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How many words can you write?

How many words do I write in 8 minutes?

A very short story by Robert Carrick



Just write for 8 mins and spend 2 mins reviewing & making sure U have an ending, the writing tutor Christine wrote in her text message, before adding, That’s the length. It varies from person to person!


This is what I fear.


With no prompt to guide me, I have started writing and I have just eight minutes to find an angle, set up the characters, and bring it home. I’m already three minutes and 77 words in. My character will be Gillian Welles, Free Diver of the Mind.


It was 2 am when Gillian left her relationship with all its joys and obligations, sleeping peacefully in bed, and dived into her own head. She left behind the memory of the two hundred unread emails, bickering staff and unanswered calls of her managers at the office.


At five minutes and 131 words, she swept aside plans to catch up with her friends and her mother, and went deeper.


At six minutes and 157 words she broke free of nagging sexual thoughts and fantasies, and as the cold fingers of the night pressed against her eardrums, she found herself in silent stillness.


In that moment, a beautiful story revealed itself.


With just a minute left on her instrument panel, she bagged it in her net and made for the surface where Robert, her handler, was waiting on the deck of the ship of the night.


'I brought you a new story in eight minutes and 221 words.'


'Excellent result, Gillian. Bring it in. We have less than a minute left to complete the exercise for Christine.'







Copyright: text Robert Carrick; photos Murray@Sprout & Wix.


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