Once, many tweets ago, I said that I had no imagination. I based this scientific analysis upon a failed attempt at a writing prompt which only required me to write a sentence incorporating three words. Two. Navy. Storm. [here’s the link, if you’d like to join in]
Well over an hour *cringe* possibly two hours of word crunching (and a little tweak just now) yielded this:
The barometer in the hallway had predicted the storm two weeks before you propped the envelope beneath it with my name written in navy blood.
In my head, I began in a storm at sea on a ship with navy sails which sounded contrived and furthermore, I knew nothing about sailing. So then I spent the next part of forever trying to think about it differently. This lead me to ask – what could there be two of? And what kind of storms exist? These thoughts allowed me to think of different options. And I introduced a storm into someone’s relationship. It was like ‘Voila!’ but hours later, and I’m still not sure it’s finished.
But there you have my imagination at work, heaps of ideas, and even thought processes. So what’s my problem?
I’m an idea snob. I don’t consider these ideas good enough, I dismiss them before they are barely thoughts and I don’t allow them to grow. I also resent the time it takes for me to grow an idea yet I’m all too aware I need practice.
This brings me to today, and my decision to try the flash fiction challenge by Chuck Wendig. This meant rolling a ten sided die three times which, from his website, would give me the subgenre, the setting and an element to include within my 1500 word short story. I rolled:
Subgenre: Zombie Apocalypse
Setting: Vampire’s Subterranean Lair
Element: Artificial intelligence
I inwardly groaned. Zombie apocalypse? Really? Vampire’s subterranean lair? At least that was a location and not a subject matter. Artificial intelligence? Maybe I could handle that. Oh God. I knew I was already mentally switching off. I need to be challenged as a writer yet I’m not stepping up to the plate. I found myself rolling again:
Subgenre: Erotic fairy tale
No, no, no, no, no, noooo. What!? Apparently it could get worse.
I found myself reading through all the options scratching them off, mildly liking some, yet deeming them all invalid. Do I write about something that I abhor but something that challenges me? I’d be lucky to write 1500 words in a month, do I put that time into writing a flash fiction that will never see the light of day but will undoubtedly teach me something? Or do I pretend I rolled:
Subgenre: Sword and Sorcery
Setting: A King’s Throne room
Element: A mysterious stranger/magical pocket watch
And roll with that?
FYI: For those familiar with my blog, no this wasn’t a scheduled blogging night, but I wrote this in about an hour. Booyah!