There’s something I would like to try, it involves this little jar here.
About a week ago I came up with this idea to do blind writing prompts. I cut my index cards into four rectangles, wrote a prompt on them, then placed them in this jar. I got up to 40 by the time my hand cramped up.
I hoped this would help me to get more words on paper (so to speak) rather than spending time scrolling through pages and pages of prompts until I feel the “AHA!” moment.
Most of my “brilliant” ideas never seem to stick, I hope this one does.
Here is the first prompt I got:
Take a timer and set it to 10 minutes. Start the timer and begin writing from the point of view of a person drifting in space. The catch? In 10 minutes they will run out of oxygen.
The beeping intensified, thrumming its incessant high pitch ring into my brain. My stomach did loop-the-loops as I went upside down, flipping effortlessly. I couldn’t stop flipping over, spinning, or whatever the hell I was doing. Although surrounded by the stars, their light never seemed so dim. The pinpoints of light were like blurs as if ink smeared across a paper. A black paper. A very empty black sheet of paper.
I wasn’t slowing down. The beeping was getting faster or was that my heart? It hammered in beat with the alarm.
5 minutes now.
That’s all I have left. I was drifting away, the ship was no where to be seen. Maybe if I tried twisting my body, try to at least slow my inevitable voyage into the endless abyss. My beaths are shorter now. Deep breaths. slow. On who am I kidding, I’m not going to live.
Part of me knows it’s useless but my body keeps jerking, just a little bit more.
I feel myself slowing. My lunch is in my throat. I swallow. No need to make my day worse than to suffocate in my own vomit. Yes! I’m spinning the other way now. The Ship! Oh sweet mercy! I see it. A dot extends towards me on a bungee cord. I’m crying. They saw me. Just a bit longer –
This piece was inspired by the movie Gravity (as if I needed another reason to fear Outer Space). I was actually rooting for my guy but the timer ran out. We can’t fight time, well unless you’re Max Caulfield.
Even from this small passage, I’ve learned a bit more. I still have problems with tones and description, most of the things I wrote don’t make sense. While typing this up, I had to stop myself several times from adding more to it, I needed it to stay raw. I think that’s the best way to analyze it.
I hope to at least try this exercise once a week, take a break from my regular characters and explore for a bit.
At first, I was tempted to toss it back in the jar. It was hard to pick something I didn’t want to write, or feel inspired by, kind of like an English essay prompt, but I like thinking on the spot. I’ve found that all my essays in school were better when I didn’t have much time to plan for it. Which is weird because I don’t like writing stories that aren’t planned to a “T”.
My question to everyone else is, are you a Pantser (write by the seat of your pants), a Planner, or a hybrid of both?