Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Welcome to that transitional period between summer and fall where the stores are bringing out holiday merchandise while we’re all still in shorts and sandals.

It’s also that special time of year here in the Writing Castle when ants start coming out of the woodwork.


I don’t know if they’re thirsty or trying to get out of the heat, but they’ve pretty much laid claim to the kitchen for the last week or so.  I’m not a big fan of toxic chemicals – especially in the kitchen – so we’re pretty much at a stalemate.  I wash down the counters with soap and water every day and, as long as they don’t start expanding into other rooms, we’re okay.

If nothing else, having them around has ensured that I don’t leave any dirty dishes in the sink and that all the foodstuffs are sealed up and put away where they belong.  Maybe that is the purpose of the annual ant-swarm:  a cleanliness reminder.

Well, if that’s so, then consider me reminded.

I’m ending this week with a little rest and relaxation- a few days off from Ye Olde Day Jobe, where I have lots of “doing nothing” planned.  I checked email on my phone today about a dozen times so I still need a little help on that but I’m sure I’ll  I’ll do better tomorrow.

One thing I do have planned for my time off is a little writing, and I think I’ll kick things off by giving today’s story 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 had an unexpected visitor?”

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

purple             hangover      flake           convertible

tense               rattle              driver         beaten

greedy            contempt     backyard   drink

extravagant   revenge       greed          frozen 

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!

11 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

  1. I still visit here and read your sprint tasks as they give me ideas for my work in progress. You really helped to kick start a whole lot of stuff. Thanks again! I’m currently converting my work into the present tense from past, a very interesting exercise – has anyone else ever tried that? It makes everything more immediate and seems to suit the genre better. Also, I find that my writing has become more economical, as a result.

    • Marie, so glad to hear that these sprints have helped you in your writing. That’s what they are all about.

      Transitioning a story can be a challenging, but wonderful experience. My current contemporary work-in-progress started out in the third-person POV. Partway through I went back and re-wrote it in first-person and found it worked much better that way. As you say, it does make everything more immediate. I can be a bit challenging though, to present the non-POV characters in a well-rounded way and to avoid having the POV character spend too much time “thinking” and not enough time “doing”.

      Good luck on your transition from past to present tense. I’d love to hear how that works out for you and what you learn along the way.

      • Thank you. Your comments are very interesting. I agree with all you say about the POV character and the non POV ones, as I have exactly the same situation.

    • I find it interesting that by changing to first person, your writing has become more economical. I try constantly to reduce my word counts, because I think when you decide to replace two words with one, you find a sharper word, and that makes one’s writing more vivid, as well. Let us see a sample when you’re ready!

  2. Elizabeth, I feel for you with your ant visitors! I seem to be having an unusual number of fruit flies, even though I take out the composting every day. It must be the season. I couldn’t get all the words in today—I’m missing hangover, frozen, and greedy, I think. Ah, well! Still good to get the juices flowing.

    Friday the 13th

    Mellie Abernathy looked out the window, waiting for her sister Avery to arrive. When a purple convertible Cadillac pulled up in front of the house, she dashed out to meet her. Her extravagant older sister might be a flake, but never once in their lives had she let Mellie down.

    “Hey,” Mellie said as they hugged. “Awesome ride. Are we going somewhere in it?”

    “Heck, yeah,” Avery said. “It’s Friday the 13th, kiddo. We got places to be. Jump in.”

    “Like where? And, are you sure? It’s an unlucky day. Maybe we should stay in the backyard and play badminton and drink lemonade.”

    Avery got in the driver’s seat and adjusted the rear-view mirror.

    “Nope,” she said, pulling away from the curb. “We’re going to the beach. Where we will be celebrating the original Friday the 13th.”

    “Um,” Mellie said, suddenly tense. “Like, will we be getting beaten to death in some revenge killing before being stuffed in the freezer and fed to the dogs?”

    “What a vivid imagination you have, Mel. Or else you’re seeing too many horror movies. No.”

    “What then?”

    “We’re meeting with my women’s book group, and we will be dancing in a circle to worship the Divine Feminine. And shaking our booty and maybe some rattles.”

    “Excuse me?”

    Avery smiled at her younger sister.

    “We’re been reading about the Divine Feminine. Long ago, Friday the 13th used to be the day of the Goddess. It honored the cycles of creation and death and rebirth.”

    “Oh, ah, sure,” Mellie said. “Friday the 13th, absolutely.”

    “And then patriarchy came along and brought with it a general contempt for women.”

    “Been there, bought the tee-shirt,” Mellie said.

    “So we’re taking back that day. Mostly I think we’ll eat hot dogs and drink wine. And there’s Florio’s whipped cream cake.”

    “I love that cake,” Mellie said. “Friday the 13th, count me in.”

  3. Sorry about your ants, Elizabeth. We seem to be inundated with spiders right now. In general I don’t mind them, but we seem to have more cobwebs than a haunted house.

    My creative juices seem to be taking a turn for the macabre. Maybe it’s the changing seasons 😉 . I think I got all the words, though.

    When Life Sends You Lemons…

    “Another drink?” Lavinia poured her guest a second glassful without waiting for an answer. “My frozen hard lemonade is an old family recipe, flavored with herbs from my mama’s garden.”

    “Potent, but delicious.” Gerald Sharp, the Credulous family’s longstanding financial advisor, raised his glass in fake bonhomie and leered at her over the frosted rim. He quaffed the contents in a couple of rapid, greedy gulps. “I’ll probably have a hangover tomorrow, but it will be worth it.”

    “I can guarantee you won’t.” Lavinia beamed her most extravagant smile, aiming for somewhere between airhead and flake. “But tell me more about those bonds. What exactly are they convertible into?”

    “Truffle trees in Albania. Vintage cars in Cuba. Thoroughbred bloodstock trained on a secret ranch in Argentina. Or other opportunities, selected at my discretion. Whichever I think will generate the best return.” Gerald’s smirk was equal parts greed and contempt. “Your inheritance is safe with me. My investment package has beaten the Dow by at least 50 per cent every year for the last decade.”

    His skin was already flushing an unattractive shade of purple. In the next couple of minutes his muscles would tense before seizing up completely. Then it would all be over for Gerald bar the death rattle.

    “Justice is done.” Lavinia smiled again, a satisfied grin that started slow and spread so wide her cheeks ached. Revenge was a powerful driver.

    If the bonds he’d sold Daddy were worth what she thought they were worth, Lavinia would lose her childhood home. But at least she’d leave the architect of her misfortunes to fertilize the backyard.

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