Lightning Rounds 64

This blog post is a ten-minute timed writing exercise from Visit the Writers chat room every Tuesday for new writing exercises.

Topic: Making headlines

The first thing that Father Larry noticed when he woke up that morning was that he was a woman.

Well, OK. It wasn’t actually the first thing he noticed. But it was the most noticeable thing he noticed as he bent over the sink to spit out his toothpaste and a lock of hair slipped over his eye. He brushed it back over his ear, noting in the back of his mind that he needn’t shave for lack of stubble, and raised his eyes to mirror over the basin.


He was remarkably less surprised than his valet, who opened and then quickly closed the bathroom door, murmuring his apologies.

“Reginald!” Father Larry called to him. “It’s uh. Please do come in.”

The valet re-entered, this time with his eyes fixed firmly on the floor. “Good morning, ma’am,” he ventured. “My apologies for disturbing you. Our Honorable Father neglected to mention he had a guest.”

A small smile played around Father Larry’s lips. He cleared his throat. “Never mind, Reginald.” He paused, momentarily startled by the change in tenor of his own voice. “I seem to have forgotten to bring a change of clothes. Could you find me something appropriate?”

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Lightning Rounds 63

This blog post is a ten-minute timed writing exercise from Visit the Writers chat room every Tuesday for new writing exercises.

Topic: Past Due

I checked my watch right before I started, which is really unfortunate because I have a meeting in fifteen minutes. Still, that’s five minutes after the point at which I am supposed to conclude this exercise. And now I remember also that it is a WebEx meeting– which I hate–but at least that means I won’t have to go out in the driving rain.

Here’s the crux of the problem: I have put off the work for this project because I became relentlessly obsessed with my alter ego again. It happens sometimes. I get this itch where I have to check Facebook a hundred times a day because I want to see if anyone is paying attention to me. It comes from a problem with feeling satisfied in my own work, I think. I need to either broadcast it to everyone, or just shut up about it, and I get stuck somewhere in the middle.

I’m past due for an oil change, is what it amounts to. After things settle down, I’m sure I will run much better and not overheat so often. Right now, I’m getting annoyed by how much I’ve used the word “I” in this particular piece of writing. It’s not like I didn’t know I was being egocentric. I know that, self. So shut up about it. It’s just a piece of tossed off writing. It doesn’t necessarily mean that I am egotistical and vain by nature.

Some days are better than others.

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Lightning Rounds 62

This blog post is a ten-minute timed writing exercise from the Writers chat room every Tuesday for new writing exercises.

Topic:  are you a romantic sub plot?

It probably sounds stupid to you, because you’ve read the books and watched the movies, but when I first introduced myself to JK as the little sister of the redheaded clan, I thought for sure I would be part of a romantic subplot. It didn’t really turn out that way. I mean, I got epilogued into the role, but there wasn’t much of a plot there, you know? Not even a subplot.

It would have been cool if she’d added the part where I got a tattoo with the three Ravenclaw girls and that one Hufflepuff. The Fiercesome Five. I thought the tats were cool, but Mom magicked it off when she found out about it. At least she didn’t poke in my head over what else happened that weekend. I’d probably still be grounded if she found out about the experimental potion making and how we got jacked up on pixie sticks. It seemed like a great plan to use some glamour to make Shelly look like our latest crushes so we could take turns making out with her. What I didn’t know is that Shelly was really into me and I guess she was kind of heartbroken that I just wanted to make out with her if she looked like Goyle. So that kind of sucked.

Anyway, so to answer your question, no. I am not a romantic subplot. Maybe I will be in the next book, since you already know that we end up together, and if that’s the case, hopefully JK will do a better job than George Lucas with malice aforethought.

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Lightning Rounds 61

This blog post is a ten-minute timed writing exercise from the Writers chat room every Tuesday for new writing exercises.

Topic: the wrong socks

Jimmy didn’t feel like going to school today. It was raining and cold. He was going to have to slog through puddles and stand in it while he waited for the bus. He hated being wet.

His mom had gotten him new socks for school. She got these weird mismatched socks because of the anti-bullying campaign, and Jimmy was pretty sure that these would get him bullied. It was another reason to not go to school today.

He pulled the covers up to his chin and stared out the window at the grey skies as he listened to the quiet shush of the shower. He knew he had a few minutes to himself while his mom got ready for work, and he knew when the shower stopped, she would call through the wall to ask him if he was dressed yet. He spent his minutes thinking up an excuse to stay home. He knew it would be futile. There was no way he was going to make his temperature go up enough to convince her he had a fever and he didn’t feel sick to his stomach so there was no chance that he was going to vomit.

