Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

What a difference a few days makes.  Last week at this time it was cold and windy and rainy. Today, there was sunshine with blue skies.  Well, okay, it’s still windy, but it’s a definite improvement.

Sadly, I’ve spent most of the week inside in front of my computer or on conference calls – which gave me much little chance to enjoy the spring-time weather.

I’m hoping to change that this long holiday weekend.  If nothing else, all the rain has caused my yard to sprout like crazy, so my new lawnmower and I need to spend a little quality time outdoors before things get completely out of control

After that . . . who knows what I’ll find to keep myself occupied.

Oh, who am I kidding.  I have a stack of books just waiting for me to power down the computer and open them up.  Before diving headlong into the new library book I picked up just today however, I plan to give this week’s writing prompt and random words the old college 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 adopted a new pet?”

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

signal                coincidence     tree                 dismemberment

corduroy           lantern             protest           exhibition

challenge          mutant             hormonal       graveyard

         fortuneteller     cyclops             benevolent     experiment

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!

19 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

  1. I’m longing to find time to do a writing sprint. I will one day, I promise! Meantime I’ve unearthed a tiny snippet from part of my novella series in progress, about the heroine’s altercation with a ferocious white poodle, not exactly a dog she might want to adopt as, on the typical ‘Hero’s Journey’ she’s quite a formidable Threshold Guardian.
    Currently reading ‘The Hero’s Journey’ by Christopher Vogler. I highly recommend this book, it’s given me much greater insight into writing. Thank you for giving me the chance to join in here, especially as this week has been a bit of a challenge and I’ve got somewhat derailed from my writing, so this has pumped fresh enthusiasm into the project.
    “Daphne pushed open the tall, black iron gate which led into the Harcourts’ garden in front of the ochre coloured house in Notting Hill’s Lansdowne Crescent. To the accompaniment of Daphne’s tapping heels on the concrete path, Ella followed on behind, passing by the lilac bush, now neatly trimmed since the last time they’d visited, when it had cast brown seed heads everywhere. They reached the front door and Daphne pressed the bell. Yapping barks broke out from inside the house, growing louder, until a distraught looking Wilma came to the door with Mimi, the white poodle, in attendance.
    Unlike the evening before, at Sotheby’s, Wilma’s shoulder length hair, dyed jet black, was out of place. Strands of it stuck out at angles, as if she’d raked through it with her fingers, in anguish. She wore a paisley patterned, bright orange silk dress, suggesting that she’d expected the day to go somewhat differently to the way it had so far. On her feet were Kezia Kaye’s same black patent stilettos trimmed with matching tulle and rhinestones. It seemed that, without them, she feared her newfound romantic connection with Kenneth might break. Now, it appeared, it had done so anyway.
    ‘Mimi – get down!’ she yelled, as the white poodle leapt up at Daphne, scratching her paws on the front of the bubblegum coloured linen dress. Ignoring her mistress’s command, Mimi turned her attention towards Ella, rearing up on her spindly back legs and scuffled her claws on Ella’s cheesecloth tunic, nearly knocking her over.
    ‘That’s enough!’ Wilma shouted angrily at the dog, clasping her by her red velvet collar and dragging her away through the porch, into the house. She swept the angry, curly white canine bundle into her arms and click-clacked across the green and grey geometric tiled floor.”

    • What fun, Marie! I love the concept of a ferocious poodle that’s a Threshold Guardian. One usually doesn’t think of the poodle as anything but a show dog. Or at least, I don’t. Thanks for broadening my horizons!

    • (-: It’s nice to see stories with dogs and other animals in them. A threshold guardian sounds like a very interesting thing to play with . . . three-headed dogs spring to mind, and a standard poodle also sounds like it could do the job. (-: But put one of the tiny, ferocious little dogs in, and it’s great. I love a fictional dog with a Napoleon complex.

      • Thank you! I think the dog came over as a bit more vicious than she really is, more in the protagonist’s mind! She’s really just loud and yapping, with claws spoiling nice clothes!

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  3. Okay, Elizabeth, I’m not exactly complaining, but using up words like “dismemberment” and “graveyard” in a story about adopting a pet was, let me say, just a bit challenging! And yet, fun. Here’s mine.

    The Fortuneteller’s Divination

    “You will find love in unexpected places,” the fortuneteller said. Draped in necklaces, rings, and bracelets, she looked like a jewelry explosion, a mutant crystal experiment gone wrong.

