Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Another week has come to an end and I’ve spent the last couple of days covered in calamine lotion and surrounded by ice packs.

Apparently, when I was working out in the yard earlier in the week, every biting insect in the state confused me for an all-you-can-eat-buffet.   I am, of course, highly allergic to said biting bugs, so now I look like one of those warning posters from the dermatologists office.

I haven’t itched this much since my son passed along the chicken pox years ago.

Obviously it’s nature’s way of telling me I should hire a gardener.  Or maybe invest in some insect repellent.

Needless to say, I’ve been trying to distract myself.  I’ve listened to the first half of the Hamilton soundtrack half a dozen times (the second half makes me cry and I don’t need that); read two convoluted mystery stories, hoping that having to pay close attention would keep me suitably distracted (it did not); and taken numerous cold showers (brrrr!).

This too shall pass – right?

In the meantime maybe I’ll try distracting myself with some writing – perhaps a story where the insects of the world get what’s coming to them?  Or maybe I’ll just give today’s story prompt and random words a try and see where they lead me.

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.

Ready?

What if: “Your character got trapped in a store after closing?”

Feel free to interpret the “What if” any way you choose and include any (or all) of the following random words:

hazy               wish              brave            candy-maker

numskull       daylight        missing        blindly

famous          sudden         artificial       column

gorgeous      accursed        warmth       bittersweet

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!

9 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

  1. I’m sorry to hear about all your bites. I’ve dealt with the full-body lump fest several times myself. I found that soaking in a cold bath in which I had dissolved a cup or so of baking soda provided the longest lasting relief. Never long enough, but the longest.

    • Thanks, Daisy. I remember as a kid, my mom used to make a paste out of water and baking soda and apply it to the bites. Effective, but very messy.

  2. Goodness, Elizabeth! I’m so sorry to hear about your run-in with the insect world! I have a friend who is highly allergic to mosquitoes. She goes through great lengths not to get bit, but it doesn’t always work, unfortunately. Huge welts. Huge.

    I’m not sure if you’re aware, but Tagamet (cimetidine) works like Benadryl, but doesn’t make you drowsy (yes, the stomach acid medicine…weird, huh?). I have recurrent hives (still haven’t figured out what causes them) and my allergist prescribed the Tagamet to take as a prophylactic and it works great to cut down on the itchies. That, combined with a trusty antihistamine like Zyrtec, are a good one-two punch.

    Hope you feel better soon. Alas, I’m deep in writing mode (not quite ready to share), trying to knock out two chapters today, so while I’m not writing HERE, I’m with you in spirit!

  3. I’m so sorry about the bug bites, Elizabeth! Good luck in finding a remedy, or at least having the itch go away on its own.

    And… here’s my story. I hope, not itch-worthy.

    The Turtle
    Georgette had only a hazy idea of what had happened. One moment she’d been trying on a pair of gorgeous shoes in the footwear department. The next, daylight was gone. The store was dark and empty. She was alone. Alone in a giant department store. At night.

    It was a dream come true, thanks to her accursed and sudden narcolepsy.

    “I wish I had a peanut butter sandwich,” she thought, missing the warmth of her apartment and the comforts of her refrigerator. “I wonder what’s to eat in this place?”

    Leaving the opened boxes of shoes behind, she braved the aisles of the store, heading blindly for the deli department. She knew from past excursions that a candy-maker, famous for his exploits employing vast quantities of bittersweet chocolate, had a booth there. Nothing would do for him but the finest of everything. No artificial sweeteners need apply!

    Like a homing pigeon, Georgette found the deli department and the candy-maker’s booth. Of all the varieties, she preferred the turtle, a dark chocolate, caramel, and pecan confection. These, like all the chocolates, were stacked in orderly columns, waiting for customers. Or nighttime hypoglycemic narcoleptics.

    She checked the price per pound—$20—and then carefully weighed out a pound, laying a $20 bill next to the cash register. Then she sat down and bit into the first one. The rush of bitter, astringent chocolate offset the sweetness of the caramel and the crispness of the pecans. Heaven.

    Her mother would have called her a numskull for going shopping when she was hungry, but Georgette was no fool. She had her chocolates all to herself. And soon she’d have her shoes, too.

  4. I’ve attempted another sprint/snippet, for my work in progress. I’m afraid I replaced the store with a hotel bedroom, as it fits my story.

