Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Santa’s Workshop Edition

One scene from my current holiday jig-saw puzzle

One scene from my current holiday jigsaw puzzle

With the end of the year rapidly approaching, things have been hectic here at the day job.  There are projects to wrap up, administrative minutia to take care of, and a celebratory lunch or two to participate in.  Long days at the office, coupled with more long soggy commutes than I care for, have left me with little inclination for writing recently.

So, while the Girls in the Basement are off mentally recharging with the help of some brandied eggnog, I’ve been working on a holiday jigsaw puzzle.  It’s relaxing (except for when I can’t find the piece I need), and leaves my mind free to wander and, occasionally, come up with ideas for my current WIP.

My meeting schedule is fairly light tomorrow and the weather forecast calls for sunny skies, so it sounds like a great time to check in with the Girls in the Basement for a little Random Word Improv.

Care to join me?

Whether your days are full of meetings, writing, or something else entirely, 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 seeing what I can do with today’s words once I find that last edge piece that has been eluding me.  Feel free to join me, with or without your own puzzle.


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.

       sleigh                  fireplace         mouse               workshop

       stocking             bed                   moon                 snow

       window              train                 ashes                 beard

       decorate            twinkle            midnight          crumpet

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 – Santa’s Workshop Edition

  1. While we wait for the next installment of Michaeline’s story, here is my attempt at this week’s words. I missed ‘workshop’ but I think I got all the rest.


    Maggie looked at the clock and then walked over to window and pulled aside the heavy woollen drapes

    No jingle of sleigh bells echoed in the distance and nothing marred the new fallen snow but a faint trail of moonlight

    “Damn it, where is he?”

    She shivered.

    A glance at the fireplace showed that the earlier roaring fire had been reduced to little more than a pile of glowing ashes.

    She walked over and added fresh kindling and a large log then pulled on a pair of fuzzy stockings a thick sweater to further ward off the chill that was only partially due to the cold winter weather.

    After a last glance out the window, she went back to decorating the Christmas tree. Strings of twinkling multi-coloured fairy lights were followed by yards and yards of popcorn and cranberry garland and finally, an eclectic assortment of ornaments collected over the years.

    By midnight, the tree was done. An old fashioned train conducted by a festively dressed Mickey Mouse merrily chugged around its base and a simple star graced its top.

    There was still no sign of Peter and Maggie finally had to face the possibility that he wasn’t coming.

    She had been so sure he would; that their six month time apart had been just temporary. She hadn’t realized before just how much she was hoping he’d show tonight until it was apparent he wasn’t going to.

    Maggie looked down at the cat stretched out in front of the fireplace. “What do you think Mr. Crumpet, should we wait a little longer or face facts and just and go to bed?”

    The cat showed no inclination to move, so Maggie stirred up the fire one more time before curling up in a nearby chair to read for a while, unwilling to give up hope entirely.

    At some point she dozed off, so she didn’t hear Peter’s car pull in to the drive or his keys in the lock. It wasn’t until she heard, “Maggie, wake up,” and felt a hand on her shoulder that she knew she was no longer alone.

    “You’ve grown a beard,” she said sleepily as she reached out to make sure he was really there, not a figment of her imagination. Followed by, “I thought you weren’t coming.”

    “I was afraid you wouldn’t be here,” he said reaching for her hand.

    “Where else would I be?” Maggie shook her head. “Does this mean you’re here to stay?”

    “I am if you are.”

    “No more ‘temporary’ time apart?”

    “No more time apart.”

    “Rings, vows, and everything”

    “Yes, everything.”


  2. (-: I couldn’t get them all in, but I did some. Here’s the penultimate installment.

    Olivia flinched as the lights came on in the servants’ entrance to Santa’s workshop.

    “And who are you?!” a big voice boomed. “Naughty children sneaking into the backdoor of Santa’s home?”

    Olivia clutched Jack’s hand, and hoped he had the cat carrier with the rogue elf in his other. “Quick,” she whispered. “The sleigh is still waiting!” They turned to race out, but the door slammed shut with the crash of doom, and the bolts slid home with the gun shots of catastrophe.

    “You aren’t going anywhere!” the jolly big man growled. “Half an hour before midnight. My rounds won’t wait. What are you doing here?”

    Olivia stepped forward, dropping Jack’s hand. “I’m Judge Olivia Sage, and I’m here to investigate some strange allegations that have been brought forth.”

    Behind her, she heard Jack murmur, “Oh, bloody hell, Olivia.”

    The lights went out, and again, they were blinded by the dark, but their eyes soon adjusted to the fireplace’s light and the silvery moonlight from the window. Santa had not moved. “I’m not saying a thing unless my lawyer is here.”

    Drat. That, at least, had the green glow of Truth to it.

    Santa pivoted in a slow, mechanical circle, then called through an intercom. “Dixie! Pixie! Cottontail! I need you in the rear entry immediately!” Soon, three tiny elves came bursting through the door in the twinkle of an eye. “Take these intruders to the kitchen, and lock them in the pantry. Guard the entrance. I’ll deal with them after midnight.” Santa rotated slowly. “And keep them away from the freezers!”

    Olivia and Jack found themselves hustled into a spacious pantry decorated with garlic, cheese and sausages, and firmly locked in. Jack sat on the cat carrier. “Well, I’ve never been locked in a pantry before,” he said.

    “There’s a first time for everything,” Olivia noted. “Did you notice something strange about that Santa? He seemed almost . . . robotic.”

    Mr. Clock from inside the cat carrier piped up. “He’s got some arthritis. That was definitely him.”

    But Jack nodded. “I haven’t seen Santa in at least fifty years, but there was definitely something off about the old boy tonight. His voice was different.”

    “Hey, how about letting me out of here?” Mr. Clock complained. “Santa hasn’t changed an iota since I began working here fifty years ago.”

    From the other side of the door, the other elves agreed. “Not a change in fifty years.” “Nope, not him, he’s eternal.” “I think that giant crumpet crumb has been in his beard for at least twelve years.”

    “Let me out,” Mr. Clock pleaded. Olivia looked at Jack to see if he had any objections, and he just shrugged his shoulders. They opened the door to the cat carrier. Mr. Clock went to the door, and began pleading his case with Dixie, Pixie and Cottontail. “Listen guys, it’s just not fair. We signed up for one deal, but Santa has cheated us for the last five Christmases. We need to do something about it, or we’ll be locked in for another fifty years.”

    Olivia took the opportunity to talk to Jack. “Well, got any ideas?”

    “That’s not Santa. It’s a very high quality animatronic robot,” Jack stated.

    “Well, that’s certainly one idea,” Olivia said. “I meant for getting out, but what makes you think that Santa is a robot?”

    “That’s not the elf I met in New York on New Year’s Eve fifty years ago. It’s a total phony. I think someone may have gotten rid of Santa and replaced him with . . . I don’t know what.”

    The pantry door clicked open. Olivia blinked, “Did we miss something?”

    Mr. Clock said, “Yes, they are rallied. We’re going to the workshop floor and talk with the others. There’s still 15 minutes to pull a strike and get our contracts re-negotiated. I appreciate the ride here, but maybe you’ll be coziest here in the pantry.” He started to shut the door.

    “No!” both Olivia and Jack yelled. Olivia wheedled, “We can distract Santa while you are doing your thing with the elves. We’ve got something important to ask him.”

    “Well, OK. I owe you one,” Mr. Clock said. “Let’s go bring down the Christmas millinery-industrial complex!”

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