2019 Day 22 – Word List

How did you get on yesterday? Did you write a story?

Remember, set your own rules, and stick to them. If you miss a day, don’t try to catch up. Just keep moving forward!

The Prompt

Write A Story Containing These Words

distinct, weak, volunteered, slow, coming,
time, duress, suspected, shimmy, listened.

If you’re feeling brave, post the story in the comments, or on your own blog and link to it (like so many of you have been doing already).

Underline or bold the key words, or just let us read the story without noticing them.

This is a silly exercise designed to lower the bar on your expectations. But you may be surprised at what you manage to do with this prompt!


Check back every day for more prompts, and don’t forget to come back and leave a comment to celebrate your writing successes, every day!

32 thoughts on “2019 Day 22 – Word List”

  1. September Day 22 . WORD LIST

    I chose to write about a girl walking her dog on a coastal path above a cliff. Before she could know it the ground collapsed and plunged her on to the rocks below.
    The words really guided me to describe the dramatic cliff rescue. It was fun to write. I wrote 1000 words.

  2. Here’s my “Word List” story:

    YOLO – An epistolary story
    Day 1
    Hi Mum. So, we got here no problem. It was a long flight though and we were both knackered by the time we arrived in Bali yesterday afternoon. But the hotel’s gorgeous: we have a thatched cottage in the grounds, near one of the swimming pools, with a huge lounge-cum-bedroom and a fabulous bathroom with sunken bath, double washbasin and God knows what. Think I’m going to enjoy finding out how the other half lives. Getting married on the beach tomorrow afternoon.

    Day 2
    I know, Mum! I wish you were here, too, but we couldn’t afford it, could we? As I suspected, I feel sick with nerves and have the distinct feeling I’m going to throw up any minute now. Have to go – it’s time to take the plunge, and my vows. Think about me.

    Day 3
    All went well. Better than I expected. The maître d’ of the hotel’s main restaurant volunteered to give me away. Lots of other guests listened to the service and applauded when it was over. Rick and I went for a long, slow walk along the beach after. It’s beautiful here. Must say it sounds great: Rick and Samara Cunningham – a step up from the Sammy Smith I’ve been up to now!

    Day 4
    Mum! Mum! I can’t believe it! You won’t believe it either! His company’s gone bust. One of the other Directors phoned him while I was at the beauty salon this morning. Just my bloody luck! I knew I shouldn’t have married him. Knew no good would come of marrying for money, whatever you said. Should’ve just been content with strolling round Hyde Park with him and Peregrine the Afghan Hound on Sunday mornings and going out to dinner with him every other weekend. Like I said, it doesn’t pay to be greedy.

    Day 5
    All right! I’m sorry, I’m not blaming you, Mum. Well, not just you. I shouldn’t have been so weak as to give in to you. Anyway, I’m too upset to chat now, and I have to talk to Rick. Don’t know if we’re coming straight back to London so he can try to sort things out or if we’ll sit it out here for the rest of the month – he has paid for the flights and I don’t suppose he wants to pay for earlier ones, now that he’s broke. I’ll be in touch.

    Day 3
    Yes, everything’s going fine, John. So far. The wedding was yesterday. She seems happy. I’d be happy if I wasn’t terrified she’s going to find out she’s been scammed and murder me!

    Day 4
    I’ve told her – well, sort of. I had to, John. Couldn’t bear the suspense any longer. Said one of the other Directors of my company had phoned to tell me my company had gone bust. For a few horrible moments I thought she was going to faint – her face went red at first, then white, then grey. Maybe I shouldn’t have told her as soon as she came out of the beauty salon, while I was sitting at the pool, surrounded by other people. But she looked so beautiful I hadn’t the heart to deceive her any longer. Had to take her to our cottage, out of the sun. She just lay on the bed, staring at the ceiling, moaning every now and again. I feel like a real shit.

    Day 5
    I’m not blaming you, John. I’m a grown man – old enough and ugly enough to make my own decisions in life. So why I let you persuade me to spin her this fairy tale, I have no idea. I knew she was far out of my league. Should have told her straightaway that day we met in Hyde Park when I was walking Peregrine while you were away that Perry wasn’t mine, and that I was your cleaner-cum-handyman and you were the owner of the company. But then she’d never have had anything more to do with me – a classy, upmarket girl like her. At least I got to take her out to dinner a few times – thanks for lending me the dosh for that and for lending me some more so I’d have some spending money for this trip. God knows how I’m going to pay off the credit card, though – flights to Bali and hotels like this don’t come cheap.

    Day 6
    Are you sure, John? Sure it’s best to stay here and tell her there’s no panic and we should enjoy the rest of the holiday and sort things out when we get back?

    Later that day
    OK. I’ll try to relax and say nothing more about it ‘til we get back to London.

    Day 7
    “Samara, you know I said my company had gone bust?”
    “Well, I’m really sorry, but that’s not true.”
    “What? Your company hasn’t gone bust? What’s going on, for God’s sake?”
    “No, the company hasn’t gone bust but . . . it’s not my company. It belongs to my boss, John. I work for him as a cleaner/handyman. I’m nothing and nobody. I haven’t got a cent.”
    I stared at Samara’s beautiful face, now looking as though it had just been slapped, and wished to hell I was a rich businessman and could keep her in the style to which she was obviously accustomed.
    “Sorry,” I stammered. “Sorry to have tricked you, but you’re the most beautiful person I’ve ever met and I love you. But of course, we’ll get divorced as soon as we get home. Don’t worry.”
    I stared at Samara. Samara stared at me. Then she started laughing quietly. The laugh gathered volume and soon she was rolling about the bed shrieking with laughter, tears running down her face. It was my turn to ask what was going on.
    “Oh, Rick. You’re so funny. It’s so funny. Who did you think I was? What did you think I was? I come from Neasden. I worked in Harvey Nicks until a scout for a modelling agency stopped me in the street one day and said he thought I could be a top model. I didn’t make it to the top but I do a bit of modelling for fashion catalogues and what not. It was my mother that talked me into pretending to be something I’m not and giving myself airs and graces.”
    I kept staring at Samara, until she said: “Don’t you see? We’ve both been playing parts. I tricked you, you tricked me. We’re quits!”
    I began to laugh – mostly from relief. Samara started laughing again.
    “Oh, by the way, Rick – I love you.”

