Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Now With Romance!

stopwatch graphicWelcome to another installment of Random Word Improv, or as I like to think of it as, a perfectly acceptable reason to step away from your manuscript for a few minutes.

Whether you wrote a lot, a little, or none at all this week, a few minutes of Improv is a great way to stretch those writing muscles and to refill the creative well.

All right, let’s get started. Today, in honor of the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday, we have a set of romance-themed words. Do with them what you will.

Today’s bonus word is:                   enthralled

Today’s bonus item is:                   a rubber duck

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

seduction            enamored           passionate          champagne

rose                       love                       heart                     surprise

candlelight         satin                      velvet                   cupid

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*

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

DSC_0348As I mentioned my Wednesday Writer Reboot post, I’m making sure to add a little fun to my own writing schedule. This week, I had fun working on a collage for my contemporary story. I was hoping this would help me figure out what I’m missing in the middle of the story. Unfortunately, whatever is missing in the story is also missing in the collage (might be hard to tell, but there is an empty space there in the middle).

Ah well, off to play with today’s random words while I wait for inspiration to strike. See you in the comments.

18 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Now With Romance!

  1. Nice collage, Elizabeth – look forward to hearing what you find to put in the empty space (which I hadn’t noticed until you mentioned it).

    Love and seduction with an enthralled rubber duck to encourage us to resist the obvious. Hmmm. Wheels turning. I’ll be back around dinner time. Happy romance writing, everyone!

  2. To start things off, here’s the next installment of Detective Cassie’s story (a little long, but I was having fun):

    It was late afternoon before Cassie made it back to the precinct the next day. The current problems in town were taking up the majority of her time, but she still had other cases to take care of. Today she finally got the chance to testify in court about one of the slime-balls she arrested last year; a slime-ball who’ll now be spending the next 5 to 10 at the county correctional facility. 1 down, another million to go.

    “Wow, you look like a cranky nun in that outfit.”

    Naturally Nicolai couldn’t pass up the opportunity to comment on her severe black suit and pulled back hair. “I was going to go with red velvet and spike heels but then I remembered I was dressing for court, not a seduction.”

    Nicolai leaned back in his chair. “I’d have pled guilty to see that.”

    Cassie rolled her eyes and continued on to the locker room to change out of her “nun” clothes.

    “Tell me you’ve made some progress on this case while I’ve been tied up in court,” she said as she returned to her desk

    He paused before answering. “I’m not sure. I may have found something.”

    “Be still my heart.

    “I bumped into Penelope, as planned, and she mistook me for my twin brother Demitri.”

    “I’m surprised she couldn’t tell the difference?” Cassie frowned. “I had no trouble when I saw him yesterday.”

    “People have always had trouble . . . wait, when did you see Demitri?”

    “He was at my apartment last night when I got home. He wanted to meet me and thought breaking and entering was the way to do it.

    Nicolai sighed. “I love my brother, but he’s an idiot.”

    Cassie shook her head. “I won’t argue with that. Anyway, what about Penelope?

    “She said something along the lines of ‘I thought we agreed not to be seen together until things blew over’ and then asked if I ‘had everything ready for Thursday’.”

    “That’s weird,” Cassie said with a frown. “What did you tell her?”

    “I told her everything was ready, made some excuse about wanting to make sure there’d been no change of plan, then made a quick exit.”

    When he didn’t say anything further, Cassie prompted, “Do you think the two of them are involved in what’s been going on recently?”

    Nicolai rolled his pen back and forth on the desk. “Obviously I’m not enamoured with the idea, but I can’t ignore the possibility.”

    “Then we need to dig deeper into the two of them and figure out what’s going on before Thursday.” She shot him a sympathetic glance. “Maybe it’s something completely unrelated to the case – passionate plans, rather than criminal ones.”

    “Maybe, but I’ll have one of the other agents see what they can uncover, just in case.” Nicolai closed his computer and pulled on his jacket. “I’ve had enough for one day. Do you have any plans?”

    Cassie gathered up her things as well. “It’s been a long day. I’m planning to go home, break out a mini-bottle of champagne to celebrate a successful court case, light a few candles and relax in a nice hot bath. Maybe stop at Cupid’s Delights on the way home and pick up one of their rose-petal bath bombs or maybe a lavender-infused rubber duck.”

    “If you’re looking for a little company in the tub . . . .” Nicolai flashed his trademark dazzling smile.

    Cassie held her hands up in front of her. “No thanks, one naked Papadopoulos twin this week is enough for me.”

    “Wait. What?”

    “Did I mention that Demitri was in my bed, naked, when I got home last night?”

