Some thoughts on writing from the 60-second story project. This is an old post but I just ran across it and as I am about to start serious work on book two of the Fairy Godmother Diaries, it seemed like the perfect time to post this one.
11/20/10: "Yesterday's mythology is today's science, and today's mythology is tomorrow's science," Mr. Talbott said as he faced the class. "Tell me what that means." "Well," Matthew shrugged in his Letterman's jacket. "There was a time when we all thought that the sun revolved around the Earth and there were all sorts of myths and explanations associated with that. But now we know that it is in fact not the case. Now we know that everything revolves around me." (science)
11/21/10: Malina was a magnet. She was a magnet for dangerous men, for grand adventures, and for trouble with a capital T. Any man who would hook up with her was on seriously borrowed time. "Still," Thomas mused as he took in her impossibly long legs, lush figure, and flashing green eyes, "Some things are just worth dying for." (magnet)
11/22/10: (might be a tad disturbing): "You make it a habit to be right, don't you, Gabrielle?" Myron moaned as the restraints tightened. "Well," she replied as she gave the rack's wheel another turn. "I do think it's the right thing to do to apologize when you inconvenience someone and even more so when you eat their last cookie." (habit)
11/23/10: Long after the tremor faded, the flakes of ash danced on air currents before they landed on the sloping hills and scorched the earth raw. The few humans left still cowered in caves and avoided the boiling oceans. Rock and tree, bone, and sinew, the Earth's crust erupted again and the world turned to blood and fire. (flakes)
The longer I do these little mini-stories, the more I refine how I write. The idea that something starts from a spark of inspiration and then I create from that is not new to me. However, before I started this project, I tended to create willy nilly. I was buffeted by the winds of creative fate. Something would start and I would follow wherever it lead regardless of whether or not it was a good place. I also disregarded the idea that I might have conscious control over how to execute whatever creative project it was. I guess I felt that if I tried to control anything, the entire thing would "pffft" fizzle out and then I'd be left with nothing but a few burning embers but nothing substantive.
While working on these daily mini-stories, I've realized that while the spark (in this case, the prompt word) is necessary, it is not in control. I can choose the method with which I create the tale. I choose whether or not to write it immediately upon seeing the prompt word and let the story unfold as it will. Or, I can decide to wait and let the story develop that crucial beginning, middle, and end and begin writing only after I have an idea of what will happen.
In the above four examples from the last four days, I have two examples of each method.