Then I came across the picture to the left in an old post in my Facebook feed and I got the germ of an idea for a short story of my own. As always, it took a slightly different turn than I had expected when I started out, but still I’m pretty happy with it.
Apologies to Jilly for summarily commandeering her characters and setting for my story – it just sort of happened. 🙂
Anyway, without further ado, here is a Jilly-inspired short story using this Friday’s prompts: a character who found something unexpected, incorporating the words basket, symbol, siren, bottle, freewill, baby, future, confusion, absurdly, little, grabbing, aroma, banana, vision, identical and robbery.
Jilly has started a trend with her posts based on our Friday writing sprints. I took her posting this past Sunday as a challenge to keep up with my own sprinting. So here, without further ado, is a short story (that didn’t quite go the way I expected it to) about a character who was featured in a newspaper, using the prompt words bikini, flirtation, blowtorch, confidential, parcel, baptism, excuse, dishonest, lump, warning, needle, heavenly, twisted, mindless, fake and sky.
Bleary-eyed and barely awake, Carolyn scanned the morning edition of the Capitol Gazette while waiting for the toaster and coffee-maker to finish their respective tasks. The heavenly scent of warm crusty bread battled with dark rich espresso and some other faint smell that didn’t bear investigating too closely.
The only investigation she was interested in at the moment involved General Blunderbuss and his wandering hands.
Capitol City’s latest entrant in the #MeToo Hall of Shame.
Years ago, back when she was just an entry-level law clerk, Carolyn had a number of run-ins with the General, who was one of her boss’ major clients. The General, who had only a passing acquaintance with morals and ethics, had an unfortunate tendency to confuse friendliness with flirtation.
I didn’t get a chance to play along with last week’s writing sprints, but after reading Kay’s story (The Scarf) on Friday and Jilly’s story (The Great Escape) on Sunday I was motivated to belatedly join in the fun today.
So, without further ado, here’s a short story featuring a character who lost something important, including (most of) the words proud, plaid, thief, viper, whisper, drawer, crazy, disguised, deceit, fictional, ideal, sibling, insecure, nerve, garden, and squirrel.
The Family Legacy
Ricki surveyed the scene in front of her with thinly disguised revulsion.
She didn’t want to speak ill of the dead and call Granny Graves crazy, but the overflowing drawers, overloaded shelves, and overpowering effluvia hardly pointed to a well-balanced mind.
Granny had been house-proud once upon a time, with slipcovers to protect the upholstery and plastic runners to protect the floors; everything arranged just so. You took your life in your hands if you tracked in mud or left anything lying around.
Today has been a very damp dreary day. I’m sure the lawns, trees, and reservoirs all appreciate the influx of water, but I did not enjoy it at all during my very long, very early commute this morning, especially since my windshield wipers are apparently overdue for replacement.
Fortunately I’m back home now, curled up on the couch under my favorite quilt with the cat purring away. I managed to add about 1,800 words to my manuscript between dinner and Wheel of Fortune™, and I’m hoping to make some more good progress before calling it a night. Continue reading →
Alert readers of the blog may have noticed that there was no Writing Sprint post last Friday. I’d love to say that was all part of a plan, but the reality is that I was so busy with my daily NaNo words last week that I completely lost track of the days. I just barely caught on when I went to publish the Friday post and saw that it was actually Saturday. <facepalm>
On the plus side, I wrote a lot of new words last week and now I have a spare post for some time in the future. Always a bright side.
For this month, since many folks are head’s down on their NaNo stories and might not need the extra motivation of a group of random words to spark their creativity, we’re going to change things up a little.
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.
As Nancy wrote in her Writers Resist post on Monday and Kay reiterated in her Art in Turbulent Times post last Thursday, it’s important to keep creating (whatever your art), even when things are challenging; maybe especially when things are challenging.
I’ve been making a concerted effort these past weeks to make sure my daily writing time doesn’t get swept away by deep dives into the internet news vortex or extra hours at work. My success has been varied (my boss did have to tell me to go home this evening), but I think I’m starting to get the hang of it.
To help keep myself honest and on track, I’ll be posting a short-short story once a month in my Wednesday post. Today’s story is based on the last few Friday Writing Sprint word-sets.
I’ve been thinking a lot about challenges recently, specifically, internally motivated challenges – the kind we set for ourselves. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a bit of a challenge junkie, which probably goes hand-in-hand with being a very goal-oriented person. I like to see that challenge or goal or thing I’m not quite sure I can achieve sitting out there on the horizon. I like developing a plan of strategies and tactics to get to it. And while I don’t always love the plan when I’m in the thick of it, I’m very good at keeping my eye on the prize and powering through the tough parts.
This tendency has its downside, as you can imagine. It can be difficult for me to know when a challenge is the wrong thing for me or to recognize when it’s not going well (like the 3-day cleanse/eating reset/borderline fast I did recently. Zero stars. Will not do again). In physical challenges, I’ve been known to push through the pain, which can be a bad thing when that pain turns out to be a long-term issue like a strained SI joint or a broken finger. And in business – well, let’s just say I’ve worked some ridiculously long, hard hours on more than one complex and intense project. But I keep setting challenges for myself. Why? As I asked myself that question in the middle of the 3-day fast from hell, my hunger-fueled brain came up with only one clear answer – most of the time, challenges work for me.
Okay, now we’re getting somewhere! As a writer, my next logical question was, of course, how can I use this to my advantage in my writing life? Continue reading →
Red Rain by Stefano Corso, courtesy of Creative Commons
For the past few weeks, I’ve talked about short fiction – about writing it, about ideas for using it as part of series and marketing campaigns, and about all its different forms. Each Friday here at 8LW, our own Elizabeth provides word lists we can use for writing sprints, which are really short-fiction warm-ups. (We even have a serial story going in the comments, thanks to Penny H! Check out the comments sections here, here, and here to get caught up on the sad fate of Timothy James Bartleby.)
If you really love short fiction challenges, either writing or reading them, you might want to check out Chuck Wendig‘s Friday blog posts for his flash fiction Friday prompts. You can also pop by Writer Unboxed, where they run monthly short fiction (really short, like 250 words short!) contests. The WU December contest is their Grand Finale, and is limited to the previous winners of the monthly contests.
This year, the WU monthly finalists were asked to write one more story, this one based on the image I’ve re-posted at the top of this post. As soon as I saw that picture, a story started forming in my mind. The bad news: I can’t participate in the challenge, not having finaled (or participated) in previous contests. The good news: since I wasn’t competing, I could make up my own rules. Hence, my Red Rain-inspired short story is 1000 words long. The protagonist is the main character from a future mystery book or series set in Copenhagen, which I will write someday in the (possibly distant) future. If you’d like to write a story or vignette about this photo, feel free to post it in the comments! In the meantime, I give you …