Happy Friday. It’s grey and rainy here, which means instead of looking out my office window at boaters on the lake, I’m looking at a sheet of drizzle. It was rainy and sunny earlier today so I was hoping for a rainbow or two, but no such luck.
On the bright side, the flowers that I planted in the backyard this past weekend are no doubt enjoying all the water. The cat, however, is not amused.
I’ve been busy all day trying to catch up on a backlog of work here at Ye Olde Day Jobbe, after last week’s travel and this week’s vertigo. Tomorrow looks like another day of the same, but I’ve scheduled in some writing time at lunch, before my brain completely turns to mush. I plan on giving this week’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), 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 finally sold a screenplay?”
Feel free to include any (or all) of the following random words:
firecracker tactic brilliant doctor
liberating creeper clever loophole
devil decode dolphin affair
ankle booze vision centaur
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!
Hope you are feeling better, Elizabeth! I had a few extra minutes (and a nice nap in my car over lunch!). Very fun list of words this week!
“It’s a firecracker, Walter. You won’t believe it! Doctors! Nurses! And they’re all centaurs, that’s the twist. After all the hullabaloo over ‘Pretty Pony Dave’ and ‘The Appaloosas on the Loose’ last year, horses are going to be box office gold!” Of course, Abe was chewing on a cigar, and rubbing his hands together gleefully.
“Brilliant!” Walter said. He flipped my screenplay open at random and read a page. I couldn’t believe my luck, and took another sip of the very fine booze Abe had provided me with to seal the deal. “I got a vision! Centaurs by the shore! Chiron stoops to kiss Clarisse, a very pretty filly in one of those old-fashioned nurse’s caps – none of that ugly scrub shit – and then suddenly, a dolphin leaps in the air – No! make that five dolphins leaping in the air!”
Ten thousand dollars in week for script consulting! It was so liberating that I barely heard Walter and Abe throw ideas back and forth. My rent would be paid! My loan payments would be satisfied!
“This bit on the beach is a bit boring, though. What if we had a devil creeper, heading out of the jungle onto the pristine white sands, ready to trip a poor centaur and drag him back into the underbrush by the ankle?” Walter drank his shot. I could tell Walter was the idea guy.
“Do horses have ankles?” Abe asked.
“Who cares? Details.”
“Fetlock,” I burbled with joy. “It’s not a real ankle like humans have. It’s more like the ball of the foot.” See, I was making my consulting fee already!
A silent look passed between Abe and Walter, and I was sober enough to catch it. Walter patted my shoulder. “That’s good, Annie. We’ll make sure it’s the fetlock.” He buzzed the intercom. “Randal, will you come and show Annie out?” He turned to me. “Thanks for coming in, Annie. It’s going to be great!”
Walter laughed jovially, but there was something shifty in his eyes. “See you in pictures, kid! I’ll let you know when the filming starts.”
Randal, Abe’s incredibly sexy secretary who was so far out of my league that he could have been in Captain Nemo’s submarine, took me by the elbow. Oooh, my knees were shaky, and it wasn’t just the aged whiskey I’d knocked back. Stop that, I told myself. Randal probably doesn’t swim with my school. There was something too manicured about him for him to be straight. Or to be the type to fall in love with frumpy screenwriters.
The door shut, and the phone rang. “Just a second,” Randal said as he answered it. I drifted like a jellyfish back towards the door, completely by chance. And through it, I heard something ominous.
“. . . clever tactic. . . . . must be a loophole somewhere.” Were they talking about my screenplay? Was there something about the beach where Abe planned to film? Too late. Randal had hung up the phone and taken my elbow again.
“Listen, it’s time for lunch. Would you like to grab something in the commissary with me?”
“Would I?” Boy, I could practically feel the stars in my eyes, and told myself to behave. Scaring off Randal with drunken flirtation would be the first step to professional ruin, I thought. “I would,” I said decisively. “I guess you can tell me more about what I’ll need to pack as a script consultant for this tropical adventure. I’ve never done this before.”
“Sure, Annie. I’d be delighted to have you pick my brain.” He smiled, and my brain melted into goo and settled somewhere between my aorta and my ribcage. Something about that beach . . . and then the thought slipped my mind completely as I took his arm and we headed for the elevator.
Love this , such imagination.
Fun, Michaeline! I’m afraid Annie is heading for a fall, though. Very worried! I hope she gets her screenplay back.
A fall into love! But also silly, adventure things with the filming and that mysterious loophole! Be worried for Abe and Walter! They deserve a nasty ending, don’t they? (I think Our Boy Randal will prove to be swimming with Annie’s school after all.)
What fun, Michaeline. I loved the, Who cares? Details.”, line.
I’m getting the feeling that things aren’t going to work out for Annie quite as well as expected though.
