Elizabeth: Friday Story Time and Sprints

After Kay’s fun book cover post yesterday I spent more time than I’m willing to admit searching the internet for images for my own potential covers this afternoon.  Finding just the right image that will act as the perfect “invitation” for readers to pick up a book is even more challenging than I expected.

I’m feeling very creatively challenged right now.

Adding extra complexity to the process is figuring out a consistent style / theme to use for a multi-book series.   It’s almost enough to make me glad I don’t have a bunch of completed books ready and waiting for their covers.

Oh who am I kidding?  That sounds like a great position to be in.

Since that’s definitely not the case, and since I’ve finished the last of the ARCs pending in my reading queue, it seems like a good time to step away from the internet and get to work.  Before I go back to throwing obstacles in the way of Cassie & Nicolai’s happily-ever-after I think I’ll warm up my creativity with today’s story prompt.

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.

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.  Thanks to all who have been playing along these past few weeks – I’m always amazed with the stories that come out of a set of random words.


Here we go:

“A scandalous family secret is uncovered during the reading of a will.”

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

eternity             teeth               grasp               poison 

land                   cocoon            blankly            haunt

capture             booze              casket              faint

bluster              shake               nerve               awful

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!

3 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Friday Story Time and Sprints

  1. Ooh, fun! Earlier this week I went to a preview of a theater production based on Angela Carter’s Wise Children so I’ve been thinking about stories with scandalous family secrets. Hmmm. I’m rather short of time today, but I’ll plan to have a go at this over the weekend 🙂

  2. Okay, it took me a while, but here is my effort at this week’s prompt. Enjoy.


    Death of a Dysfunctional Family

    “Why is she here?” The question came from the other end of the conference table where the dearly departed’s family members were all eagerly awaiting the reading of the will, to find out just how big their share of the assets would be.

    “Do we even know her?” Asked the middle son, who looked Addie over with a blatantly disdainful expression. It was a look that said he knew that her funeral dress had come from the charity store and her sensible pumps were borrowed.

    Only the faint flush of pink on her cheekbones gave any indication that she had heard the questions. The funeral had been hard on her. Baron Henderson, or Uncle Stan as she’d always called him though he was no actual relation, had been a friend of her family for as long as she could remember. Watching his casket being carried down the aisle of the church . . .she stared blankly forward at a spot on the wall and concentrated on not crying.

    At the head of the conference table, Brent, Dylan, Sheila, and their mother Connie talked amongst themselves while awaiting the arrival of the solicitor. They might have no idea who she was, but Addie knew all about them, from Dylan’s fondness for booze, to the questionable business deals that had came perilously close to landing Sheila in prison. If the coroner hadn’t confirmed Uncle Stan died a natural death, caused by a well-known hereditary ailment, Addie wouldn’t have put it past any of them to have sent him off to his eternal resting place courtesy of a bit of poison.

    She mentally shook her head. How he managed to sire such a set of vipers, she’d never understand.

    Finally, the oaken conference door opened and the stoop-shouldered, desiccated looking solicitor, who appeared to have been recently disinterred, entered the room and took his place at the head of the table. After retrieving a sheaf of papers from his satchel, he adjusted his (obviously false) teeth and began to speak. “We’re here for the reading of the last will and testament of . . . “ , was followed by a bunch of official sounding legalese. Though she wasn’t sure why, Addie had a strong premonition that something awful was about to occur.

    Setting the papers aside, the solicitor reached for the remote control for the big video screen on the wall and said, “the deceased left this video to be played on the occasion of his death.” Without further ado, he pressed “play”.

    Addie couldn’t help but smile as Uncle Stan appeared on the screen. He looked as she always remembered him, genial, comfortably dressed, seated in a leather chair in what appeared to be a library or office, with his favorite spaniels at his feet.

    He’d always been so kind to her and her mother; they were both going to miss him terribly.

    “If you’re watching this video, then apparently I’m dead. Pity, that. I’m sure you’re eager to hear the terms of the will, but there are a few things that you need to hear from me first, straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.”

    “Get on with it,” Addie heard one of the family members mutter under their breath.

    Almost as if he’d heard, Uncle Stan continued. “All right, let’s get to it. In 19xx, I married Cecilia Sanders.” Addie stared ahead, frozen at the mention of her mother’s name. He continued, “a year later, she gave birth to our daughter, Addie. The solicitor has the marriage and birth certificates, as well as DNA testing results to back this up.”

    “But that can’t be,” someone, Dylan, maybe, blustered from the front of the room, but his mother hushed him.

    “My marriage to Connie, a short while later was, quite plainly, a sham. There were reasons but, since all of the other parties are already deceased, those reasons will go to the grave with me, unless Connie should choose to enlighten anyone. Which I doubt.”

    The bombshells continued. “Brent, Dylan, Connie – although I allowed you to be raised as my children, you most definitely are not. A fact you are no doubt as thrilled by as I am. If you want to know who your real fathers are, ask your mother. Hopefully she kept track.”

    The only thought that kept running through Addie’s mind as the video continued was, “Uncle Stan was my father?” Later, she’d want to know why it had been a secret and why her mother had never told her, but for the moment, she was struggling to wrap her mind around the idea.

    Addie turned her attention back to the video in time to hear, “since my marriage to Connie is legally invalid, as the paperwork she signed all those years ago clearly spelled out, and her children are no relations of mine, my estate is left to my true wife and daughter. You other parasites are on your own.” With that, he gave a laugh and then the video ended.

    The solicitor coughed into the stunned silence and turned to Connie and her children. “As we speak, your personal possessions have been packed and removed from Henderson House.” He consulted the papers in front of him again. “You have been given use of the house in Chelsea, for the period of one year, at which time it will be sold and the proceeds will revert to the estate.”

    “This is crazy,” Brent burst out. “We’ll contest.”

    The solicitor shook his head. “I wouldn’t recommend it. You’ll find the will is completely legal and challenge-proof.” He allowed himself a slight smile before directing his attention to Addie. His clerk, who had been standing quietly in the corner of the room, handed her a large Manila envelope. “You’ll find the keys to your new home, a number of documents that you will need to sign, and a personal video that your father made just for you.” With that, he gathered up his papers, picked up his satchel, and left the room.

    Addie was having trouble grasping all that had just happened but quickly rose to her feet and headed for the door, making her escape before the shock wore off of the rest of them. Judging from the murderous looks on their faces, she got out just in time.

  3. Pingback: Jilly: Were There’s a Will–Sunday Short Story – Eight Ladies Writing

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