Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Well, we’ve reached the end of another week but not, apparently, the end of the fallout from the recent RWA RITA contest announcements.

Over on the Teach Me Tonight blog, there were some eye-opening statistics:

2016 US Census data on race/ethnicity
White: 61.3%
POC: 40.9%

2018 RITA Finalists by race/ethnicity
White: 97.3%
POC: 4%

As we talked about on Wednesday, the RWA Board has acknowledged the problem and is actively looking for solutions.  In the meantime, at least two of this year’s finalists – Susanna Kearsle and Ann Aguirre – formally withdrew their books from consideration earlier this week.  Additionally, Cherry Adair, who was supposed to be receiving the RWA Lifetime Achievement award this year also withdrew, although her action appears to be in response to criticism about comments she made, rather than a statement that RWA has a diversity problem.

More to come on all of this, I’m sure.

While I don’t have control over the biases (conscious or otherwise) of other people, I do at least have control over the words I do (or don’t) put on the page.  To that end, I’ll be spending a little quality time with my pen and notebook when I get home from work this evening.  I think I’ll start things off with today’s writing 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), 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.


What if: “Your character inherited a bookstore?”

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

rebel          clock          mistaken      enrage

fugitive     vixen            artificial       confuse

teeth         homicide      blank           coyotes

void          casket          farm             first

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!

3 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

  1. Okay, this effort is just nuts, but gosh, it was a hoot.

    Read, or Else

    The first time I saw the Better Read Than Dead bookstore, I thought I must be mistaken. The place was adorable. Geraniums (unfortunately, artificial) in window boxes. Blue paint all around. A bright yellow door. A cute sign with curlicues. Could this place really be mine now?

    I, a fugitive rebel vixen farm girl, had just lucked into the job of a lifetime, a profession I could sink my teeth into. Because there’s nothing to do on the farm in the winter except read, and my Aunt Lil, recently passed on to that giant lending library in the sky, had left me a way to make a living and do what I loved.

    What I didn’t understand was why there was a casket in the children’s department.

    I called the town’s police department, but as it was a Sunday, I had to leave a message on the answering machine. Evidently the local constabulary put in strict nine-to-five hours. Sheriff Coyotes called me back on Monday around ten o’clock.

    “What does the law say about a casket in the children’s department?” I asked.

    “It’s okay in the case of homicide,” the sheriff said. “Otherwise, no.”

    “So there’s been a homicide?” I asked.

    “What makes you say that?” he asked.

    I felt the earth shift beneath my feet, leaving a void the size of the Grand Canyon.

    “You just said—”

    “Somebody will be by this afternoon to pick it up,” Sheriff Coyotes said. “How’s that?”

    “Okay, but—”

    “See that gun by those blank journals?”

    “Where? Oh. Yes. But why is there a gun—”

    “So if anybody comes in really mad, just shoot them.”

    “What? I’m not shooting anybody!”

    “You might have to,” Sheriff Coyotes said. “If you make them mad enough.”

    “I’m not planning to make anyone mad! I’m here to sell books, that’s it.”

    “That’s what your Aunt Lil thought, too. And now look. One enraged customer later, she’s reading romance novels in heaven.”

    “Why did Aunt Lil make anybody mad? Why would I?”

    “Beyond my pay grade. Which is why I suggest you start reading right now. Maybe you’ll get it figured out before anybody comes lookin’ for ya.”

    • OMG! I want to visit this bookstore! And maybe manage it. Also . . . a vixen? Sheriff Coyote? Are these all nine-tails and this is possibly a fantasy?? Oh, the things you could do to pervert the kitsune tropes!

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