The other day, I went to a writing workshop where every writer did a piece in 10 minutes based off of three trigger words. I elected to try writing short stories in those 10 minutes with a little bit of world building.
They’re not amazing, but I’m pretty happy with how they turned out.
The first set of three words was:
This was what I came up with:
My tutelage under Magister Farren had not been pleasant. He had never been the best with people to begin with, and “invading his wizard’s tower,” as he called it, didn’t improve his surly mood. Unfortunately for me, my spark of magic had manifested at age 12, and Farren got paid extra by the Crown for training would-be magisters.
Every day had been an exercise in endurance. From the time I was 14 years old and had begun my apprenticeship, Farren displayed his contempt and frustration with my presence with regular beatings. They were worse when he’d been drinking. One day when I was fifteen, he was particularly inebriated and finally let slip the reason he really hated me.
It wasn’t truly my age, or the inconvenience, or anything I’d ever suspected. Instead, he was incensed that magic came so easily to me. He muttered something about, “picking things up too easily.” Of course, that glimpse at his vulnerability, the way he’d absolutely displayed any vestiges of humanity had been unforgivable. That night, I received the most severe beating of my life. Farren had held me down with magic and beat me with sticks, some of which were suspended by magic. The entire time, he screamed incoherantly before stumbling to his room and muttering something about how I made him do it.
I was amazed I’d survived. Bedridden for weeks, all I could do was stare at the walls and feel small, powerless. Farren had only visited once to make sure I was still alive, and he didn’t meet my eyes for the whole ten seconds he was in my room. That had also been the point he’d stopped actually teaching me anything.
For the next two years, I had been on my own. I had been required by the terms of my apprenticeship to continue bunking in Farren’s tower, but I got more and more adept at avoiding him. At first, I hadn’t been sure of how to feed myself or even what to do in general.
However, I had discovered that a young girl could attract the attention of rich merchants with a little bit of makeup, and I took advantage of this fact. This had provided me money for food, and for my own research.
When I had discovered the dark grimoire that allowed me to take my first step on my road to the dark arts, I knew I’d found my true calling. I began spending every weekend in the hills, skyclad, communing with dark forced. It had been glorious. What’s more, in addition to the raw power I felt singing through my veins, I discovered I had a talent for getting the better of every pact I mad.
So it was a year later, when I came calling to Farren for him to deliver my pass or fail sentence on my apprenticeship, I wasn’t surprised when he failed me. I was even less surprised when he tried to strike me again.
However, I’d grown a lot over the last year. I left behind Farren’s dead body and broken power.
I was a woman now.
The second writing prompt was:
This was what I came up with:
Michael glanced around the frozen wastes of Helix III. As usual, there was nothing on the horizon as far as the eye could see. He knew that the unchanging view caused some to grow mad. For him, it just generated deep boredom and a desire to improve his lot in life.
He couldn’t wait to get off-planet.
He’d been born the son of a poor terraforming family, so even his education had been lacking, but Michael knew he would make something of himself someday. He knew he would reach the stars.
From the time he could start making his own money running messages in the underground housing complex he’d been born in, he’d saved almost ever credit he made. His dreams weren’t cheap, but they were worth holding on to.
The cold wind cut through his poly parka and even got through his solar-fed heating unit. He momentarily shivered and came back to the present. His minin partner, Tyler, had been showing signs of instability, tundra-madness as the basers called it.
Michael hadn’t wanted to report him. Tyler had offered him the job, showed him the ropes, and it seemed dishonorable to turn in his employer and friend. However, he noticed the other man shaking and finally had to say something.
“Tyler, we need to talk.”
“What? Helen, is that you?” Tyler half woke out of the stupor he’d been in, gazing around with bleary eyes. The older man seemed to notice Michael’s presence for the first time. “Helen, have you come back to me?”
“Tyler, you have tundra-madness.”
With a start, Tyler regained lucidity like he’d been hit with cold water. “What? Hey, I’m fine. I was just asleep.”
“No man, we both know that you’ve been seeing things that aren’t there. Look, I don’t want to turn you in, but when we get int tomorrow, you need to start your retirement early and stop going out with the crawlers.”
“But, I don’t have enough saved up for an apartment! I can’t do that.”
Michael sighed. “Look, you helped me out a lot. I’ll give you a loan. I don’t want to have to turn you in, but if this goes on much longer, someone else will, and they’ll probably be right to do so. I don’t want to see you locked up, and I know you don’t want it either.”
Tyler blinked, taken aback. “You’d do that for me?”
“Yeah. Let’s talk about it later. We have work to do now”
Michael internally sighed but he knew he was doing the right thing. His dreams could wait another year.
I don’t like that second one as much, but I still cranked it out in 10 minutes. 😛
Anyway, I’ve found that these types of writing exercises are really great to work out creative muscles, so to speak. In fact, Delvers resulted from a writing exercise I did on my own.
If anyone reading this is a writer, I highly suggest participating in these sorts of things from time to time.