I returned just three days ago from a month-long road trip. (Move over, Ken Kesey, you got nothin’ on me!) I had a great time, but all the while I was gone, I didn’t turn on the computer. I didn’t touch my manuscript. I made no progress whatsoever, and I didn’t think about my book at all. I don’t feel guilty about it, and now that I’m back, I don’t feel motivated, either. I’m still in fun mode.
So for this post, so I looked around and found an irresistible contest. Sponsored by The Write Practice, the “The Second Annual Wacky Writing Prompt Scavenger Hunt” promises fun, games, and fabulous prizes, including a new Moleskine notebook, a red Swingline stapler, or a pair of rubber gloves.
To participate in the Wacky Writing Prompt Scavenger Hunt, all you have to do is write a story (preferably in 500 words or less) that includes all 10 of the selected prompts—and what prompts they are. Here you go:
- To find the first sentence of your story: Take the fourth book from the right off of the second shelf of your bookshelf. On page 89, fourth sentence from the top, is the first sentence of your story. (If it is a blank page, keep going until you find a page with type.)
- What you ate for dinner last night is what the main character ate for breakfast. (If there are no leftovers, your character has to eat a burnt piece of toast.)
- The conflict in the story is what is in the glove compartment of your car. If you don’t have a car, then the conflict is whatever shoes you are wearing right now. Your other option: your protagonist wants the last item you purchased.
- Your protagonist is wearing whatever is hanging in your closet, second item from the left. If you hate what is hanging second from the left, your character may wear whatever clothes are in your laundry hamper. If you just did laundry and you don’t have any dirty clothes, then have a bunny rabbit onesie, with feet.
- The protagonist’s hair color is the color of your dishes. If you don’t have any dishes, then their hair color is the color of your toothbrush.
- The protagonist will use whatever is in your mailbox to win their conflict. If there is nothing in your mailbox, then your protagonist will use a bag of cat litter to win their conflict.
- Use the word “pizza,” “tomato,” or “stapler” at least once in your story. If you don’t like those, turn to page 58, or the page number of your age, in your dictionary, look in the left-hand column, and use the fifth word from the top.
- The antagonist has the same name as the last person you sent a text to. If you don’t text, then the last person you spoke to. If you never speak to anyone, use your mother’s first name.
- The location is the opening scene of the book on the bottom shelf of your bookcase, third from the bottom right. If you have more than one bookcase, choose the bookcase closest to your bathroom.
- You will get help to resolve your conflict with a pair of rubber gloves.
To be entered for the silly prizes, post your silly stories in the comments section here. Stories are due by Monday, September 19. On Tuesday, September 20, contest organizers will choose three random participants to win a new a new Moleskine notebook, a red Swingline stapler, or a pair of rubber gloves.
You don’t have much time! Those rubber gloves could be yours. So get cracking. And have a fun, silly, vacation-like day.
OMG, I love this. I’m at work right now, and all the books are in Japanese, so I will wait until I get home. I am a little horrified to admit that I think my dinner last night was cake with lemon curd. I started some nice chicken soup, but it took way too long, so I gave up on dinner. (-: If I get caught up in this, I may have cake and lemon curd again for supper tonight. I am going to inspect my mailbox QUITE closely. Even a small spider would be better writing fodder than a bag of kitty litter.
P.S. You think it would be fair to post both here and that website? Surely it would be.
Oh, yes, please post your story here, as well as on their web site. Good luck with winning either the Moleskine notebook, the stapler, or the rubber gloves!
(-: Maybe I should buy myself a Moleskine notebook just for completing the task. I’ve heard such nice things about them . . . .
What prizes would you offer in your own Fabulous Writing Contest?
I think gift certificates for cake would be quite nice. (What is it with me and the cake today?) A set of brush pens in green, blue and red. A file folder with something writing-themed on it (like an antique typewriter). A 30-minute massage!
OK, that’s going to be my prize for finishing my WIP. Not a 30-minute massage, but a full hour, baby. (-: I’m a bit excited now. First the scavenger contest, next a contest of one!
Yes, definitely! Nutritious, healthy meals are over-rated. Write, write, write 😉
Yes, definitely cake!
“She said that the 1928 trip had been hard on her.”
That sentence, from “Death, Daring, and Disaster: Search and Rescue in the National Parks,” is the fourth book from the right on the second shelf of my bookcase, found on page 89, the fourth sentence in, and it fulfills the #1 element of the Wacky Writing Prompt Scavenger Hunt. Now on to the rest of the scavenger hunt…
Oh, this is a provocative first line. My goodness!
I have discovered that my bookshelves are really too short, and on both shelves in question, the books are lying flat. I counted from the top . . . and the one on my bottom shelf was some sort of government pamphlet about the history of the U.S. (some teacher must have gotten it from the U.S. Consulate then passed it on to me). First thing I see is George Washington signing something on his desk. Oh, FFS, I thought. Then the wheels started grinding and . . . see below.
My upper shelf book was Getting Rid of Bradley. There was a typo . . . nobody “glares” a comment, so I corrected it in my head and used the real sentence.
I love this. The contents of my glove compartment: manual, ibuprofen, Garmin, hairbrush, barf bags. To turn one of these into the conflict. Hmmm.
My glove box, alas, has only car registration, manual, and pen. It’s a very small glove box. Sometimes I have reading glasses in there; maybe I’ll get lucky.
My GPS has often been my antagonist, as well as a constant source of conflict between me and my navigator. Stupid AI. Do you have a name for yours? My mother does; believe it or not, it’s a Michelle! She quite likes Michelle though, and doesn’t have such a love/hate relationship with hers.
The name of my GPS (on my phone) is Izzy.
LOL, Dizzy Izzy? Izzy he is, or izzy ain’t your baby? Now I’m just being silly. Izzy sounds like a lovely, non-threatening name for a GPS.
This is a fun exercise! Luckily, I have multiple bookshelves, because the fourth book from the right on the second shelf on my office bookshelf is one of my husband’s, called The Singer and His Art. And the fourth sentence on page 89? A third of a page of a run-on sentence about Mahler song cycles. Ugh.
The book in that position on my bedroom bookshelf also belongs to my husband. When did he start taking over my bookshelves??? This one is also a non-fiction book about music, this time about the industry, called I’m Coming to Take You to Lunch. I kind of like the sentence, passive voice and all:
“These depressing images of a marriage gone sour were interrupted by the professor coming into the room.”
As for my glovebox, other than car paperwork, it holds Benadryl and aspirin. So my heroine will have to achieve something while battling allergies. I know a little something about that :-). If I have some time later this afternoon, I’ll give the 500-word story a try.
I forgot to say, I did go to another bookshelf and the book in that position is one called Wicked Becomes You (historical romance by Meredith Duran). The fourth sentence on page 89 is pretty ho-hum:
“She abruptly fell silent.”
But I did like the opening sentence of the book:
“England was a wicked bitch who wished him ill.”
And it has me rethinking my first sentence in Book 1 of my Victorian Romance. My hero feels much the same way about England and he’s about to return there from Spain, so I will have to think on a fun and succinct way to communicate that. Thanks for the inspiration this morning, Kay!
Anything I can do to help!😀
I like that sentence, too, Nancy! Isn’t it weird that a random sentence in the middle of a book can be a good opening line?
I love this too, and I am sorely tempted. I’ll try to find time to have a go, especially now I have discovered that the fourth book from the right on the second shelf of the nearest bookshelf (the one with all my writerly stuff on it) is Haunted Derbyshire by Jill Armitage. How about this for a story starter:
“I know you are pleased with anything curious or uncommon in nature, and if what follows shall appear such, I can assure you from eye witnesses of the truth of every particular.”
I just checked my car glovebox. Apart from car paperwork the only thing I found is a very, very old first aid kit in a closed box. I’m pretty sure I didn’t put it there. And I didn’t look inside…
Love that sentence! It sounds like the start of a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. And the first aid kit. Hmmm…possibilities there.
Oh my god. That sets up the speaker, the antag, and the entire setting, plus a cast of dozens (at the very least) in the form of witnesses. So Gothic!! Can’t wait to see what you do.
BTW, I was very worried about this last night, but I came to realize that every glove compartment and mailbox would surely contain water vapor, which gives you oxygen, hydrogen (and nitrogen and a lot of other things) to work with. In your case, Jilly, I bet you could also find a little ectoplasm or eldritch in your glovebox.
The mystery of the first aid kit is very enticing, too. (-: What would be in an elderly first aid kit? Laudanum!! Hartshorn. Cloves.
Now you’ve done it. I couldn’t focus on my real work until I met this challenge. (I might need a support group to help me get over my compulsion to take up challenges.) Here, then, is my 410-word story. I’m stretching it a bit to say running out of Benadryl is the conflict, but let’s go with that for the sake of silliness :-). Oh, and I added my own challenge to make use of that first sentence from Duran’s book.
The depressing images of a marriage gone sour were interrupted by the professor coming into the room. England was a wicked bitch who wished me ill, and that she had in common with my ex-wife. At least here in Vienna I had the professor – Peter, as he’d told me I should call him – providing a roof over my head to keep me warm of body, and true friendship to keep me warm of heart.
“It’s time,” Peter said. “That box won’t clean itself.”
“Et tu, Peter?”
As I spoke, Mr. Peabody marched into the room and meowed his own loud, sharp opinion on the matter. I sneezed when the oversized black cat – my ex-wife’s cat – rubbed against my legs. I bent and scratched him behind the ears. I wiped my hands on my pale blue tank top, then held them out in front of me, lest I forget to wash them before touching my face and set my eyes to swelling shut. Again.
My stomach churned, making me regret the vegetable lasagna I’d had for breakfast. It wasn’t the acidity of the tomatoes that bothered me overmuch, more the poor quality of Italian take-away food from the restaurant down the street. I thought to make idle conversation about our less than stellar dining experience, but Peter inclined his head toward the washroom where the tiny, toxic box awaited.
I nodded, took a deep breath, and was beset by an allergen-induced fit of coughing. I’d taken my last Benadryl an hour earlier, and still Mr. Peabody’s dander plagued me. I was falling apart. At this rate, my hair, which had turned white about halfway through the acrimonious divorce proceedings, would soon start falling out of my head.
“Let’s not be too dramatic, shall we?” Peter spoke as though he could read my mind.
I assumed a stiff upper lip that would make my forebears proud and proceeded to the room of my sure demise. There in the corner stood Mr. Peabody’s offending box. Beside it, the full bag of fresh kitty litter. But there, laid across the sink, was a true sight to behold: a pair of blue rubber gloves, the long kind that would sheath my sensitive skin up to my elbows. Beside the gloves lay a crisp white dust mask.
“Thank you.” I turned to Peter. For the first time in months, my eyes filled with tears caused by neither my ex-wife nor her cat. “Thank you, my friend.”
Fantastic! So funny and sweet, and I’m totally with you on the allergy front. Be sure to post it on The Write Practice site as well, so you have a shot at the prizes!
LOL, buddy movie? Pansexual love affair beginning? I couldn’t help having a flash of Schrodinger’s Box flash through my mind, too. I have two cat boxes, so I can definitely feel part of the protag’s pain. Schrodinger’s Cat Box: You’ll never know what you find inside.
I love that you used two beginning sentences, too!
“Well, you should.” Tina Greystoke heard the little voice in her head, and the boss voice in her head said, “No, no, no, you definitely shouldn’t!” How had she gotten herself into this situation? Ten o’clock in the morning, and here she was on top of George Washington’s 500-year-old desk with her legs spread and Sir Philip Hilary between her knees with his thumbs hooked into her panties. She shouldn’t, she shouldn’t, she shouldn’t, but my god, the 30-year-old man-child had the most amazing blue eyes she’d ever seen in person.
Philip seemed to hear her boss voice. His warm hands fell to a safer spot on her shins, and he paused, panting. “I’m so sorry. When I invited you up to my space station to see my antiques after the press conference, I didn’t mean this. Am I moving too fast?” His fingers slid to caress her outer thighs.
God, no. Then the saner voice prevailed. “Yes,” and she firmly pulled up her lucky reporting trousers. Sir Philip backed up and ran a hand through his adorably retro blonde hair. Her breakfast of three-day-old birthday cake and lemon curd sat like a lump in her stomach. She hated confronting people. “Hilary, I came up here to try and change your mind. You can’t sell the First Portfolio to the Vogons. You don’t know what havoc they could wreak on the universe after they finished transforming Duskova’s haikus into their own vile form of art.”
Philip poured two glasses of water, and offered her one, with a small basket of Enhance-tats. She refused; she didn’t need her mind any more muddled than it was. He took a small, pizza-shaped one, licked it, and stuck it on his inner wrist. “You don’t understand. They hold the insurance on my spaceships. They’ll keep raising the premiums on me, and all of us, until one of us caves in and gives them the poetry.”
Tina waved her hand dismissively. “Can’t you do without insurance?”
“Do without insurance? Do you want the world economy to collapse?” He squinted at her suspiciously. “See here, now, are you one of those Socio-anarchists?”
“If I were a Socio-anarchist, I’d be all for giving the Vogons the poetry. For Christ’s sake, can’t you use a different insurance company?”
“The Vogons cornered the market back in ’23. None of us saw it as a ploy to take over our world. Some of us still don’t. Until the Fague Intergalactic Court breaks their monopoly, we’re screwed. And we’re running out of time.”
This was neither the time or place for a crash course in galaxy-level economics. If forced to choose between economic health and a flourishing healthy arts scene, Tina would take the arts. A good book could keep one warm at night, after all. But she suspected there’d be a lot more cold nights if one didn’t take care of the more mundane matters of the world. She was going to have to save the universe. Again.
She fiddled with a lock of white hair, and gazed at the faded pattern of apples and leaves scattered through her Visi-dye job. It was time to go back to the salon in Havenport.
Havenport! Of course! Havenport was celebrating its 50th year in existence this week, and there was a huge gala. Her reply card assuring them of her presence was in her purse, and she could bring a guest.
“I have an idea,” she began tentatively. Philip’s foggy Enhance-gaze suddenly sharpened. Oh, good, a man who could handle his relaxants, she thought approvingly. “What if we lured the Vogon ambassadors to the Havenport Bish-Bash? Perhaps we could kidnap them and hold them hostage until the Vogons release their grip on the insurance business.” She’d have to wear her opera-length rubber gloves and her latex evening gown; it would protect her from the toxic sliminess of the Vogons. No matter how one tried to avoid actual physical contact with them, the goo just went everywhere.
Philip ripped the Enhance-tat off his wrist. “I can see how that could work . . . several Fague officials will be at the bash. I have a plus-one invite; I assume you do too. Madame and Monseiur Vagababbleon would jump at a chance to see the music performance . . . . What a clever girl you are!”
“I am, aren’t I?” Tina smirked. She grabbed Philip by the necktie and dragged him back to George Washington’s desk. “Now, where were we? If I remember right, about to commit depraved acts on top of a founding father’s piece of furniture.” She’d won Philip to her side; now it was time for a little treat. She gasped as he dropped his trou . . . quite a big treat, actually. Even the boss voice approved. The Vogons would be no match for the combined team of Greystoke and Hilary.
I think I’ll post the first four paragraphs and send them over here for the rest because it’s rather long. Going over now to see what other delightful jewels have been scattered over there! What a fun idea for a contest! I was very worried about all the conditions. You know I NEVER describe my characters very fully, and my dishes are white Corelle with an apple pattern around the rim. Fortunately, my Girls came up with a way to drive the story with the dye-job.
Super fun story, Michaeline! Best wishes on winning one of the prizes!
At this point, I think I’ve got a 3 in 50 chance (-:. Totally random prize selection, so it takes the pressure off, LOL.
Replying to myself far too many times, but I’m putting up a later adventure to this in the Friday sprints, here: https://eightladieswriting.com/2016/09/16/elizabeth-friday-writing-sprints-i-can-explain-everything/
It’s about 12 hours and many action scenes later. No, I don’t know what happens in the middle, but something went terribly wrong with Tina’s half-assed plan.
Pingback: Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – I Can Explain Everything – Eight Ladies Writing
Late to the party, but couldn’t resist the challenge, even if I was working with blue hair, kale, and leather gloves.
Her sliding mass of hair – how did one turn that into marble? Nick itched to try. He watched the young woman pass through the park gates as he contemplated angles, lines and fluid motion.
“She’s a beauty,” his friend Harry said, following his gaze.
“What I wouldn’t give for a sketchpad and pencil.” Nick looked down at his hands, their mangled fingers encased in a pair of tight leather gloves. “Or hands that work. When do I get these dammed things off?”
Harry shook his head as they resumed their walk. “I’ll never understand how you can be so calm and painstaking in your sculpting, yet so impatient in real life.”
“Tell you what, let’s wrap up your hands and see how well you deal with the inability to manage a simple stapler, let alone wield a scalpel with any precision.”
“Point well taken,” Harry said as they reached corner cafe and were seated at table out front.
Unwilling to fight with silverware this early in the day, Nick ordered a mango kale smoothie. At least he could still manage a straw with a modicum of finesse. As always, Harry went for the full English breakfast. “I can hear your arteries cracking from here.”
“Ah well, at least I’ll go happy.” Harry pointed at Nick’s hair. “I see you’ve entered your blue period.”
“Very funny,” Nick said with a glare. “It’s Lola’s doing, not mine. She thought it would cheer me up.”
“Well it’s certainly amusing me.”
Nick resisted the urge to smack his good friend, knowing it would hurt his hand more than Harry’s thick skull.
“I’m serious about getting these gloves off. I’m going to lose my mind if I can’t get back to work in the studio soon.”
Harry shot him a sympathetic glance as the server appeared with their order. “You know they’re needed to help with the healing process.”
“I get that, but do they need to be so bulky? I’ve been living in sweats for weeks. I can’t even manage a simple zipper.” Nick shook his head and took a long sip of his drink. “What about those super-thin rubber therapeutic gloves patented by Dr. Hansen that were profiled in the last University Magazine? Wouldn’t those be just as effective?”
“It’s possible,” Harry said around a mouthful of sausage. “I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to learn more about them.”
“Great. Our appointment is in an hour.” At Harry’s raised eye-brow he added, “I may have said I had a referral from you when I called his office last week.”
Harry threw up his hands in surrender. “Fine, we’ll go talk with Dr. Hansen. Those rubber gloves will definitely draw attention in public though. God knows why he made them pink.”
“If they get me closer to a sketchpad and pencil, I don’t care what they look like. They can’t be worse than Lola’s colorful attempts to cheer me up.”
Harry stood up. “Well then, let’s go get you some functioning hands.”
(-: I love this. The artistic urge to create! I feel I’ve been so fumble-fingered for the last few weeks, and it’s been driving me crazy. Finally got some stuff written down today; not great stuff, but moving-ahead kind of stuff.
I got an email a few days ago that my name was drawn out of the hat and I’m getting a Moleskin journal for my efforts :-). This was lots of fun. Glad you shared it with us, Kay!
Yaaaaay! Nancy! I’m glad to hear one of us got a prize! And I think the Moleskin journal was really the best of the lot!
Pingback: Nancy: A Different Kind of Writer’s Gift List – Eight Ladies Writing