I have recently started a daily writing challenge, as prompted by TigerMoth. She asked people to spend an hour writing anything at all, provided it began with the phrase ‘I closed my eyes’. The first three submissions were all SERIOUSLY bleak. We had a suicide, a torture and a murder scene. So much depression from four perfectly innocuous words, so I decided to give it another shot and write something a bit more up-beat.
That got me thinking. How many different short stories can you get out of some variation on ‘I closed my eyes’? I’d been looking for something to get my head back in the game so I decided to try doing one every day. It’s been really enjoyable. The vignette format has freed me up to try all kinds of stories and techniques that I’d never usually attempt in a larger project – sci fi, abstract, etc., etc., – and it’s also made me think a bit more about what that phrase could mean. Why do people close their eyes? What does it achieve, and what situations are they likely to be in? So much of our story-telling is visual – what happens if you remove that element, even if only briefly?
It’s a great writing exercise, and I’d love to read any stories that you come up with if you felt like having a go. For those who are interested, you can check out my daily attempts here.