The writer was knocking out the story. She was excited because she had finally gotten past awful chapter seven and was in the zone, happy and oblivious. Then she heard a knock at the door. Not knowing better—the writer never seems to learn—she innocently opened the door with a smile on her face.
Standing before her was a figure wearing one of those fake Groucho Marx glasses-nose-and-mustache numbers to hide her true identity. The writer recognized her anyway. It was the inner editor. Her hair was pulled back into a tight bun like it always is, and she had twelve yellow number two pencils sticking out of it like an intellectual porcupine. She pulled off the disguise and peered over the reading glasses sitting on the tip of her nose, carefully tapping a manicured fire-engine red finger nail on her cold, curving smile.
"I can't believe you wrote this." She snorted.
The writer felt confused. She had to pull herself out of the story-world she had been in and back to reality in order to answer. "What do you mean?"
The inner editor sashayed over to the computer and pointed a long, accusing finger. "This. I mean, apart from the obvious grammatical mistakes, it just doesn't flow. What were you thinking?"
The writer felt her creative juices begin to evaporate under the inner editor's withering gaze.
The inner editor pressed her advantage.
"There's no way you can go any further until you get this thing fixed. And as penance, you're going to have to go back and rewrite every chapter you've written so far at least ten times until I'm satisfied." She leaned against the desk, shaking her head sorrowfully. "Don't think you can get any substandard writing past me. I saw the notes you made about chapters eight and nine. The plot is implausible, the characters shallow, and the dialogue ridiculous. I doubt it's worth putting it down on paper. In fact, I'm thinking we need to junk this whole project and start over from scratch."
The writer's eyes glazed over. She was almost completely paralyzed now, caught in the evil clutches of the inner editor.
"And don't think you can blame me for any of this drivel. It's all your fault. You're the writer, after all." The inner editor smirked before checking her impeccable manicure.
The writer shook herself, and a spark appeared in her eyes. "Hey," she said. "That's right. I am the writer."
The inner editor flinched. "Now, now. I didn't mean you were in charge, or anything like that. You need me or you wouldn't ever produce a decent manuscript." She began to edge toward the door, but she wasn't quick enough. The writer grabbed her by the collar and gave her a quick shove into the hallway. The editor stumbled away, trying to regain her footing. "Hey! That is no way to treat an editor!"
"Out!" The writer was back in control. "When human resources sends you to Acapulco because you're a pest, you need to stay there until I ask for your help during rewrites." The writer began to shut the door, but paused for a moment. "Oh, and by the way. No one is going to pin writer's block on me when you're really the culprit. Scram!"
The inner editor scurried down the hallway, picking up number two pencils that had worked loose from her bun as the writer shut the door firmly behind her. She dusted her hands and took a deep breath. A sense of freedom, nay, of creativity, washed over her like a cool rain. She sat down at the keyboard, fingers poised for only a moment before they began to tap the keys.