    Nicolai glowered. “I’ll kill him.”

    “I was certainly tempted.”

    As they were walking toward the door, Nicolai asked, “Do you want to go over to The Vault and get some dinner before your exciting evening plans?

    “You mean that place over on Oak that just opened in the old Brickyard Savings and Loan?

    “Yeah. That’s the one. Great little Italian place. What do you say; a little cannelloni, a little candlelight; relax a bit?”

    Cassie stopped and turned to face him. “Are you asking me out on a date?

    “A date. What? No. I just thought we could have a nice dinner and talk about the case.”

    Cassie didn’t say anything, just raised an eyebrow and waited.

    Nicolai pressed on. “You do have to eat, don’t you?”

    Cassie still didn’t say anything.

    “Okay, fine. Yes, a date.”

    “I’m sorry; I’m just a little surprised you want to date me.”

    “Are you kidding? Those legs and those curves, that clever, twisted mind. Why wouldn’t I?”

    “Most guys seem to find me a little intimidating,” Cassie answered with a shrug.

    “Then they’re idiots,” Nicolai said as they headed out the door. “Now you say something nice about me.”

    “Don’t be needy. It detracts from that Greek god thing you’ve got going on.”

    “So you think I’m a Greek god, eh?”

    “Didn’t you say something about dinner?”

  3. (-: I’m stuck, again. Did a quickie, but backspaced it. Just not romantic enough. I will let these lovely words soak into my brain overnight, and see if I can’t come up with something fun in the morning!

    Love your story! I adore an evil twin, and I love the fact that Cassie can immediately tell them apart.

    (-: I can’t do anything with my current characters and this vocabulary, though. It occurs to me that I may have used many of the words (but not rubber ducky) in my short story. I’m going to have to round up some new characters to play on Valentine’s Weekend.

  4. “Cupid has a lot to answer for.” Laura Peacock, Front-of-House doyenne at Oliver’s, Soho’s latest bijou foodie establishment, peeped through the dividing screen to the scene of carnage beyond. They’d been flat out for something approaching twelve hours and they weren’t done yet.

    Oliver Jones, chef to the fashionable, looked over her shoulder. “You’re not enamored of Valentine’s Day, then?”

    “Candlelight’s pretty, but who has to clean the wax off the tablecloths?” she huffed. “Champagne gets up my nose, and if I have to make one more rose petal martini I’ll self-medicate with the vodka.”

    He made a vague noise of protest, and she turned to face him. “I’m passionate about this place, Oliver, you know I am. I understand this one night will pay the bills for the whole month, but you put your heart into this fantastic food and they don’t even eat it. They just hold hands across the table and gaze enthralled into each other’s eyes.”

    Oliver’s eyes crinkled as he smiled down at her. “I don’t mind. I think it’s romantic.”

    “Romantic! It’s a conveyor belt of love,” she ranted. “So far tonight we’ve had a panoply of hand-holding, seven marriage proposals, two blazing rows and the most ham-handed seduction attempt I’ve ever seen.”

    He winced. “Just to be clear, it’s the execution you object to, not the concept?”

    “Exactly!” She warmed to her theme. “Personally, I’d want something less generic. It doesn’t have to be expensive, I’d just like some thought behind it. Something that says ‘I know you, I care about you.’” His expressive face turned scarily blank, and she wondered what she’d said wrong. “Sorry. Ignore me. I’m tired, and I’m cranky, and my feet are killing me. I’d love to take my shoes off, but I’d never get them back on again.”

    “I think that’s my cue,” he said, and she watched in surprise as he reached for a beautifully gift-wrapped box tucked away behind the wine bottles.


    “Happy Valentine’s Day, Laura.”

    Heart thumping, she unfastened the satin ribbon and opened the lid, hoping desperately that she hadn’t just said anything they’d both regret.

    Inside, nestled on a bed of blue velvet, she found a foot spa, a rubber duck, and a crystal vial of bath salts.

  5. And here’s mine.

    Finnegan O’Malley, wand in hand, cape around shoulders, looked in surprise and disappointment at the rabbit peeking out of the satin top hat sitting upright on the table before him. He’d meant to turn the string of multi-colored scarves into a beautiful red rose, not this lop-eared bunny, but, as usual, the magic had gone wrong. Not horribly wrong, just…wrong. What on earth could he do with a rabbit? He didn’t even know how to turn it back into the scarves.

