I like to attend writing conferences and workshops; they’re great for networking, inspiring new ideas and motivating work on current projects. A few years ago I was at a workshop hosted by Edward Willett, a science-fiction writer based out of Saskatchewan, at the When Words Collide writing conference in Calgary. This particular workshop was themed around creating a short story using only seven sentences. I’ve used it a few times to get my creativity flowing before delving into work projects, or a novel.
Here is the format (I hope you forgive me for sharing, Edward):
- Introduce what the main character wants and actions he/she takes to get to a goal.
- Write actions that make the situation worse.
- Based on this new situation, your character takes a second action to accomplish the goal.
- Results of the second action he/she takes make everything worse.
- Based on the new situation, your character takes a third, final action to accomplish the goal.
- Three options are now available: the third action either accomplishes the goal, fails to accomplish the goal, or there is an unusual but oddly satisfying different result.
- Denouement: wraps up the story, provides a moral, tells how the character feels, or how his/her life continues.
Lately, I’ve been inspired by tarot card decks—the art and individual card meanings creating story ideas in my mind that are begging to be written. I combined that inspiration with the seven sentence structure above and drafted this today:
- Wanting nothing more than to become a wolf, Juniper took to tracking a wolf pack on nights of the full moon, hoping to get one to bite her to begin her shape-shifting process.
- One hot midsummer, she got lucky—or unlucky, depending on your perspective—and stumbled on a pack dining on a fresh deer corpse.
- Heart pounding in excitement, she ran into the midst of their group, crying out in surprise and elation at finding them and then in pain as a silver-grey wolf took a bite out of her calf.
- Exulted that she had received the bite that would begin the transformation, she started to back away, wanting to go home and let the change happen, but stopped when she heard multiple menacing snarls and growls.
- Moving quickly, she got down on all fours and began to eat what they had been eating, her stomach turning as she bit into the still-warm flesh of the newly-murdered deer corpse.
- The wolves moved closer to her, surrounding her, and she felt them nip and bite at her, tearing her flesh from her bones.
- Trying to get up and run away, the pack covered her and she let out a howl of pain, in her last moments sounding like the wolf she hoped to become.
I’d love to read anything you come up with if you use this prompt. 🙂 Share in the comments!