Quick! Set a timer for 5 to 30 minutes and, as fast as possible, with as little thought as possible, make a list of crises that a fictional character could encounter. She wakes up in the middle of the night and hears someone rummaging around downstairs. She gets home and finds her door unlocked and ajar. She goes to the bank and her account–which had plenty of money in it–has been closed. You get the idea. If any of these leads you onward to more, go with it! If you run out of crises, start writing about all the possibilities for what could happen next in the crises you got on paper. Again, if one of these inspires you, go with it.
If you’re currently working on a piece of fiction, try using a particular character for this exercise. If you aren’t a fiction writer, consider using yourself or someone you know for this exercise. In the latter case, this could lead to some interesting journal exercises contemplating the place of crisis in your life and how you handle it.
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