    I’d heard that before, from my mother to my housecleaner, and I had yet to find what they claimed I was looking for. My love life—even my hormonal urges—were dead and buried in a graveyard of my own choosing. I had no reason to light a lantern and, like Diogenes, go in search of an emotion that I’d dismembered and entombed long ago.

    This rather benevolent prognosticator signaled to me that our time was up, so I paid her and left the tent and the fairgrounds. I’d seen all the exhibitions I wanted to see, and the challenge now was to get home in time to watch the last episode of Game of Thrones.

    Despite my rush, I halted before my house when I heard a small cry above my head. The cry of a small animal.

    I looked up into the giant oak tree that sheltered my front walk, and in its lowest branches, I could see one bright eye peering down at me. It cried again, a protest of anger and fear, a desperate appeal in its tiny voice.

    It was a kitten. And I couldn’t leave it up there.

    By no coincidence, I had a sturdy ladder in my garage, which I fetched and leaned against the tree. The rough bark of the oak was an unyielding corduroy beneath my fingers, and I hoped that the misplaced, misbegotten kitten wouldn’t climb higher to escape me. I wouldn’t be able to follow it with any agility.

    But the kitten stayed put, and I was able to detach it from the limb to which it clung so precariously. As I tucked it into the tote bag I had brought for this purpose, the kitten curled against my hand, and I saw that one eye was swollen shut, injured in some accident I knew nothing of. The kitten gazed at me like a cyclops, its one blue eye a beacon in the twilight, and I felt my heart stir.

    The fortuneteller had been right, after all.

    • Excellent job, Kay. Once again you showed yourself up to the challenge, despite the words thrown at you.

      Also, I chuckled at, “By no coincidence, I had a sturdy ladder in my garage”. It made me think about the vitamin line in your camel/magic lamp story a few weeks back.

  4. Didn’t use all the words, but good enough!

    How I met Porky-pie.

    Porky-pie is a big old dumb mutt, but I love him to bits because he’s such a good boy. I was driving by the graveyard with Jonas, and we had just reached that curve in the road next to the only traffic signal in three miles, and it happened to be red. Actually, it was the first time I’ve ever seen it red when there wasn’t a funeral in progress, so I was unhappy. Jonas was not helping things.

    “No, Katie, it’s just stupid. Becoming a fortune-teller just isn’t going to work. You get too involved with people . . . you don’t have the distance.”

    I sighed, and the light finally turned green, when I noticed that a dog . . . if you could call it a dog . . . had crawled into the middle of the intersection and was waiting right in my lane. I tried to pass it, but it scooted over to block me. I stopped and put the car in park. We were far out in the countryside, and I couldn’t see anyone coming for miles.

    “Jonas, get out and see if you can shoo that mutt back under the tree over there.”

    “Katie, you know how I feel about dogs. That cyclops looks like it could preside over the dismemberment of Jonas J. Jones. Look at those teeth! Look at that one-eyed glare!”

    It was true that the dog had one eye squinched shut, but I thought the look was rather benevolent. A matted fringe hung over the good eye, and the tail wagged in a friendly fashion. It was true, the dog was as large as a small scooter, but he didn’t look like a bad dog. I got out of the car, shooed him over to the tree overhanging the road, and got back into the car.

    And the dog had come back into my lane, grinning at me.

    “Katie, we’re going to be late to the exhibition.” Jonas was full of ideas about how things should go, but not very good at doing anything practical. He sat there in his corduroy jacket (lime-sorbet-colored as a concession to the season), telling me all the challenges and protesting that things couldn’t be done, but he had no idea what could be done. I sighed. He was a lot to put up with, but sometimes his analysis was useful enough.

    “Fine,” I said. I got out of the car again, and then opened the back door. The dog came bounding over and hopped in the backseat.

    Jonas squealed. “My god! What are you doing? That mutant dog came from the graveyard! Who knows what he’s bringing with him.”

    I ruffled the dog’s ears. No collar. I’d have to take him to a vet, get him trimmed and checked for a microchip after I dropped Jonas off at the exhibition. I had that funny feeling at the base of my neck that it wasn’t mere co-incidence that I met this doggo here and now. I had a feeling he’d lead me to my next case. And while I might get too involved to be a fortune-teller to clients, my sixth sense was seldom wrong.

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