Elizabeth: Friday Story Time and Sprints

Happy “NaNo-is-just-about-over” Day.  I don’t know about you, but it is often the day that I do a search-and-replace in my manuscript to spell out all of the contractions I’ve used, just for those few extra words needed to put me over the finish line.

Just me?

Ah well, it’s all a process.  If you’ve been NaNo-ing, congratulations; whatever your final word count is and how ever you got there.  As long as there was writing involved, I’m pretty sure that counts as a win.

In between working, writing, reading, and – to be honest – a fair amount of staring off into space, I’ve been cooking and baking and slowly putting out the holiday decorations.  It feels a little early, but I know the time will rush by when I’m not looking, so I figure early is better than late.  No Christmas tree yet though.  Not only is it still a bit early for that, but all of the neighborhood tree lots seem to have disappeared – victims of building that’s going on in the area.  I’ll have to do some searching this weekend, otherwise all those strings of lights and boxes of ornaments are going to look pretty strange just piled up on the table.

But that’s a problem for another day.  Today’s goal is to get some words on the page (and not just blog post words).  We’ve been having rainy weather that’s perfect for curling up on the couch and being creative.  Before I tackle my WIP though, I think I’ll give today’s story prompt 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.

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 – keep those stories coming.

Ready?

Here we go:

“No one expected what happened the holiday gift exchange party.”

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

angel                    paper                drown                  pistol

jade                      neurotic            imaginary            crust

grasshopper        frantic               fearless                sponge

booze                   famous             moonbeam          wig

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. I couldn’t work in “sponge.” I really wanted to make a SpongeBob SquarePants joke, but it just didn’t work. 🙂

    The Holiday Party

    Ambrosia Archer balanced fearlessly on the ladder, determined to finish hanging the stupid paper chains across the stupid cafeteria as the stupid organizing committee had stupidly decided. She’d been stuck with the holiday party decorating chore at the weekly meeting when Veronica, the company’s most famous suckup and boss’s angel, had nominated her. And of course, everyone else had been quick to approve.

    As she stretched to pin the garland to the ceiling, the paper chain broke at the weakest link, a narrow gold band that was faded and thin with reuse. Ambrosia grabbed the end before it fluttered to the floor where she’d have to retrieve it, stuck some tape on the torn paper, and pinned the end to the corner. There. That should hold until the party was over, because it was due to start in fifteen minutes.

    Ambrosia hated the holiday party and attended only because the bosses basically held a pistol to everyone’s head. They used the party to hand out the annual bonus checks, and if she wanted to get hers before the holidays, when she needed it the most, she had to show up. No matter how much she resented it.

    After the first event, she’d thought to bring a thermos of grasshoppers, the ice cream drink liberally laced with shots of life-saving booze. Her concoction improved the party by a lot and made her some friends at the company, too, particularly among the maintenance crew.

    She climbed off the ladder and folded it up. Ten minutes to showtime. This was her fourth party, and if she was lucky, she’d have to go to only six more before she’d have enough bonus checks salted away to start her own business.

    This late in the year, the afternoon sky was already dark, matching her mood. But as she inspected her handiwork, she felt her spirits lighten. The cafeteria looked almost festive with the paper chains up and holiday string lights hung everywhere. The tree with its secret Santa gifts filled one corner, and a lone moonbeam glowed through the big window, illuminating a patch on the cafeteria floor. The room was pretty. And she’d created that.

    As she lugged the ladder to the storage closet, the cafeteria doors burst open and the crowd flooded in, talking and laughing, congratulating Veronica on doing such a great job with the holiday party. Of course.

    Well, at least Mr. Grasshopper would always support her in her hour of need.

    As the crowd streaked to the tree to find their gifts, Ambrosia spotted someone she didn’t know. He must be new to the company, because he stood alone in the square of moonlight. He looked out of place somehow. Other-worldly in his beauty. And astonishing as it was, Veronica had not yet glommed onto him. Didn’t even seem to see him, although she was standing right there.

    He was dressed in a dark gray suit and a red tie that was whimsically and liberally shot through with fine gold thread. His hair was blond and way too long to meet the company dress requirements. His jade-green eyes caught hers, and he smiled.

    She could drown in those eyes.

    “Thank you,” he said. “I thought I’d never get out of there.”

    “You’re welcome,” Ambrosia said. “Get out of where?” Was it her imagination, or was there a little gold crust on that tie?

    “It took you long enough, not that I’m complaining,” he said.

    “What are you talking about?” Ambrosia asked, feeling stupid. “Who are you?”

    “Call me Kris,” the guy said. “I’ve been waiting for you.”

    Ambrosia looked around frantically. Whoever he was, the guy was nuts. But no one else seemed to notice him. They drank their drinks and ate their snacks, comparing their secret Santa gifts. The two of them might have been alone in the cafeteria.

    “Don’t worry,” Kris said. “It’s a lot to take in. You released me, so now I can release you. I have your last bonus check right here.”

    He held out an envelope, and Ambrosia took it with trembling fingers. Inside was a check for an amount that would surpass at least ten more years of holiday bonuses.

    She could quit today. Right now. Start the new year off right by starting the business she’d planned for all this time.

    “Is this real?” she asked. “Are you real?”

    “It is, and I am,” Kris said. “You can take that to the bank.”

    “I will,” Ambrosia said. “And afterwards, can I buy you a drink?”

    “I thought you’d never ask.” Kris held out his arm to her. “I’d be delighted, as long as you don’t make me drink any of that grasshopper crap.”

    As they headed toward the door, Ambrosia grabbed her coat and purse. On their way out, she handed the thermos to the maintenance guy.

    “Keep it,” she said. “And next year, my advice? Volunteer to put up the paper chains.”

    • What a great way to start a Saturday morning. I began with a flashback to the horrors of office parties past, and ended with a huge smile on my face, though I’m with Kris on the grasshoppers. Sounds green, and possibly cream-based, and ew. Thank you, Kay!

  2. I wrote 5,000 words today to finish my 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo. Nothing is worth sharing.

    Nice job, Kay. And Ambrosia could have felt safe to bring the grasshoppers because the carb heavy food would soak up the booze like a sponge so she didn’t end up wearing the lamp shade.

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