Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Here on the blog we are ending the week with some virtual champagne and high-fives to celebrate our own Jilly Wood’s final in the RWA Golden Heart contest.

*cue applause here*

The list of finalists for the Golden Heart (un-published) and RITA (published) contests were posted on-line Thursday morning and it was great to see a familiar name on the list.

Several of us will be in New York later this year at the annual conference, cheering her on (and living vicariously) as the award winners are announced.

In the meantime, all this excitement, as well as the publication progress several other Eight Ladies have made, is providing a healthy dose of motivation to stop procrastinating and start consistently getting some words on the page.  If only there weren’t so many other entertaining distractions!

To wake up my creativity and get it back in working order, I’ll be giving today’s writing prompt a try after I get home from work.

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), if you’re not feeling random, 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, I hope today’s story prompt and/or random words will catch your creative fancy.

Astute readers will have noticed that the random words below are the same words we had last week.  That is intentional.  Michaeline suggested that the word set would work well with a “circus” prompt and I thought that was a great idea.


What if: “Your character joined the circus?”

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

overboard       flirtation       bleeding       bloom

muscular         sideshow      ghoul            tennis

hustle              festival         sparkler          crushing

photograph     serum          peepshow      zipper

I look forward to seeing your stories in the comments.  If you’re not feeling in the writing mood today, or don’t have time, feel free to post suggestions you might have for future “what-if” prompts.  Ideas are always welcome.

Happy writing to all!

5 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

  1. First of all, mad applause for Jilly!!
    Second, oh boy, I guess I’ll have to do it! My suggestion and all. (-: And I’m sure my brain has been playing with the concept someplace all week. But not right this instant. (I do love a circus, though.)

  2. Thank you for the shout-out, Elizabeth, and thank you all so much for the congratulations and good wishes. I am feeling happy and excited and a little bit giddy right now 😉

    My Girls are busy running around and screaming “wheee!’ so I don’t think I’ll be sprinting today, but can’t wait to read Michaeline’s circus shortie. I love a circus, too!

  3. I couldn’t work “ghoul” into the story, but since we’re being silly…

    Jilly’s Brilliant GH-Nominated Book is Not about Ghouls, and Neither is My Sprint

    “You don’t have to go overboard on this,” Twilla, the aerialist, gasped. She sucked in her breath as Togo, the Tonga Titan, tried to pull up the zipper of her sequined costume.

    “You’ve put on too much bleeding weight,” the muscular Togo said, trying to grasp the zipper with his thick fingers. He was the mainstay of the circus sideshow, but his ancestral and linguistic roots were far from Tonga. “You gotta lay off them donuts.”

    “I need to lower my center of gravity,” Twilla said with dignity.

    “It gets any lower, your ass’ll be crushing your instep,” Togo said, finally getting the zipper to the top. Tact had never been his forte.

    Just then a young woman stepped into the dressing tent. Her hair was blonde, her cheeks were as pink as a rose in bloom, and her eyes were as bright as any Fourth of July sparkler.

    “Hello?” she said.

    “Get out!” Twilla said. “What do you think this is? A peepshow?”

    “My name is Alice Bernhart? Mr. Zabrisky said I should report here?”

    “You should, eh?” Togo said, in a lousy mood now that his fingers had been pinched by the zipper. “What’s your hustle?”


    “You know. Your game. Your dodge.”

    “Oh,” Alice said, her eyes wide. “You mean, my art?”

    Twilla snorted, but Togo was immune to flirtation from newcomer ingenues. He needed no reminders from Twilla.

    “Right, sure, your art. If Zabrisky said come here, yer wanting a costume. Whaddaya need? What’s your art?”

    “I’m a hypnotist,” Alice said.

    Togo and Twilla considered this in silence.

    “No way,” Twilla said.

    “Way,” Alice corrected. “I make people drink a truth serum to reveal their innermost thoughts and desires.”

    “Truth serum? What’s that when it’s at home?” Togo demanded.

    “Gin,” Alice said.

    “Really?” Twilla said. “Then what?”

    “I make them do things,” Alice said. “By suggestion. I have people imitate a chicken, that’s always a crowd pleaser. Or they play tennis—you know, without the net and ball.”

    “Does the mark believe you?” Togo said. “You know, when they wake up?”

    “Of course,” Alice said. “But then, I provide a souvenir photograph.”

    “What a racket,” Twilla said admiringly. Alice blushed modestly.

    “You’ll fit right into this festival of freaks,” Togo said. “With all the makings for blackmail at your fingertips.”

    “I’m happy to share,” Alice said. “One for all and all for one, that’s my motto.”

    “And a good one it is,” Twilla said. “Okay. Costume, you said? I have the perfect thing right here.”

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