Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Let’s Dance!

International_Dance_DayHappy (almost) Friday.

I’ve spent the afternoon listening to the soundtrack and brainstorming ideas for my contemporary romance that has been sitting fallow for weeks.  Thought I’d take a break and put all that creative energy to use with some Random Word Improv.

Care to join me?

Whether you wrote a lot, a little, or none at all this week, a few minutes of Improv are a great way to have a little fun and get some words on the page.  Feel free to put on your own soundtrack to get you in the mood.

All right, let’s get started.  I’m currently taking a class on Regency dancing plus today is International Dance Day, so this week’s words have a definite “dance” theme.  Do with them what you will.

Today’s bonus word is:                  syncopation

Today’s bonus phrase is:              “save the last dance for me”

Here are the rest of today’s randomly selected random words:

Celebrate            culture                 waltz                     tango

Partner                 sway                      classical               time

Ballroom             risqué                   tempo                  calypso

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.

16 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Let’s Dance!

  1. Mandalyn Calypso Grover-Snuggs sat on an uncomfortable metal folding chair by the door of the high school gymnasium and viewed with melancholy the crowd of students swaying more or less in time to the beat of the third-class band the seniors had hired for their prom. Classical ballroom dancing this wasn’t. The students were at this moment bouncing to a tango, if the dancers—and indeed the band—but knew it.

    The students were celebrating the end of the school year. Little Saffi Pullen seemed to be celebrating more than usual, engaging in a rather risqué up-tempo bump-and-grind maneuver with her partner, a young man with spots whose name Mandalyn could not immediately recall. If the kids didn’t develop some decorum soon, she was going to have to go over there and break them up. At least the band wasn’t playing a waltz. Mandalyn shuddered to think what Saffi could do with that.

    The band mercifully came to the end of their set list and launched into “Save the Last Dance for Me,” and not a moment too soon. Mandalyn tapped her toe to the catchy syncopation just as Farhad Nahisi, the math teacher, caught her eye and smiled. He was originally from Iran, not at all from her culture of northern Michigan, but he’d been on the faculty for five years and Mandalyn knew from many events like this one that he could dance to anything. She smiled back.

    “Come,” he said, holding out his hand to her. “Let us show these children how it’s done.”

  2. Sebastian Lookgood-Shirtless took a deep breath and almost choked on the fug of potted gardenia, hair oil, lavender water, hartshorn and overheated human. Dear Lord, he was home.

    He’d have given every golden guinea of the profit from his voyage for the right to celebrate his success with his business partner and crew at Jolly Dolly’s on the wharf. Dolly’s wasn’t a haven of culture, but at least a man could quench his thirst and find a lusty lass to join him in the horizontal tango without expecting him to follow it up with hothouse flowers and an offer of matrimony.

    Unfortunately he was a gentleman, and he kept his promises, so he swaddled himself in formal evening dress and made his way to his family’s ballroom, where the only music was classical and a simple waltz was considered risqué.

    He danced with his sisters, and their friends, and the diamonds, and the wallflowers, and smiled dutifully as they crushed his toes and massacred the tempo of every quadrille and country dance.

    He was planning his well-earned escape when he saw her. No pink-faced virgin in anaemic muslin, but coffee-skinned and full-figured in glorious, bosom-skimming tobacco-colored silk. Time stood still as he watched, hypnotized, the sway of her skirts. She tapped her satin-slippered foot as precisely as any virtuoso.

    “Who’s that?” he murmured to his eldest sister, Christabel.

    “Calypso Colquhoun,” Christy hissed back. “Widow. Very rich. Rather fast.” She frowned at the rhythmic flicking of Calypso’s gilded fan, working against the sawing violins in flawless syncopation. “I’m quite good at fan language, but I can’t translate that.”

    The fan paused briefly as Sebastian met its owner’s dark eyes across the crowded ballroom floor. “I’m not entirely sure,” he said, breaking into a real smile for the first time since he’d slunk down the gangplank that afternoon, “But I’m hoping it means Save The Last Dance For Me.”

    • Very fun entry, Jilly. Are you sure you’re not a Regency writer? You seem to have the style down quite well.

      P.S. I love the names folks have come up with today.

      • Glad you enjoyed it! I read lots of historicals so it’s easy to borrow the style and vocabulary, but I’m not sure I could write a whole one – too much research (frex, notice I fudged the question of Sebastian’s evening dress). I’m not that inspired by social stories (there go the Dukes and governesses) and I don’t think I could do a soldiers-and-spies plot, though I love to read them. If I ever felt inclined to try it, I’d go for the industrial revolution. There were some amazing women in the early days of banking – Sophia Coutts, Sarah Child. You could build some great stories around characters like those ladies.

      • She’s as beautiful as Dido but not so respectable. I think Calypso might be a retired actress or opera singer who married a much older aristocrat of the highest standing so society can’t cut her, much as the social arbiters would like to. It happened – a stroll round the National Portrait Gallery offers a goodly selection of stunners who married their noble lovers.

        Calypso is clever and independent, a tough cookie, and might even be a spy. In other words, perfect for adventurous Sebastian!

  3. Harry held up the wall at the side of Club Cacophony, nursing his drink while watching the crush of humanity on the oaken dance floor flail around with abandon and without any concern for the constraints of tempo, beat, or rhythm.

    With a classical pianist father and a calypso dancing mother, Harry had been raised to see the world through the lens of music and dance. He had never been enamored by the club culture though. It wasn’t the heat or the noise or the risqué moves of the attention starved dancers that bothered him; it was the impersonal anonymity of it all.

    Harry could feel the bass drum reverberating through him as he checked his watch, wondering how much longer he needed to stay before he could make his excuses and leave without raising any eyebrows. He was only here tonight because of his good friend Charles, who wanted to celebrate one last night on the town before saying “I do” in the morning.

    Harry had to admit a certain amount of envy. He wasn’t actively looking for someone, but a partner to sway through time with had its appeal.

    He had thought Penelope was the one, but their relationship, which started out as decorous ballroom waltz ended up as a discordant emotional tango. He had no desire for a repeat of that performance.

    Harry polished off his drink and set it on the nearby bar while idly scanning the edges of the room. He wasn’t the only one not dancing. His eyes stopped on a group of young women on the far side of the room. Most of them were facing away from him but one, with an open, laughing expression surrounded by a cloud of coppery curls caught his attention.

    He looked away, then looked back; drawn to her. She made him think of a breathless quick-step or a sensuous salsa. All thoughts of leaving fled as the club and the rest of its occupants faded away.

    She caught his eye and ensnared him with a mischievous, contagious smile. She held his gaze for a moment, then raised a single brow. He was halfway across the room before he realized he’d even moved.

    He held out his hand as he reached her. “Shall we dance?”

  4. This sounds like so much fun, and I really want to do it, but it’s Golden Week here. Too busy leading a frivolous life (-:. I may change my mind capriciously and give it a go, though.

    The waltz of the cherry blossoms had not yet begun; the buds were tightly furled and only promising a pink beginning to the season. Hanako swayed to the music from her iPod under the branches, holding the fort for her company picnic. Taro, the other new employee, had popped out of the park to find them some Starbucks for breakfast. It was kind of a relief, honestly. Taro was so cute, but he was impossible to talk to. He’d spent the first hour and a half at dawn texting moodily.

    (And then Taro comes back, and they start a quirky text correspondence that leads to kisses under May’s full moon. Only used two of the words I think, but . . . (-: better than I thought I’d do.)

    • You tease, Michaeline! Quirky texts and moonlit kisses would be sooo much fun.

      Enjoy your frivolities 😀 .

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