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I'm tempted to do away with the concept of time entirely
I think this is a good time to just kick back and flex your craft muscles with some exercises, don’t you? Here’s a series of exercises for you to work through. You’ll figure out the theme pretty quickly.
Before you begin you will need the following items:
A prompt generator that doesn’t give you target word counts or specific lines you must include. Doing random google image searches can be good. Drawing from a tarot deck, DixIt deck, or set of cards for Once Upon a Time is also a good option. If you want a random webpage-based generator, this one might work.
A bit of time: 30-60 minutes.
A timer, or mechanism for keeping track of when an allotted time window has expired.
Whatever materials you need to write, whether that’s your laptop, notebook and pen, whatever. You are not about to commit acts of deathless prose, so don’t worry about using tools that will generate something you need anyone else to see.
Have all that? Excellent! Now, get your first prompt and spend a moment considering it. Then, set your timer for fifteen minutes. (Or ten, if you’re feeling speedy. Little enough time that you’re pressured to focus, not so little that there’s no point in trying.)
Now, draft a story based on your prompt. Without using any verbs. (“Be” and its various forms are verbs for this purpose.)
How was that? Good? Painful? Ready for another or desperate to never do it again? Perfect! Next exercise:
Do the exact same thing as before, except with a new prompt. This time, though, use at most one noun per sentence. Preferably none.
You’ve got this. You’re rocking! Ready for the third exercise? Get up and stretch if you need. Hydrate. Reset that timer. Load up a new prompt. Now:
Draft a story. Told entirely by describing temperature and changes thereof.
Can you feel the burn? Scream it out. We’re in the final stretch now and you are a champion. Timer. Prompt. Go!
Draft a story with no characters.
There. You made it! Shake it out. Go ahead and delete the file or shred the paper if you want, but hang onto the accomplishment. More, hang onto what you figured out by doing this. Did you stumble on any neat techniques that might be useful elsewhere? Get a fresh understanding of how certain mechanics function? Ponder all of that over the next few days, then maybe come back and do this again.