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This is a photograph of a beautiful story nearing completion. A final braiding of the delicate threads that have propelled the narrative, a clean tie at the end.

And the story. The characters will gut you with the choices they make. The dialogue is like water on a hot cast-iron. And the prose, if I was capable of writing like the author, could be described as ...

What's that? What did I use to take a picture of the story? Uhhh... my phone.

What do you mean that's not a camera? Fine, I'll use my old digital SLR and send you the jpeg.

RAW? Yeah, I can find that in the settings I guess. But how do I send that, it's not showing up on my phone?

Lightroom? That's like a Netflix subscription, can't I just send you ... No? Okay, fine.

I see what you mean. Lots of options. And presets. I didn't know my story looked that good, it's amazing what was hiding in the blown highlights and the shadows.

I wonder if I could make this look even better. Oh, I guess it's only an APS-C sensor. I mean, I needed a new camera anyway. Mirrorless. Wow. Look what was hiding there. Worth the expense.

Yeah, you're right. Kit lens. That won't do. Gotta get the good glass. F1.4 is where it's at. And another for the reach at F2.8.

Gotta take some samples of a reference story. Look at the pixels of each character. Was that chromatic aberration on the “r”? It sure looked purple to me. And what's the resolution? I bet I can get a sharper reference image with a more expensive tripod.

Is that vignetting around the corners? I wonder what brand is best to prevent that. Gotta run some comparisons. Ack, why did I go with that brand? The other one has a new model coming out, with faster shutter speed. Better specs. My story would really shine with more megapixels. Just wait till I post it!

No, not the story. The spec sheet! Just look at those numbers. Totally worth it. If I start saving now, maybe by next Christmas I could afford to showcase the ending like it was meant to be. Although, their competitor might have something else out by then, so I should really ...

What do you mean, what am I writing this with? Microsoft Word, what else?

Scrivener you say? Huh. Looks nice. Not too expensive, and what's a good ending worth anyway, right? Very organized, which would help me. Just look at this post. I should break it down into scenes. Colour code all of the characters. Maybe make a mind map to really highlight the arc, to stick the landing.

No, you're right. It is corporate. Pick-axes to the miners, I agree.

Sublime Text looks nice, and it's free. No, I don't mind the nagging, I have a mother, you know? And it's good. Takes the focus to the words, you can really see what's hiding behind those italics. Substance over style. The bones of the story laid bare, every underscore and asterisk pulsing along with the characters towards that ending.

And synced to Dropbox. Don't want to lose that ending. I mean, the sync isn't perfect, but you can see the whole history of the story, right up until the beautiful ending.

Better backup? I see. Yes, git does look interesting. Yes, a branch for different scenes, different takes on the same scene. Very nice. A time machine for the story. And decentralized. Oh, but everyone relies on Github, so doesn't that make it ...

Well of course I could roll my own server. But editor? I'm not even sure what you mean by that. Emacs, yeah I think I read about that in the 90s, maybe back in undergrad. Oh really? The 80s. Well, maybe it can make up for the music.

Oh you're serious. Sure, I'll give it a try.

I can't even type. Do you have to type over the help screen? My hands hurt.

Oh, I can follow along to this tutorial. I like programming. It's like I'm building an editor. The story deserves this, an editor created just for it. And the ending, a little bit of custom elisp, M-x write-beautiful-ending as a stub function to be filled in later. Wonderful.

I'm flying a spaceship. At the control panels, engaging engines, distributing power, flying towards that ending. I can see it in the distance, it won't be long now. A flurry at the keyboard. The cursor moves to exactly the word I want. It has only taken three weeks, and I can manipulate text.

No, that's a good point. I should have started with a pre-built system. Spacemacs. Super easy. SPC. Love whacking that key. And the menus. The layers. So many options. I am once again manipulating text like a writer. But these modes, it's hard to wrap my brain around.

Oh, just emulating a different editor? Is it WordStar? Because I couldn't find a way to write the sixth book. Oh. Vim. Yeah, I've used it before. My bathroom sparkles.

Too obvious, but then have you seen what makes money? I know, but I will finish the ending. Once I get the perfect tool crafted. And this vim looks promising. Less bloated. The modal thing makes sense here. Don't even need a GUI. Just hit the terminal and start typing. I get it. Just words and a blank screen. Spell check is for losers. So is the mouse. The trackpad just gets in my way now, capslock has become escape. I have become writer.

What do you mean, story system? Can't I just type the story now, finish my ending?

Oh, I didn't know. Of course. I'm not a real writer, but I could be.

No, I didn't have good grades. Could I do something besides an MFA to become a writer?

Clarion? What's a portfolio? Letters of reference?

Okay, sure. Lots of books about how to write, but how to choose? Do you go with the famous authors post-hoc rationalizing their success, or the merchants selling pick-axes?

Plotter. Become a plotter. That's why the ending hasn't worked. I see now that I pantsed it. Should have planned the whole thing — started with the ending. Delete delete delete. At least that is easy now.

I tried that. Followed lots of people, followed back. I'm not sure what they are lifting, but it doesn't seem to be the ending.

This beautiful ending.