Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

I have been craving chocolate dipped blueberries for weeks.

I blame Louise Penny and her story, The Beautiful Mystery (or as I like to think of it – The Mystery of the Murderous Monk).  Her description of the chocolate dipped delights, like all of her food-related descriptions, had me searching the aisles at the local markets.  I was finally successful a few days ago, but the package remains on the counter, unopened.

Crazy, right?

I think it’s unlikely that they will taste as delicious as what Penny described, but as long as they are in the package, I can believe they will.  Once the package is open, reality will kick in.  Sure, they might be even better than I’m expecting, but then again they may not.  So for now, I’ve got a good book in hand and potential deliciousness awaiting.

To take my mind of chocolate dipped blueberries, flaky croissants, baguettes, cafe au lait, and all of the other delicious-sounding food Penny includes in her stories, I’m going to spend some time trying to put some non-food-related words on the page.  I have a story in progress, but I think I’ll start things off with an attempt at today’s random words/prompt.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Happy Friday!  Hope you’ve had a good week and, if you were in one of the areas with earthquakes, high winds, lashing rain, blizzard conditions, or just politics-as-usual, that you have survived unscathed.

It has been a hectic week at the Day Job, so I’m looking forward to some downtime and dinner with friends this weekend.  If you’re looking for something a little more exciting, then you’re in luck.  Saturday marks the 3rd Annual Women’s March.  The main march will be in Washington, D.C., but there are satellite events scheduled across the globe, including one just blocks from my office.  If you’re interested in attending, check here to see if there will be a march near you.

Not in the mood for marching this weekend?  Well, Saturday is National Popcorn Day, so maybe you can celebrate by heading off to the movies with a big bucket of buttery deliciousness.

I’ll be here curled up on the couch with a cozy blanket, a mug of coffee, and a lazy cat, alternating between reading the latest Louise Penny book I’m in the midst of, and doing some writing of my own.  I’ve got a story with a sagging-middle that needs some work, but before I tackle that I think I’ll try and jump-start my creativity by giving today’s “what-if” and random words a try.

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Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

How has your week been going so far?  More bright days than dark, or are you living under the cloud of our country’s current game of chicken?  Hopefully it’s the former, not the later.

Things have been going pretty well here at the Writing Castle.  The vestiges of Christmas are still hanging on, but the tree’s days are definitely numbered, no matter how much I enjoy coming home to the sparkly lights.

The other thing I’ve been enjoying is, unexpectedly, getting a fair number of words on the page.  Obviously my Girls in the Basement are fickle – as soon as I told them, don’t worry, take a break, we’re going to focus on fun for a while – they started throwing up thoughts and plans for my Cassie & Nicolas manuscript that has been sitting on the desk, neglected and gathering virtual dust.

Not that I’m complaining.

Though “fun” is still front and center on my radar, I’m going to give the Girls their heads and let them play around with today’s “what-if” after work.

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Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Welcome to the our first Writing Sprints of the year.  Hope you are all well rested, refreshed, and ready to put your creativity to good use.

I’ve been reading lots of mysteries lately.  For the investigators in the stories, it’s a case of asking, “and then what happened,” over and over again to reach the truth.  From the writing perspective, the start of a new story is more often a case of, “what would happen if?”

  • What would happen if someone down on their luck suddenly won the lottery?  (I happened to someone in real-life just recently).
  • What would happen if a close-knit community suffered a devastating fire? (This is a real-life what-if, culled from the headlines.)
  • What would happen if “the detective investigating a crime fell in love with the suspect?” (This happens in my current contemporary mystery).

This year, our story prompts are going to focus on “what-if” scenarios, and we’re going to see what happens from there.  I’ve got lots of story ideas floating around in my head – either left there by Santa or fueled by all of the holiday treats I may or may not have consumed.  Regardless of where they came from, I’m going to try to put them to good use by giving today’s story prompt a try as soon as I get home from work.

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Elizabeth: Friday Story Time and Sprints

Can you believe we’ve made it to the last Friday of the year?  That means we’ve made it through 51 weeks worth of writing sprints and creative short stories based on random themes and even more random words.

That’s a lot!

A big thanks goes out to everyone who has played along this year.   There have been some very fun stories posted with a lot of interesting characters and creative situations.  I hope you’ve enjoyed them as much as I have.

What better way to say goodbye to the current year that with a last burst of random creativity.  I’m going to give today’s words a try as soon as I get home from work.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: A Change of Plans – A Christmas Short Story

This year’s Christmas Short Story Challenge is well underway.  If you’ve been busy with holiday preparations and haven’t had a chance to check out Michaeline, Jilly, or Jeanne’s entries, you can find them here, here, and here.

I’ll have to confess that, although I’ve had the words and writing prompt sitting on my desk for a while now, I dawdled a bit and didn’t sit down and turn them into a story until the Christmas festivities were completed, the prime rib and Yorkshire pudding eaten, and the guests sent on their merry way.  The story was initially going to be a pair of spies working undercover who had been trapped into getting married, so as  not to blow their cover.  Unfortunately, the bride just could not seem to keep the look of loathing off of her face during the ceremony, which made me think it was going to take more than a short story for me to get them to any semblance of a happy ending.

Fortunately, another idea came to mind.  I hope you enjoy it. Continue reading

Jilly: Breaking With Tradition – A Christmas Short Story

Where does the time go? Can you believe this is the fifth year of the Eight Ladies Christmas Short Story Challenge?

Check out Elizabeth’s post here for the rules and this year’s story prompts (I think I got ‘em all). And go here for Michaeline’s spooky and moving ghost story.

Below is mine—not exactly a HEA, but something sunny to contrast with Michaeline’s dark night of the soul 😉 .

***

Breaking With Tradition

Mia Bougainvillea glowered at her husband-to-be, wondering yet again what on earth had induced him to propose marriage. It was beyond baffling.

She knew why she’d accepted. He was her boss’s son. A brilliant scholar. Rich. Classy. Stylish. Blond, tanned, and perfectly proportioned. Out of her league. She’d been drunk on flattery and Dom Perignon. And now here they were, on her island, in a collision of cultures that had bypassed fiasco and was thundering toward disaster.

“Sorry, Mia. I’m not walking up there.” The midday sun reflected off Arthur’s mirrored shades as he stared at the sacred volcano, powerful and mysterious. “It must be five miles to the top.”

“It’s traditional,” Mia repeated. She folded her arms grimly over the knot of her bridal pilgrimage flame-print sarong.

His lower lip jutted. “I gave you my grandmother’s diamond solitaire. Isn’t that traditional enough?”

She shook her head, dislodging a few fragrant petals from her flower crown. “We have to walk to the crater and ask for Pinguis’s blessing. No islander would get married here without it. You said you were looking forward to it. You said it would be fun.”

“I was ambivalent at best.” His voice rose to a whine that made him sound like a colicky, grizzly baby. “Furthermore, when you first broached the idea I didn’t know it would be so damned hot.”

“You’d be cooler if you lost the suit and tie.”

“For the last time, Mia, a gentleman does not wear a skirt, even in the tropics.” He leaned forward slightly, eyes narrowed. “Are you naked under that wrap?”

“Of course. It’s customary.” She slanted a glance at him. “Many people find it sexy.”

“It’s embarrassing.” He smoothed out a non-existent crease in his sleeve. “Why don’t you put some proper clothes on—something that fastens. With a zipper. Or buttons. I’ll take you for lunch at the yacht club.”

Pinguis, help me. The honeymoon was over, and they weren’t even married yet.

“It’s not too late, Arthur,” she heard herself blurt.

Continue reading