improv

Wildcard Wednesday: The World Cup Edition

Yeah, I know, the World Cup is over for another handful of years.  Why drag it out another handful of days?  Read on for rules & prompt.

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The rules are thusly:  

  1. I post a writing prompt on a sort-of randomly selected Wildcard Wednesday.
  2. In 10 minutes or less, you write something based on that prompt.
  3. Post it to your blog.   After you’ve written your response to the prompt, add the link for your blog post to the list by clicking next to the little blue frog face below where it says “Add your link.”
  4. Please make sure that the URL you submit is to your response to the Wildcard Wednesday prompt, not to your main blog URL.
  5. Include a link back here in the post on your blog.
  6. If it’s PG-13 or better and you don’t have a blog of your own, feel free to enter it as a comment on this post, but please note that this is my house, so if I find your post offensive, it’ll be shorter by the head.  I love free speech, though, so take this as your opportunity to get thee to a bloggery.

I invite you to Tweet the link to your prompt with the hashtag #WCW so we participants can find each other on Twitter.  Another fun Twitter tag to try is #improv, which will connect you with anybody on Twitter doing any kind of improv. #amwriting is another goodie.

PROMPT:  An elderly man sits alone at a bar.  On the big screen over the bar, Argentina vs. Germany play in the final game of the World Cup.  Germany scores.  With a silent smile, the man throws his fists into the air.  Tears spring to his eyes.      

A note on responding to the prompt:  Use the prompt as a jumping-off point and go from there.  Just write for ten minutes and share it.  Don’t worry about playing by writing rules, because I don’t have any here, and if you’re looking for rules to follow on improv like this, you’re probably looking for an excuse to not write, in which case, try another hobby.  Scrapbooking.  Quilting.  Swimming.  Anything but this, because writing brings new meaning to the term “hot mess.”

Now, here’s hoping the linkup stuff will show up here:

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My #WCW “This was going to be fun.”

It’s Wildcard Wednesday here at Will Write for Tomato Pie.  Check this post for the prompt.

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Other girls had come and gone.  Hers was the only face that stayed before his eyes every time he closed them.  His mother had kept telling her he’d find another girl.  He just had to open his eyes.  Why bother, when the one he wanted was right there.

Sort of.

Then congestive heart failure had crept up on her—crept up on her from behind while he stood before her, watching its slow progress, doing nothing.  Just waiting.  He could be patient.  He could no longer hear the tremble in her voice as she pleaded for him to take her to the hospital.  Time had washed that away, washed away his mother’s dreadful, whimpering voice.

But her face, Mary Cate’s face, remained.

It wasn’t just the face.  It was the hair.  Nothing like that hair, flames curling around his face, skin so pale he could watch her blood pulsing beneath it.  It fluttered behind her while others flew past on the Cardinal-Neumann High track.  He would watch her while she raced and lost, always lagging behind.  Why was she there in the first place, when she so obviously couldn’t keep up the pace?

She was slow.  Easy to catch.  A flame he could hold in his hands.  There would be no competition.  Not for a few years, anyway, but how was he to have known that then?  Just out of rehab, he’d been a seventeen year-old idiot sentenced to Catholic school.

“For the discipline,” his mother had said.  “That public school special ed program has done all it’s gonna if you don’t get yourself some discipline.”

He’d been suspended once for smoking in the bathroom—just for smoking.  One stipulation for being allowed to come back was to go to peer tutoring.  The senior honors English student who’d walked into his peer tutoring session had been reason enough to straighten up and fly right—or at least look that way.

She had slipped away from his hands before.  And now  she was practically being handed to him.  He’d tried to get her back once, twice before.  It had been a fight he’d lost both times.

But this time?  This time was going to be fun.

May Wildcard Wednesday: “For the fun of the thing”

WildcardWedImprovButton

The rules are thusly:  

  1. I post a writing prompt on a sort-of randomly selected Wildcard Wednesday.
  2. In 10 minutes or less, you write something based on that prompt.
  3. Post it to your blog.   After you’ve written your response to the prompt, add the link for your blog post to the list by clicking next to the little blue frog face below where it says “Add your link.”
  4. Please make sure that the URL you submit is to your response to the Wildcard Wednesday prompt, not to your main blog URL.
  5. Include a link back here in the post on your blog.
  6. If it’s PG-13 or better and you don’t have a blog of your own, feel free to enter it as a comment on this post, but please note that this is my house, so if I find your post offensive, it’ll be shorter by the head.  I love free speech, though, so take this as your opportunity to get thee to a bloggery.

