Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Now with a Bonus Word!

stopwatch graphicThe tree is up, the holiday cards mailed, and only two more work weeks remain before we can call it a wrap on 2015.

I don’t know about you, but my writing has not been nearly as “front and center” in recent weeks as it was last month. That means it must be time for some Random Word Improv – a sure way to flex our creativity and recharge a little.

If you want to get in the improv mood, check out some of our previous efforts here, here, and here. This week our random words have a distinct thriller/mystery feel to them, despite my continued efforts to pull together a lighthearted list.  In an effort to mix things up a bit, today’s random word improv also includes a Bonus Word. Incorporate the bonus word in your effort today for a little extra challenge.

Today’s bonus word is: defenestration

For any of you new to Random Word Improv, here are the rules:

  1. Pick as many words from the list as you want
  2. Write the first line(s) of a story incorporating your words
  3. Post your results in the comments section.

Here’s today’s list of random words from a randomly selected random word generator:

ambidextrous      psycho                 handcuffs           limousine

hose                          wish                      scheme                 bananas

carnival                  awesome            heavyset             bubble

cobra                       fountain              amulet                 loyal

toy                            diversion             couch                   sticky

Okay. Are you ready? Go!

*whistling aimlessly while you are off being creative*

Ah, you’re back. Kind of fun, right? Can’t wait to see what you have come up with.

Next week will include a special holiday-themed Friday improv. Don’t miss it. In the meantime, happy writing to all.

13 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Now with a Bonus Word!

  1. One of my ancestors was present at the Defenestration of Prague. Jealous Protestants later put it about that the Catholics thrown out the window had survived by falling on a pile of manure, but it’s not true. They fell on Francis Xavier Blavatsky, a heavyset man of awesome girth, and were borne away by their servants. My ever-so-great-grandfather died of his injuries, and his widow was forced to flee the country with her seven sons, thus avoiding the Thirty Years War. Ah, the schemes and wishes of ambidextrous fate! She took away my forefather’s life with one hand, but with the other hand, gave my not-so-great-grandfather and his brothers the chance to live and populate the world in a Blavatsky diaspora. Is the world a better place because of it? I do not know. All I know is that it is a fact, and I am here as a result.

    –Bunny Blavatsky, Spirit Photographer

    (Love the defenestration! I don’t know why, but that seems to be a buzzword among speculative fiction fans. Need drama? Throw someone out the window. Can’t wait for next week!)

    • Great effort Michaeline. Loved Francis Xavier’s description as “heavyset man of awesome girth” and the “ambidextrous fate.”

    • Very fun, Micki. Bunny’s a fascinating woman. Loved this glimpse into her deep backstory and – like Elizabeth – especially enjoyed ‘ambidextrous fate.’

      • (-: Thanks, guys. I got to thinking about it after I wrote it, and also liked the very subtle comparison of FX Blavatsky to a steaming pile of . . . you know what. She doesn’t get along very well with the Blavatsky side of the family. I was very happy to find out this bit of deep backstory too!

  2. Black widow in the bananas, cobra in the laundry basket, arsenic in the bubble bath – Nero Argento was a killer, but he had style, and his victims deserved everything they got. Whatever scheme he was hatching, it was guaranteed to be awesome. Unlike Luciano, who’d hose a guy down just because he felt like it.

    Pointless to wish we could be on the same side. I was loyal to my family, which left me on sniper detail as Luciano, heavyset, hard-eyed, one hunded per cent psycho, emerged from his armor-plated limousine and climbed the steps to the Carnival float.

    The breeze from the open window ruffled my hair. Sweat stung my eyes and left my skin sticky, but I maintained my focus. Nero liked to toy with his targets. He was here somewhere.

    The breeze blew again, cool on the back of my neck. What the hell? I whipped around. Too little, too late. Being ambidextrous is no help when you’re secured to the couch by your own handcuffs.

    “Glad you enjoyed my diversion.” Nero’s eyes gleamed behind his decorated mask. “Shame you’re playing for the wrong team.”

    His hands moved towards me in a blur, and something dropped over my head. I couldn’t see it, but I could feel the amulet burning against my collar-bone.

    “Arrivederci, Cara.” He blew me a kiss and left as silently as he’d arrived, somersaulting out of the window toward the fountain fifty feet below.

    • LOL! Great! I like this Romeo/Juliette setup (although, I assume the assassins are not teenagers).

      It’s very, very interesting that we all want to write romance and happiness, but in these warm-up exercises, there tends to be a lot of blood, treachery and evilness. I wonder what would happen if we were writing suspense thrillers? Would our exercises be all about puppies and kissing? LOL!

      I love these knuckle-popping mini-assignments. Elizabeth, your generator is incredible!

      • You’re right, Micki, the assassins are not teenagers, and this story ends in violence and death for other people (who deserve it) . My plan was to write puppies and kissing, but then Elizabeth’s word generator offered defenestration plus psycho, cobra and handcuffs, and what could I do? At least our characters all survived their defenestrations!