    1184 words
    Would be honoured to know what you think of it!

    Val Vassay

  3. After nearly 48 hours of migraine, I got about 200 words written tonight from the word list. It’s about a woman getting ready for her first day at a new job and already planning for the day she can leave it. The hardest word to fit in was shimmy.

  4. Still plugging along despite travel constraints. Wrote very little while in my hometown BUT I was chasing a story–something that happened back in 1937! I am like a bulldog with a bone when it comes to research! So does chasing a story count just a bit?? Tonight I’m sitting in an historic hotel overlooking the Square of the town where years ago I located my “lost” ancestors–and the five graves with hand-carved names and no dates is a story in itself. But tonight I also wrote the epistolary story–one of my favorite forms!

  5. Brother

    I learned my brother had gone off his medications from the district attorney who contacted me and I rolled my eyes as I listened to him recite the charges against Sid Ruben, my brother. While he had been arraigned on charges from creating a public nuisance to vagrancy and menacing, I wondered what other charges might be coming since the whole process for individuals with mental illness sometimes is slow in moving. Time would tell.

    A few years ago, during his duress over our mother’s passing, he had been suspected in a breaking and entering of an antique store on Main Street where he had to shimmy up a rather hazardous looking chain link fence to access and open window he spotted as he sat in a doorway chugging some cheap wine he bought at a convenience store.

    My weak response to his disruptive public behavior has often bothered me since my mom asked me to be my brother’s keeper before she passed.

    “Mikey, you look after your brother Sid, alright.” She was so drained and weak from her cancer that she could barely smile and when she did it took every bit of her remaining energy to do so. Sid was holding her hand when she breathed her last.

    “Sid, was I good to ya.” She managed to say as her life passed from her.

    “Aw ma, you were the best anyone could hope for.” He fought off his tears, but the came anyway. A single tear came fell across her cheek as the nurse came into the room. One of the hospice workers volunteered to sit with my grieving brother.

    Sid sits silently in his single jail cell when I come into the city jail. His smile makes me glad I came.


    Shelia sat on the porch of her Alabama home. The air was dusty, hot and stale. She was feeling weak from exhaustion. Increasingly she was finding caring for her old husband more and more difficult. He had become very frail and confused. She had always known what was coming when she had married him. He was never a strong, healthy man. Ironically, it was part of what had attracted her to him. Their relationship, initially, had been slow to develop but, oh my goodness, how that was going to change!
    They had met when she had volunteered to help at the local church. He used to preach there at the time. She loved to hear his distinct, reassuring drawl. Somehow it made her feel safe and at peace with herself for a while.
    She felt herself dozing off in the evening sunlight when she became aware of the sound of a jazz band playing in one of the bars a few streets away. Her mind was transported back to her youth when she would frequent those bars and shimmy the night away in a drunken haze until she was kicked out at closing time. She suspected she would not be alive today, 82 years old, if she had not agreed to help out at the church and met Horace.
    She had so much to thank Horace for even though life was very hard now.
    It was true, they had married under duress. Their relationship, though slow to star, had progressed too quickly for Shelia. Horace, to her surprise, had expected a physical relationship long before she was ready and she quickly became pregnant. In those days the only way to avoid becoming an outcast in your small town was to marry in haste and then claim a premature baby.
    No, Shelia acknowledged to herself, life had been hard, there was no denying and what’s more, Sheila was resolved it was going to get a whole lot harder.

    Word count 1450
    Sorry this also appears in DAY 21! Whoops!

  7. No submission today – I started writing, and after 850 words or so, I couldn’t figure out the surprise ending. Maybe I’ll post it someday! Thanks for this site!

    1. Don’t always have to go for an ending, in fact it can be fun not to some times. I often don’t get to an ending – I use these as future feeders.

      1. Oh yes, I agree. There are plenty of days when a first draft seems impossible and it’s lovely to have material to pull out and work on!

    2. 850 words is not to be sneezed at! Some days it’s hard to get the story all the way there, but like you say, it’s source material for future revisions.

    1. Love to hear that. I know it’s tough, but I love the idea that everyone is doing things they wouldn’t otherwise write.

    1. Your site doesn’t like me today. I tried to comment and it is giving me a forbidden message.

      Way to combine all the prompts! You are a story master!

      My favorite line: She had tubes of sunscreen in her totebag for people she scolded for not having any, and they thanked her and kissed her cheek. She gave them statistics on food poisoning, if she suspected they were undercooking the meat on their grills.

      So telling for a character! hahaha

      1. Oh, Tammy, I’m sorry my site was being balky. WordPress just updated, so it doesn’t work properly. You know computer programming: “If it ain’t broke, fix it anyway.” I think Dan Antion said that.

    1. I particularly like the title 😉

      I’m not a GoT watcher either, but I love the energy in this piece.

      1. Wait, so did you just make that up? (I haven’t spent enough time on Twitter this week to catch all the backlash!)

        1. Made it up off the back of a work colleague complaining about it, and the unavoidable flow through it had on my flipboard. totally fictional.

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