Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – The What-If Edition

dreamAs I’ve mentioned here on the blog before, little bits and pieces of stories sometimes pop up in my dreams at night.  Last night’s dream wasn’t about any story I’m working on, it was actually about me.  I dreamed that I quit my job and went off to live overseas for a year to work on a Master’s degree (obviously a speedy degree).  In the dream I had rented out my house, made plans for the cat, and found a cute little flat just off campus. It was a little disconcerting to actually wake up here in my own bed in the morning; the dream was pretty vivid.

Though a sudden year-long life change isn’t on my real-life radar, it was a great opportunity to do a little “what if?” thinking and consider all kinds of life-changing scenarios.  I also thought of a character in a draft story I’ve been playing around with, that would be a perfect fit for just that kind of change.  Interestingly enough, when I mentioned the dream to my boss today, her response was “You should totally do it.  Take a year-long sabbatical.  Great idea.”

Maybe it wasn’t such a farfetched dream after all.

For now, it’s time to get back into a writing frame of mind with a little Random Word Improv.

Care to join me?

Whether you’re heading back to school, soaking up the last rays of summer, or thinking about making a major life-change, a few minutes of improv are a great way to have a little fun and get some words on the page.  There’s a chill in the air, so I’ll be getting out my favorite flannel writing shirt for today’s improv.  Feel free to slip into your own favorite writing attire and play along with today’s words.


For any of you new to Random Word Improv, here’s how we 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.

All right, let’s get started. Today’s words may have been inspired by dream, but you are, as always, free to do with them what you will.

Chance                 future                   dream                   passion

Flight                    adventure           new                       scary

Regret                  challenge            explore                 friends

Grow                     comfort                butterfly              lifetime

 Are you ready?  Go!

*whistling aimlessly while you are off being creative*

Back already?  Can’t wait to read what you’ve come up with.

For those of you who aren’t in the improv mood, or whose writing muse is still MIA, feel free to share any major life-changing ideas you may have considered.

4 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – The What-If Edition

  1. That’s amazing, Elizabeth! I would like you to do it just so I can live through you vicariously! (Yeah, I live in a foreign country, but NOT a cute flat, and I really am envious of a person who lives in a foreign country where they already speak the language. Instant access to all the exotic you can handle . . . . And I find the U.K. — which I assume you are talking about — so full of exotic. Gentle, funny exotic.)

    I had a long talk with one of my aunts while I was home, and she mentioned that she’s really into dream work. Dreams are actually a “thing” with my family, it seems. But, for the past 20 years or so, I don’t remember mine. I was just lamenting that, and she talked with me about it, and lo and behold, I started remembering my dreams. (-: Most of them are just whining and randomness — it’s no wonder that I forget them. (Sorry, Girls. I know you are doing your best, and I shouldn’t complain.) Last night, however, was very nice. David Bowie wandered through my dreams half the night in a white suit. Very surreal and Dada-ist — no problems were solved, no hot and steamy sex like so many dreamers report, and no real insights. But I got a nice blog post out of the deal, so . . . thanks, Girls!

    I think a real prophetic dream would shake my universe to its very foundations, so it’s probably best I don’t have those.

    Now, back to real life and the prosaic side of things. I promised a friend I’d help haul wood across the district for a campfire, so I better have a hearty breakfast and find my work clothes. No flights of fancy and passionate dreams today for me — just good friends and comfort food. (Hey, that could be the beginning to a fine story . . . that woodpile could be infested wood gnomes who are militantly protecting their stash.)

  2. A year’s sabbatical? What a great boss. You should totally do it. I keep meaning to read Eloisa James’s book Paris in Love, about the year she and her husband took time out from their academic jobs, sold their house and cars, and moved their family to Paris.

    Have fun in the woods, Michaeline. You can have the gnomes. I think I’ll take a cute meet with a cranky (but hot) lumberjack 😉 .

  3. I think my Girls are *almost* ready to stop lounging around and settle down to work. Fingers crossed. Here’s what they made of the prompt words.

    It was pure chance that Jack broke the habit of a lifetime, took out his earring when he shaved, and forgot to replace it before he went ashore. The smooth gold hoop was the price of his entry to Davy Jones’ Locker, as much a part of him as his curly hair and cutlass, so he left his friends wetting their whistles in the Salty Mermaid and headed back to the docks to retrieve it.

    Mission accomplished, he was striding back to the tavern when he spotted Roger the Cabin Boy about to embark on an adventure the lad probably wouldn’t live to regret.

    Roger was a good-looking youth, all spruced up in his new velvet coat and frothy lace jabot, brimming with passion and primed to explore the earthly delights of the port. He deserved a better future than the one about to befall him.

    The woman in the lamplit doorway was an admiral’s wet dream, all saucy smile and scantily-clad curves, too accomplished to be offering easy comfort to an untried cabin boy, even one from a newly-docked privateer groaning with bounty.

    The siren cocked a hip, in challenge or invitation, and reeled the lad in. Big-eyed in the lamplight, Roger crossed the street and followed her luscious behind up the twisting flight of stairs.

    Scary to think he’d once been that green.

    Jack drew his rapier, slid his butterfly knife from his boot, and followed, cat-footed, up to the sturdy attic door. He heard the bolts slide home on the inside and let the silence grow. When it was broken by a scream, and not one of the good sort, he kicked the door off its hinges and introduced the honeytrappers within to the ancient nautical art of dead reckoning.

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