        I do love these challenges. Looking forward to next week’s holiday-themed improv. Somehow I doubt it will be chestnuts roasting on an open fire as the heavenly choir sings halleluia, but you never know 😉 .

  3. Oooooh, what a great variety of awesomeness this week! I am late again to the party and will post up another piece of woe shortly. I took Friday off with my friend, we went to see Star Wars, shop a bit, eat, and caught up on the first quarter season of Arrow season 4. Pretty much bummed around the entire day.

    Spent the rest of the weekend cleaning up messes and trying to fix things. Honestly – toilets are not my thing – we have one that the innards rusted and gave up the ghost on, and then he who shall remain on the literal $hitli$t, who plugged up the remaining toilet and after 2.5 hrs worth of work, barley flushes liquid only, if you are patient enough to wait for 5 min. I think I’m going to have to get a “snake” after work and spend some more of tonight working on the thrones. Uggggh.

    If you want love and puppies, you are really going to have to work on the word lists. Somehow the auto generator is tapping into your (or our) unnaturally dark soul. Ok, off to work and I’ll be letting the new list soak into my brain for a while. Be back in a bit.

    • LOL, I don’t think it’s really the word list’s fault. If the generator came up with “love, puppies, rainbows, poptarts, lemon drops”, I know I’d find a way to weaponize a candy store (in the mall, right next to the rabid puppies). The darkness is a fun and safe release for me; maybe I need to allow more darkness in my WIP in order to bump it into a more “flow zone” mode. By Valentine’s Day, I should be getting more sunshine and a little less stress, and be more into a cheerful exercise mode. Maybe. (Maybe I’m fooling myself: maybe my default mode is dark. LOL, don’t care. It’s fine.)

    • Friday sounds excellent, the rest of your weekend not so much. Ew. Can’t wait to see what you come up with after that experience as a warm-up.

  4. 2.
    My non-descript, official, fire-hose beige-grey, Kia Optima was deemed unworthy to pass through the gates of the great estate. I was politely ushered into the back couch (“seat” simply wasn’t plush enough) of a sleek gold limousine. There was even a cold drink waiting for me. As we drove past the banana groves, ripe with fresh bananas, I fiddled with the amulet at my neck. The amulet was a faceted moonstone, kind of opaque, kind of sheer, kind of white, but displaying many colors depending on the amount and quality of light. My friend gave it to me a long time ago. Their wish had been that I remain safe and remember to look at all the facets of any problem or situation so as to divine the “real” truth.

    After what had to be at least a 30 minute ride through what felt like a tropical foreign country, I was released by an awesome fountain. It was awesome in that it looked and felt like someone had reached out to Rome, picked up one of their legendary fountains, and deposited it in the front courtyard area of the mansion. It bubbled with life and joy. The house/castle/compound was still at least a three-quarter mile hike away. The walkway leading up to the mansion was a carnival like parade of no less than 23 different exotic cars, gleaming in perfection and lining both sides of the walk. Mr. Bartleby had nothing on the Wizard.

    Whatever his plan, the Wizard’s scheme had to be either completely psycho or a diversion. Of course with the Wizard being as ambidextrous as he was, it could be both, rather than one hand or the other. He never did like handcuffs, at least not the intellectual or in-action kind.

    I had almost reached the mansion, when my reverie shattered with the window next to the front door. A suited, heavyset man suffered the indignity of defenestration, breaking the glass of the window with his body, rather than being shown the door. He landed hard and rolled down the steep slope from the mansion to the brickwork about 10-15 feet in front of me. I had turned to see if anyone would follow him out, when I heard the distinct roar of an actual, classic V8 Shelby King Cobra. The last one I’d seen listed had a price tag of $1.65 million and wasn’t street legal. It screamed down the line up of exotic suitors and slid to a complete stop, one foot from me and touching the foot of the previously expulsed gentleman. The driver turned off the engine, hopped out and came over to me.

    “Well Jenna, you’re not so hard to reach. I guess it just takes a couple of dead guys and some debris. Same old, same old.”

    “Don’t forget the pointless posturing and the epic world threatening.”

    “Oh, that. If you were more loyal, we wouldn’t get into such sticky situations.” He raised a perfect black brow and showed his pearly whites, so like the snake charmer or wolf he happened to be. “Come along Jenna, toys to test, worlds to save, and all that nonsense. We don’t have much more than a day.”

    • Great effort Penny. Worth the wait. I especially liked the phrasing: “heavyset man suffered the indignity of defenestration”, not to mention “pointless posturing and the epic world threatening”. One has to wonder what is going to happen next.

  5. Gotta say, that Wizard has style. Apart from the cars, I especially liked “previously expulsed gentleman.” Somebody’s heading for an interesting Christmas.

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