Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Now With Random Characters!

stopwatch graphicWelcome to Random Word Improv. Do you believe the month of January is almost over?  I guess it’s time to give those remaining Christmas cookies the heave-ho, don’t you think?

Anyway, whether you wrote a lot, a little, or none at all this month, a few minutes of Improv is a great way to keep those writing muscles in practice and give your brain a little exercise too.

Plus, it’s fun.  Just check out the previous improv posts here, here, and here if you need convincing.

Before we start, here’s a quote I found when looking for something else. I don’t know about you, but this made me chuckle:

James Joyce was a famously slow writer. Once a friend found him slumped dejectedly over his desk. “How many words did you manage today?”

“Seven,” Joyce replied.

“But that’s great, for you.”

“But now I have to work out their right order,” he wailed.

Now let’s get to our Improv. Today, not only do we have a Bonus Word but we also have a Bonus Character.  Incorporate one or both in your story for virtual bonus points.

Today’s bonus word is:                  mercurial

Today’s bonus character is:         A man on a unicycle

Here are the rest of today’s random words from a randomly selected random word generator:

exhilaration       tantrum                      camouflage         beach

dizzy                      parachute                   cherry                    classic

cyclops                 hormonal                    royal                        lick

For any of you new to Random Word Improv, here’s how to play:

  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.

Okay. Are you ready? Go tell us a story!

*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.

Productive and happy writing to all.

22 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Now With Random Characters!

  1. This is my first outing with the Friday writing sprints. I don’t have much time, so I decided to take the James Joyce approach. Fun! But I might need a different word order. Here goes:

    A mercurial man on a unicycle hid his classic cherry camouflage parachute on the royal beach. Dizzy with a sudden hormonal exhilaration, he felt a tantrum lick up his spine.

    “Damn Cyclops!” he said.

    Short and sweet. Or maybe, sweet and short. Or maybe, short.

  2. Orca Atoll, Southern Orcapelago

    His Grace the Duke del Fino lay motionless and almost invisible in the ornamental hedge. Hibiscus ‘Cherry Brandy’ provided excellent camouflage.

    Del’s own royal guard would have rated the atoll’s gardens a security risk, but Hunter, King of the Orcas, clearly believed his hideaway was impregnable. Approached from the ocean, he was probably right. If the currents didn’t drag you on to the rocks, the patrol pods would tear you to shark bait. And if you sneaked past them, you’d fall foul of the Cyclops. The tiny crustacea lurked everywhere. And sure, they only had one eye, but the little bastards never blinked let alone slept.

    “Classic mistake,” was the pithy assessment offered by Del’s British cousin, Captain Disraeli ‘Dizzy’ Bottlenose of the legendary SBS; he’d simply opted to parachute his team on to the beach under cover of darkness.

    This was Dizzy’s op, so Del played possum in the hibiscus and watched as King Hunter tried in vain to unlock Del’s magical amulet. Del’s panic turned to relief as he realized the Orca King wasn’t even close, and to exhilaration as the mercurial monarch threw a colossal, hormonal tantrum.

    It wasn’t so funny for the poor sod chained to the unicycle on rollers powering the woven fans fluttering above His Majesty’s reclining beach chair. A salt lick crusted the man’s back and shoulders, and his chest heaved as he pedalled for dear life.

    Del caught Dizzy’s eye and received a nod in return. Any moment now, Dizzy’s boys would strike, the amulet would be reunited with its rightful owner, and Del would use its power to shield them from Hunter’s reprisals.

    Then they’d exfiltrate, and they’d take Unicycle Guy with them.

    • Fantastic! This story just keeps getting better. Love your character names. Line that made me chuckle: “the little bastards never blinked let alone slept”.

      Well played.

    • LOL, brilliant! I particularly liked your names. Orcapelago is inspired, and . . . what kind of parent would name their kid Disraeli? Ambitious ones, that’s what kind! Poor Dizzy probably had a miserable childhood, but makes up for it in dashing and daring!

