For today’s task, use your outline and character interviews as inspiration to write 500 words today. Don’t worry about finishing your story; just write 500-ish words and call it a day.
Here’s my attempt at 500 words:
Outside the window, the world was still and cold and white. Snow covered nearly everything: the earth, the trees, the cars, the bridge. The only things that escaped a coating were things that moved: a cardinal, a squirrel, and the little creek that ran past the house hidden deep in the woods. Sherry looked out at it all before picking up a magazine that had her husband’s face on the cover.
When she was younger, Sherry would read his interviews before they even made it inside the house. In those days, his face wasn’t on the cover; in fact, his name wasn’t even on the cover usually. This magazine waited all week, and the snow finally prompted Sherry to crack it open.
As she read, Sherry put her hand to her face as if she were collecting her hair and brushing it back behind her ear. Of course, her hair was too short now, but the habit of movement was impossible to shake, especially when she was distracted by something to read.
Near the end of the article, Sherry sat straight, smiled, and stood up. She walked briskly to the study and threw open the door. Her husband, Doug, looked up from his desk and sighed deeply.
“I just read your interview, dear,” Sherry said, “and I was so excited to read how much you love me. Just think of all the people who read this magazine that know it too.”
Doug looked back down at his desk and sighed again. “You know, that’s a literary journal. They probably have a circulation of 2,000 tops, and the editors are probably the only ones who read it all the way through.”
“Stop it,” smiled Sherry. “You’re just grumpy that you didn’t get to walk this morning.”
“I’m being serious,” said Doug. “But circulation aside, that interview is from months ago when I was likely not annoyed with you.”
Sherry walked over to the window to see the snow from the office window. “I am still annoyed with you,” Doug called over her shoulder.
“Because of the reservations?”
“Because of the reservations,” said Doug. “You ruined 43 years of tradition last night.”
Sherry saw another cardinal–and a blue jay. “We would’ve likely wrecked had we gone out last night. Have you looked outside your window? Snow everywhere.”
“We’ve made it there in worse, and we could’ve taken a hotel room after if we needed.”
“It’s not even an anniversary or anything.”
“It’s tradition,” shouted Doug, which was followed by a deep silence. Doug rarely, if ever, raised his voice. He prided himself on his mild-mannered lifestyle.
“It’s tradition,” repeated Sherry in a whisper. She started picking at the window pane. They were old windows, the kind that let the cold air into the house. “I know why we have this tradition. You’re an idiot if you don’t think that I know. It’s because of her.”
Sherry walked over to a chair on the other side of Doug’s desk and sat down. She looked straight at Doug and said, “Even after all these years, you’re hoping to see her.”
That’s my 500 words. Wow! That was a lot easier than I expected, and it felt good. I hope you’re able to just let go and write 500 today too.
Remember: Don’t worry about finishing your story. Just start writing and let your characters take you wherever they may.
Get started in writing!
Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and an award-winning fiction writer. That said, he’s known more for his poetry than his fiction. In fact, he’s the author Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53) and a former Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere. He’s married to the poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of their five little poets. Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.
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