(A Flash Fiction Writing Session from The Safe House)
OK, so this session is all about going inside your mind. The stimulus will be a few simple prompts which may, or may not, be linked. You then go inside your head and imagine the scenario. The aim is to try and get a rhythm going and to get words down. For this reason, you should try to be aware of time as much as you can.
Later, you could look at other Flash Fiction Writing Sessions for ways in which you could put your writing from these prompts together to work on a piece of narrative writing.
We are talking about descriptive writing here so you have to create lots of images of random things like size, physical appearance, colour, texture, smell (!). Sometimes you might think about describing emotions as well.
If you’re going to write in the third person, you’ll have to use your imagination and think about how your character will perceive the surroundings.
Maybe you could refer to the Flash Fiction Writing Session, Elsie Ethel Court, and describe your surroundings from the point of view of the person you wrote about for this session. You could also try and use the prompts to help you to imagine how Elsie would have perceived the scenario(s).
Write either notes or full sentences in response to 8 short prompts.
nb: You need to decide whether your character is you or somebody else before you start writing your responses to the prompts!
- You are in a park. Describe the park.
- You are standing on a path in the park. Describe the path.
- You walk along the path. You see animals. Describe the animals. Do they notice you?
- You continue along the path and you see, on the floor, a key. Describe the key. Do you pick the key up and take it with you or do you leave the key where it is?
- Either way, you continue walking along the path. You come across an obstacle. Something is in your way on the path. What is it? Describe the obstacle. Is it easy or difficult to get past?
- Somehow, maybe easily, maybe with great difficulty, you get around or under, or over or through the obstacle and you continue along the path. Somewhere in sight, there is water. Describe the water.
- You continue along the path and, in the distance, you see a building. Maybe a house, but not necessarily a house. It’s a building. Describe the building.
- You walk along the path to the building. You go inside and sit down. Describe the scene.
Like I said, this is about using your imagination, but it’s a good idea to try and harness your imagination just enough so that you can get it down. That means you need a decent place to sit where you can produce words.
Then, you need to have some kind of way of measuring time because there are a total of 8 prompts and you could easily get a bit disoriented, if you don’t have some kind of structure to the task you are about to engage in.
Think about adjectives, obviously, colours, of course, but also about the senses. Although you probably shouldn’t get too obsessed with what everything smells like! Unless … Well, you need to not get too bogged down. Keep your mind moving and get words down as quickly as you can.
Don’t worry too much about telling a story.
Other Flash Fiction Writing Sessions can help you make what you create here fit into a narrative. Now is the time for sights, sounds and all the rest. Straight out of your head and into written words.
Here are some things to bear in mind:
- Keep to the time scale described below as much as you can so that things stay quite spontaneous.
- If you save what you write, you can edit and change stuff easily.
- If you want to go more slowly, you can adjust the times, of course.
- You could even get someone you know who can get words down quickly to do the note taking for you and then you can write it up in your own time later. ; )
nb: Look for other Safe House Sessions for ways to proof read and edit your writing.
Word count and process
Don’t worry about word count, but for this session the process should take you about 20 minutes once you’re settled and ready to start.
Have 2 minutes thinking and writing time for each prompt. That makes 16 minutes in total. You could quite easily spend longer, I guess. Or less, I suppose. But this would be my recommendation.
If you give yourself 20 seconds to think before you write anything for each prompt,that would make another 1 minute and 40 seconds. If you keep going that is just under 20 minutes creating and writing time.
Spend another couple of minutes reading what you’ve written and making sure you will be able to understand it later.
Put the pen down. Sit back. Relax. Phew!
If you feel confident, you can take your notes and you can spend time to put them together into a narrative. Here you need to think about time and tense in order to construct your sentences so that they have proper meaning for your reader. Narratives are often constructed in the past tense. But:
‘Time is the Avenger. Never the Stranger.’
So concentrate when you’re at it and read your stuff loads while you’re writing it.
Look for other Safe House Sessions for ways to work with time.
If you feel like it, or if you want some ideas about how you can develop what you have written, you could share it by sending it to The Safe House at:
Here at The Safe House we will give you feedback to support you in what you are creating!