Three minutes

Last week, I had the opportunity to speak before a group of writers and share what I knew about something I do here pretty often–blending writing with other hobbies to help connect with people who share similar interests.

One thing I was tasked with was coming up with a writing exercise for the group to do. What I ultimately came up with was the suggestion that a piece could be written to overtly connect writing with a hobby, either by having characters participate in such a hobby in a piece of flash fiction, or by discussing how a specific hobby helped in a specific field of non-fiction.

The group’s leaders set a timer for three minutes, and in those three minutes, we had to compose our very short story.

I greatly enjoyed hearing the diverse stories others put together, but I wasn’t exempt from the exercise, but I added a bit of a twist to mine. Instead of writing about one of my own hobbies–which I do often enough!–I decided to write a flash fiction piece about one of my husband’s hobbies, instead. Silly me had put my laptop away after I was finished with the presentation, so I tapped away on my phone instead. Not the best place to write flash fiction, but it worked.

Here’s what I wrote:

The chisel skipped across the spindle, landing with a crack at a base that was meant to be square. The apprentice grimaced at the size of the chunk that had come away. He’d been at the lathe for days, yet the pile of spindles his master requested had grown no larger.

He’d pressed too hard, maybe, or perhaps he hadn’t pressed hard enough to keep his chisel where it was meant to be.

“Again?” The master’s gruff voice was more sandpaper than soothing.

The apprentice bowed his head, but instead of a reprimand, what he got was a hand on his shoulder.

“Bad wood,” the master said as he pointed out a knot too hard for a chisel to cut. “No amount of practice can fix that.”

I don’t think I’ve written any bits of fiction that short before. It was a fun experiment. There are a few things I’d change if I were to go back and actually edit, but that’s always the way, isn’t it?

What kind of story do you think you could create with three minutes to write?

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