straight down the line

Fool me once, shame on you. You won’t fool me twice

Seven Character Story

Create a seven-character team in the tradition of Justice League, Murder by Death, or The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and write a brief treatment for a potential movie or TV pilot.

Story behind the Story

I had a lot of fun designing the character Stella Vaughn. I wanted to do something besides create a hero or private investigator. I wanted to write about something I know little about and have never written about before. I think it’s interesting in society when we start to explore ideas or concepts outside of the comfort zone. A lot of my writing has been research papers or reflections on literature. I took one creative writing course, and I wish I had put more into it. I always thought I would just be an academic writer, nothing too creative. In fact even with the other writing assignments I have chose, they were safe. While they were doable and different. This one allowed me to feel like a writer. 

I chose to do this one because I wanted to expand my character. I had created her, and now I wanted to see her come to life. Creating this person through a computer makes me feel a little powerful. I can write what I want and change anything at any moment. I would never in a million years present this idea in front of a class, but on a blog I just suddenly feel a creative side start to flow. I think that’s why it is important to have some kind of digital expression in classrooms. It opens the door not only to those who may be shy but also opens a door into your mind. As cliche as it sounds, I felt like I was supposed to be sitting in a dark room, hunched over my computer, throwing back coffees watching as my fingers sprint from one button to another (hey even that sentence felt a little creative).

Work Itself

“So, how are you doing today?” The room wasn’t very cozy. Black granite covered the floor. There were no couches, just two army green chairs, maybe corduroy ; anyway, while it was relatively comfortable, it wasn’t exactly a magazine spread for a psychologists office. Her desk was completely clean. not even a pencil or notepad strategically placed to make it look like she cared.

She titled her head, but never smiled. I think that’s why I was so curious. Someone who never smiles has to be hiding something.


I sit in the coffee shop. It’s 6 in the morning, and I am once again meeting a distress husband who probably thinks his wife is cheating on him or trying to kill him. Either way, I should start looking into a more respectable profession. It has gotten to the point where I hope that they are being cheated on just so I can ruin someone else’s day like they have ruined my life. But hey, it pays the bills and I am good at it. So here I am at 6 in the morning, waiting; never going to change.

I spot a man dressed in all black. He pauses at the door and frantically while also trying to be slick, it’s not going so well for him, searches the premises.

I lift my hand. He walks towards me.

“What the heck are you trying to do? Rob a bank?

Apparently he didn’t find my job at his attire helpful.

“I was trying to be inconspicuous…” he said with the most serious expression I have ever seen on a man.

I couldn’t help it. I busted out laughing and almost got up to leave. This is just getting ridiculous.

“Look, I think you are going to want to hear what I have to say,” he finally say down.

“My name is Emerson, and I believe my wife is a sociopath.”

I just stared for a couple seconds.

“Well…that’s a new one.”

“She is a psychologist, and over the years, without her knowing, I have gotten to know a few of her clients…ones that…let’s just say…felt uncomfortable.”

“If she is a sociopath than saying they felt uncomfortable is a little bit of an understatement don’t ya think? Are you sure she just isn’t plain mean or after years of listening to other people’s problems, she just can’t fake caring anymore?


“well you are gonna have to give me something more than that.”

“You need to meet with the others.”

I sighed. “Okay, how many, names and addresses?”

“There are 5.”

Oh you have to be kidding. Five people who are going to expect me to listen to all of their problems? “Fine, but either you are paying extra or they are each contributing.”


George Pemberton

Connie St. Claire

Lola Daniels

Patrick Dumas

Edward Peters

Those were the five names that Fitz gave me. Fitz and Stella…it sounds like such a perfect couple. Fitz gave a couple descriptions and details about his wife, but the only one I found truly intriguing was her nickname. Stells. For some reason, nicknames always mean something to me. Stella sounds elegant, almost like a picture-perfect wife. Take away the “a” and add an “s” and you get someone who sounds like they would watch as you get trampled by a heard of buffalo. Maybe it’s the repetition of “s’s.”


First stop. George Pemberton.

I knock on the door, and a flighty, short man with bug eyes and a horrific combover answers the door.

“Mr. Pemberton?”


“I am hear because Mr. Vau…”


Next thing I know, I am being dragged into a tiny apartment with black out curtains.

“You can’t say that outloud!”

Oh goodness.

“She may hear you”

“Mrs. Vaughn, or Stells as you may refer to her”

“Yes, she could be anywhere.”

He brings me into a room and I see four other people sitting around a coffee table.

“Connie, Lola, Patrick, and Edward I assume?”

“We thought we would make it easier on you. I’m Lola.”

We all went around and introduced ourselves.

“Might as well dive in. Who wants to go first?”


Four hours later and I can’t tell if I am shivering from the lack of heat or because each of their stories seemed to progressively get worse and worse.

Stells was not just sick of her job. She was not just a mean person.
She was going to be the death of me.

Death, loss, pain, suffering. That is what Stells name meant. Even worse, torturous.

The worst part, it was all mental, as far as I could tell from these 5 people, she never physically hurt anyone.

“I don’t know how much I am going to be able to do”

I don’t know why I said that; maybe I am scared?

“Please,” Connie chimed in. Her face still blotchy from her story.

Right as I was about to answer, a knock came on the door.

“That must be Fitz,” said Patrick.

“He said he might stop by.”

“I’ll get it,” I stood up. I needed a moment to myself.

I answer the door and there is a tall, uneasily pale woman with piercing green eyes standing at the door.

She smirked but her eyes didn’t change.

“I am looking for George.”

George comes scurrying to the door.

“Dr. Vaughn…”

Oh shit. Last time I checked, George hadn’t seen “Stells” for two months. Why was she at his apartment?

“I’ve heard you have been having problems again and I thought I would…check up”

“Who is this?”

George faltered.

“It’s okay George, I think I have made up my mind,” I intervened.

“George here was actually recommending me to you, I am in the market for a psychologist.”

“Well perfect timing then, right George?”

Stells stared at him for a minute.

“Why don’t you stop by my office tomorrow morning Mr…?”



She walked away. I stood there, I could have sworn I was frozen.

I should have quit while I was ahead.


Narrate the Process

I honestly didn’t know where I was going to go with this story. I just started to type and as soon as I finished a sentence or piece of dialogue, I just knew what was going to come next.

I have spent a lot of time making outlines, finding quotes, and developing thesis’. But I recently took English 307, The Writing Process and learned that sometimes when you just freewrite with no intention of keeping or sharing your thoughts, you create a piece that can turn into something great.

I used no outside resources. I didn’t Goolge anything. I just wrote


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