Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Holiday Party Edition

Glasses of champagneHoliday party season – do you love it or dread it?

I’m off to my first party of the season tomorrow.  The invitation promised good food, festive beverages, and fun entertainment.   Hopefully it won’t also include those stereotypical holiday party attendees like “the drunken co-worker” or “the inappropriate touch-er”.

Books and movies sometimes use holiday parties as a way to force characters to interact or to put them in situations that up the story conflict, but I’m hoping tomorrow’s party is a little more low-key than that.

Anyway, while I’m waiting for my bright-red toenail polish to dry, I think a little bit of Random Word Improv will be just the thing to put me in a festive state of mine.

Care to join me?

Whether you’re in checking out holiday recipes on the internet, working away on your current story, or just trying to make it through the day without major conflict, a few minutes of Random Word Improv are a great way to have a little fun and get some words on the page.  No need to paint your nails to play along today, although a little sparkly red polish may be just the thing to spark your imagination.


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

champagne        mirror             garland                 heels

glitter                  shrimp            suit                        music

fireworks          ribbon              punch                   dance

kiss                      velvet               red                         clock

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.

8 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Holiday Party Edition

  1. (Sorry, it’s kind of long. I still am not sure where it’s going.)

    Olivia had made a deal with Jack: he got to decorate the outsides, and she got to decorate the insides. He’d frosted every single window of the house with designs both curly and spiky; his icicles hanging from the roof were cleverly constructed of wafer-thin crystals that looked like a forbidding fortress of ice, but put very little stress on the roof. And the drifts in the backyard were remarkably Zen. Even the neighbor’s cat didn’t dare disturb the smooth curves and cliffs.

    The inside of the house was far less artistic, but it had a cozy sort of glitter to it that made Olivia happy. Oh dear, the end of the red garland over the mirror had come unstuck again. Olivia firmly replaced the thumbtack, and then readjusted the velvet ribbon in her curly hair. She danced back to the dining table to the sound of Christmas salsa, her kitten heels tapping smartly against the wooden floors. The table was elegantly set. A small grill in the middle of the table was heated up for the crumpets she was serving for tea, and a trial batch were bubbling up nicely. She’d garnished this batch with shrimp and basil, partly for the festive look, but mostly to see the expression on Jack’s face when he caught sight of them. He was a man of broad and adventurous taste, but he did have opinions about crumpets that were quite narrow and precise. She sprinkled them with a dusting of cayenne, then rubbed her hands in glee. He should be here any moment!

    The door blew in with a bang, and there he was: her frost god. His spiky black hair bowed briefly under the doorsill, then sprang up with virility; his black overcoat and silk muffler swirled with his energetic step, and he caught her up in his arms, danced a few steps with her, then dipped her low to the ground and kissed her until fireworks went off in her head. There was a mysterious clunk as he dropped his packages to the floor and brought her upright then twirled her to the sofa. He fell into it far too gracefully for a mere mortal man, and pulled her down on top of him for more kisses, but the bright red of his package caught the corner of her eye. That was no shopping bag.

    “What’s up with the fire extinguisher, dear?” she asked.

    “Oh, just a little business matter. It can wait until after tea.” He pulled her closer. “And tea can wait until after this,” and he kissed her again.

    Heaven was interrupted when the fire extinguisher gave a fierce rattle. Olivia broke free of the kiss. “What have you got in there?” She frowned. Jack’s priorities were sometimes a little skewed in favor of the here and now. The extinguisher rocked, and Olivia had the uneasy feeling of being in a room with a ticking time bomb. Olivia got up and approached the thing with caution.

    Jack sighed from his sofa like a much-abandoned child. “I believe it’s a socialist elf. He was trapped in the shopping mall, and I brought him home to be Judged. After tea.”

    The red tank clattered again on the hardwood floors. There was a living entity in there? She reached for the hose.

    “Don’t let him out without a circle, dear,” Jack said sharply. “I don’t know where he’s been.” She heard him grumble, “She will let him out before tea, won’t she? I knew I should have left the damned impudent thing out in the car.” She heard him rattling around the kitchen cabinets, and he brought her the salt.

    “We can’t leave him in there while we enjoy our supper,” she said. “It wouldn’t be right.” She poured out a circle around the canister, and then Jack worked his magical physics. The elf, all three feet of him, came pouring out of the hose like a genie from a lamp. The elf looked very disgruntled, but not dangerous, as he brushed some stray flecks of potassium bicarbonate from its green suit.

