[Writing Prompt] Sunday Silliness – and a check-in

We’re almost there! This is the last week of StoryADay May 2013. Stay tuned on Thursday for news of another, short-term challenge to keep you writing.

Also, I’d love to know who’s been writing this month. Please leave a comment on this post if you’ve written at all this month, and let us know how much/often you’ve managed to write. Spread the word to friends who might have fallen off the wagon. Tell them to check-in and celebrate what they have achieved so far (and maybe come back for the last week?).

As always, thank you for playing. Without out you, this challenge simply wouldn’t be any fun! You inspire me and each year’s participants influence the shape and content of the next challenge. So thanks!

The Prompt

Write a story that includes these words:

  • official
  • corpulent
  • totem
  • panic
  • scratching
  • delicious

Tips

  • This is a silly prompt. Feel free to write a silly story.
  • The chances are, if you’re still here, you’ve started to take your writing quite seriously, in a good way. However, there’s always a danger of ‘serious’ becoming ‘solemn’. Use today as a break from whatever you’ve been writing and write http://storyaday.org/prompt-fros/ that is purposely silly, off-the-cuff, not to be taken seriously.
  • Consider posting your story in the comments here so that we can see how everyone chose to use these words

24 thoughts on “[Writing Prompt] Sunday Silliness – and a check-in”

  1. This is my first time doing this challenge, and I’ve had a lot of fun! I have missed 8 days, but I’ve been learning a lot about how I write and where to get ideas from!
    Anyway, I’ve had a go at this prompt… here goes…

    An official from the company is on their way to your establishment. We trust you will be sufficiently prepared to receive him and show him around.
    These words were enough to sent the entire place into a panic.
    “I thought they had to give more warning than that! At least a week?”
“Not for surprise inspections.”
“This is a surprise inspection?!”
“Quick! Get something on the stove!”
“Start polishing the floor!”
“No! Do the tables first!”
    “How long does it take for them to get here?”
“I don’t know! Does this place look like I expected a surprise inspection?”
    In the end, the inspector arrived three hours after the message.
    The household was now a lot calmer than it had been. Every surface was free of dust; most gleamed. Enticing smells drifted from the kitchen.
    The inspector took his time looking around the house as the others followed him about. He looked under the beds, chairs and tables, frowning over the cupboards, scratching his head over the bookshelves.
    Later, they served him lunch and waited for the comments.
    “Delicious,” said the short, corpulent man, patting his stomach. “You’ve certainly passed my most important test!”
The others were too nervous too laugh.
    “As for the rest … it’s certainly very clean. Perhaps too clean … it’s really rather impersonal, don’t you think?”
    The group did not reply. The inspector continued, “We expect people’s houses to reflect their personality. Perhaps one or two of you are religious? Does somebody here have a totem of some kind, something they can put on display? There aren’t even any photographs, and the pictures, while pretty, lack a certain character…”
    The men and women sitting opposite him hardly dared breathe. Somewhere, dramatic music was playing.
    “But it was a good effort all round. I think … a seven out of ten.”
The group breathed again. Seven out of ten. That should keep them safe.
    And then a voice came out of nowhere. “So it looks like House A escapes the Elimination Challenge for this week! Who will fail the surprise inspection and who will go home? Find out next time on Extreme Housekeeping!”

    1. Haha! Sharon, well done. That was fun and I liked how you kept “the reveal” to the end. The frenzied conversation worked, too!

      Thanks for sharing your experiences. Missing 8 days but continuing to come back “, learning and experimenting…sounds like a “win” to me!

  2. I’ve been writing flash and prose poems for the past few years. Currently, I’m drafting my first novel and am using these prompts as triggers to write scenes for the novel; sometimes the prompt influence is strong in the scene, sometimes weak. I’ve written every day during the challenge. Today, I used the prompt as directed, and as a warm-up exercise for today’s novel scene.

    Here is my silly story:

    Sue’s Silly Sebastian Story

    Panic of the most delicious kind settled over me, after I caught on to my new hairdresser’s scheme. Officially, Sebastian styled each client’s hair, according to face-shape and body type; that’s what he promised, how he nurtured loyalty. Twasn’t long before I scratched the veneer off that ruse. One-by-one, clients of every physical type—lanky, sunken-faced anorexics; short, round-headed corpulents; high-cheekboned bikini models—left the salon with identical hairdos each week! That’s not all. The very next week, Sebastian sported the same hairdo, only a more polished, perfected version. Once I figured out this practice-hairstyle-of-the-week scam, this method of building a loyal following based on a deceptive system of totemism, I blackmailed him! Every single week, I demand—and receive—the same perfect hairstyle as Sebastian’s.

  3. I’ve been following along this month and managed to get something resembling a story down each day – though a few have only barely passed muster I think! But I’m hoping the habit I’m building over this month will carry through into my writing from now on!