I invite you to Tweet the link to your prompt with the hashtag #WCW so we participants can find each other on Twitter.  Another fun Twitter tag to try is #improv, which will connect you with anybody on Twitter doing any kind of improv. #amwriting is another goodie.

PROMPT:  Today is Jim Thorpe’s birthday! Thorpe once said, “I have always liked sport and only played or run races for the fun of the thing.”    Today write about a character in a competition not to win, not to get a prize, but just for the fun of it.  

A note on responding to the prompt:  Use the prompt as a jumping-off point and go from there.  Just write for ten minutes and share it.  Don’t worry about playing by writing rules, because I don’t have any here, and if you’re looking for rules to follow on improv like this, you’re probably looking for an excuse to not write, in which case, try another hobby.  Scrapbooking.  Quilting.  Swimming.  Anything but this, because writing brings new meaning to the term “hot mess.”

Now, here’s hoping the linkup stuff will show up here:

 

Wildcard Wednesday Fiction Improv–GO!

By popular demand, after the fun that was The Twelve Days of Fiction, I’m going to try to host a random fiction improv once a month here at Will Write for Tomato Pie.

WildcardWedImprovButton

The rules are thusly:  

  1. I will post a writing prompt on a sort-of randomly selected Wildcard Wednesday.
  2. In 10 minutes or less, you write something based on that prompt.
  3. Post it to your blog.   After you’ve written your response to the prompt, add the link for your blog post to the list by clicking next to the little blue frog face below where it says “Add your link.”
  4. Please make sure that the URL you submit is to your response to the Wildcard Wednesday prompt, not to your main blog URL.
  5. Include a link back here in the post on your blog.
  6. If it’s PG-13 or better and you don’t have a blog of your own, feel free to enter it as a comment on this post, but please note that this is my house, so if I find your post offensive, it’ll be shorter by the head.  I love free speech, though, so take this as your opportunity to get thee to a bloggery.

I invite you to Tweet the link to your prompt with the hashtag #WCW so we participants can find each other on Twitter.  Another fun Twitter tag to try is #improv, which will connect you with anybody on Twitter doing any kind of improv. #amwriting is another goodie.

Okay, that being said, this is my first time trying one of these, so if the linkup stuff doesn’t show, let me know.  I’ll see what I can do.

PROMPT:  He wore an old scarf.  

A note on responding to the prompt:  Use the prompt as your first sentence.  Or don’t.  Just use it as a jumping-off point and go from there.  I don’t care.  Just write for ten minutes and share it.  Don’t worry about playing by writing rules, because I don’t have any here, and if you’re looking for rules to follow on improv like this, you’re probably looking for an excuse to not write, in which case, try another hobby.  Scrapbooking.  Quilting.  Swimming.  Anything but this, because writing brings new meaning to the term “hot mess.”

Now, here’s hoping the linkup stuff will show up here:

7QT: The ::cough:: Fast-as-I-can ::wheeze:: Edition

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Join with Jennifer at Conversion Diary and amigos as we participate in 7 Quick Takes Friday.

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It’s the feast of St. Francis DeSales, patron of writers!

Why is this guy our patron? Because he didn’t just write. He brought his writing to others through producing pamphlets, posters and so on. He’s also the patron specifically of Catholic press.

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According to these folks, St. Francis de Sales, “was overworked and often ill due to his heavy workload. However, he remained active, particularly using his talent for writing to assist him in ministering to others.” This makes me feel especially close to the guy because I myself am sick–again! It’s a pretty vicious episode of asthmatic bronchitis–again. If you can spare a prayer, I’d appreciate it.

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Our family picked up whatever virus this is while we were on our Christmas gift trip to Disney World. It was a great trip in spite of the phleghm.

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Wednesday was another March for Life that I was too sick to attend. I was even too sick to sit up and post more than a #praytoendabortion tweet, but this was mine.

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Why that? I was born at the end of 1973. I was also raised to be “normal,” (a. k. a. not obediently Catholic, certainly not pure in any way that might stand out). While I never quite hit that mark (on many levels), I am of the generation that knows a lot of people–loves a lot of people very much–who’ve had abortions. If I speak out about this, then I am speaking out against my friends who are likely to respond like wounded animals, and rightly so. However, the friends of mine who’ve talked to me about their abortions have always said almost the exact. same. words.

“I just couldn’t do it.”

They weren’t being selfish, lazy, callous, heartless, or any of the gazillion other things we hear them called. They were being honest with themselves and what we’ve all been told we can and can’t do. I doubt they (well, most of them) believed the lie that “It’s not a child. It’s a choice.” The lie they–and I frequently–believed was that we are simply incompetent.

