Random writing prompt and the start of a book… maybe?

Will Sweet Suzie Bear write a book, too? She appears to enjoy books and libraries very much.

I signed up for NaNoWriMo. That looks like just a random bunch of letters, right? Kind of funny looking? Well, that’s what I thought until a few years ago, when I signed up to participate in this activity. And failed. I didn’t have the attention span for it. Didn’t have the attention span for what??? Translate that odd looking bunch of letters???

National Novel Writing Month!!!!

National Novel Writing Month??? Shouldn’t that be National Novel Writing Year??

No. Month. In other words, write a novel in one month… 30,000 words written in the space of thirty days. Yep. Thirty. Why couldn’t National Novel Writing Month be set in a month that has thirty-one days??? Who knows? Oh well, at least it’s not set for…

FEBRUARY!!!!! (only twenty-eight days, but cold and icky and there is nothing to do but write or drink hot cocoa or write while drinking hot cocoa or hibernate or something like that…)

On writing a book when the author has a short attention span

Well, anyway, I love to read fiction but I don’t know if I can actually write 30,000 words worth of fiction. But I think that I will experiment with the concept of creative nonfiction that may be a little embellished to the point where I can actually call it fiction and can turn it into a novel.

I’ll start with a title…
or two…
working titles…

Alice Navigates the World
(that’s because I can’t really carry off “Alice Circumnavigates the World,” seeing that I’ve never been in Tahiti or China or Turkey or any of a number of places)
An Idiot Turned Loose on the World
(hmmm, not sure who’d want to read about the adventures of an idiot, but…)
Unheard Voices (that was Kathy Kelly’s suggestion)

Let’s see how the prompt works!

 Here goes. I am going to write for fifteen minutes with first six words of my story having been produced by a random first line generator. The goal is to prevent me from staring at a blank computer screen helplessly while I wonder what the heck I intended to say.

These are the words:

It was just for one night…

All right. Here goes. Time to set a timer for fifteen minutes. 

It was just for one night but I didn’t know that. I was sitting on a steel shelf in a tiny cage. The shadows from the bars danced haphazardly on the floor. I watched them and stared out of the cell, at the dark corridor. It felt as if the cell was slowly shrinking in size. I watched the walls, waiting for them to close in on me but knowing that it was just my imagination playing tricks on me.

The events of the previous few days conspired to get me to this place where time seemed irrelevant. Time passed at a different speed in this closed-off world, hence the irrelevancy of time. It was late, and I heard nothing. No one was shouting or singing. I didn’t even hear snores. But still, I just sat on top of the harder than rocks bed and I stared at my orange outfit and I felt the dis-ease of the claustrophobic and remembered the day when I got stuck in the elevator.

I was going up only one flight of stairs. I didn’t really need to get on an elevator. My friend, the editor in chief of the alternative newspaper in Buffalo, had raced into an elevator and said that we could do an elevator race. I could get into one elevator and he could get into another elevator, and we could see who would win the contest. He got into the elevator that I thought looked the least likely to crash land. I got into the elevator that looked as if it were doomed. I wondered if anyone ever used these freight elevators but I didn’t ask Joe, the editor in chief who preferred to race in elevators than to run up a flight of stairs. Many years later, Joe would have a lot of trouble with a heart condition. On the day of the elevator race, Joe was in fine form.

With great trepidation, I got into the elevator and pressed the button for the second floor. I felt a little stupid about traveling one flight of stairs in a little box. The walls were a grimy shade of green, and the paint was peeling. The doors closed, and I was enclosed in a box.

It… is… not… a… tomb… It… is… not… a … tomb…

A grinding sound came from someplace that I could not see, and the elevator stopped between floors. I frantically pressed buttons, trying to make the elevator move. The only thing that looked as if it were moving were the walls that were slowly closing in on me. Just like the movies. What the heck? This can’t happen in real life? Do I want to find out?

I screamed at the top of my lungs.


No one could hear me. I screamed again. Then I saw the RED BUTTON. It is the RED BUTTON that is used only for emergencies. Well, this was an emergency. I was trapped in an elevator and I would probably become a dessicated skeleton before anyone noticed that the elevator had gone out of service.


After what seemed like a century, the elevator started moving again. Well, it was probably about five minutes, but it felt like a century.

I was freed from the terrifying elevator. I was determined never to ride on that elevator again.

The next day, Joe said, “Want to take an elevator ride?”

“No, that is OK,” I responded. “I’ll take the stairs.”

Fifteen minutes have expired…

and, hey, this works… I will continue writing the tale. So… is it fiction, nonfiction, or a combination of the two? I’ll call it a combination of the two and loosely a “novel” for the sake of NaNoWriMo.

So… how about you…

it’s not too late to sign up for NaNoWriMo.

Just go to the nanowrimo website and sign up. And, you too, can write a novel!!!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top