    He’d wanted to show the woman of his dreams what was in his heart. He loved Cadenza Throckmorton with a passionate, if undeclared, fervor. He’d hoped to impress her with a special magic show by showering her with flowers. Afterwards, if cupid showed any mercy, he planned to impress her further with champagne and candlelight at a romantic restaurant. And if Cadenza was impressed and wanted a seduction, well, he was prepared to offer her all the magic he could muster.

    “A bunny!” Cadenza said now, her velvet-soft brown eyes looking back at him enthralled. “Is it for me?

    Finnegan rapidly reassessed his situation. Perhaps Cadenza was more enamored of white bunnies than she was of red roses. And if Finnegan had learned one thing over the years from having his magic do surprisingly wrong things, it was to follow the path where mystery led.

    “It is,” he said grandly, flourishing the wand. “A beautiful pet for a beautiful woman.”

    “How wonderful!” Cadenza’s eyes melted with tenderness. “No one’s ever done anything like that for me. You are a special person, Finnegan O’Malley!”

    With the flourish of the wand, the rabbit had dropped back inside the hat. Finnegan bowed, and with a swirl of the cape, picked up the hat and offered Cadenza his arm.

    “I’ve arranged for a small refreshment,” he said, escorting Cadenza from the empty theater. “For now, let me carry the rabbit.”

    What else could he do? The magic always went wrong. Maybe by the time they got to the restaurant, that rabbit—which he’d just accidently turned into a rubber duck—would turn back into the rabbit she’d fallen in love with.

  6. “Fuck Valentine’s Day!” It was the first non-slurred utterance that Trixie had produced since downing the last of the champagne an hour ago. “Fuck boyfriends who dump you on February 13th, needing some shpace, um, space! Fuck the white satin sheets and rose petals and pretty little choc’lit little yummy things.” Her head sunk down on her folded arms on the table, and she mumbled, “Fuck, fuck, fuck, never going to fuck again,” before bursting into maudlin tears. The weeping turned into snores.

    Damn, Reggie thought. He’d been hoping the rant was her rallying cry and they could finally go off dancing, but no. He looked over at Bebe, who sighed. “Yes, it’s OK,” she said. “I’ll take her home. I’m sorry. I thought we could cheer her up.”

    Reggie shrugged. “We’ve known her for 10 years. When has she not gotten dumped in time to make Valentine’s Day a super-drama? We should just schedule it into our calendar. Good thing she’s a sweetheart the other 364 days a year.” Together, they got her into a taxi and Reggie helped trundle the drunken girl up to Bebe’s apartment. He kissed Bebe on the cheek, a brotherly, friendly kiss, and headed back down to the snowy streets.

    His heart ached. Another Valentine’s Day shot to hell, and it was at that magic, midnight hour when he wasn’t sure if he should cash in his chips while he was behind, or head off to the dance club and see if there were any warm bodies left uncoupled. Sad experience whispered in his ear that there’d be nothing left but the walking wounded, hoping to ease their VD with a one-night seduction. It never worked. At least, it never worked on Valentine’s Day. The expectations were just too high.

    The taxi, of course, was gone. He kicked at a snowdrift. “Dammit.” His phone app indicated there was a lift only three blocks away. It was a company he’d never heard of, but between hypothermia and crazy driver, he thought he’d take his chances.

    He turned the corner, and saw the car immediately. It was a cherry-red Mercedes from a by-gone era – maybe the 40s? It looked like an Al Capone car, and Reggie shuddered at the gas mileage it must get. The thing could probably hold 20 or 30 very friendly people. Behind the wheel was a very short Asian woman, dusting an incredible array of knick-knacks on the dashboard with a small pom-pom duster. A Ganesh idol, three rubber ducks, a couple of statues of St. Anthony, and many tags of fabric hanging from suckers attached to the windshield. There was a silk canopy with fringe framing the entire arrangement. She smiled and motioned him into the car.

    The back seat was spacious, covered in some sort of dark velvet – it was hard to tell in the candlelight. The woman had put votives in the cupholders, and the overhead light didn’t work.

    “Welcome, welcome,” the woman said in a voice that sounded like the cornfields of Kansas. “I am here to take you where ever you want to go.

    “Wow,” he said. “Take me to the stars. Let me see what life is like on Jupiter and Mars.”

    She smiled mysteriously, (and then this turns into a magic taxi cab with a mystical driver, which is FAR too long to go into at this point, both in my brain, and in the comment section. True love awaits somewhere. Happy Valentine’s Day!)

    • Michaeline – poor Trixie, dumped on Valentine’s Day. Again. I’m going to assume Reggie’s magic taxi cab ride results in a much happier ending.

  7. Pingback: Elizabeth: What I Learned About Writing from Random Word Improv – Eight Ladies Writing

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