Honestly, that is a hard thing not to believe. Face it: we live in a country where we’re being told we aren’t even capable of mixing our own grated cheese and bread crumbs to make a good-enough casserole topping.  Of course we’re going to think that there is no way we could ever do the most difficult thing in the world:  raise a child.

If we want to stop abortions, we need to give each other more credit. We need to believe in each other. We need to give ourselves the chance to kick butt. Because we can do it.

I believe in you.  Rant over.

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Next month I’ll be giving a talk on writing, publishing and networking at the Exton, PA Barnes & Noble to their Wordwrights Writers Group. More details forthcoming!

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Congrats to all the nice folks who are nominated for Sheenazing Awards over at A Knotted Life! It’s a long and distinguished list!

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Stay tuned!  This Wednesday, January 29, I’m working on a little surprise for you writers (seasoned, aspiring, and otherwise)!  Hint:

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12 Days of Fiction, Day 12: Twelve Drummers Drumming

Welcome to the twelfth and final post of the “12 Days of Fiction” series, where a volunteer writer is assigned a random writing prompt from the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” All writing on the prompt must be done in 10 minutes or less.

 by E8 Album HQR Initiative

Volunteers have been cultivated through the original 12 Days of Fiction invite, the Catholic Writers Guild members-only Facebook page, my Facebook page… and I think that’s it. Thanks to Random.org for the random number generator.

And now, at long last, let’s welcome back Kimberly Hartman, who is drumming us through the final prompt!  Thanks, Kimberly, and all our improv writers! I really enjoyed how each writer found his or her own way to interpret the song lines that we take for granted almost into new and fresh ideas–and writing them didn’t have to take a large chunk of your time.

This has been so much fun that I am looking into posting a regular writing prompt linkup.  Would that be of interest?  

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“They Will Keep Drumming”

by Kimberly Hartman

He’d already had the 10 minutes of terror, and was looking forward to the 50 minutes of sheer boredom that everybody was talking about. The new guy always had the worst shift, he grinned to himself wryly. At least he could could relax for a min – “got five more coming in.” Said the nurse on comm.

“Can’t they be diverted– We got our hands full.”

“They are being diverted – to us.”

“K, I hear the first one” he ran so fast that they often said he left his hair color behind him. The triage nurse called in sick so he was doubling on that too. “Keep them moving steady.”

“Okay head injury 08. Alright okay Pneumothorax okay, 06. This one, broken femur, 09, keep the CPR going on that one, Crash cart to 11, don’t want to lose him. This one to 12, catch that medic alert wristband.”

ERs always sounded calmer in real life, than they were on TV. Order so quickly executed that they could’ve been chaos. All 12 rooms full, but none lost yet; on the edge but all hearts still beating, still drumming. If he had any say, and God be with him and his team, they would keep drumming.

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12 Days of Fiction, Day 7: Seven Swans A-Swimming

Welcome to the seventh post of the “12 Days of Fiction” series, where a volunteer writer is assigned a random writing prompt from the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” All writing on the prompt must be done in 10 minutes or less.

 by E8 Album HQR Initiative

Volunteers have been cultivated through the original 12 Days of Fiction invite, the Catholic Writers Guild members-only Facebook page, my Facebook page… and I think that’s it.  Thanks to Random.org for the random number generator.

If you’d like to join in, let me know.  We may have days yet unclaimed.  Comment on this post or on the original 12 Days of Fiction invite (or on any of the above, if you have clearance to get to them), and I’ll comment back with your day and writing prompt.

And now here’s a contribution from Kathy Szymanski!  Thank you, Kathy.  I enjoyed your poetical prose!

 

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7 swans a-swimming!  Oh how I love swimming in Minnesota in January! The seven swans gather round and watch the crazy Minnesotans as they “polar plunge” into the freezing water. (Hole was made courtesy of the Park Department for the swans to be able to swim.) And lo and behold! After they plunge magical things begin to happen and the plungers become majestic (and no longer cold or freezing). Their clothes are dry and warm and transform into beautiful robes. (No, they are not dead!)

They hover about, and as they instantly are aware of their new status, they realize the magical powers bestowed upon them. They float about, as angels, but visible to all, doing good deeds, bringing good news and love to all! It brings joy to their hearts as they are able to bring peace and happiness to people, friends, family, and strangers alike, sharing just a smidgen of God’s love and peace.

But alas, their transformation lasts only seven minutes. Then they return to their normal mortal state and find themselves again at the edge of the ice hole, the seven swans now a-swimming grandly in the lake.

