31 Days of Stories – Day 1

Writing Wednesdays & A Writing Sprint link up

For the month of October, Writing Wednesdays is expanding to #31DaysOfStories. I’ll be posting daily writing prompts and my own efforts each day. It should be fun and challenging and, hopefully, provide plenty of ideas for even more stories. So, consider jumping in when you can. Working through writing exercises like the Writing Sprint Prompts helps keep the writing muscles from getting lazy and opens doors to greater creativity.

As always, you’ll find the Writing Sprint prompt at the end of this post. Soak up the prompt and freewrite for 15 to 30 minutes without the so-called help of your inner critic. No overthinking. No stopping. No editing. No worries. Daily writing exercises help writers grow, improve and free their writing and creativity. The only rule is that you must leave a comment for at least one other writer who’s included their link. That’s it. Other than, free yourself from your doubts, your fears and your inner critic and have some writing fun with us!

{oh, and a quick p.s. If you’re joining the link up, please grab the Writing Sprint logo below or the 31 Days of Stories butto and include it on your blog post, along with a link back to this page. Thanks!}

31 DaysWriting Sprint Prompt: ONE MOMENT

{Before I get started, I will say that in order to keep my writing within the 15 to 30 minute time, I have created a playlist on Spotify that allows me to put together songs that come close to 30 minutes. When the final note plays on the last song…I stop writing}


Beautiful, Don’t You Think?

Tilly sighed and rested her head against the headrest. A truck roared past and caused the entire car to shake in its wake. She opened her eyes and watched as cars sped past her before glancing in the rear view mirror. She saw little break in the traffic and decided to inch her car forward a bit more and angle herself deeper into the shoulder of the breakdown lane before climbing out of the passenger side door.

Outside, she took a deep breath and stared up at the overcast sky over her head. She hoped that the rain they’d been predicting would hold off a little longer. The pine trees along the highway seemed greener against the gray sky and her fingers itched to sketch them, capturing their deep hues with her assorted oil pastels. Other than the nagging flat tire, she thought, this would be a perfect opportunity to do some drawing.

She laughed softly to herself as she opened the trunk and began rummaging about for the things she needed. Despite the volume of the speeding cars, she could hear her father’s voice loud and clear in her head, the doubts he never failed to voice about her ability to do the things that mattered, as he liked to call them.

To him, the things that mattered were black and white and matter of fact, she thought, yanking at the handle of the tire jack. Things like this. Changing a flat tire, checking and changing the oil in her car, which she reminded herself she needed to do first thing tomorrow before she headed to her two-week art residency in Maine.

To her, of course, the things that mattered had more to do with beauty and expression and moments that inspired you to strive for something beyond what you knew was possible. She wrestled with the lug wrench and wrinkled her nose at the smell of stale oil that was ground into the trunk’s beat-up carpet covering. She tossed the wrench next to the jack and wiped her hands on her jacket. She smiled as she noticed the grease-streaked handprints because she knew her dad would roll his eyes and make some ridiculous comment if he could see her.

With one final tug, she managed to get the spare tire, which of course was not the typical donut spare, but a full-sized tire because it’s what her dad had insisted on when she bought the car even though she’d been living on her own for three years now.

She settled down next to the car and loosened the lug nuts, taking in the details of their faded silver and thinking about how closely it matched the silver gray sky above her. With that finished, she got the jack in place and began slowly, carefully jacking the car off the ground, listening to the creaking and grinding of each pump of the handle.

As she began the final loosening of the lug nuts, she paused and took in the even deeper green of the trees behind her and again her fingers twitched with a need to sketch, to capture the passing beauty of the colors and the moment before it was gone. The tire off, she reached into the car through the passenger window and pulled out her sketch pad and oils and began drawing lines and bends and curves of each of the trees in front of her until the first drops of rain began to fall. Deftly she closed the pad and placed it back in the car and grabbed up the spare tire.

Through the pelting drops she lined up the tire, squinting her eyes to clear the water from her eyelashes and quickly replaced each of the lug nuts, each one having been carefully placed in the hub cap like her dad taught her. She smiled again, thinking how fun it would be to show him up just once. Despite the rain, she grabbed her iPhone and hit the video button, recording her final steps.

When she finished, she turned the phone on herself, smiled and waved. And, just before hitting “Stop,” she pulled open the passenger door and zoomed in on the sketch she’d done.

“Beautiful, don’t you think?” she said and panned over the drawing and then panned to the trees behind her.


This Week’s Writing Sprint: ONE MOMENT

Write a third-person fragment of story about one important moment in someone’s life. Examine this moment from every possible angle. Consider smell, light, texture, distant and near sounds, and the details that will stick in the memory of the participant. {Exercise 96 from The 3 A.M. Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises that Transform Your Fiction by Brian Kiteley; note: this is an affiliate link}

Give us what you’ve got with as much detail and dialog and description as you can muster in 15 to 30 minutes. And most of all, have fun. Free your writer from your inner critic. When you’re done, come back and link up what you’ve got! And remember to give some encouragement to at least one other person in the link up community. You can post to the link up party until next Tuesday night. Hope to read you there!


13 thoughts on “Writing Sprint: One Moment

    1. And the other thing I like to do is create the playlist to the mood of the piece I’m writing. For a couple of the more fantasy pieces, especially Awaiting Destiny, I used some Celtic, ethereal music; for The Party, I plugged into Gustav Holst’s The Planets. I love writing to music {not everybody does, but I can’t write without it}.

  1. “To her, of course, the things that mattered had more to do with beauty and expression and moments that inspired you to strive for something beyond what you knew was possible.”

    This struck me as the main point. So awesome!

  2. This was great. I felt as though I could follow along with her every thought. I love the fondness she has for her father, as a daddies girl myself. Makes me wish I could change a tire…

    1. I’m glad you stopped by, Raquel. I like knowing how my writing affects people, so thank you for your comment. And, as for changing a tire, I hope you never have occasion to have to learn it on the fly the way I did!

  3. I like that there seems to be a non verbal conversation with the idea (or is it memory?) of her father. He’s with her, whether she desires it or not.

    1. Thanks, Jeff! And, that’s a really good question, too. I’m not sure if it’s the idea or memory of her father; that he’s with her is definite, but the relationship and whether he is living or not, I cannot tell you just now…because I don’t know and Tilly hasn’t told me yet.

  4. There is a lot of good detail in this, and I appreciated the simplicity and quietness of the scene. I’d love to see the relationship between Tilly and her dad play out when they’re both physically present in a scene. I think you have the great ability of infusing significance in the ordinary things.

    1. Thank you, Meagan. I’m really enjoying the exchange of stories, scenes and encouragement we’re building. As I collect these scenes from the 31 days of stories, maybe I’ll come back to this one and see what happens between Tilly and her dad….

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