      • A very old, aristocratic dolphin shifter family, the Bottlenoses. Unmistakable profile. Proud military tradition. I’m thinking Disraeli is the oldest, then there’s Fitzgerald, and the twins, Isabel and Elizabeth. Or Dizzy, Fizzy, Izzy and Lizzy. They may be back, I”m not sure.

        I’d already settled on Dizzy and Del’s mission when I decided to google cyclops to see if I could find anything except the obvious. Talk about serendipity 🙂 .

        • Oh please – bring back Dizzy, Fizzy, Izzy, and Lizzy. I’ll be sure to keep them in mind when searching for the next set of random words.

  3. I’m rushed and crushed, but in a totally good way. James Joyce quote was great; I laughed, but then I wanted to cry a little because it’s so true. “So true, is it,” as Yoda might say.

    Anyway, here we are, on a lovely beach. Of course, there’s a man unicycling down the boardwalk, a waffle-cone in each hand with a cherry on top. My hero, Jack de Winter, is drooping in the heat, but his darling sashays back with her own waffle-cones in each hand, licking the dribble of cream that has managed to escape down the side. “Hurry and eat up before they melt,” Olivia says. He’s dizzy with exhiliration at the sight of her lovely tongue, or perhaps it’s just heat prostration setting in. He behaves himself admirably, and turns his eyes back to the beach in time to see . . . the giant squid, a mutant with one giant cyclopean eye peeking out over its tentacles. The bathing beauties of both sexes scream and the lifeguard on his tower blows his whistle in three short toots.

    “Dear, we really should do something. Are you up to it?” Olivia asked.

    “Middle of August for a frost demi-god. No, not really. You?”

    Olivia sighed. “I spent all my magic keeping the ice cream cold.”

    Jack pointed at a helicopter, whirling in from the south. “Coast Guard?”

    “Why, yes, I do believe it is. Let’s settle back and watch!”

    The net from the helicopter was held up with four evenly-spaced parachutes, and drifted gently over the enraged squid. Slowly, the dragnet tightened, and soon, the sea monster was hovering over the beautiful blue sea.

    “Well, that’s going to make the local news tonight,” Jack said.

    Olivia thumbed her smartphone deftly. “Might be a sensation on YouTube, too.Sometimes, magic isn’t the answer to everything.”

    “Here, let me see that,” Jack said. And as the sun set slowly over their shoulders, they opened the screen to get a close-up of the monsters maw, and argued the relative merits of smartphone cinematography until the lifeguard gently shooed them off the beach as the full moon rose.

    • Sometimes magic isn’t the answer to everything. This is wonderful. I love the idea of our magical superheroes calmly eating their ice-creams, enjoying the show, and letting the authorities deal with the problem. I’m sure if the monster proved too powerful for the valiant Coast Guard Jack and Olivia would ‘do something’ in high style with oodles of snappy banter. Your creative priming tricks are obviously sending you some great ideas.

      • This is something I’m experimenting with in these stories — everyday magic, dialing down the stakes and conflict, but still making them so human and agreeable and fun that people want to keep reading. As you know, I tend to equate conflict with large-scale, save-the-universe warfare and food fights.

  4. Okay, it’s way past Friday and I was going to just skip this week’s words, but then I got some ideas while off doing yardwork, so here is Installment #3 of Detective Cassie and Nicolai:

    Cassie sidestepped the work crews still cleaning up the debris from last week’s explosion at Barnacle Bob’s as she made her way to the precinct.

    The bicycle shop across the street bore the brunt of the explosion but, rather than throw a tantrum, the owner took it all in stride, savaging what bike parts he could and reinventing himself as The Unicycle Man. Now available for parties and demonstrations!!!

