Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Happy Friday!  I’d like to say I had an extremely productive week, getting lots of writing done and tasks completed.

Sadly, that would be a  work of fiction.  In reality, I spent far too much time this week falling down the rabbit-hole that is Twitter following the RWA implosion.

On the plus side, I’ve been exposed to a whole new set of writers and learned a lot.  On the day job front, this week been a combination of wrapping up 2019 end-of-year stuff and doing 2020 planning.  We always say we’re going to get the planning all taken care of in November so we can hit the new year running, but it never, ever happens that way.

One bit of 2020 planning that I did manage to take care of this week was getting my calendar set.  I’ve scheduled regular days off each month and blocked off specific writing times.  I’ve also blocked Friday afternoons off for “quiet time” so I can get things done without interruptions – all part of my less stressful / more productive 2020 plan.  We’ll have to wait and see how that all works out.

I’m thinking this Friday’s quiet time will be a the perfect time to give today’s writing prompt and/or random words a try.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Welcome to a brand-new year of Friday Writing Sprints.

I hope your 2019 had a happy ending, whatever you were doing and however you celebrated.   Mine ended with a whimper.  Well . . .maybe that was the dog whimpering in response to all of the fireworks the neighbors were setting off.  And maybe it wasn’t fireworks we heard, but the sound of RWA imploding.

I’m enjoying one last day before heading back to the office and hours of back-to-back meetings.  I don’t mind going back too much, but I will miss lounging around in pajama pants; although, considering all of the holiday baking (and eating) I did these past few weeks, I might have to stick with them.

Ah well, good thing there is a gym at work.   Here’s hoping all of those “I’m going to work out this year” folks are still on holiday so the gym won’t be too crowded.

Whatever else happens, I’m planning to give today’s writing prompt and/or random words a try, once I get home from work.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Jilly: Christmas Story–A Gift Fit for a Queen

Here’s my contribution to our 2019 short story challenge. I think I got all the prompts 🙂

Happy Holidays, all!

A Gift Fit for a Queen

“Careful with those crocks, lad.” Ben Wildridge watched hawk-eyed as his apprentice unpacked straw-filled crates containing the finest bee nectar in the northern borderlands. Maybe in the entire kingdom.

“Yes, master.” Fifteen-year-old Toby rolled his eyes, but he lifted out the earthenware jars with care, cradling each one like a priceless bauble.

Which it was. Ben sold his regular honey in the weekly market, but he saved his mountain nectar for Wintersnight. The fragrant, sticky syrup was like the essence of summer, and the high prices of the midwinter holiday made it worth his while to wait.

When the crates were empty he left Toby to set out their stall and drove the cart into the inn yard. In an hour or two the place would be nose to tail, but it was still early and the bored ostlers were more than happy to spoil Silver.

Ben knew all too well that by noon the press of bodies, the gabble of voices, the smell of woodsmoke and fried food, warm wool and unwashed skin would make him puking sick. For now he could take an hour to show the townspeople he was alive and well, and that he knew how to exchange social niceties like a civilized person, no matter what the gossips said about his aversion to crowds. Then he’d sell his nectar as fast as he could and retreat to his mountain lair.

He strolled round the half empty market, exchanging Wintersnight greetings with families he’d known all his life. He’d almost finished his rounds, a warm venison pasty for Toby in one pocket and a flagon of cordial for himself in the other, when he saw an unfamiliar stall, displaying small rock crystal jars filled with something that caught the light and glowed like amber.

It couldn’t be honey. First, he was the only honey seller in Borderbridge. Second, who ever would put honey in rock crystal? Crystal was expensive, hard to find and even harder to work. And third, surely no honey could be that bright, that clear?

He stood rooted to the cobblestones, slack-jawed and blinking, until a small woman uncapped one of the jars and used a crystal dipper to drizzle the contents over squares of fresh bread on a wooden board. His nostrils flared. His mouth watered. It was an invitation, and a challenge. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Happy Friday.  Whether you’re in the midst of holiday celebrations or enjoying the remaining days of 2019, I hope you’ve had a wonderful week.  Mine has been filled with family, good food, and maybe a jigsaw puzzle or two.

