Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Well…this has certainly been a week, hasn’t it?

Folks with retirement in their sights could probably use a strong drink or two right about now, with the stock markets doing their best impressions of Olympic high-divers.

Travelers with plans for cruises or plane trips are probably busily reading the fine-print on their tickets and reeling from both a loss of cash and the loss of activities they may have been looking forward to and saving for.

Fans of baseball, hockey, basketball, and March Madness suddenly have a lot more free time but far fewer places to spend it, and I feel for all of the small business owners who make their living supporting the above sporting events.

St. Patrick’s Day parades, tech conferences, Broadway shows, museums–Disneyland for goodness sake–all have been either cancelled or closed for the foreseeable future in an attempt to damp down a virus that has the potential to continue to spread like an internet meme gone wild.

It’s hardly the stuff of a romance novel…or is it?

My boss at work has repeatedly said that “every crisis has a potential positive aspect”, so I got to thinking,  where is the positive here?  I didn’t have far to look (thanks to a post from some random guy on the internet).  With people staying closer to home, away from crowds, and even quarantined, they’re going to need something to do.

Obviously, they’re going to need books.

Conveniently, we have a blog full of authors right here, plus thousands of others out in the general public busily writing away.  For those who are interested in writing rather than reading to pass some time, we have a fresh set of random words right here ready for immediate use–no direct human contact needed.

I plan to give today’s writing prompt and random words a go once I get home from work.

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 random words and writing prompt will catch your creative fancy.


What if: “Your character just got some new neighbors?

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

confused     diva            copper       commando

grateful      pipe             glumly       avocado 

hectic         teenager      goat           signal

vision        chemical       blurt          brick

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!

6 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

  1. It’s been a heck of a week! And it doesn’t look like we’ll have any improvements in the foreseeable future. This sprint was fun! I had trouble fitting in all the words until I realized what Maxima was reading. And then I got them all in except for blurted. Ah, well.

    The New Neighbor
    “Who is that vision with the bright copper hair moving in across the street?” Grover Cranham peered through the window to the hectic scene outside.

    “She’s as dumb as an avocado, if that’s what you mean.” Grover’s sister Maxima said, not looking up from her brick of a book. The treatise on the efficacy of assorted chemicals in the construction of pipe bombs needed all of her attention if she wanted to get the details right.

    “That isn’t what I meant. And now I’m confused. Are avocados dumb? I never knew.” Grover got off the sofa, signaling his intent to go out.

    “There’s so much you don’t know.” Maxima regarded her brother glumly. She tried to be patient with her teenaged brother, but he had a diva’s attitude combined with the morals of a goat. It could make life difficult sometimes.

    “How do I look? I’m going commando,” Grover said, assuming a stance before her.

    “Ew,” Maxima said, averting her face. “Too much information. I’d be grateful if you’d just leave.”

    “Toodle-oo, then,” Grover said as he headed out. “When next you see me, the Vision and I will be a Thing.”

    “Whatever.” Maxima was already lost in the pages of her text. She had a lot of work to do if her experiment tonight was going to come off without a hitch.

    • Good job, Kay.

      This sprint begs the question, “are avocados dumb?” More than that, however, I’m curious about exactly what kind of experiment Maxima will be conducting this evening. I feel like there is a lot of potential entertainment there.

  2. I loved the sprint last week, but wasn’t able to sit down and write. I made the time today; I only used a few of the words, but oh well.

    I know it’s old-fashioned, but I wanted to meet the neighbors, and I was so nosy after seeing the collection of oddly shaped boxes and “DO NOT DROP” labels coming out of the moving van, so I took over a tray of crackers with my famous avocado and goat cheese dip.

    A bottle of fizzy water, and a short trip across the hall, and there I was. I knocked, and I saw a flicker through the peephole before a low voice said, “Yes?”

    “I’m Sadie, your new neighbor. I live in 17D?” I blurted out. I heard the sound of the door unlocking, and there she was. In sequins at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, her copper hair piled up artfully, but a little disheveled, as if it’d been up for hours and through a few cocktails. “I brought you a little something to nibble on,” I said, helpfully (or so I hoped).

    She smiled and waved me in. “Don’t mind the mess, we’re going to be unpacking for days,” she said, and pointed at a sofa that hadn’t found its final home yet. She pulled up a mysterious crate, shaped like rhombus, to use as a makeshift table, and then sat lightly upon a black leather case that could have housed a French horn if a French horn was four feet across at the bell. She sat at the smaller, mouthpiece end. “My, my, what is this fabulous green stuff?”

    “Oh, just a little avocado and chevre chavignol,” and then I launched into an explanation of where to get the best goat cheese in the neighborhood. My TED talk was interrupted when the case we were using as a table began beeping.

    “Oh, I’m sorry, I must take this,” she said, and made me hold the tray and water while she pulled a crowbar from under the sofa and began opening the crate. Inside was the most marvelous machine – sleek and silver-white, with lights blinking below the surface and it was beeping and blipping harmoniously. She waved her hand across the surface, and a face appeared in the middle . . . a TV screen? I was going to have to ask her where she got it.

    Well, I did not understand a single word of what they said. They spoke a language that came from deep in the throat, yet trilled from the forehead at the endings. Russian? Thai? Vietnamese? I had no idea. But the body language was the same. My new neighbor was shocked, then she looked at me speculatively, and finally she bowed respectfully to the screen while doing some sort of complicated hand gesture.

    The screen went white again, and the lights disappeared behind that smooth, silvery white surface. My neighbor looked at me apologetically. “I’m afraid I have to go now. It was so very nice meeting you, and thank you for the comestibles.” She hesitated, then gave me a small silver button made of the same material as her TV. “Sadie, I’ll remember you after the revolution. Stay safe.”

    Then she literally pushed me out into the hall without giving me a chance of getting my tray back. I was so astonished by the rudeness that I stood there, staring at the door with my jaw agape, I’m afraid I must report. Five minutes later, three figures, encased in the same silvery-white substance as the TV, exited, carrying something that looked like it came out of the mutant French horn case. It looked wickedly dangerous, but they forced open the elevator doors and leaped down the shaft before I could say a thing.

    They’d left their door open. I sneaked back in to pick up my tray, and I’m ashamed to say I succumbed to just a little snooping. Just a little, because those cases wouldn’t open, and everything was too heavy to move in the slightest. I tested the screen of the TV, but when it started beeping and booping again, I lost courage and ran out of the room back to my apartment, where I locked all the doors. I rubbed the little silver button my neighbor had given me like a worrystone. Maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to head to the grocery store – pick up some toilet paper and more fizzy water. And a few pounds of goat cheese. Just to be on the safe side. I’d never been through a revolution before, and I had no idea what to expect.

    • So glad you got a chance to play along after all, Michaeline. What a fun piece! I loved the nod to the current craziness with your “pick up some toilet paper and more fizzy water” line.

      Of course now I’m very curious about the impending revolution and what was in all of those cases. Perhaps we might see a follow-up this coming Friday?

      • (-: I feel like it’s done, but who knows? I can tell you what I think was in the cases: they thought they had more time before the revolution, so had testing equipment and propaganda machines. Magical alien ones. Er, I mean, Handwavium alien ones. Hmmm, I’m kind of curious about what would happen if nosy Sadie managed to turn on the propaganda machine . . . .

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