When I visit the Six Minute Story site, I always choose a random prompt. This is like a dice game. I have no idea what Lady Luck will throw my way.
Once the prompt appears, I have six minutes exactly of frantic typing until I am locked out of the text box and can write no more.
Although it is possible to abandon the writing project and choose another prompt, I have never done this. Instead – no matter how odd the prompt – I just start typing away and I see what happens. What I find amazing is the way my unconscious brain takes over and delivers something out of nowhere.
The prompt yesterday was a weird photo of a truck and a construction project of some sort on the edge of a lake. What really threw me was the white writing across the top of the photograph. It was almost too small to read but, after a few seconds of peering, I made out a biblical quotation. I groaned inwardly. The quotation bore no relationship to the photograph. And I am not keen on religious themes. What was I going to do with this?
I set my fingers on the key board and my unconscious brain made some connections. In a flash, I knew what the story was about and how it would end. I also knew that I had to keep the punch line hidden until I reached the close of the story. This is a risky strategy when typing against the clock and I almost ran out of seconds – but my sense of timing has improved and I finished the crucial sentence before the text box locked me out. I even managed a further line at the end.
So what were the connections my unconscious brain made?
- We are having terrible wet weather in the UK this year and there are floods in Devon and Scotland, with flood warnings in other areas of the country.
- The biblical nature of the printed words obviously played a part in my choice of theme, although my final story bears no relationship, as far as I can see, to the literal meaning of the quote.
So here is my latest six minute story – The Cement Delivery.
I am pleased with the story. I managed to include dialogue, intrigue and tension. The idea of inserting the animals came very late and was a stroke of genius by my unconscious brain, for which I take no credit. My only regret is the typo of ‘he wave’ instead of ‘he waved’. I didn’t have time to correct this.
Dorothea Brande, in Becoming a Writer, talks about harnessing the power of the unconscious mind. I guess the Six Minute Story Site is a really good way of unleashing it.
One thought on “The Cement Delivery”
Loved it Ruth. I’d love to REALLY do creative writing, but at the moment there’s too much on my plate. Looking forward to the level 2 CW module planned for the future (if I ever get there!), but need to do the Humanities bit first otherwise I’d never do it.
6 minutes is not a long time, but you seem to have got the bug and it’s working well for you.