500 Writing Prompts: Message in a Bottle

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As I sit in the fallow zone between projects (letting novel 8 marinate and waiting on novel 6 beta readers), I find that I am itching to write. Something, anything, to scratch that existential need. Usually I say that I will fill the space with short stories, but that almost never actually happens. I don’t have a strong affinity for shorts, and whenever I come up with an idea I am passionate enough about, I end up wanting to turn it into a novel. So while I was at Barnes and Noble, looking to spend a gift card I’d won in a drawing at work, I saw this book of prompts and knew it would be perfect. Short, easy bites, a chance to write without the sometimes-exhausting effort of creation, and a chance to write outside my normal wheelhouse. I picked it up and planned to do one prompt every night.*


That hasn’t exactly worked out, but I have done a few of them and found them to be an interesting thought exercise. (Like the one that made me realize I don’t have ten items to put on a bucket list—I need more aspirations in life, apparently!) I thought I would share the very first one I did, and perhaps I will return to this and share some future ones if they resonate.

*I am still planning to do short stories, of course, but I just am trying to be realistic about how that usually goes.

While at the beach you decide to write a message in a bottle. What would it say? Who would you like to find it?

The message would mostly be for myself. After all, I could never be sure who would find it or if they even would. I would probably write down a small piece of me. An attempt to define part of who I am when there is no audience to please. Not necessarily a secret, but an intimacy. Describing my situation when I wrote it, what I was doing and feeling. And if someone did find it, I would be free of the burden of knowing how and why they would react. But I would hope that it would help them. Give them an insight into the human condition. Give them a glimpse of someone who is of a different gender or race or class or even time. I would probably include a message of hope. Hope for myself, hope for the finder, hope for the world.
Or, if I was marooned, it would just be a plea for help with as many details as I could come up with. And I would hope the Coast Guard or their analogue would find it—and quickly!