Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

I’ve been off this week at a sustainability / climate change conference.  It was equal parts “we can do this” optimism and “we’re all going to die” terror.

Good times.

There was also a plenary session by Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action.  It was fascinating to hear how she saw an issue, decided to do something about it, and started a major movement.  If you’re not familiar with Moms Demand Action, the Mothers Against Drunk Driving for gun violence, you can Google them.  They are doing great work which, based on today’s news, is needed more than ever.

After spending days learning, worrying, networking, and eating some really tasty food, I’m now trying to take care of all of the outstanding tasks that are littering my desk and inbox.

More good times.

Somewhere along the line I also need need to carve out some writing time so I can get today’s words on the page.  I think I’ll give the writing prompt and random words below a try and see where that takes me.

Care to join me?

For those of you working away on a story (whether a first draft or a polished version on its way to publication), if you’re not feeling random, we’d love to hear a bit – whether it’s a scene, a paragraph, or even a phrase that you are especially pleased with and would like to share.

If you don’t have a story in progress, or just want to work on something new, I hope today’s random words and writing prompt will catch your creative fancy.


What if: “Your character joins a new club?

Feel free to interpret the “What if” any way you choose (or ignore it completely) and include any (or all) of the following random words:

blight        bane          sparkle     blossoming

darkness   silence       scheme     cupcakes

ruin           promise     spirit        nature

fun            life             terror        shiny

I look forward to seeing your stories in the comments.  If you’re not feeling in the writing mood today, or don’t have time, feel free to post suggestions you might have for future “what-if” prompts.  Ideas are always welcome.

Happy writing to all!

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Today is one of the days at work that I look forward to every year–the annual Holiday Lunch.  It is an early Thanksgiving, with turkey and all the trimmings, put on by management as a way of saying ‘thanks for all of your hard work’.  It’s also a chance to get together with other folks in the company, over brimming plates of food, to mingle and maybe even enjoy a piece of pie (or two).

My co-workers tend to roll their eyes at my fondness for the event.  To them it is apparently on the same level as saying I like cafeteria food or maybe airplane meals.  I’m pretty sure they’re planning to order lunch from a local BBQ place instead.

Well, their loss is my (leftover) gain.  The food may not reach the Michelin star level or taste like Grandma’s home cooking, but it’s abundant and provided by a really good local restaurant, whose cornbread stuffing is amazing.

It’s kind of fun to be served by executives too.  What I actually like though is the idea behind the event.  We’re all so busy with our day to day tasks that it’s easy to forget we’re all part of the same company.  It’s nice to have a brief break to pause, look up, and reconnect.

Of course a downside of the lunch is the almost overwhelming desire for a nap once it’s all done.  I’m guessing napping wouldn’t go over very well in my afternoon staff meeting.

I better make sure to have coffee with my pie.

Once my fun-filled workday is over, it will be time to refocus and get today’s NaNo words on the page.  My goal for the month is ’30 short stories in 30 days’.  I think I’ll see what I can come up with today, using the writing prompt and random words below as a starting point.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Happy First Friday in November.

Wait, that can’t be right.

Pausing to check calendar . . .

OMG it is November already!

Well that certainly explains all those holiday decorations at the stores.

As I’m writing this post it is actually late on Halloween night.  The trick-or-treaters are nowhere to be seen.  I’m not sure if there ever were any in the neighborhood, but I am sure that none made it to my porch.  Perhaps they all went to one of the local trunk-or-treat events instead.  Or perhaps with all of the recent fires and evacuations and power outages no one was in the mood for going door to door.

While I didn’t see any little costumed ghosts or goblins at home, I did see a wide range of costumes today at work (well, I’m assuming at least some of those were costumes).  Sadly, my department was costume free today since we had a Big Important Meeting that required projecting a Professional Image!  A meeting that was, of course, cancelled at the last minute.

Talk about a trick!

Ah well, at least I won’t have to worry about meetings or image for the next five days; instead, I’ll be enjoying some time off work.  I’m planning to use the time to get a good start on this year’s NaNo story.  Before I start that writing, I have a book to finish reading.  Somewhat ironically, it’s Things You Save in a Fire, by Katherine Center.  I’m just a few chapters in but I’m pretty sure the “things” in the title doesn’t refer to physical things nor does the “fire” refer to an actual fire.  According to the blurb it is a novel about family, hope, and learning to love against all odds.

We’ll see.

Before I start my NaNo writing I think I’ll warm up my creativity by giving today’s writing prompt and random words a try.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Welcome to the end of another week.  We’re in the midst of that burst of summer-like weather that always seems to occur as soon as the summer clothes have been moved into storage.

