Prompt 1: Today we’re going to try something new. I’m not assigning a word count, but rather a time limit. Set aside a full hour to write a short story. Start and finish the story during that time.
- Some people work really well with deadlines. Maybe this is yours.
- Don’t panic if you can’t start writing at 00:01. Sketch out some ideas, try on a few characters. An hour is quite a long time if you focus on one moment, one instant (the perfect milieu for a short story). As long as you’re writing by 00:30, you’ll probably get a decent draft out of this exercise.
- Pay attention to how you deal with the pressure of the hour finishing up. Is your story’s pacing clearly influenced by the deadline? (If it is, don’t worry, you can always clean things up in the rewrites).
- Assess this exercise. Did you finish? Did you have to ‘cheat’ (i.e. write stuff like [put details in here], [move characters across town] etc.)?
- Did the time limit work for you better than the word count as an exercise? Could this be something you use every day?
Prompt 2: The Unexpected Guest
Your protagonist opens the door and finds an unexpected guest–a friend from high school who hasn’t been heard from in many years.
This friend has fallen on hard times and wants to stay with your protagonist a few days. As your protagonist and friend sit in the kitchen, the friend reminisces about the old days… and stirs up trouble by recalling some unhappy teen moments, too.
How does your protagonist react, and what are those good and bad times in the past?
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