Elizabeth: Friday Story Time and Sprints

I was cleaning out my email inbox earlier today and saw a notice about the Mid-Michigan RWA Best Banter Contest The contest, which closes in a few days (September 10th), is for published and unpublished authors.   The requirements are simple:  enter a scene (up to 1,500) words, along with an optional non-judged lead-in for the scene (up to 250 words), with your best banter.

Do you have a scene with witty, fun dialogue between your characters?  Show off your best story banter . . . enter the Best Banter Contest.”

The contest sounds like fun and I have just the scene in my mystery manuscript that I think will fit the bill.  Now to get it spruced up and submitted before I forget.   Again!

Meanwhile, this has been a short work-week but there is still one more day (or less, depending when you read this) to go.  I have lots of things on my ToDo list, including a few walks in the park with the four-legged friend who is currently visiting.  After the work is done and we’re back from our walks . . .I’ll probably stare into space for a while . . .but once that’s done, it will be time to pull out the old pen and paper and get some words on the page.  I think I’ll start by giving today’s writing prompt and random words a try.

Care to join me?

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. I’m going to keep asking until someone does. 🙂

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.  After the success of last Friday’s post, today’s story prompt gain comes to us via the Amazing Story Generator©


Here is today’s writing prompt:

“Suddenly able to hear others’ thoughts, a world-weary intelligence agent goes on a game show.”

Feel free to include any (or all) of the following random words:

enemies              messenger             anonymous       avenging

murderous         academic                hooligan            bluff

fearsome           endorsement          muscular            fraudulent

anguish             exotic                      siren                    hoodwink

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!

12 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Friday Story Time and Sprints

  1. Today’s writing prompt is hard! I’ve been staring at it for ages. Even wine isn’t helping. Instead, here’s a small snippet from Kiran. He’s the hero of Christal’s Choice, the fantasy story I’m currently wrangling.

    She unlatched the door and pushed it wide. The evening light filtered through the doorway, bathing the interior in a soft glow. The scent of herbs hit him, refreshing as a bucket of spring water, and as his eyes adjusted he saw a small room, scrupulously clean, bare but for a few sturdy pieces of furniture. Each was flanked by pots containing rosemary and lavender, lemon balm and mint.
    This was her home? His brother’s farmhouse in Caldermor’s hardscramble border country was better appointed.
    Princess Christal braced both hands on the doorframe, limped carefully inside and turned to face him.
    “Thank you,” she said again with unmistakable finality.
    Then she shut the door in his face.

    • Finally – something from a work in progress – yay! What a teaser though, Jilly. Why is she limping and what happens next? Inquiring minds want to know.

      • Christal hurt her foot quite badly (it may be broken) as she took Desperate Measures to extricate herself from a Desperate Situation. That’s where the story starts. Now she’s bought herself a small slice of breathing room and she has to act fast, broken foot or no. That means getting rid of Kiran. What happens next:

        Kiran shook out his aching arms and shoulders, aware of Marcian the guard grinning from his station at the gate.

        Was she planning to sit alone, injured, plotting in the semi-darkness, nursing her hurts until her aunt returned? Hardly. Whatever she did next, he’d wager his gold-embroidered dress tabard it wouldn’t be that.

        He had to know. It was his duty as well as his inclination to find out what she was up to. He wasn’t here to protect Daire’s person—the lad had his own men for that—but to guard against any misstep with the prickly Larrochs. And if trouble was brewing, Princess Christal would be the alewife.

        He strolled back across the courtyard, keeping his eyes open for a likely errand boy. He picked a promising specimen, all arms, legs and freckles, and paid the child a copper to take his gaudy tabard back to his quarters.

        The tabard wasn’t heavy, but it weighed on him. He’d come home to turn Calderrans into soldiers, not to become an ornament. Now, freed from his trappings and with real work to do, he felt like himself again. He ghosted up the steps to the battlements and worked his way around the parapet until he found a shady crenellation with a clear view of the gatehouse. Then he settled himself to watch.