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12 Days of Fiction, Day 4: Four Calling Birds

by E8 Album HQR Initiative

Welcome to the fourth post of the “12 Days of Fiction” series, where a volunteer writer is assigned a random writing prompt from the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” All writing on the prompt must be done in 10 minutes or less.   Volunteers have been cultivated through the original 12 Days of Fiction invite, the Catholic Writers Guild members-only Facebook page, my Facebook page… and I think that’s it.  Thanks to Random.org for the random number generator.

If you’d like to join in, we only have “6 Geese A-Laying” and “8 Maids A-Milking” unclaimed.  Comment on this post or on the original 12 Days of Fiction invite (or on any of the above, if you have clearance to get to them), and I’ll comment back with your day and writing prompt.

Today’s piece is by Amy M. Bennett, author of “End of the Road”, available from Oak Tree Press, amazon.com, and  barnesandnoble.com.  Amy writes, “Spent the day in Santa Fe visiting our Carmelite family members, got my story written but no internet access!  I think I went a little overtime (10  minutes fly when you’re having fun!)  Hope you like it!  It’s a spin-off of my Black Horse Campground series!”

Thanks, Amy!  It’s a great piece, and I especially love the tie-in to the meaning of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”  PS: See, people?  I told you I wouldn’t get upset if your post doesn’t go up on the exact day you’re assigned!

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Four Calling Birds

 Corrie sighed as she hung the phone up and rubbed her temples. Eight calls to eight different contractors and handymen and not one of them would be available to fix the concrete walk around the Black Horse Campground office and store for at least two weeks.

She looked out the window and winced inwardly as she studied the condition of the wooden steps leading from the building’s porch to the walkway. Just this morning, the UPS delivery man had nearly lost his loaded hand truck off the top step and rescued Corrie’s shipment at the cost of a splintered step and broken railing. And no one would be available to fix anything for a while.

She had given her employees, the Myers and the Pages, the day off to do the campground’s shopping in Las Cruces, 150 miles away, and would be gone until late, so neither Red nor Jerry could do any repairs until the next day. Her maintenance man, Buster, had offered, half-heartedly, to make some repairs, but his enthusiasm was only matched by his skills so Corrie had let him off the hook… much to Buster’s relief.

And Rick and J. D. were both on duty and unavailable.

She tried not to grow irritated at the situation, but it hadn’t helped when a guest’s son had tripped over the broken walkway and skinned his knee. Corrie had placated the child and his mother with a bandage and an ice cream, but she cringed to think of a guest being injured more seriously. She had called Father Eloy, the pastor at San Ignacio church, and asked if he knew any parishioners who were able to do the work and might want a little extra money and he’d admitted that everyone was busy now.

“All the ones who were hurting for work during the heavy rainy season are overwhelmed with projects now that the weather is drier,” he’d told her. “I’m sure they’d do it if they could, Corrie, but the church repairs have been put off as well.”

“Well, if you hear of anyone looking for work, Father, would you have them give me a call?” she’d asked.

Now she turned as the bell over the front door rang and her old black Lab, Renfro, let out an unenthused “Woof” of warning before resuming his snoring. Two men stood just inside the door with two boys around the age of 13 standing with them. One of the men stepped forward and removed his battered ball cap. “Ma’am,” he said, his voice quiet, “my brother and I are traveling through town with our families and we’re looking for a little work to boost our funds. Noticed that you might could use some work on that walkway out there.”

“You do concrete work?” Corrie said hopefully. Fr. Eloy must have found someone and sent them down to her right away. The two men nodded.

“I’m Marcus and this is my brother, Lucas,” the man said and the other man inclined his head. “These are our boys, Jonathan and Matthew. Mind if we get started right away?”

“Not at all,” Corrie said, breathing a silent prayer of thanks. “Do you need any…?”

“We got our tools and materials with us. We just need a place for the night and some money for gas and groceries. We got our wives and other kids with us.”

“Make yourselves at home,” Corrie said immediately. She reached under the counter for two keys. “Two of my cabins are empty right now and you can use the bathrooms and laundry room. There’s even a grill you can use to fix a meal. How soon can you start?”

“Let us get our families settled and we’ll get right to work, ma’am.” Marcus replaced his cap and he and his companions backed out of the door.

Corrie shook her head in wonder. She watched as they drove their trucks to the cabins and unloaded two women and several younger children, then pulled up beside the walkway.

It seemed like not more than a few minutes passed before they were pulling the broken stair apart and breaking up and removing the concrete from the walkway.