    She wished she could salvage something from this case, but all she had was a bunch of dead-end clues and the remnants of a concussion. So, instead of boarding a plane bound for the lush, soft, white beaches of Fiji for a well-deserved vacation, she spent the afternoon on an undercover assignment at the Goody Two Shoes Gang “Cupcakes and Crime” meeting. That’s time I’ll never get back.

    If it hadn’t been for the cupcakes – dark chocolate cherry-filled with royal icing – the assignment would have been a complete waste of time. All she heard was that The Goody Two Shoers, who could just have easily christened themselves The Grumpy Geriatrics, were losing members at a steady rate, and how to best attach explosives to a parachute when planning to bomb a remote target. Which she already knew.

    Cassie swept into the precinct, refusing to spare a glance at the current bane of her existence – Nicolai Papadopoulos who it turned out was an undercover FBI agent. Instead of being a prime suspect, he was now her newest partner. Probably isn’t even Greek. Something about him just rubbed her the wrong way.

    Nicolai sat one of the battered metal desks, reading through case files. He looked up as she walked in. “How did your gang initiation go? Did you get a tattoo?”

    “Sorry to disappoint you, Cyclops, they’re a little to mercurial for me and I’m a little too young for them.” She looked at the eye patch that managed to make him look like a dashing Greek pirate. “How much longer do you have to wear that thing?”

    “I may never take it off; it’s great for picking up women,” he said with an unapologetic grin. “Who doesn’t love a wounded warrior?”

    “Idiot.” Cassie shook her head. “Tell me again how you’ve been in two explosions and your only injury was a tiny splinter in the eye? No wait, I remember, I cushioned your falls. Twice.”

    “And very nice cushioning it was,” he shot back with a leer.

    “Sarge, permission to shoot Mr. Papadopoulos.”

    “Denied,” came the long suffering response. “Too much paperwork.”

    Cassie tried to focus on the case notes in front of her, but Nicolai was too close and too distracting. She couldn’t decide whether she wanted to kick him or strip him down and lick him like an all-day sucker. The thought made her a little dizzy for a minute. I must be hormonal or something.

    She pulled out a magnifying glass to look at a surveillance photo of the members of the Goody Two Shoes gang. One face looked familiar, but she couldn’t quite place her. She handed the photo to Chief Daniels who prided himself on knowing everyone in his town. “Who is that woman in the second row, third from the left?”

    He squinted at the photo then tossed over to Nicolai. “That’s Penelope. The mayor’s daughter. She’s a brain surgeon over at County Medical.”

    Nicolai looked at the woman in question. “That’s the mayor’s daughter? She was a regular at both Barnacle Bob’s and the Sin Palace.

    Cassie frowned. “Do you think the mayor is involved in all of this somehow?”

    “Well, it’s an election year,” Nicolai said. “What better way to gain popularity than by cleaning up a mess, whether you created it or not. It’s a classic political strategy.”

    Chief Daniels shook his head. “Have you met the Mayor? Unless he’s using that country bumpkin act of his to camouflage a superior intellect, he’s just not bright enough to pull off this kind of crime.”

    “What if he had some help,” Cassie persisted. “Like perhaps his brain surgeon daughter?”

    “Fine. It’s not like we have any better leads to follow. You see what you can dig up on the mayor and Nicolai can work his wounded-warrior wiles on Penelope.”

    “Try to stay away from explosions there, Cyclops,” Cassie said as they headed out of the station. “Penelope doesn’t look like the type to cushion anyone’s fall.”

    “Don’t worry, if there are any explosions I’ll make sure you’re right there with me. You can even be on top next time.”

    He quickly walked away before she could find anything to throw at him.

    • (-: So glad you shared this. I was enchanted by the chocolate cupcakes, but the banter! I always love that sort of exchange. I giggled my way through Cassie/Papadopolous and the long-suffering Sarge’s triangle (-:.

      • What Michaeline said. I love the banter, sexy, snarky and smart. Penelope the brain surgeon is a great addition. Looking forward to more Cassie and Nicolai.

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