An exercise from Write a Book Now!
The instructions, paraphrased:Take the three words assigned in an exercise, and write for five minutes. You can change the tenses, or forms of the words, but all three must be used. The first word must be used to start your piece. It must be fiction. It cannot be in first person.
UNEDITED WRITING EXERCISE: Words: fire, clock, certainty
Fire filled her dreams – images of flame and smoke doing little to mask the screaming of people desperately fleeing for their lives as the apartment building burned to the ground. In sleep, she raced down the stairs from the seventh floor, her little sister dragged along behind her like a ragdoll, until the final flight, when the smaller girl had tripped. She’d fallen too, but the pain of the impact in her dream woke her, and as she rubbed her knee, she stared at the clock, noting the time – three AM. She’d managed two and a half hours of sleep since the last nightmare. This time, though, she
did not go back to sleep, instead, lying in the darkness clutching the
notebook she’d insisted upon going back to their apartment to retrieve. It wasn’t the pain that caused her nightmares, nor the loss of her home and belongings, but the certainty that her little sister’s death was her fault.
Originally written 7 May 2005.