“What new devilry is this?!” you cry.
To which I reply, “Um, that’s a little dramatic, wouldn’t you say?”
You amend, “Alright, what new acronym is this? And on a Friday, yet! Aren’t your ‘HYSRT!’ posts normally a Saturday thing?”
Indeed they are; but I’ll be out from cockcrow ‘til cows come home on Saturday for my Town Crier gig at the Bristol Renaissance Faire (25th anniversary season kicks off tomorrow, huzzah!), so I’m juggling the blog schedule a bit. Likewise, “HYSRT!” posts are normally about other posts on other blogs that I think, hey, you should read. This time, however, it’s not really about the reading; it’s about the writing. (Hence that new-fangled acronymous “W”.)
I read this Invisible Ink blog post (inspired by this other, Fantasy in Motion blog post) which presented the 5-Minute Story Challenge – not a new idea, I daresay, but it’s the first time I actually decided to go for it, so it felt new enough to me.
The challenge is this: Don’t think (too hard), don’t plan (too long), just write a story for five minutes straight, then stop, no after-editing allowed (except for fixing typos. The war on typos is always allowed). Sounds simple enough, right? Or, conversely, impossible?
Well, it’s possible. Even for the kind of compulsive writers who swear by their rigid planning protocol, it’s possible. (And may the 30-page outline for my next novel project be spontaneously deleted if I lie.) It may not be brilliant (then again, it might!), but it’s not about brilliance. It’s about stretching a creative muscle that may not get a lot of use, and perchance having a bit of fun in the process.
Need an example? Then behold, the work of five minutes! (My prompt word was “anger”.)
The stone face of the fountain slipped from a smile to a glower. Tim jerked back with a cry of surprise, followed by a, “What the…?!”
In a terrible, gurgling voice, the granite lips asked, “Do you realize what you’ve done?”
“N-no,” Tim stammered. “What have I done?”
“You have offended the Great Fountain of Dummar!” stone and water roared together.
Tim was confused. “What’s Dummar?”
“Some ancient realm in another dimension; you’ll never have heard of it. That’s not the point. What is the point is that Dummarions cannot abide filthy metal, which you have just now thrown into my waters with nary a care. The punishment is death.”
“Death for a penny?!” shouted Tim. “That’s outrageous! I refuse to die for anything less than fifty bucks! Forget these threats, you owe me a wish!”
“Do you wish to live?” the fountain rumbled.
“Yes! …I mean, no, that’s not my official wish…”
“Granted,” said the fountain, and the face returned to its frozen smile.
There, see? No big thang. If you’re up for giving it a whirl, I’d be quite interested to see your hastily-crafted pieces – in the comments, on your blog, whatever. (For those who’d like a prompt word, how about… “luck”.) Go on, it’s only five minutes, and HYMSB! (Hey, You Might Scribble Brilliance!)