    “It’s about time! I told you, I have to rally the others before Santa gets back. He leaves at precisely 11:59, goes all over the world, comes back at 12:01, and then by 12:05 he’s got us all drunk at the Christmas party and signing contracts for another year. I’ve got a very small window of opportunity here!”

    “If all it takes is a Christmas party to get you lot signed back up with Santa, maybe it’s not so bad,” Jack said with a hard edge to his voice.

    “It’s the champagne punch that does it,” the elf said glumly. “We can’t resist that Cristal Brut, and then as soon as that’s down, the truffle canapes break down our last bit of backbone. We wind up hungover until March, then working free overtime for nine months until Christmas comes around again.”

    Olivia could See the green glow of truth around the elf; ever since November, she could Judge better than a lie detector. It wasn’t as useful as one would think, though. “He believes what he’s saying,” she told Jack. “Something doesn’t sound right at the North Pole.”

    “May I speak with you for a minute over here?” Jack asked. Olivia shrugged. The elf was going nowhere until she broke the salt ring. He took her to the other side of the dining table for some privacy. He quickly glanced at the crumpets on the grill, now cooked to perfection, and put them on the platter, grumbling, “Stars and butter, what on earth have we come to? Communist elves, and now gourmet crumpets. Why was I given no warning that the universe was coming to an end tonight?”

    “Oh, don’t be such a baby about your crumpets, Jack. Drugged elves in Santa slavery doesn’t sound right at all.” Olivia poured a new batch of batter into the rings, this time without extras.

    “The problem with elves is that they have a very narrow point of view when it comes to their own self-interests. I visited Underhill during Wimbledon in 1967, and when they found out that BBC2 had broadcast in colour on the mere mortal tellies, there was very nearly a riot until the King had Puck buy several sets. But oh, the rhetoric was nearly more colourful than the Danny Kaye shows brought in from America. The King and Queen were called philistines of the first stripe, and you would have thought the next step was going to be sackcloth for the elven masses. The elves take their toys very seriously, and it might be a simple misunderstanding. Perhaps Santa has forgotten to update the latest gaming platforms, or maybe this one elf has some sort of aesthetic beef with Santa and wants to stir up the rest of the rabble.”

    Olivia chewed on her lower lip. “It sounds too complicated for me. I don’t want to involve myself in the affairs of elves, but you brought him home.”

    “Well, I couldn’t very well leave him trapped in a squirrel statue in the shopping mall. I suppose you are right.”

    “I haven’t even said . . . .”

    “I know you darling, when you get that look in your eye. You want to go to the North Pole and interrogate Santa on his busiest night of the year.”

    “Well, yes.”

    “Very well. May I have a crumpet first? When we involve ourselves in the affairs of elves, who knows when the next crumpet might be? It could very well be 70 years.”

    “All right. Hey, Mr. . . .”

    The elf looked up attentively. “Mr. Clock is my name.”

    “Mr. Clock, want a crumpet before we go?”

    Mr. Clock sniffed appreciatively. “Why yes. We’ve still got five hours to get to the North Pole.”

    Olivia sighed and served up the crumpets. It looked like they were in for a long winter’s night

    • “Why as I given no warning that the universe was coming to an end tonight?” – love that line.

      Great continuation of last week’s story. Can’t wait to find out what happens when they interrogate Santa. Also, now craving crumpets.

      Good job, Michaeline.

      • I tried making crumpets twice, hoping that they’d turn out like English muffins (which I also can’t get in Japan). (-: I have no idea how authentic they were, but they were rather nice and pillowy the second time around — I finally understood how “a nice bit of crumpet” came to mean a soft, willing woman. (-: I hope the story fairy comes around next week and lets me finish the saga.

      • (-: I’m not sure if they are communist or not, but I’ve been reading a biography about the Mitford sisters in the 1930s and 1940s, so the facists and the communists have been floating around in my brain a bit. Feel free to borrow away!

        • See? Santa can’t be all that bad if he’s breaking out the champagne and truffles for the company Christmas party, right? Or is it all part of a fascist plot? (-: Even I don’t know at this point. I’m a bit uneasy about the way this is going, to tell the truth, which adds a delicious frisson to the writing. I do know that Mr. Clock enjoys his champagne, but he feels very, very uneasy about it. There’s a big streak of sin and temptation running through his philosophy.

        • Oooh, there’s a song called “Champagne Communists” by Helix, and it’s about Canadian politics — the only reference I get is Rob Ford and Che Guevera, but the graphics are really something else. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgY5IJv9zK4 As a work of art, it’s engaging and interesting. (-: As politics, I have no idea . . . I’m watching it very quietly at work and am missing half the words as well as many of the allusions. Will have to watch at home.

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