Elizabeth: Friday Story Time and Sprints

By the time you read this I’ll probably be knee-deep in information overload at the RWA national conference.  While the conference is a great place to learn new things, it is, more importantly, a great place to network and can be a great way to re-focus and re-energize one’s writing.

There are a number of great sessions on the agenda, many of them happening concurrently so I’ve been forced to make a valiant attempt to be in two places at one time.  So far so good, though a magic teleportation device would certainly be a handy thing to have about now.

One set of sessions I’ve definitely made sure to attend are the hour-long “Writing Sprints.”  The first such session was hosted by a couple of my favorite authors – Tawna Fenske and Kristan Higgins.  It was appallingly early in the morning (for me at least), but was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss, even if I needed an extra-large jolt of caffeine to get me going.

There will be another such session today.

Care to join me? (Virtually, of course).

For those of you working away on a story (whether a first draft or a polished version on its way to publication), we’d love to hear a bit – whether it’s a scene, a paragraph, or even a phrase that you are especially pleased with and would like to share.  Seriously – feel free to share.

If you don’t have a story in progress, or just want to work on something new, maybe today’s writing prompt will catch your creative fancy.   This week we’ve got a theme based on Michaeline’s post on Saturday (“You Can Rent A Man in Japan”).

Ready?

Here is today’s theme:            “Rent a Man”

Here are today’s random words:

gurgle               eye                      perfume             bittersweet

famous              contrast             riddle                  forgotten

nightmare         headstrong       swindler              forbidden

bluff                  voice                  abduction           freak

Whether you’re sharing a bit of your current work or writing something fresh based on the writing prompt, we hope you’ll join us for today’s Story Time.

Happy writing to all!

6 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Friday Story Time and Sprints

  1. Not complete, but here is what came out of today’s sprint:

    ——————————-

    Headstrong didn’t begin to describe Lady Clifton. Sarah was famous, or infamous rather, for her exploits.

    Racing in Hyde Park and driving her brother’s high-perch phaeton past the famous Bow Window on St. James’ street were just her most recent exploits.

    The mamas of the ton considered her a nightmare and deplored her actions while their daughters were publicly scandalized but privately envious.

    Her father the earl turned a blind eye. As long as Sarah wasn’t costing him any of his precious money or interrupting his own pursuits he took little notice. “She is a spirited little thing,” he’d say in his bluff jovial way when the dismayed matrons of the ton implored him to rein her in. Secretly, he felt sorry for those matrons, with their simpering, mindless offspring, when he thought of them at all, which was rarely. Horses, hounds, and his estate were his passions and he paid scant attention to anything else.

    Lady Clifton herself took little notice of what others said about her. Strictures on her behavior were likely to be met with a gurgle of laughter, a toss of her guinea gold curls, and an entreaty to, “do stop harping”.

    Her cousin, Lady Emily, couldn’t have been more of a contrast. Decidedly short where Sarah was tall, sallow-featured where she Sarah striking, dark-haired instead of golden, the two, together provided a study in opposites. Though a year older than Sarah, having been out for a whole season longer, Emily was by far the less experienced of the two.

    Not surprising that she fell for the practiced blandishments of Lord Harris then, a bounder of the first order with an addiction to gambling that had reduced him to penury less that an year after assuming his title. He was every mother’s nightmare – consorting with loose women, frequenting the lowest of the hells, and indulging in the worst kinds of dissipations. He was a handsome devil though, with the nobile features that distinguished the Harris family. Mothers forbid their daughters to even acknowledge his existence, but those strictures were forgotten more often or not.

    Emily’s current disaster was completely due to just this type of deplorable memory.

  2. Here’s mine. I didn’t get “abduction” in. 😦

    Maude consulted the CraigsList page with a critical eye. She doubted that anyone advertising their services would offer exactly what she had in mind, but she had to start somewhere.

    This ad looked promising.

    “I’ll handle your worst nightmare,” it read. “Resolve your crisis, rebury the forbidden, or revive the forgotten. Serious inquiries only.”

    Well, a riddle like that could pique a girl’s interest.

    She called the number.

    The voice that answered was exactly what she expected it would be: a man’s voice, deep and slow, promising perfumed brandy in cut-glass snifters and hickory-smoke flames in old library fireplaces. And of course, shadows. A contrast of light and dark.

    A headstrong girl, used to getting what she wanted, Maude jumped right in, despite the magical allure of his voice, a voice that invited her to explore unknown pathways and taste the consequence of bittersweet dreams.

    “What do you charge?” she asked. “By the hour, I mean. Or is it by the job?”

    “What is the task worth to you?”

    This response gave Maude pause. The task was worth a lot to her. In fact, it was priceless. But she had no intention of handing over her entire fortune to a freak on the phone. A person had to keep an eye to the future.

    “It’s not that simple,” Maude said. “You see, I’m famous, and—”

    “You have neither the means to pay me, nor the courage to do so,” the man said, calling her bluff. “We are finished here.”

    “No!” Maude said. “Wait!”

    “Then tell me,” the man said. “And pay me.”

    Maude felt trapped—kidnapped by a CraigsLister, pinned like a squiggling bug to a picture frame. But what choice did she have? Either she could give all her money to a guy she didn’t know—didn’t even know what he did, exactly—or she could watch her life gurgle down the drain.

    She had no one she could trust. And this guy’s voice—well, she trusted that. You couldn’t go wrong with brandy by a fireplace.

    “I’ll pay you everything I’ve got,” she said. “I need a swindler.”

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