Writing Sprint Wednesdays & link up

It’s time to practice our craft with a Writing Exercise. As always the Writing Sprint prompt appears at the end of this post and offers an opportunity for you to 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. 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 and include it on your blog post, along with a link back to this page. Thanks!}

laptopWriting Sprint Prompt: Needs

{Before I get started, I will say that in order to keep my writing within the 15 to 45 minute time, I have created a playlist on Spotify that allows me to put together songs that come close to 45 minutes. When the final note plays on the last song…I stop writing}

{start}

Tomorrow

“You’re probably wondering what I’m doing in here,” Archer said, looking at each of the three sentries clad in all black, including the masks they wore over their faces.

In response to their silence, Archer’s began to work out a believable story in his mind. Before he started spinning his tale, he slowly and carefully took his hands out of his cloak to show that he had nothing to hide. One of the sentries slid a chair over and shoved him into it.

“We’re waiting,” the sentry said. Archer started at the voice; he’d expected a male voice, but this was clearly a girl. And her voice was familiar. He wished he could see her face and he considered taking the mask from her face. Instead, he sat in the chair she’d placed behind him.

“My name’s Archer and I’m a second year,” he began.

“Why are you here?” The tallest of the sentries spoke through gritted teeth and took a menacing step forward.

“Right.” Archer cleared his throat and looked at the floor, hoping he looked sufficiently remorseful and contrite and hiding his apprehension. “As I said, I’m a second year, but I’m also responsible for my family.” He paused and looked up at the three masked faces who he considered part of the reason he was here at all. “My dad was killed in the initial uprisings,” he continued and looked back at the floor, this time to hide the burning anger that began to rise in him. He folded his hands tightly in his lap.

“My mother has struggled since his death. Each of my brothers and my sister remind her of him and when she looks at us, she looks through us, as if we are his ghosts.” He looked at them again. “Someone has to take care of my youngers,” he said. “I do what I can to provide food enough and keep up with my second year studies.”

He directed his gaze at the girl, hoping to win her sympathies.

“If we’re going to help quell future uprisings, we need to be strong, healthy. But I need to finish out my second year.” He swallowed hard. “My father had it all wrong,” he added. “He lost his life for nothing.” It was all he could do not to clench his teeth or ball his hands into fists. He willed himself to relax his muscles, something he’d been practicing with his mentor, being still and calm in the face of danger.

“The kitchens are off limits to the citizens, I know that,” he said, still looking at the girl. “But my brothers, my sister. They are weak, sickly. They are desperate to enlist in the sentry details when they are old enough.”

“Why not enlist them now?” It was the tallest sentry again, looming over him. Archer met his gaze.

“We believed there were strict rules about who was eligible-”

“There are strict rules about the kitchens, and yet here you are,” the sentry said.

Archer looked at the floor, hoping again to hide the anger burning in his eyes. “I’m sorry,” he said.

The girl stepped forward and from the corner of his eye, Archer saw her touch the tallest sentry’s arm. Archer wondered if she were in charge as the tallest sentry stepped back. The girl turned toward him.

“How old are you brothers?” she asked.

“Twelve, ten and seven.”

“The twelve-year-old is old enough to report for exams tomorrow,” she said.

“But the exams begin at fourteen,” Archer replied.

“For your brother, they begin at twelve.” She waved a hand at her fellow sentries, indicating they should remove themselves from the room. He watched them move toward the door, hovering like wraiths in the shadows beyond the closed door.

“If he is as weak and sickly as you say,” the girl said, “I will take personal interest in his care and strength.”

Her voice rang familiar in his ears, muffled though it was by the mask.

“Why are you doing this?” Archer asked. “I took nothing.”

“And yet you are here,” she said. “Clearly you have been here before.”

He stared at her.

“Send your brother to me tomorrow.”

“I don’t know who you are, how will I know where he needs to go.”

In one swift motion, she removed the hooded mask from her head and long auburn hair framed her face. She looked at him with her steady dark eyes and he blinked his eyes several times as he took in her face. A face that favored his in many ways.

“Quell?” he said.

She slid the hooded mask back over her face. “Tomorrow. Sentry headquarters,” she said then turned and walked out of the room, sending the tallest sentry in to escort him from the building.

{Stop}

This Week’s Writing Sprint: Needs

Write a fragment of a story about a character in a desperate situation. This person has to tell a story to get out of the desperate situation. The audience is crucial here – two or three people who are an actual or implied threat would be useful. How does this audience affect the story – the selection of details, the pace, or the tone of voice of the storyteller? {Exercise 71 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 as you can muster in 15 to 45 minutes. 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!

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2 thoughts on “Writing Sprint: Needs

    1. Katie, I consider that some high praise, so thank you for that comment. And, there is no rest of the story yet – ha! Just wrote that this morning in response to the Writing Exercise. I tend to collect some good story ideas in the process of these Writing Sprints.

      I hope you’ll consider trying one.

I'd love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

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