Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Expect the Unexpected

It hasn’t been the best of weeks here in beautiful California, which is currently experiencing the deadliest fires in state history.  The set in the northern part of the state started on Sunday and are continuing to blaze away.  Though they are miles away, but the air here has been smoky all week and there is a dusting of ash on the back deck.  Thousands of people have lost their homes and businesses – including two wineries – and dozens of people are confirmed dead so far.

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Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – I Dare You

Have you ever done anything on a dare?

As a kid, dares resulted in me climbing (and getting stuck in) a tree or two, asking a boy to dance at a junior-high dance, and a few things best left unmentioned.

As a teenager, the game “Truth or Dare” was popular, especially at slumber parties.  The dares were typically pretty outrageous, so most players went for “truth” instead.   My memories are a bit hazy, but I’m pretty sure boys were the subject regardless of which was chosen.

The subject of dares is fresh in my mind today because I was just sorting out the DVD cabinet and came across the Christmas Story DVD, which includes the “double-dog-dare-you” scene that results in one of the characters getting their tongue stuck to a frozen pole.  Thankfully, not the kind if dare *I* was ever involved in.

Now that the DVDs are all sorted and I’ve finished my trip down memory lane, it’s time to do a little writing in preparation for next month’s NaNoWriMo.    I’m thinking a few minutes of Random Word Improv will be a great way to get started.

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Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – It’s a Girl!

Today we had a “virtual” baby shower at work for a remote co-worker who is due to deliver a baby girl in a few weeks.   There were no party games or gifts to open, but we did have homemade enchiladas and cake.  It was a little disconcerting having a team gathering via video screens, but it turned out surprisingly well.

I’m lucky enough in my Day Job to work with a small group of people who think of each other more like family than just co-workers.  Work can be crazy, but taking the time out to celebrate birthdays, babies, and other accomplishments make it a bit friendlier.  Plus, there is usually cake.

Now that the shower is all wrapped up, the left-overs packed away, and the mom-to-be sent on her way with a random assortment of conflicting parenting advice, it’s time to take a creativity break.  I’m thinking a few minutes of Random Word Improv will be just the thing.

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Elizabeth: Whose Story is It?

A group of male friends sitting together on a bench telling stories (iStock)

While in Scotland recently, I had the chance to see some beautiful scenery, walk through a castle or two, take a vast number of photographs, and learn a little about the country.  The wonderful guides on the two sightseeing tours I took with Rabbie’s Tours were especially helpful with that last part.

During a total of four days of touring, they kept up a steady flow of historical lore, political intrigue, facts, and figures, with a sprinkling of environmental impact and social justice thrown in for good measure.

The fact that they were dressed in kilts was just icing on the cake. 🙂 Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – In the Dark

As I slowly woke up this morning, the sun was shining, the birds were singing, and someone off in the distance was mowing their lawn.  I was mentally congratulating myself on waking up before the alarm went off when I happened to notice the emergency flashlight glowing from the other side of the room.  I glanced from it to my blank alarm-clock before finally realizing what that meant:  the power was out.

Instead of waking up early, I was in reality late for work.  Ugh.

With no electricity and thus no internet, my plans to work from home instead of driving into the office were dashed.  As I was trying to remember how to get the automatic garage door open without electricity (so I could get the car out), I got a robo-call from the local power company on my cell phone confirming the outage and estimating that all would be restored in less than 2 hours.  What followed next was about 20 minutes of understanding just how much I rely on having power in the house just to do basic things like have breakfast and get ready for work.

Fortunately the power (but not the internet) was back in about an hour and by the time I get home tonight, everything should be back in working order (fingers crossed on that).  I thought maybe this morning’s outage was Mother Nature’s way of reminding me how lucky I am and to help me empathize with the folks in Puerto Rico, Mexico, and all the other places that have been devastated by recent events; some of whom may not have power for weeks or months, in addition to a multitude of other problems they face.

Since no experience is ever wasted for a writer, I’m sure I can put my own power outage to good use in a story.  I’m thinking it may just provide a great way to jump-start a little Random Word Improv.

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Elizabeth: September Short Story

It’s been a while, but now that summer is coming to a close and I’m back from vacation, it’s time to get back to my monthly short stories.

The initial kernel of this story was an actual incident from my past.  That, coupled with an article I read not long ago about the Capital Vices, percolated along for a few days and the story below is the result.

I leave it as an exercise for the reader to decide what the past inciting incident was.


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Taking Care of Business

Madeline Cooper looked around the table in the banquet area of Lucifer’s Landing at the sea of arrogant, vain, greedy suits and couldn’t wait for the results of her carefully laid plans to unfold.  She savored a bite of her lemon tart, the tangy sweetness a nice contrast to the slightly bitter taste of her cappuccino, then stabbed her fork into the hand that persisted in groping her thigh under the table.

“Next time I’ll use the knife,” she murmured to Mr Lucent, owner of the aforementioned hand, as she dropped both it and the fork back into his own lap.  He glowered at her then, his wits scrambled by the vast quantity of alcohol he’d consumed during dinner, apparently decided she was just flirting with him and flashed a lecherous smile instead.

“Tonight’s going to be your lucky night, little lady,” he said with a wink.

You have no idea, she thought. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – From the Headlines

I’m guessing this is a great time to be a news reporter or journalist.  Every day seems to bring a slew of new stories to follow and report on.  The challenge is not finding a news topic, but rather deciding which of the many things happening during the course of the day to choose.

This past week, of course, the news was all about the storms battering the Atlantic.   Now we’ve moved on to clean-up efforts and our tumultuous political environment.  I’ve been so distracted by the evening news I didn’t even notice that football season had started!

After bingeing on the news for the last week-and-a-half after my news-free vacation in Scotland, I’m ready for to dial things back a bit.  Now that I’ve finished today’s New York Times crossword and caught up on the day’s headlines, it’s time to turn off the news and focus on something else.  I’m thinking a little Random Word Improv will be just the thing to get me into a more creative frame of mind.

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