LOL, as I wrote that, I was wondering . . . does a horse have ankles? That doesn’t seem right. So, unlike Walter and Abe, I took a slight detour into Google, and came out with a fetlock! Hoorah!
Centaur physiology could be a real problem, though. Someone on Twitter was wondering if a centaur must have two livers — a human one and a horse one? And the intestines must be a real mess . . . .
Alas – no screenplay writing for me today, but it does sound lots of fun! Instead here’s another snippet from my work in progress. In this section the Cinderella heroine intends to ruin the engagement party of her Nemesis, who she believes is engaged to her ex boyfriend. She’s got it all wrong and while not the star of a screen play, does get herself into social media big time, thanks to guests’ smartphones when her plan backfires.
“A ripple of horror swept around the foyer.
Rooted to the spot, Ella looked on, aghast. Then he spotted her, standing a little way away from the crowd. Martin pushed the pair apart and stumbled towards her. Cheeks on fire, Ella’s heart beat wildly.
‘I’m going home,’ Jess hissed in her ear.
‘Ella – my princess – will you accompany me to the ball?’ Martin slurred.
Without waiting for a reply, he locked his arm through Ella’s, and pulled her across the wooden floor.
All eyes were on her now; Barney Foxton’s camera flashed, fingers pointed to her feet as the heels of her shoes click-clacked over the floorboards.
‘So Cinderella got her prince!’ a female voice trilled.
‘Kezia Kaye’s template shoes!’ Pandora Pendlebury’s voice boomed out.
Martin forged on, dragging Ella with him down the passageway leading to the ballroom, until they came to wide open double doors. Bewigged footmen in black hose, white tights, and shiny, black buckled shoes, stood to either side. They wore bottle green waistcoats over white silk shirts with a ruffle at the neck, and proffered flutes filled with champagne on silver salvers. Martin helped himself to one. Ella declined.
Together, they entered a ballroom of glittering chandeliers and a black and white floor of marble tiles. A long table, spread with a white linen cloth upon which were placed silver platters bearing a selection of canapés, lined one wall.
Martin raised his glass, quaffed the champagne in one go and banged the empty flute down onto the table. He pulled her towards him.
This wasn’t what Ella had planned at all. She’d just intended to enter the ballroom, quietly, to embarrass Martin in front of Fennel, let him see what a mistake he’d made, then leave. Instead, he’d upstaged her.
‘Martin – this is absurd – let me go!’ she cried, but was drowned out by the opening strains of a Viennese waltz, performed by a small chamber orchestra, clad like the footmen, from a gallery above.
Gathering Ella even closer, Martin swirled her round and round the dance floor. Um-cha-cha; um-cha-cha: the music pounded in Ella’s ears as the pair of them wobbled to the beat.
The heels of the template shoes teetered over. Ella slipped, and crashed to the floor, Martin landing on top of her. Everything turned black.
Gorgeous setting! I wonder which way the romance will go. Is Martin The One, or is he The One To Overcome before the True Hero comes on the scene? (LOL, you can surprise us if you’d rather keep that a secret.)
Martin’s the One to overcome! True hero is kind of around….hehe!
I’m sorry this pasted twice by mistake, and I can’t alter it.
Fixed it, Marie! Thanks for posting. What a fun snippet! Those shoes are getting a workout. 🙂
Thank you so much!
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I think we could actually get a screenplay out of these words! Thanks for a fun outing, Elizabeth.
The Doctor’s Screenplay
“This one’s a firecracker!” the doctor told his wife over breakfast. “It’s set during the Great War, you see, and the French chargé d’affaires is tasked with decoding—”
“Very nice, I’m sure,” his wife said over the newspaper, an avoidance tactic that had never worked before and was unlikely to work now.
“Yes, and here’s what’s brilliant,” the doctor said. “The liberating army finds a loophole that—”
“I must trim back the creeper over the door today,” his wife said. “I can hardly see out. There’s no point in having the view if our vision’s blocked.”
“And the devil of it is,” the doctor said, “the dolphins are so clever that—”
“Do you think we should get that centaur fountain for the garden after all?” his wife asked. “I’m not sure that it would be all the thing. We were ankle-deep in booze that evening when we discussed it.”
“And then the artillery—” the doctor said.
“Well, at least that’s settled,” his wife said.
I can just see those two over the breakfast table, Kay. Both talking away and neither hearing a thing.
I’m reading Dorothy Parker’s play reviews from just after The Great War (that’s right, I haven’t finished the book yet; got distracted by Good Omens), and this really hits home. The way they talk past each other . . . there’s a big elephant in the room, isn’t there?
This made me laugh! I’ve witnessed dual conversations between married couples for real – they make good writing material. Excellent!