    • Elizabeth, I always love the idea of your sprints! This week I have a good excuse for not participating, but usually, it’s just simple laziness. Keep up the good work!

      And yay, Jilly! Love the herbs; I’ve been picking more than usual this fall and using them. Especially the lemon balm!

  2. Okay, here’s my shot at today’s words and prompt.


    There was nothing about Hugh Grey, the contestant on the right, to catch anyone’s attention. Friends and enemies alike were always hard-pressed to recall if he was short or tall, his hair was brown or blond, or whether the eyes behind those sleepy-looking lids were blue, brown, or appropriately grey.

    The other contestant was his opposite in many ways – muscular where Hugh was lean, exotic-looking rather than forgettable, brainlessly bluff instead of an unassuming academic.

    Both men had two things in common though: they were spies and they were trapped in Crazlandia, playing for their lives.

    The Czar was a game fanatic. Televisions in Crazlandia broadcast only one channel – the Game Show Network – and all decisions, from the large to the small were made via games. Candidates running for office battled it out, not with campaign ads, but by solving word puzzles to accumulate money. Promotions depended upon the roll of the dice; marriages on a hand of cards; and whether one lived or was catapulted out of the country depended on the Czar’s favorite game of words.

    As Hugh waited for the game to begin, all he could think about was being at home. A comfortable chair, a decent up of tea, and the chance to finally get some peace and quiet – after decades of being a covert operative in more countries than most people had even heard of – it was the simple things he longed for.

    He should already be home, but when he suddenly found himself able to hear others’ thoughts, the Crown had given him one last job – uncovering the traitor in the Czar’s court.

    So here he was, attempting to game his way into the Czar’s inner circle.

    He didn’t expect beating Sven, the opponent who kept leveling murderous glares in his direction, to be much of a challenge. Tonight’s game was Thesaurus of Words and since he’d been national spelling bee champion for seven years straight, Hugh was confident his vocabulary was up to the challenge. Sven seemed more like a hooligan whose encounters with words were limited to the times he’d spray painted them on the walls.

    Looks could be deceiving, of course.

    After all, the Czar looked like a reasonable, normal human being yet after tonight’s game, either Hugh or Sven would find themselves catapulted out of the tiny country. Since it was surrounded by shark-infested waters, it would very likely be a death sentence.

    A horn blew, the crowd noise subsided, and the game began with the word: fraudulent. The men verbally battled back and forth throwing out deceitful, duplicitous, and illegal. When Sven said fake, Hugh took the opportunity to change direction with pretend. Unfortunately, Sven couldn’t think fast enough and lost the round when he offered up counterfeit.

    The round went to Hugh and play continued. From avenging to fearsome and then anguish and hoodwink, Hugh easily managed to get the best of Sven. By the end of the regulation rounds, the score was 10 to zero and Sven was on his way to the catapult.

    Hugh didn’t have time to enjoy his win, since he still had to get through the bonus round, which involved making a choice between what was in an envelope, a box, or behind the curtain. This was where being able to hear others’ thoughts came in handy, since the Czar couldn’t help but mentally congratulate himself on his cleverness in setting up this final round. He was sure Hugh would go for the envelope but Hugh knew where the prize he was looking for was located.

    When he said, “curtain,” the crowd gasped. They knew the kind of tricks the Czar liked to play.

    The Master of Ceremonies tried to get Hugh to alter his choice, to no avail.

    “Curtain. Final answer,” Hugh insisted.

    On a signal, the curtain drew back and there in her velvet robes and sparkling tiara was Princess Daisy, the target of Hugh’s mission and very likely a murderous traitor. She was even more beautiful than he had been told. The kind of siren who would lure men to their doom without lifting a finger.

    She caught his eye, beckoned him forward, and he was, for the first time in his life, at a loss for words. He could very well wind up dead in the morning, but oh, what a way to go.

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