    “Slowly, Ella climbed the hotel’s burgundy-carpeted grand staircase for the first time, each separated by a shining brass rod, and every two steps at a time, glanced down at the foyer, which grew more and more impressive when viewed from increasingly higher vantage points. Above her, daylight from the stained glass cupola streamed downwards, lighting up the thick brass chain which hung from the centre of the cupola, supporting the dazzling spherical cage-shaped chandelier above the foyer, ablaze with the circlet of electric candles bulbs. Without Fennel or Darren on duty at the reception desk, she might get away with not being noticed.

    What a numbskull! – of course she’d be noticed, everyone knew her. She, the lowly Ella Bright, famous for the fake Cinderella character of ‘Fashion Fads’, still couldn’t get used to this fact, even now. She’d be seen, if she wasn’t careful, unless she increased her pace and made it to the royal bedchamber before encountering anyone. But if she did run into someone, she should act the part, just as she’d once told herself, when she’d stepped in to help Kezia at the shoe shop the day she’d gone to her neighbour’s funeral. Pretend that her mission was perfectly reasonable and above board, then go about her business as she’d intended, so as to get the better of the accursed mirror in the shoe shop sanctum, once and for all.

    Holding her head up high, just as Kezia had commanded her to do the first time she’d walked the walk in front of the mirror, she moved forward blindly, not daring to look up or down. Just concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other. Jakes’s words floated back: ‘You can’t move forward if something’s holding you back.’ Damn him! Nothing was going to hold her back now, nothing at all.

    Be brave, she told herself, as she mounted a further flight of stairs, the soles of her flat pumps sinking into the carpet’s thick pile, passing the entrance to the theatre bar, plastering her lips with an artificial smile as a young couple descended the stairs and passed her by. They gave her a differential nod. She could be royalty, she pretended, en route to the room where she belonged, a wish come true. A place where a king once bedded his mistress.

    She reached the landing. Just as Paula had indicated, the chambermaids were busy on this floor, their trolleys loaded with mops, dusters, bin bags and cleaning agents. An open walk-in cupboard off the corridor displayed shelves of freshly laundered, pristine white towels, and neatly folded cotton bed linen. Doors to bedrooms were open as Ella strode past, all the time trying to figure out which one was the royal bedchamber. Her memory of being taken to it the first time was hazy to say the least, due to the concussion, when Darren had carried her there and laid her down on the four poster bed.

    All of a sudden a chambermaid appeared at the doorway to one of the bedrooms; she nodded and smiled at her. Act normal, Ella told herself. She smiled back, catching sight of the room the woman had just come out of. Eureka! The royal bedchamber. Playing for time, Ella continued along the corridor past the opened door and turned right into another. Here she hovered, then crept back and peeped around the corner. There was no sign of the chambermaid, she must have disappeared into the walk-in cupboard. Coast clear, she darted back down the corridor and into the splendid room.

    She stopped to take in her surroundings: the plush royal blue wall to wall carpet, the marble fireplace, filled with an arrangement of pink and white roses which smelled divine, and the solid square four poster bed, topped by the gorgeous canopy of white silk, supported by columns of carved dark oak. Ella longed to flop down on top of it, and sink into the warmth of the red and white brocade counterpane where once she’d lain, invoking bittersweet memories.

    If only she could stay here, imagining how it might be, if what the mirror had told her was true. But she couldn’t because the others would see she was missing and send out a search party. To slip away as she did, while Paula was yabbering on about the wholly unsuitable wedding present of the candy-maker she was planning to give Daphne and Saul, had been easy. But somehow she’d have to get back, without the alarm being raised. And Paula was good at raising the alarm. What on earth had possessed her to do such a stupid thing?

    Outside, the corridor vibrated with the sound of approaching footsteps. The chambermaid! Ella threw herself onto the thick textured royal blue carpet, and scrambled under the four poster, then lay quite still on her back. The chambermaid entered the room, Ella could see her flat back slip-on shoes march across the carpet. The woman made straight for the bathroom, where she appeared to leave some towels, before retracing her steps. She shut the door behind her, and locked it.”

  5. Thanks for changing ‘Pillars’ to ‘Columns’. This will be my last posting here as I think I’ve served my time on this site, and don’t want to over intrude. However, I’d like to say thanks for the great opportunity to expand my current work in progress by these sprints, and snippets, it has helped me to gain some belief in my work, and unlock ideas. I wish everyone here happy writing in the future.

    • We’ve been happy to have you here, Marie, and to read your work-in-progress. Glad the sprints are proving helpful. Stop by anytime.

      Happy writing!

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