He sighed and pulled the covers over his head. Maybe if he didn’t answer, she would think he had left already, all by himself. Jimmy considered whether it was plausible that she would think he had eaten breakfast and packed his backpack and then gone out to the bus stop in the rain without her help. He sighed again and curled into a tiny ball, trying to make himself invisible in the mess of blankets and plushies on his bed.

The shower stopped. “You ready, hon?” His mom’s voice was muffled through the wall. He grunted, not loud enough for her to her. There was a long pause and his door creaked open. “Jimmy?” He felt her sit down at the edge of his bed. “Come on, hon. It’s time to get ready for school.”

He moaned and flipped the sheet off, tears in his eyes. “I don’t want to go. It’s raining!”

She looked at him in silence, her hair dripping onto the blue striped towel she had wrapped around her body. She regarded him quietly while he rubbed his face trying not to sniffle, then she looked out the window for a while before she turned back to him. She bit the inside of her lip. “OK,” she said finally. “Let’s make something hot to drink and we’ll take turns playing video games all day.”

Jimmy blinked. “What?”

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Lightning Rounds 60

This blog post is a ten-minute timed writing exercise from the Writers chat room every Tuesday for new writing exercises.

Topic: 100 Years.

“Boobs,” Ellen muttered, then frowned at the floor of the subway car.

Ron’s eyes twitched over to study her ear. “Uh. What?”

Ellen shook her head slightly as she looked up at him. She shrugged, waving at a movie advertisement across the aisle from them. She read the byline aloud, “Where will you be in 100 years?” She laughed gently. “I was just thinking that in 100 years my boobs will be down to my knees.”

Ron was perplexed. “Boobs move?”

She sighed and tipped her head back to rest it on the window. “They sag, Ron. When your skin gets loose. Don’t balls sag too?”

Ron chewed on a hangnail as he considered the question. He resettled his hat on his head. “How old are boobs when they sag?” Ellen closed her eyes and let her head rock slightly with the movement of the train. Ron stared across the aisle, studying the movie poster. “Why would they make a movie about that?” He looked over at his sister, but Ellen didn’t answer. He frowned and started cleaning the remains of his fingernails on his jeans, wondering how old balls were when they sagged.


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Lightning Rounds 59

This blog post is a ten-minute timed writing exercise from the Writers chat room every Tuesday for new writing exercises.

Topic: shopping related trauma

Erin stared at the long line near the Super Slide and gripped her daughter’s hand a little tighter. Her heart raced.

“Momma, you’re squishing my pinkie,” Laina protested. Erin let go of the little girl’s hand and dropped on her knees. “Sorry, baby,” she smiled briefly, hoping Laina was too small to see the pain in it. Erin put her hands up to her cheeks. “Momma’s feeling a little funny. Stay right here near me, OK?”

Laina sighed and swung her ragdoll, bumping it against her knees as she fidgeted, looking around the huge indoor playground with bored eyes. Erin’s eyes flicked over to the doll, watching it bounce, the same way it had looked when Erin had pulled it from the angry arms of another late-shopping mother. She closed her eyes and hummed ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’ to block out the memory of the way the other woman’s nose had looked after Erin had elbowed her to make her let go.

“Momma, I’m booooored.” Laina gently thwacked the doll against her mother’s shoulder. “Let’s go.”

Erin flinched and hopped to her feet, her head buzzing. “Come on, baby, we’ll get McDonald’s on the way home. Let’s just get out of here right now.” She tugged at the doll, and her daughter followed.

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Lightning Rounds 58

This blog post is a ten-minute timed writing exercise from the Writers chat room every Tuesday for new writing exercises.

Topic: hollow

The rain dripped down across the back of her neck and my eyes followed as a single drop slipped around her throat, curving into the hollow space between her collarbones. I was being obvious, but her mind was too occupied to notice. She dropped the compass back against her thigh and turned, her voice barely audible above the pattering rain. “We’re half a click from the LZ. It’s going to be hard to hear the choppers, and we’re going to take fire as soon as we poke our noses out. I need everyone one of you to stay sharp.” She looked at each one of us in turn. Her eyes pierced mine and she squinted slightly. I saw her shoulders hunch, ready to spring, but I had no time to prepare before she smacked me solid on the ear.

“Torrent. Seriously. Fucking focus.”

I ducked my head and tried to remember what the mission objective was. “Sorry, sir,” I mumbled. “Jungle’s fucking hot.”

The gunner behind me snorted. “Gonna get us all killed, moon-eyes,” she hissed. I felt the barrel of her rifle on my side. “Maybe do us a favor–”

“Enough.” Angeles locked eyes with Sistine. “We’re none of us going to die today. We’re all in, we’re all out. Got it?”

Sistine grunted and stepped back, but she didn’t seem convinced.

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