Elizabeth: Friday Story Time and Sprints

Do you hear that?

It’s the sound of the phone not ringing and no one trying to tell me who or what to vote for; one of the many great things about our current election cycle finally being over.  Well, technically, it’s not completely over, there are still a few races that are too-close-to-call and lots of other drama still going on, but at least the ballot-casting part of the process is done.

The races are all decided here in my area of the country, which is good since the state seems to be on fire again (still?), so people have more immediate things to focus on.   I’m thinking a mass rain-dance might be helpful, or maybe we could tip the country just a bit so the rains from the east coast could drain over here.

The fires are nowhere near me, but the air is very smoky here.   It probably didn’t help that there was a car on fire on the side of the road when I was driving home this evening.  It definitely seems like a good time to stay inside and curl up on the couch with the cat, a cozy blanket, and some coffee and do a little writing.  Since I seem to have written myself into a corner in my current manuscript, I think I’ll try to shake some creativity loose by giving today’s story prompt a try.

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Elizabeth: Friday Story Time and Sprints

Happy Friday and, if you’re participating, happy NaNoWriMo Day 2. How’s that word count going?  I’ll be NaNo-ing this month, as I have for the last several years, but I won’t be starting until the weekend, once my work-day brain has had a chance to recover from a long, crazy week.

Besides being the start of NaNo, we’re also in the final days of the current election cycle, which means non-stop ads for and against the candidates and propositions. My mailbox has been filled for weeks with contradictory flyers telling me who and what to vote for.  Talk about creative writing.

I’ll certainly be glad to have that over and done with, though I’m both eager for and dreading the actual election. I’m hopeful about the results but, since the world seems to have taken a turn for the crazy in recent years, I worry my hope might be misplaced.

Fortunately, I’ll get an extra hour of sleep this weekend where I can dream about happy-ever-afters, thanks to the beginning (end?) of Daylight Savings time. (Coincidentally, that is one of the items on the ballot next week).

Before I take advantage of that extra hour for sleep, I need to get 1,667 words a day on the page. Before I do that, I think I’ll give this week’s story prompt a try as a little creative-writing-ice-breaker.

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Jilly: Were There’s a Will–Sunday Short Story

Last weekend I was part-way through Elizabeth’s short story challenge when I was struck down by a surprise health problem. All’s well now, I’m glad to report, but after three days of blood tests is it any wonder my story brain turned to vampires and werewolves?

Better late than never. Here are the prompt words, and my attempt:

A scandalous family secret is uncovered during the reading of a will, using the words

Eternity                     Teeth                          Grasp                         Poison

Land                           Cocoon                      Blankly                      Haunt

Capture                      Booze                         Casket                        Faint

Bluster                      Shake                         Nerve                         Awful


Were There’s a Will

Annabel McCallan-Whyte stared blankly at her rapacious baby brother. She understood all the words he used, but for a moment or two there she’d failed to grasp his meaning. The sheer nerve of him made her shake with rage. Grandpa was barely in his casket, and Jonathan was already peddling his unique brand of poison.

“A private golf club? Conference facilities? A helipad? Luxury housing? It’s beyond awful. Grandpa would haunt you.”

Jonathan shrugged, but his eyes slid away from hers.

“Come on, sis,” he wheedled. “This place is huge. What else would you do with a hundred acres of prime development land?”

“Give it to the village,” she shot back. “That’s what Grandpa wanted. Use the house for a community center, like they’ve been doing for years.”

Jonathan shrugged again. “So buy or build them one from your half of what this place is worth.”

Luckily the door opened before she could brain him with a priceless Benvenuto Cellini candlestick. She knew old Mr. McLeish, who’d been Grandpa’s lawyer for as long as anyone could remember, but the curly-haired, smooth-faced young guy with him was a stranger. Probably born in the twenty-first century, or at least the very end of the twentieth.

The new kid wore a sweatshirt, a slouchy hat and a broad smile, none of which seemed remotely appropriate given the seriousness of the occasion. Mr. McLeish didn’t seem to mind, but she sent the young man a stern glare. He winked at her.

