Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Here Comes the Sun

At a recent checkup, my doctor asked whether I spend much time in the sun.  I laughed, flashed a blindingly-pale arm, and said “I’m really more of an ‘indoors with a book’ type.”  However, during this time of year, with its sunny skies and extended hours of daylight, even I venture outside from time to time.

We’ve been having a bit of a heat-wave the last week or so – not like Arizona melt-the-pavement hot, but hot nonetheless – so my outside time is currently limited to dinner on the back deck once the cooling breezes have kicked in but before the bugs and wildlife have started roaming around.  In the lake that I can see outside my office window at work, there have been little groups of boaters (kayakers, maybe?) all week, as well as a gondolier who appears in late afternoon.  They’re too far away for me to tell for sure, but I’m betting they’re all having a good time.

Regardless of whether you prefer to spend your summer days inside or out, taking a few minutes for a little Random Word Improv is a great way to have a little fun and get some words on the page.  So, whether you’re relaxing with a frosty beverage, slaving away in a temperature-controlled office, dreaming of a tropical getaway, or just looking for a little distraction, find a comfortable spot, kick off your shoes, and let’s get ready to write.

Are you with me?

Today’s random words are summer themed, but don’t let that constrain you.  Bonus points if you manage to include the Loch Ness monster in your sprint (I’ve been in a Scotland frame of mind recently):

             sun                    sand                      cabin                     canoe

             heat                   melt                      ice cream            floaties

             bikini                raft                        breeze                  freckled

             hat                     campfire              lake                       towel

For any of you new to Random Word Improv, here’s how we play:

  1. Pick as many words from the list as you want
  2. Write the first line(s) of a story incorporating your words
  3. Post your results in the comments section.

Okay.  Are you ready?  Let’s sprint!

*whistling aimlessly while you are off being creative*

Elizabeth: Writer’s Bucket List

A while back Kay posted about a Writer’s Police Academy  that is being held this August at the International Public Safety Training Academy in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  The conference – which includes sessions on police procedures and the opportunity for some shooting range practice – sounded like just what I needed to give my mystery-story-in-process a shot of realism.  Had I perfected the ability to be in two places at one time, I’d have signed up in a New York minute.

Though the timing didn’t work out, the Academy got me thinking about what other things I’d put on my list of Things To Do, in an effort to infuse my stories with a little extra realism.  In no particular order, here are a few things I came up with:

Ready, Aim, Fire!

Continue reading

Elizabeth: Disability Depictions

Looking for your weekly dose of Writing Sprints?  Head on over to our Wednesday post for this week’s words and resulting stories.  There’s still plenty of time to play along.

As Michille mentioned in her post yesterday, the annual RWA conference is fast approaching.   In going through the proposed schedule of workshops this afternoon I was amused to see that the session about “Optimizing Writers Conferences” is being offered on Friday afternoon – more than half-way through the conference.  Somehow that seems less than optimal.

Every year the conference seems to have several sessions focused on a particular theme or topic.  At the first conference I went to it was “self-publishing” (that was quite a while ago).  Other years have addressed forensics, the military, and crime-scene processing.    The last conference I was at had a number of sessions talking about how to increase diversity in writing – both from the stand point of diverse characterizations and attracting diverse writers – a topic that is still being talked about and worked on in the writing community.

There appear to be several new topics on the schedule this year and one workshop that caught my eye was “Creating Authentic Characters with Disabilities.” Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – The Wednesday Edition

I know what you’re thinking.  Today’s not Friday.  But don’t you wish it was?

I certainly do.

Though we usually do our Writing Sprints on Friday, I thought it might be fun to switch things up a little this week and maybe get a few folks to play along who don’t have time on Fridays.  (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)  Hopefully you’ll be able to carve out 15 minutes or so to see what you can do with today’s words.

I’m buoyed by the success of last Friday’s Writing Sprints, where I actually (thanks to some nudging by Eight Lady Michaeline) managed to post a story, so I’m eager to try again while the Girls in the Basement seem to be in the writing frame of mind.  There’s nothing like a little Random Word Improv to flex your creativity and get some words on the page.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – with Best Friends

We are definitely in strange times these days.  Point in case – when I arrived at work today, I told my boss “sorry I’m a little late, I was watching television” and my comment was not met with a frown.  Instead she said, “me too,” and we launched into a spirited discussion.  If you’d have told me a year ago that I would spend the morning watching congressional hearings on CNN, I’d have said you were crazy.  Obviously, the times have changed.

As I writer, I can’t help but think current events have far surpassed the limits of my own imagination.  I’ve also been interested by how often I’ve heard comments like “framing the narrative” and “piecing together the story” in political coverage.  I guess storytelling really is everywhere.

Since I’ve had enough politics for the day, it’s time to focus on something else.  Fortunately, my news feed tells me that it’s “Best Friends Day.”  That sounds like something good to celebrate, since where would be without best friends.  It also sounds like the perfect topic for a little Random Word Improv, since almost everyone is likely to have a best friend story or two in their history.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Hidden in Plain Sight

I’m currently working my way through draft 457,338 of my Regency romance.  Yes, I did say I was going to draw a line under it and move on a few months back, but I had some Ideas recently, so it’s an active manuscript once again.  The story’s hero was a spy during the wars and, though the fighting is over and Napoleon is safely tucked away on St. Helena, there is one last mission that must be completed.  Cue clandestine messages, secrets, and mysteries to be unraveled.

John Nagy’s Invisible Ink (spy-craft of the American Revolution) and Sue Wilkes’ Regency Spies have given me some good ideas about how to pass secret messages, hide information, and generally do things right under peoples’ noses without anyone being the wiser, but I’m always on the lookout for new and creative ways to do so.  I’m especially on the alert for ways that women could be involved in the process.

Naturally, I couldn’t pass up this article without a closer look Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – the Back to Nature Edition

Earth Day might have been celebrated back in April, but it feels like we should probably do a refresh on that after all of today’s climate policy news.  Fortunately, I’ve been able to find at least a little good to go with the bad.

At the day job, I spent part of today in a brainstorming session looking at ways to reduce our environmental footprint; when I got home our governor was on the news reiterating our state’s commitment to working to combat climate change (as were many other leaders and corporations); and on Facebook, one of our own Eight Ladies posted a photo of her carbon-footprint-reducing efforts – a new solar panel installation.   On a smaller scale, I’m off work on Friday, so I’ll be sparing the local air my usual 2 hours of auto emissions.  Baby steps.

With the backyard growing season well underway (especially for weeds), I looks like my day off is going to include a fair amount of yard work.  If all goes well, it will also include a fair amount of writing, and what better way to get at least some of those words on the page than with a little Random Word Improv?

Who’s with me? Continue reading