    Here’s today’s effort:

    Cargo, and Dinner

    The tribe sat on the green meadow, looking up at their totem. The old tank, a relic of the Before, sat obstinately unmoving as the shaman chanted and danced around it. From inside came the occasional bang of a hammer on metal, or a swearword.

    After an hour of watching that, Captain Highwood levered herself off the ground with her staff of office and marched forwards to the shaman. The man stopped capering about to look at her, a glint of panic in his eyes.

    “According to the ancient manuals and rites of our people,” the Captain boomed in her most official voice,” you have had the chance that God prescribes you, and the tank still does not move.”

    “Ah, but, um,” the shaman said, scratching at his ribs through his furs and looking around for support. The tribe looked bored, hungry, and angry, and none seemed to be on his side. “Captain, Captain, the miracles of the ancients are revealed to us by God! This will not come easily, um, have faith!”

    “It will not come at all!” The Captain snarled, resting her weight on her staff of office with a heavy groan. Her corpulent bulk was too heavy to move around easily, and if their tank ever moved again, the Armoured Company tribe would celebrate for many reasons but the shaman thought that their Captain just wanted it to get her from place to place without the pain in her ankles. “You know what we agreed, when you told us you could make her move again if we spared you. One month! And it’s up.”

    “Ah, yes Captain, yes of course,” the he stammered, looking up at her eyes and willing sincerity into his gaze. “But you must give me more time!”

    The Captain smiled nastily at him and shook her head. “I time won’t help. You’ve had time, and our totem isn’t pleased with your songs, and you haven’t helped the Engineering Crew to start her. So you are useless to the tribe that way! You must serve in another.”

    The shaman scratched again, making a show of it, trembling in fear as Captain Highwood drew her knife. It was as long as her forearm, heavy, sharp – a cutting tool of fine old steel such as the tribe could no longer make.

    “Now, um, now we don’t want to rush things, hm?” He said, backing away. But the tribe was all around him and there was nowhere to run. “I don’t feel well, and you wouldn’t want to catch anything.”

    “Don’t worry about us, friend,” she said, following him with surprising grace for such a huge woman. “God protects us. I’m sure you’ll be delicious!”

    Two more members of the tribe grabbed his arms as he backed away from the Captain, and she raised her knife. He glanced from side to side, seeing the faces of his tribemates, and their wide hungry smiles. This wasn’t how he’d expected things to go, but their grip was too tight to flee from. He fought his panic and sang, surprised by the soft, beautiful pitch he managed even now.

    He was even more surprised when the tank answered him with a loud BANG and a puff of black smoke. Gasps of amazement echoed around the clearing, and hands dropped from his shoulders. The tank roared, and he caught his breath and spoke as quickly and sincerely as he could.
    “See! The God has shown me the way, and the Armoured Company tribe has the blessing of our totem once more!”

    There was a cheer, and then hands were clapping him on the back, congratulating him. Even Captain Highwood’s smile was pleasant, though he thought he saw some disappointment in her eyes as she sheathed her knife.

    Sometimes, he thought to himself, sometimes, just occasionally, the tank can learn to drive.

    1. Oh, what a shame for the hungry tribesmen 😉

      Glad to hear you’ve been writing every day. Sometimes I think it’s important to write through those “barely making it days” to realize you CAN come back and that the habit of writing will take you on to better days. Thanks for posting!

  4. aWow–if I count correctly, I missed two prompts this month (and I’m not sure how that happened…I think they were both Sundays and I just didn’t see them). At times I combined the Story A Day prompts with flash prompts from other sites I visit regularly.

    I must admit my idea of silly is a bit different, but that’s what you get when you put a bunch of random words in front of me 🙂
    http://starvingactivist.wordpress.com/2013/05/26/story-a-day-may-26-original-owners/

  5. Haven’t missed a day yet. Some stories have been much longer than others, and I have posted them all to a blog. It’s been a lot of fun. On Scribophile, where we have a group keeping up with the challenges and cheering eachother on when we get behind.

    I did this is September too, and it really is a great way to get a large base of stories to work with, even if you do not keep up every day.

    Thank you, Julie! Love your prompts.

  6. Finished today’s story but can’t post. It’s just too rough and need to really add and develop the plot, but i am on target with all the stories.

    I did a picture prompt and wrote a 315 word flash called The Hanging Tree. I love the pic and the plot but need to rewrite and add a lot more.

  7. Been keeping up! Here’s today’s effort — it’s just a teaser of dialogue:

    “It’s a rather delicious experience, my dear.”
    “Ohhhh?”
    “But, of course! It’s just right for scratching those particular itches we all get from time to time.”
    “Do tell . . .”
    “Promise you won’t panic?”
    “What – do you want an official statement from me, signed in blood, with a full oath-swearing in front of the phallic totem you set so much stock in?”
    “That is actually a fairly standard requirement before you can join the fun and games.”
    “I just don’t know . . . these sorts of experiences . . . it brings all sorts to the dining table, does it not?”
    “Certainly! But, not a corpulent one in the bunch!”
    “How do I know that’s true?”
    “You don’t. You must take my word for it. Would I lie to you?”