“Who’s that?” Jonathan glowered at the boy, his face dark with suspicion.

“All in good time, Mr. McCallan-Whyte.” The lawyer shuffled to his usual place at the end of the dining table and set a slim file on the polished walnut. The mystery kid helped him settle into his seat, and then parked himself in Grandpa’s carved chair at the head of the table, where he slouched, entirely at ease.

It was too much to bear. Annabel almost reached for the candlestick again, but something in the boy’s expression made her think better of it. She knew she’d never met him before, but there was something terribly familiar about the way his cheeks dimpled, as though he was enjoying a private joke at their expense.

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Elizabeth: Friday Story Time and Sprints

I can’t believe I forgot it was Friday!

In my defense, I have the day off work today, so all I was thinking about was the various projects I would have time to work on (theoretically) and that I could sleep in instead of joining the commuter rush this morning. Sadly, “post” and “write” didn’t make it to the initial list.

Now that I’ve come to my senses – thanks to a jolt of caffeine – I’m rethinking my erring ways and making sure there’s a spot for writing on the list, right there between a trip to the hardware store and baking oatmeal pecan cookies. To get things started, I plan to warm up my creativity with today’s story prompt.

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Elizabeth: Friday Story Time and Sprints

After Kay’s fun book cover post yesterday I spent more time than I’m willing to admit searching the internet for images for my own potential covers this afternoon.  Finding just the right image that will act as the perfect “invitation” for readers to pick up a book is even more challenging than I expected.

I’m feeling very creatively challenged right now.

Adding extra complexity to the process is figuring out a consistent style / theme to use for a multi-book series.   It’s almost enough to make me glad I don’t have a bunch of completed books ready and waiting for their covers.

Oh who am I kidding?  That sounds like a great position to be in.

Since that’s definitely not the case, and since I’ve finished the last of the ARCs pending in my reading queue, it seems like a good time to step away from the internet and get to work.  Before I go back to throwing obstacles in the way of Cassie & Nicolai’s happily-ever-after I think I’ll warm up my creativity with today’s story prompt.

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Elizabeth: Friday Story Time and Sprints

I have lots of books to be read, stories to be written, and tasks to complete from my ever-expanding ToDo list.  Naturally, I decided to stop by the local craft store the other day, just to look around.  I didn’t need anything, of course, but they had yarn on sale and I found some that was pretty and super-soft (and did I mention on sale!), so naturally I had to get it.

That is why instead of reading or writing or doing, I’ve spent the last few evenings after work turning six skeins of pretty, super-soft yarn into a pretty, super-soft blanket, courtesy of my trusty “J” crochet hook.  Can a person really have too many blankets?  I’m hoping the answer is no, otherwise I might have to go into the blanket-fort-building business, just to justify their existence.

Anyway, the weather has taken a turn toward the chilly in recent days – perfect time to curl up on the couch with a my new fluffy blanket, a pot of tea, and get some words on the page.  I have a number of stories in progress, not to mention several shiny new ideas floating around, but I think I’ll start out giving today’s random words and writing prompt a try.

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Elizabeth: Friday Story Time and Sprints

Happy 1st Friday in October.

In my post earlier this week I mentioned that social media can sometimes bring out the worst in people, but yesterday I saw the opposite and it made me think that Luke Bryan may have been right with his song, I Believe Most People Are Good.

I have a group of friends and acquaintances that I only know through the internet.  We met as commenters on various websites and blogs and formed a community that has lasted for years, supporting each other through good times and bad.  Most of us have never met face-to-face, but we’re friends nonetheless.

Yesterday, I saw the positive power of that community surround one of our own who has been tirelessly battling against advanced cancer; a cancer that seems finally to have seized the upper hand.  There were messages of love and strength and support, and I hope they were of comfort as she saw them or her husband read them to her. Over the past years, it has been wonderful seeing this group rally around each other, whatever the circumstances, and it’s nice to know they are there, no matter what.

It looks to be a beautiful day out at the moment, a good time to take a little break from the internet and focus on something different.  I think I’ll take my coffee out onto the patio and see what I can do with today’s random words and writing prompt.

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