Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Five-Second Writing Prompt

The title of this writing prompt is accurate, but you're going to need more than five seconds to write. Here's what I want you to do: Write at length about a five-second interval.

Feel free to make this either fictional or autobiographical. Choose a life-changing instant and write at length about the five seconds before, around, or after it. What does the character think about? What does she remember? What details of his surroundings does he notice? How does she feel physically and emotionally?

Here are some possibilities to get your own creativity going:

  • A young man gearing up to propose to his paramour.
  • A child working up the courage to jump off the high-dive.
  • A first kiss.
  • A parent preparing to have "the talk" with a child.
  • A teenager coming out to his or her parents.
  • A first tattoo.
  • A convicted murderer waiting for the switch to be thrown on the electric chair.

Ulterior motive

Every second is an infinity. With some practice and planning, you can write a whole story — with characters, setting, conflict, and resolution — that takes place over only a few seconds.