Rules: find a word at random in a book you have on your person, take five to ten minutes, and write a story or a history or anything you can having to do with the word in question.
The desert wind blows the choiceless sand into the wanderer's face. She covers her face with her handkerchief as the desert engulfs her. Her overall straps are outfitted with pouches upon pouches to aid her task. Her AK hangs behind her, in desperate need of a good cleaning. She trudges forward towards the constant mirage in the distance.
The sand, like her, does not choose where it is going. It is blown by the winds of fate, as are we all. Despite her agency to act and alter her own path, she to is a space to the whim of the wind blowing her. But all of this is outside of her beliefs. She trudges forward towards the constant mirage in the distance.
A shed. An outpost to help keep the city safe. A storehouse of goods for soldiers who protect. A direction she chooses to go.
And my five minutes are done.
I liked doing this exercise. It was fun. Yet I do not think it was really necessary to make me write. It is an exercise designed to get the creative juices flowing and get something down on paper. When writer's block rears its ugly head, I think this would be an apt way to let fate take its course with your story. Find a random word and let it guide your flow. Can't decide which direction your character goes? Maybe it is his memory of a handkerchief that leads him to follow his nose. Maybe it is a shiny new latch amongst a sea of dusty surroundings that tips him off on where to go to find his prize. Like the sand in my story, I do not fully believe we are alone in our decisions. When I write fiction, I think I am going to do this-- let the universe guide my hand in deciding how my characters go about doing what it is they need to do to bring my story to life.