Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Going for the Win

win_icon3If you follow American baseball, you know that this has been a very exciting week.  On Wednesday, the season ending pennant race culminated in a nail-biting, extra-inning, winner-takes-all game 7 that earned the Chicago Cubs their first World Series title in 108 years.

That’s right, 108 years.

Suddenly the handful of years I’ve spent working away to get a story down on paper that is ready for public consumption seems like a mere drop in the bucket.  It’s a good reminder that, although this month is a NaNo sprint, the journey to publication is a marathon that requires patience and persistence; though hopefully not 108 years of patience.

Anyway, now that the post-game celebrations have died down, it’s time get back to writing.  What better way to start than with a little Random Word Improv.

Care to join me?

Whether you’re nursing a sports-induced hangover, crushing your daily NaNo targets, or working away on your latest story, 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 pre-NaNo sprinting from the local coffee shop, fueled by a Latte and a pastry chaser.  Feel free to sprint along with me, wherever your location and choice of writing fuel.


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 words – can’t wait to see what stories you find hidden in the list.

compete       practice              patience              race

exciting        winner                 goal                      achieve

fight              together              opponent            plan

cheer            support               strategy               team

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.

6 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Going for the Win

  1. Just had a couple of comments before I dive in. Re: writing sprints. In the Guardian, Naomi Alderman said, “I write 100 words before getting out of bed . . . . If I’m working everyday, it’s like pumping a pump. When you start, rusty water comes out and then it runs clear.” I like that a lot!!

    And the second thing is that “winning” has been very much on my mind. David Bowie’ “Win” isn’t a clear-cut rah-rah, go-team-go, but I think it’s worth listening to and thinking about. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xj0Gkvk3cMw for one version (I haven’t seen it; just listened, so if the pictures don’t win, forgive me).

    And then there’s Hamilton. “How do you write like you’re running out of time?”

    (-: Many congrats on the Cubs win! Hard work and persistence! Hooray!

    • Micki, I thought of you last night! I was up way too late and caught a Legends episode of the British music show Later…With Jools Holland. David Bowie was one of the artists they showcased. He did an amazing and somewhat different version of Rebel Rebel (Diamond Dogs is still possibly my favorite Bowie album, maybe because it’s the first one I remember hearing). I’m going to guess the performance was from at least 10 years ago, but I’m not sure.

      Also, the writing conference I’m attending has a closing night dance party, and this year, it’s Bowie-themed! I have almost nothing Bowie-esque in my closet, except a pair of red boots that look suspiciously like a pair he wore in the 70s, so I’ll try to build something around that.

  2. “I don’t like blisters,” Jack grumbled. Well, no, Olivia thought, let’s call it what it is: he whined. And Jack never whined about anything, not in the five months she’d known him. Every guy was a baby about something. Who knew that a 600-year-old frost god would be a baby about rowing a boat?

    “Get in, bae, we’re going to win this stupid race,” Olivia said, barely holding on to her patience. If every man had an inner baby, every woman had an inner bully. She wasn’t in it to bully Jack, no. She glared over at the team next to them. That Nixie Voss and her annoying niece were not going to win this race. She was about fed up with Nixie Voss.

    (And here, I realize I don’t know a damn thing about boat races, but I can’t stop now! Onward!)

    Every year, campers competed for the coveted Childwold Fight Trophy. Jack and Olivia had been chosen by their lodge for the canoe race, and the Woodwife Lodge had nominated Nixie and Mellie as their water champions. Woodwife had won the orienteering race fair and square, but they’d definitely cheated at the crafts, and now, this. Olivia was surprised the boat didn’t sink under the weight of Nixie’s mascara and hairspray. And if that wasn’t the worst of it, she’d come onto Jack right before the race, right before Olivia’s eyes, as if Olivia was some sort of puppy that Jack had been entertaining for the afternoon. Damn, that Nixie better be pretty good at her oar skills, because Olivia was going to give that . . . person such a paddling she wouldn’t be able to sit for a week.

    (And I think that’s about all I can do with it for now — I think it’s going to turn into a scene too long for the comment section, and I don’t think I can get all the words in, even then. What a fun spur, though! Can’t wait to see what everyone else does!)

    • Loved the “surprised the boat didn’t sink under the weight of Nixie’s mascara and hairspray” line. I certainly hope Jack and Olivia win the trophy.

  3. Okay, here’s my effort for today. I think I got most of the words. Now it’s back to my NaNo writing.
    “Concentrate, people.” Bill held on to his patience with visible effort while trying to avoid knocking over the sad looking tower of cards balanced precariously on the table top in front of him. “This is supposed to be a team building exercise, not a gossip session.”

    Gloria rolled her eyes and turned toward Sheila. “Could this be any less exciting?”

    “At least we’re out of the office,” Sheila offered, as she went back to folding index cards for the base of the tower. “You’re just cranky because your strategy backfired and Jack wound up on the other team.”

    “I am not cranky, and there was no such plan.”

    “Really? Then I guess you’ve spent the last ten minutes constantly looking in his direction because you were keeping your eyes on our opponents rather than fantasizing.” Sheila handed her a stack of folded cards.

    “Very funny.”

    “Five minutes, people.” The perky trainer at the front of the room drew a big 5 on the white board. “It’s a race to the finish. Who’s going to achieve the goal and be today’s winner?”

    “That good cheer of hers is downright annoying,” Sheila said as she focused on stabilizing the index card tower.

    “So is the other team’s tower.” Gloria pointed over at the table to their left that sported a tower that looked like an index card Empire State Building. Just then Jack looked over and caught her eye. She tilted her head and gave him the ‘come hither’ smile she’d been practicing in the mirror for years.

    What happened next was all a bit of a blur. With his eyes still on Gloria, Jack reached up to put the final piece on the top of his team’s tower. His aim was off and the whole thing went crashing to the ground. His team let out a groan at the same time Bill jumped in the air and let out a “Yes!” Unfortunately, his landing shook the table, which sent their own tower crashing to the ground as well.

    “Well, looks like this competition is a bust,” the trainer said, “but give yourselves a hand. You’re all winners here today.”

    “Yes, we are,” Gloria said as Jack walked toward her. “Yes we are indeed.”

  4. Great job, ladies! Two Jacks are better than one :-).

    I wish I’d had time to play, but I’m behind on my NaNo word count (and even more behind on updating my count on the NaNo site…it still said 1249 this morning, and I’m over 5200.) And I have to pack because I leave Sunday for a week-long writing retreat/conference (squee! but also WTH was I thinking??).

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