A Little Spring Fling Writing Challenge

I often feel stuck when I’m writing. When I first started pursuing writing as a possible career, sometimes I would walk away when I got stuck. But more often than not, I would get lured by the lovely promise of writing something new. So of course I wound up with lots of beginnings of stories, but very few middles or endings. I’ve since learned to ignore the siren songs of new stories in favor of powering through the current story and, as a result, I now have a few manuscripts under my belt. In fact, this month I am participating in Candace Havens’s Fast Draft and am powering through another story.

But as I’m sitting here on my back deck working, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and after the awful winter we’ve just had, I feel like celebrating spring with just a little bit of something new. And I’m inviting you to join me. I’ve picked four words at random and am going to write something using those four words. My time limit is fifteen minutes. I’ll share what I come up with in the comments section below and hope you will do the same. The words I picked are: ostrich, carnage, melancholy, August. Don’t worry if you don’t use all of them, or even any of them. They’re just to get you started. And if you can’t spare fifteen minutes, try ten or five. No hard and fast rules here. Just go for it and have fun. I’m off to do mine now. See you on the other side. 🙂

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3 responses to “A Little Spring Fling Writing Challenge

  1. Since my lunch time is nearing its end, here’s my offering: The melancholy ostrich buried his beak among the mid-August carnage left behind by the panther, mourning the loss of his beloved mate.

  2. Okay, I wound up spending about 25 minutes on mine – see how the siren song of new stories lure you in? Here’s what I came up with – all first draft and unedited:

    She climbed the narrow stairs up to the attic, the August heat pressing in on her like hot wet blanket wrapping tighter about her with each step. Late summer in New England was not the optimum time to clean out an un-air-conditioned attic. But she had no choice. The realtor was scheduling an open house for next weekend and she wanted all of her grandmother’s belongings either distributed to family members or donated as necessary. It was bad enough hoards of strangers would be traipsing through the place. She couldn’t bear the thought of them touching or pawing through Nana’s things.
    Sweat trickled down her face and neck as she reached the top step. She’d cleaned out the rest of the house first, hoping there might be a break in the heat by the time she got up here, but the weather gods had not seen fit to accommodate her. She pulled a rag from her pocket and mopped her face and neck. It was going to be a long day.
    She opened the attic door and headed straight for the window at the front of the house and opened it wide. There was another window on the opposite wall and she opened that one, too, hoping to get some kind of a cross breeze going. Then she turned and looked around.
    The room was a little girl’s paradise. Boxes and trunks were filled with costumes Nana had collected over the years working as an actress in local theaters and even a few off-Broadway productions. Several trunks were open, their contents spilling over in a colorful explosion of tulles, satins, and ostrich feathers. Her sister had been visiting here with her two young daughters when Nana had her stroke. Tidying up had probably been the last thing on any of their minds.
    A lump rose to her throat as she surveyed the room, remembering how many times she and her sisters had played up here, putting on little shows of their own, some of them directed by Nana herself back in a time when she could still climb the stairs. Looking at the melancholy carnage before her now, she wondered how she was ever going to get through it without having a complete breakdown.
    “Oh, Nana,” she whispered for the thousandth time in a month, “I miss you so much.”

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