  8. I missed one day this month — May 17, which was National Bike-to-Work Day. I biked 53 miles that day, and attended two conferences. By the end of the day, I could not keep my eyes open long enough to form a coherent thought. Otherwise, I’ve been enjoying the process. I had initially planned to work on sections of a non-fiction book manuscript that is under contract but began to get a little nervous about posting too many excerpts from that mss since it is under contract. So I began spinning tales about other things, often the adventures with backyard farming that my husband and I experience. Everything’s rough, but I’m glad to be getting the tales down on “paper” and hope to put them into a more polished form at some point into the future. I’ve been writing with a site 750words.com (which simulates Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way morning pages idea in electronic format). That site and this one have kept me going.

    Here’s today’s effort: A hopefully silly story about squash.
    http://guptacarlsonshortstories.blogspot.com/2013/05/volunteers.html

    1. Good for you.

      I’ve found 750words.com to be really helpful too. (Everyone should check it out if they haven’t already). Thanks for the reminder about it.

  9. So far haven’t missed a day. I’m beginning to wear out, but I’ll keep writing — no matter how bad the stories get — until June 1st. Then I’ma collapse and take a week or two off writing, with maybe a little editing mixed in. Today I passed 70k words overall for the month. So I’m pretty stoked.

  10. I’ve managed to keep to my target of five stories a week, all written pen-on-paper, which way I find it easiest to write. What surprised me was that I produced stories that were surprisingly good. For me, at least. But then when I think like that I always find myself in a minority of one!

    1. I love to write with pen-on-paper. I’ve even read that there are some fancy-brain-doctor studies that say it stimulates different parts of the brain in a good way, so I’m using that as ammunition when my kids ask why they have to study penmanship 🙂

      Being happy with your writing is an important thing. No-one’s going to love your stories if you don’t.

  11. I have to catch up on Monday’s prompt, but I’ve been able to write something each day– sometimes overlapping when needed, if unable to finish in a day. I haven’t posted the majority yet on my Tumblr blog (http://www.carriegreen.tumblr.com) until I’ve given everything a good grammar sweep, but here’s Sunday’s offering, a little romp from a dog’s perspective. My shorts have mostly centered around recurring characters, one being this silly dog, so that I didn’t have to keep inventing completely new worlds. This month has been a fantastic challenge–a first for me!

    From Fink with Love

    “At it again… he’s at it, again! Cooking time!”
    Fink followed his moist and always-in-trouble nose. His nails noisily clicked against the floor, obliviously scratching the ship’s wooden planks leading to the galley. He was a canine on a singular mission:
    “I must go to the delicious smell.”
    Rounding the counter and several pairs of feet, Fink planted himself in an expectant stop—rump down with tail thumping.
    “Where’d the roast go?”
    The corpulent man who did the cooking of meats was not there. Cocking his head slightly at the mystery of it, Fink lifted his nose and gave a good sniff. The delicious smell had moved. So he raised his rump and followed it.
    He held his head high, keeping track of the roast’s path. When met with more pairs of feet, he wove his way around until he couldn’t.
    “I am an official dog. I belong to my Cassie, and my Cassie belongs to the Captain. Please, move”
    The man did nothing. So he repeated himself.
    “I am an official dog. I belong to my Cassie, and my Cassie belongs to the Captain. Please, move.”
    The man just stood tall and still. Sniffing, Fink made sure he was a man. Indeed, his nose told him so, but he was a little off. Feeling a twinge where leaks appear, Fink didn’t give a second’s thought. Lifting his leg, he leaked on the totem of a man.
    The man shouted, “Bloody hell! Get that dog!”
    Fink ran down the corridor, between legs and around feet. Someone tripped over him, and panic ensued. It was a merry chase.
    “This is fun! Catch me!”
    They eventually did, but his Cassie wouldn’t let the men throw him overboard.
    “Was I bad? I’m sorry. Can I have meat now?”
    His Cassie didn’t pet him like she usually did, and food time came late. He was sent back to his room. It made Fink sad and his insides hungry. So he lay down and closed his eyes.
    “I must go to the delicious smell.”
    Fink opened his eyes, ready to follow his moist and always-in-trouble nose.
    “You’re such a naughty thing, Fink!” His Cassie bent down to scratch him everywhere he liked. “Here, don’t tell the Captain.”
    He looked up at his Cassie and then at the roast and bone she put in his bowl.
    “I love you.”

  12. I’ve written about two days out of three, nothing I’d feel particularly comfortable sharing, but they are first drafts, after all, and we all know what Hemingway said about first drafts….

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