Here on the blog, we’re in the midst of our annual Christmas Week Short Story Challenge.  Several of the Eight Ladies have already posted their stories and there are a few more yet to come.  All of you blog-readers are welcome to participate as well (the story prompt and words are included below).  You can post your own story (or a link to your story) in the comments below on this post or on any of the upcoming Short Story posts.

The rules of the Challenge are simple – write a short story based on the specified prompt and include at least three of the random words on the list; extra points for including more than three words and extra points with sparkles for Holiday references.

What if:   Your character received an anonymous/mysterious/unexpected gift? Continue reading

Elizabeth: 6th Annual Christmas Week Short Story Challenge!

© Eldridge Photography

Long-time readers of the blog may recall that around this time of year we tend to take a break from talking about writers and writing and do a little storytelling instead.  It’s like a multi-week version of our regular Friday Writing Sprints.

We’re kicking off this year’s Christmas Week Short Story Challenge today and several of the Eight Ladies will be posting their stories during the next week or so.  All of you blog-readers are welcome to participate as well.  You can post your own story (or a link to your story) in the comments below on this post or on any of the upcoming Short Story posts.

The rules of the Challenge are simple – write a short story based on the specified prompt and include at least three of the random words on the list; extra points for including more than three words and extra points with sparkles for Holiday references.

What if:   Your character received an anonymous/mysterious/unexpected gift?

As always, feel free to interpret the “What if” any way you choose (or ignore it completely) if your story-muse takes you in a different direction.

northern      blinking       warm             kingdom

seed             social            knuckle         bittersweet

dove            bauble          pure               invitation

coat             sticky            aversion        challenge

Whatever length story you want to write – that’s exactly the length we’re looking for.

While you wait for this year’s stories, feel free to get in the mood by checking out some of last year’s entries:

Even better, try your hand at today’s words and post your results in the comments for all to enjoy.

Let the challenge begin!

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

As I write this post, I’m sitting here on the couch, enjoying the sparkly lights on the Christmas tree while the cat sleeps peacefully beside me.  A far cry from years ago when the cat was a just a kitten and the tree had to be wired to a bolt in the ceiling so that neither he nor the puppy could bring it crashing to the ground.

Oh, how times change.

Now the only thing the cat finds interesting about the tree is the water bowl underneath, which he considers his own personal beverage dispenser.  Maybe this means it’s finally safe to put the breakable ornaments back on the tree.

I’m enjoying this time of “staring off into space”, because I’ve managed to wrap-up some major tasks, both at home and at work.  The week will have a busy ending though – it’s quickly-wrap-up-everything-before-year-end time as well as annual-goal-setting time at the day job again, plus Friday will include all-day strategy/planning session.

What could be more fun?

I can think of several things, including doing some writing sprints.  Once my meetings are over, and I’ve had a chance to unwind at the gym, I think I’ll give today’s writing prompt and random words a try.

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.

Ready?

What if: “Your character is on the run?

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:

hooves        hotel              original       disbeliever

parade        blinking         illegal          puppet

alarming     antique         freakish       hiss

alcohol        tragic            property      lullaby

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

Welcome to the end of another fun-filled week; or if not fun-filled, then at least a problem-free week.

I’m currently quite pleased by the fact that the flu-shot I got in the early fall seems to have worked it’s magic:  I have been illness free while friends and coworkers have spent the last few weeks suffering from various maladies.

Having remained healthy is a good thing because not only am I in the midst of the traditional year-end crush at the day job, but I’m also in the midst of finals.  For some reason (I can’t even blame strong drink) I decided earlier this year that going back to school would be A Good Thing.  Now, with finals at hand, when I’d much prefer to be reading or admiring the sparkly Christmas tree, I’ve just spent the last few hours studying away like a good little student.  Something I’ll do again tomorrow and the day after and the day after that.

What was I thinking?

Fortunately, in less than a week exams will be over and I can find something fun to do until it’s time to start the whole cycle over again.  As a reward for good behavior, I think I’ll take a break and give today’s writing prompt and random words a try.

Care to join me? Continue reading