I spent part of this week at an environmental conference where discussions veered from “it’s too late; we’re all going to die” to “don’t worry; we’ve got a plan.”

I tried to spend my time with the “we’ve got a plan” folks, and to make sure I had cake when I had to be around the others.  It all seemed to work out okay.

There is little in my world that can’t be made better with a latte and a piece of really good cake.

Sadly, the areas of California that are currently on fire are going to need a little more than cake to make things better.  If you could send thoughts for reduced winds, cooling temperatures and safe evacuations, I’m sure they’d be appreciated.

After days of thinking about carbon emissions, power grids, and politics, it’s time for something completely different.  I’m thinking giving today’s story prompt and random words a try would be just the thing.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Short Story–What a Dream!

After Jilly’s recent Sunday’s post, I thought that perhaps the ongoing saga of Jordy MacHugh, a Canadian music teacher who inherits a derelict Scottish estate by the sea and decides to build an opera house, had run its course.  With a Blessing Stone, a pair of abandoned twins, Jenny from Kansas, and a ghostly visitor it seemed things might just have gone as far as they were going to go.

But then I saw that Kay had posted two alternative story segments on Friday and got to thinking about a television show that was popular when I was a kid – Dallas – that had an entire season of episodes and then when the next season started basically said, “just kidding; that never happened.”

I was, for lack of a better word, inspired.  So, without further ado, here is a new story installment.  In keeping with the Friday writing sprint challenge, it includes the words flowers, fumbling, sweet, dazzling, bribery, charming, mirror, calculation, truth, forgiven, identity, growl, nightmare, freckled, alarm and preserve. Continue reading

Jilly: Short Story–Grave Concerns

Here’s the seventh episode in the saga of Jordy MacHugh, a Canadian music teacher who inherits a derelict Scottish estate by the sea and decides to build an opera house.

Over the last couple of weeks he’s acquired twin baby girls of unknown parentage and a housemate, Jenny from Kansas. She arrived in the Highlands as a tourist and has stayed to help Jordy look after the girls. She’s in deep waters now, even if she did reject Jordy’s chivalrous offer of marriage. Then this week, in Elizabeth’s short story The Unexpected, a mysterious woman appears on Jordy and Jenny’s doorstep. She claims to be the girls’ mother, but she has no documentation except a blurry old photograph. I was hoping Kay might tell us more about her in yesterday’s writing sprints, but instead Kay asked Who Is Alanis McLeish? Today I attempt to answer that question.

You can find links to the previous half-dozen instalments at the foot of this post.

In keeping with the Friday writing sprint challenge, my story includes a character who gets caught in a lie, and the words flowers, fumbling, sweet, dazzling, bribery, charming, mirror, calculation, truth, forgiven, identity, growl, nightmare, freckled, alarm and preserve.

The story so far…

“Those girls are mine, I tell you.” The young woman’s face crumpled. “I know what you must think. I meant to—but I can’t look myself in the mirror anymore. I can’t face what I did. Or forgive myself.”

Grave Concerns

The twins are mine. Jordy bit back the words. The woman—Alanis—seemed distressed, and desperate. She was almost certainly in need of professional help, but there was no calculation in her manner. She didn’t strike him as a liar.

He examined the crumpled, blurred, black-and-white photograph she’d given him. Flimsy, freckled with mildew, worn from frequent handling. The image was oddly familiar. He’d seen it before, or something very like it. Where?

He knew that rocking chair. Hell, he’d sat in it, wondering if it was sturdy enough to take his weight. It was, like everything in the Pointing Dog, charming but built to last.

“Don’t go anywhere.” He handed the photograph back to Alanis.

“Hold the fort, love,” he said to Jenny. “I have to make a phone call.”

Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Hi there, happy Friday!

This week was filled with storytelling though not, unfortunately, in an I’ve-been-working on-my-book kind of way.  Some of the storytelling was here on the blog and some commenced at my day job.

First off, if you’ve been following the blog for the last couple of weeks, you’ve seen the unfolding saga of Jordy MacHugh, a short story Jilly started and Kay and I have been periodically adding to.  If you’ve missed any of the installments, go check them out.  There was a definite plot twist in the latest installment I posted on Wednesday.

My other bout of storytelling this week came via a Women In Leadership training program I’ve been in for the past six months or so.  This week marked the end of the program, which meant the traditional “what did I learn from this program?” presentation, complete with PowerPoint slides.  My storytelling skills were definitely necessary (as well as some comic relief).  There may not have been much of a plot, but there was certainly character development and tension.

Fortunately, there were also cupcakes afterward.

Now that all of that is over with, I’m thinking it would be a good time to relax, unwind, and give today’s story prompt and random words a try.

Care to join me? Continue reading