Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Back to School Edition

I thought I was seeing things when I went shopping the other day and saw the giant back-to-school section.  Didn’t summer just start a week or so ago?  Obviously someone bumped the passage-of-time control to warp speed.   Now I’m afraid to stop at the local big box store – they probably have Halloween costumes and Christmas decorations out already.

Though I may have a fondness for school supplies – crayons are my weakness – I’m in no rush for school to start.  It’s not because I will be going back to school, but because of all the traffic that will be back on the roads, once summer vacations come to an end.  Guess it’s time to set that morning alarm a little earlier.  Or I could just be late for work.  That seems more appealing, although potentially riskier.

I guess I’ll just have to enjoy my (brief) remaining mornings of “not terrible” traffic and find something to distract me from the racing passage of time.  Delving into my work-in-progress sounds like just the thing.  I think I’ll jump-start my creativity with a little Random Word Improv warm-up session.

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Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – With Fresh Lemon Scent

Sadly, the blog is not equipped with scratch-n-sniff capabilities so you’ll just have to imagine the fresh scent of the lemons I picked from the tree in my backyard.  I see a lot of lemonade in my future, and maybe a lemon tart or some lemon pudding cake too.

Great, now I’m hungry again.

The lemon tree, like my climbing roses and a few of the other plants in the yard had a growth spurt while I was off in Orlando last week.  Must have been all that rain we had this past winter, coupled, with the current warm, sunny skies.  The local wildlife seems to have experienced a growth spurt as well.  The raccoon, possum, and skunk who scour my front porch in the evenings looking for food and water have almost doubled in size.  I’m guessing they’ve been clearing out the neighborhood cat-food dishes.    Today’s raccoon looked positively disgruntled when he realized there was nothing but a bowl of water to be had.  He and the cat had a stare-off through the screen door.

Now that the yard work is done Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – From the Sprint Cafe

Today’s writing sprints are coming to you directly from the sun-drenched splendor of the RWA Conference in Orlando.

This year’s conference contains a number of new elements, including “Sprint Café” sessions.  During these hour-long periods, the workshop leaders and attendees all “put their butts in their chairs, set the clock, and write as much as they can in one hour.”

What’s not to like about that?

The first session was on Wednesday and there is another session today (Friday) – perfect timing for our own Random Word Improv writing.  There is nothing like being in a room with other individuals writing away to provide the motivation to get some words on the page.

I’ll be doing my best to make it to today’s session though, according to my workshop schedule that may involve me being in two places at one time.  Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Now With a Thesaurus

The contemporary romance that I’m currently plotting involves a news reporter, sent to cover a contentious political campaign somewhere in Kansas, or maybe it’s Missouri or Nebraska.  Wherever it is, there are a number of things I need to learn in order to figure this story out.  First and foremost, I need a good idea about the life and activities of a news reporter.

Luckily for me, I just so happen to work for a former journalist who has been (and I hope will continue to be) a great resource.  Supplementing that, I’ve been watching local and network news with an extra level of attention.  It has been quite educational, as well as a little disturbing   In a way it’s been kind of like pulling back the curtain to see how a magic trick works.

One point that has come out of all of this “research” is the power of individual words.  The slant of a story can be spun in completely different ways, just with a few changes in words.  The challenge is in finding the “right” words and to avoid using the same ones over and over again.  One newscaster recently commented, something along the lines of, “with all the investigation and scandal talk, we’ve really have to break out the thesaurus to avoid repeating ourselves.”

I can picture a scene where my news reporting heroine is working on a story and trying to find a fresh new word to avoid that “repeating.”  I’m thinking maybe the potential hero could help her with that; since they are adversaries that might be fun.  I’ll have to cogitate on that a bit, right after I indulge in a little Random Word Improv.

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Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Now With Goats!

Summer is blazing right along, which of course means it’s time for the goats.


I don’t know if it happens where you live, but out here trailers full of goats are periodically brought in to clear the dry brush from the hills and roadsides.  This week there were hundreds of them munching their way along a nearby drainage canal and the surrounding incline.   Two days of steady eating and the area is bare and no longer a fire risk.  That’s a good thing, since even though the 4th of July is well past, enterprising individuals continue setting off celebratory incendiary devices.

I’m not sure why I get a kick out of seeing the goats in action, but I’m not the only one.  There were several cars pulled over yesterday as their owners took pictures, as well as a couple of families attempting to get an up close look.    I wish I could have seen how they loaded the goats up when they were done though.  How many trailers does it take to transport a couple of hundred (very full) goats?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Since I’m not likely to get an answer to the goat/trailer question any time soon, I better find something to distract my attention.  I think I’ll try a little Random Word Improv.

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Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Smile for the Camera

Recently I had cause to go through some boxes of family photos.  My brother is in the process of transferring old home movies and things onto DVDs and he came across some footage from a long ago Christmas that included, among other things, a box full of puppies.  For the life of us, neither of us remembers that box of puppies or has any idea where they came from.  I was hoping I might have some still photos of the holiday, but no such luck.  Rather, I found photos from what I think was that day, but there was nary a puppy in sight.

Along the way I got distracted by the photos themselves – specifically the hair and clothing styles, not to mention the furnishings and decorations.  I think I flipped through about thirty years’ worth of photos in about an hour.  Whether taken with an old Polaroid, a Kodak Instamatic, or modern digital camera, my family has a definite fondness for taking pictures of people taking pictures and we seem to be incapable of taking a group shot free of someone making a face or having their eyes shut.

Most of the photos I have reside in scrapbooks, but there are a few boxes left to deal with.   That, however, will have to wait for another day.  As I noted in this past Monday’s accountability post, I’ve done an excellent job reading recently, but not such a good job with writing.  I’ll be focusing on changing that this weekend.  To kick things off I think I’ll start with a little Random Word Improv.

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Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Road Trip!

Here in the States we’re heading into a holiday weekend which will culminate in a the 4th of July on Tuesday.  For most people, the holiday is less about celebrating our country’s independence and more about friends, parades, barbecues, and family gatherings.  On the news there will no doubt be coverage of a few hotdog- or pie-eating contests (I’ve always thought those were rather disgusting), and the day will come to a close with some spectacular fireworks displays along with, no doubt a fair amount of illegal fireworks.

With graduations all wrapped up by now, this generally marks the beginning of the summer season which means time for those traditional summer vacation trips.  When I was a kid that usually meant my parents loaded up the family station wagon and we headed of camping somewhere.  Something would invariably break (often the car), it would usually be hot, and either I’d wind up eaten alive by mosquitoes or one of my brother’s would wind up with a case of poison oak.  Ah, the memories.

These days, my idea of a summer vacation is a little bit different.  There are definitely no station wagons or tents involved, though some castles, a loch, and even a nice distillery are all possibilities.  Before doing any vacation planning, however, I have some writing to do and four whole days free to do it.  To kick off my weekend writing plans I think I’ll start with a little Random Word Improv.

Care to join me? Continue reading