As the day wore on, she glanced out the window from time to time and watched them work without pause, except for when one of the wives would come over with sandwiches or a bottle of water for them. It was close to four o’clock and she saw that the work had gone amazingly fast. She stepped out on the porch and held out an envelope to Marcus, who stopped working long enough to accept it with a grateful smile. “God bless you, ma’am,” he said with a slight bow.

She returned to the office and busied herself with paperwork. When the door bell rang, she looked up, expecting to see Marcus and his crew, but it was Rick and J. D. who walked in. “Hey,” Rick said, removing his Stetson and shades. “Looks like you got the walkway fixed.”

“Yes,” she said, then frowned at Rick’s use of the past tense. “Those men have been at it all day and are making amazing progress.”

J. D. raised a brow and shot a look at Rick. “What men?”

Corrie pointed out the window. “Well, the men who are….” She looked and gasped. The walkway was finished. Only the barricades to keep people out of the wet concrete were still up. She stood and went to the side door. The trucks and all the men’s families were gone as well. She turned back to Rick and J. D. “Did you see two pick up trucks pull out of here?”

They both shook their heads. “When would this have been?” Rick asked.

“Well….” She shook her head, dazed. “I could have sworn they just left, but….

“Who were they?” J. D. asked, and both he and Rick had the wary expression of concerned lawmen.

“I don’t know,” Corrie said. “I thought maybe Fr. Eloy sent them to do the work, but they never told me their full names.”

“What names did they give you?” Rick asked, pulling his pocket notepad out and flipping it open.

“Two men and two boys. Marcus and Lucas and their sons, Jonathan and Matthew.”

Rick’s eyes narrowed. “Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John fixed your walkway?”

Corrie stared at him and J. D. and said, “Yeah… I guess they did.”

12 Days of Fiction, Day 2: Two Turtledoves

Welcome to the second post of the “12 Days of Fiction” series, where a volunteer writer is assigned a random writing prompt from the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” All writing on the prompt must be done in 10 minutes or less.   Volunteers have been cultivated through the original 12 Days of Fiction invite, the Catholic Writers Guild members-only Facebook page, my Facebook page… and I think that’s it.  Thanks to Random.org for the random number generator.

If you’d like to join in, we only have 5 days unclaimed.  Comment on this post or on the original 12 Days of Fiction invite (or on any of the above, if you have clearance to get to them), and I’ll comment back with your day and writing prompt.

And now here’s a contribution from Kimberly Hartman of Catholic Writers Guild fame!  Thank you, Kimberly.  I am indeed intrigued!

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“Sorry, that’s the price of one.”

“Wait.. I could buy two of these last year at this amount! I know costs rise but…”

“Look, it takes money to get all this into the city, and the smaller the package, the more cost per. It’s not personal, it’s business, ok? Maybe your people can pony up the rest for you, you always come in groups, right?”

“It’s just me and my son this year. We’ll even need to stay in the city to make enough to get home. Tell you what, I’ll work for you to pack up whatever’s left.”

“You kidding? I don’t have enough overhead to pay the guys I got. Go on, I got paying customers, here. -what! What the heck?!!!! Hey , you there! Over there! Stop with the whip!  Hey! I ain’t no thief. Hey, guys, don’t let the animals get away!

“…as was done for me, so I do for you…”

“Twelve Days of Fiction” Improv Fun

Is anybody up for something fun? I’d like to host a “Twelve Days of Fiction” here at my humble little hole in the interwebz wall.

Ancient Youth Ministry Proverb:  If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.

The only rules are:

  1. I’ll put participants’ names in a hat, and you’ll get a writing prompt from the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”
  2. It must be a piece of fiction you improv and write in 10 minutes or less (or fewer, depending on how you measure time.
  3. Keep it PG-13 or better.
  4. Aim to get your writing posted the day you’re assigned.  I’ll still love you if you can’t, but don’t give up if you can’t get it posted on time.
  5. NO OVERTHINKING!
Mary bathing Baby Jesus--CUTE!

Mary bathing Baby Jesus–CUTE!

If you want in, comment here no later than midnight on December 23.  Honestly, I won’t be checking until early on December 24, so if it’s before then, you’re good.  No later than Christmas afternoon, I’ll put all the interested names in a hat and let you know which day and song line is your prompt. We won’t start until St. Stephen’s Day (prompt: A Partridge in a Pear Tree). Post your writing to your blog (if you don’t have one, PM me and I can post it on mine for you). Let me know where to look, and I’ll link your piece on my blog, and I encourage other participants to do so.

Having been in a critique group that always started off each meeting with a writing exercise, I can personally attest to how the practice of improv writing has sharpened my writing as a whole, not to mention broken many writer’s blocks.

So, who’s in? I just need eleven more writers.