Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – The Wednesday Edition

I know what you’re thinking.  Today’s not Friday.  But don’t you wish it was?

I certainly do.

Though we usually do our Writing Sprints on Friday, I thought it might be fun to switch things up a little this week and maybe get a few folks to play along who don’t have time on Fridays.  (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)  Hopefully you’ll be able to carve out 15 minutes or so to see what you can do with today’s words.

I’m buoyed by the success of last Friday’s Writing Sprints, where I actually (thanks to some nudging by Eight Lady Michaeline) managed to post a story, so I’m eager to try again while the Girls in the Basement seem to be in the writing frame of mind.  There’s nothing like a little Random Word Improv to flex your creativity and get some words on the page.

Care to join me?

Whether you’re working away at the day job, powering through your current manuscript, or just looking for a little distraction, a few minutes of improv are a great way to have a little fun and meet some new characters.  As a plus, you might just come up a great idea for your next WIP.  Worth a shot, right?

All right, let’s get started with today’s completely random words.

octopus             feather              pickle                  blanket

mirror               alcohol              fan                       complicated

breeze                spicy                   bully                    club

amuse                wizard               applause           flamethrower

For any of you new to Random Word Improv, here’s how to play:

  1. Pick as many words from the list as you want
  2. Write the first line(s) of a story incorporating your words
  3. Post your results in the comments section.

If you’re one of our Twitter followers, our challenge to you is a 140 character story (or even an opening line) featuring one or more of today’s words.  Tag us, and we’ll repost some of the results here next week.

Okay.  Are you ready?  Let’s sprint!

*whistling aimlessly while you are off being creative*

You’re back.  Kind of fun, right?  Can’t wait to see what you have come up with.

9 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – The Wednesday Edition

  1. Looking around the charred remains of the club, Vanessa reflected that maybe the flamethrower was overkill. But it was a complicated dance to get a bully off her back, and she overestimated his courage and sticking power. An errant breeze gently blew the blackened eyebrows off Wizard Cooper’s face. He crumbled to his knees, sobbing, and Vanessa turned to the gathered crowd, ready to accept their applause: the wizard had been defeated.

    Instead, she heard grumbles from the shining, untouched-by-fire assembly. The mirror in the back of the room gave the illusion of another group of people, their backs to her and facing a hellish pit of destruction. She began to understand just how much overkill she’d indulged in.

    Queen Mariah bustled in. “Someone get a blanket for the wizard. And maybe some smelling salts.” She took Vanessa’s elbow and guided her to an ante-chamber – the door trembled on its hinges, but somehow managed to shut and give the two privacy.

    “Well, my girl, I hope you appreciate what a pickle you’ve put us into. I know he was a horrible old octopus, but he was our horrible old octopus. I’m no fan of the man, but he had his uses.”

    “He insulted my father! He deserves to die!” Vanessa was close to sobbing.

    “He deserves to be fired – not quite in the way you did it, though. And let’s face it, under the influence of alcohol, your father leads a . . . rather spicy lifestyle. I’m not sure Cooper meant it as an insult. It may have been simply amused bragging. That feather story definitely had a ring of truth to it . . . .”

    Vanessa felt faint from the shock. She’d only met her father in person two weeks ago. Could he have set her up for this social disaster?

    The queen patted her arm. “Don’t worry, my dear. Cooper may not have deserved the scorching this time, but I’m sure he deserved it for some other hidden sin. Own it, my girl. I think you’ll find that having a reputation as a dangerous woman who knows how to handle a flamethrower to be quite useful in this court. If you can pull this off, you will be quite a useful girl to Us. Shall we go back in?”

    Vanessa took a deep breath. Nothing was what it seemed here, that was for certain. But that would just make it easier for her to be something other than she seemed, too. She shouldered the flamethrower, and swaggered back into the ballroom.

    • Fun story, Michaeline. “She shouldered the flamethrower and swaggered back into the ballroom.” LOL.

      I must admit, I’m curious about why Vanessa needs to be something other than she seems. I’m sensing some interesting story there. Obviously she got those flamethrower skills somewhere.

  2. Pingback: Elizabeth: Disability Depictions – Eight Ladies Writing

  3. Here is my attempt at this week’s words. It took a rather odd turn, but I did get most of the words in.


    Outside, a damp dense fog blanketed the city, but here in the basement laboratory, the perpetual darkness was held at bay by a pair of oil lamps and a brace of flickering candles.

    Others chose to amuse themselves at their clubs, but the Wizard of Whitehall, known as Mr Grant to his intimates, had little time for such frivolous pursuits. He was a serious minded scientist and had been working tirelessly for years on secret government projects; so secret that not even the King or his minsters had any idea they or he even existed.

    Most recently Grant been tasked to develop a weapon that would stop that bully Napoleon and his minions in their tracks, but things had taken a strange and complicated turn when Lord Harrow’s son had been fatally injured in battle.

    The poor young man had lingered for several weeks after he had been retrieved from the field of battle and brought back to his family’s estate before finally passing to the hereafter. Lord Harrow couldn’t accept that his son was gone. He and his wife, who were firm believers in séances, spectral beings, paranormal powers, and a variety of other metaphysical phenomena, were convinced that their son was not dead but rather trapped between this life and the next. They were also convinced he could be retrieved and returned to life.

    That’s when Grant’s life took a strange turn.

    One minute he was investigating the properties of a new flame-throwing device one of his assistants had been working on and the next he woke up trapped in Lord Harrow’s basement laboratory with the devil of a headache, a wide variety of scientific instruments, shelves of herbs and other chemical compounds, and a slowly decaying corpse. The spicy potpourri surrounding the cloth-draped body did little to mask the reality.

    It was simple: To get out of the basement all Grant had to do was bring Lord Harrow’s son back to life.

    Harrow was convinced that his new-fangled electricity machine was the key. He explained experiments he had done with frogs and even an octopus that had proved his theory. Grant didn’t waste time trying to reason with him. Instead, he bided his time and focused on doing what he did best: creating explosive devices.

    An armed footman blocked the basement door, but Grant paid him little attention as he went about his work. Lord Harrow’s laboratory was incredibly well stocked, so Grant had no trouble finding all he needed to make his escape. After he had everything ready, he had only to wait for the footman to behave as he had each night since Grant had been kept captive.

    At about 9 o’clock there was a knock on the door. The footman opened the door to retrieve a tray containing a simple dinner. He set the tray on a nearby table then muttered, “I don’t know how a body’s supposed to eat with that smell. I wish I had a fan or something.” A short while later, his reasoning clouded perhaps by the carafe of alcohol, gin most likely, on the dinner tray, he opened the door a crack to let in a slight breeze.

    After that, things happened rather quickly. Once a glance in the mirror over the workbench showed that the door was open and the footman distracted, Grant struck a match and ignited the device he had prepared. Holding a handkerchief over his nose and mouth, he bolted for the door just as the explosion occurred. He pushed the startled footman out of the way and raced toward the servants’ stairs at the back of the basement. The footman, concerned only with his own safety, raced up the stairs toward the ground floor as if pursued by the flames of Hell, unaware that the explosion was nothing more than a lot of smoke and noise, the kind magicians often employed to great applause and delight.

    Grant unerringly found his way out of the basement and disappeared into the night; none the worse for his experience.

    Something would have to be done about Lord Harrow though. One could hardly be allowed to continue to kidnap scientists after all.

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