Picture a locked box in your mind. It’s small enough to pick up and carry, but large enough that you can’t hide it under your coat. It’s rectangular, made of exotic woods and carved with ornate symbols that look vaguely familiar… but you can’t quite place them. Delicate inlays in a lighter shade of wood depict a tree with branching limbs and intricate leaves. The wood seems subtly perfumed, and the scent is dark and a little spicy. The box has some heft to it–enough that you’re sure there’s something locked inside of it, even though it doesn’t rattle when you carefully shake it–but not so much that you can’t lift it.
Set a timer for half an hour and start free-writing, starting with that box. Write about anything you want, but here are a few questions to get you started in case you want a little help:
- Where did you find this box?
- Do you manage to open the box? If so, how? If you find a key, how, and what is it like?
- What’s inside?
- What happens next?
- Who created this box and why?
- Who owns the contents of the box, and why did they put them there?
As always, feel free to substitute a fictional character for “you” in any of the above.