how the disappearance of our literary community affects your character.

Be creative. All genres welcome. Perhaps this is a piece of sci-fi, romance, or mystery. Feel free to be poetic, poignant, or funny.

Because of the 250-word limit, feel free to submit in the body of an email, or attach a .doc file, and send to HamptonRoadsWriters (at) gmail (dot) com. Submission deadline is 11:59pm EDT on Sunday, April 22, 2018.

Please review the standard guidelines for all submissions here:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: