Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – The Horror

halloween-07Wasn’t it just summer a few minutes ago?  Hardly seems like it’s time for Halloween already, despite the fact that we’ve had a bit of wet and dreary weather in recent days.  The local stores seem confused as well – the shelves are stocked with items for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, right alongside the racks of clearance shorts and swim suits.

No Halloween decorating for me this year, with the exception of the big (artificial) jack-o’-lantern on the front porch, though I had good intentions.  I’ve been nesting instead, as I traditionally do this time of year, which means closets are cleaned, little projects (finally) taken care of, and lots of baking done.  I probably should keep that last one to a minimum or at least start sharing with others.

Anyway, now that the cookie jar is full, it’s time to do some writing, and what better way to start than with a little Random Word Improv.

Care to join me?

Whether you’re working on your costume, throwing roadblocks in the way of your characters, or just trying to figure how it could possibly be the end of October already, a few minutes of Random Word Improv are a great way to have a little fun and get some words on the page.  I’ll be doing my sprinting wrapped in my cozy writing quilt with a warm beverage to hand.  Feel free to make yourself comfortable as well.


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 (or a whole mini-story) incorporating your words
  3. Post your results in the comments section.

All right, let’s get started. Here are today’s randomly selected Halloween inspired words – can’t wait to see what stories you find hidden in this word list.

cobweb              costume            scream                 trick

ghost                  knife                  cloudy                  leaves

howl                   figure                 skeleton              bloody

eerie                  shadow              treat                     afraid

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.

Happy writing to all.

2 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – The Horror

  1. My brain is fried and breaded tonight, so I won’t try and be creative on my own. But in the spirit of the season, I’ll tell you one of my favorite Japanese ghost stories. It probably contains a few of the words, as well, but the Japanese ghost story has a slightly different aesthetic.

    Well, first of all, you need to know this story is messed up. The villainous lord of the manor was a bad, bad man and there was no excuse for him except that he had too much power and not enough people who could curb him. He took a liking to a young kitchen maid, who refused to let him have his way with her. For some reason, he couldn’t just fire her, and he wanted to have his revenge, so he snuck into his own kitchen one night, and stole one of the ten very fancy plates that his family had had for generations.

    The next day, he accused her of losing a plate, and had her count them out loud. Now, the young lady was very proud of her housekeeping and her work, and she couldn’t believe she’d lost a plate. So, with a loud confident voice, she began counting, “One, two, three, four, five . . . .” At five, her voice began to waver; she could see that the pile was not quite right, but she continued on to the bitter end, “six, seven, eight, nine . . . .” And then she shrieked in dismay, and promptly began counting the plates again, stacking them up to the other side. “One, two, three, four, five . . . .” But alas, there were still only nine plates. She screamed again, and began to count, over and over again.

    The lord interrupted her, and said, “Reconsider my offer, and we’ll forget this happened,” but she looked at him as if he were mad, and began counting the plates again. “One, two, three, four, five . . . .” And each time, she shrieked in dismay when the tenth plate proved to be missing. The lord tried wheedling, then threatening, but nothing could distract the young lady from her task of counting the plates. In a fit of anger, he picked her and the plates up, and threw them all down the well. She screamed all the way down, but after the echoes of the impact had died away, silence was all one could hear. The lord wiped his brow, and went to bed. He knew there’d be unpleasantness when his wife discovered there were nine missing plates, but he could blame it all on the young lady, who was now also missing.

    He tossed and turned on his mat, uneasy but unrepentant. And then, at midnight, he heard a voice outside his window. It was coming from the well. “One, two, three, four, five,” it confidently started out. “Six, seven, eight, nine . . . ” it wavered to a stop. And then, from the depths of the well, came the most heart-rending shriek imaginable. And then, the counting began again.

    This happened night after night, until the lord was driven insane from lack of sleep, and he finally ended his own torment by throwing himself out the window. His wife, who had also suffered under the nights full of counting and shrieking, finally found the tenth plate under his mat. She threw it into the well, and after that, peaceful nights came back to the mansion.

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