Take Five - writercize #189 #AtoZChallenge #FlashFiction

Five words is a writercize that I post every so often where I give you five words to use in a poem or short story. 

It is based on a writing prompt that my mom gave me when I was a young girl to help pass the time on airplanes and in cars, and to keep me in the educational mood during summers. She would write down a series of words in my notebook and encourage me to journal based on those words. It was not a creative fiction exercise at the time; the words were closely related to what we had done that day, but it stuck with me as a very useful exercise.

Take Five, today's writercize, takes the five words concept and twists it with a five minute time limit. I encourage you to go fictional, but if you are drawn to the words in a non-fiction or poetic way, go for it. The time limit puts the exercise squarely in a #FlashFiction state of mind.

For those unfamiliar with #FlashFiction, the net is rife with challenges and competitions on blogs that encourage bloggers and writers to write a short story with a quick turn-around. 

Some use photo prompts, some specific words, some first sentences, or combination of the above. Some set a limit with minimum or maximum words and others with an instant time limit. 

I host a weekend #FlashFiction here called #WeekendWritercize with rules that vary weekly (on hold until May 6 due to A to Z), but I highly recommend checking out any of the #FlashFiction challenges that follow today's writercize. 

It is a fabulous way to write in community, get inspired by other bloggers and push your personal writing limits!

writercize: Write a poem or short story using all of the following five words:
  • sympathy
  • contempt
  • melt
  • wisdom
  • day
There is no minimum or maximum word limit, but watch the clock and write quickly! Five minutes max.

More #FlashFiction Around the Web:

Monday: Cara Michaels' #MenageMonday @caramichaels
Tuesday: Glitter Web #TuesdayTales @theglitterlady
Tuesday eve: Nicole Wolverton #5MinuteFiction @nicolewolverton
Wednesday: Lisa McCourt Hollar 55 Word Challenge @jezri1
Friday: Jen D #FridayPictureShow @JenD_author
Weekends: Right Here Of Course! #WeekendWritercize @alanagarrigues

This is NOT an exhaustive list, but these are some of my faves to play in. Sign up to follow these people on twitter to get reminder tweets.

Click "read more" for writercizer sample response.
writercize sample response:

Ella obsessed about the breakup day and night, heart and mind thrashing back and forth between feelings of sympathy and contempt over the end of it all. She knew that James' heart had melted just as hers; they were kindred spirits in that regard. Both fell hard in love, with all the passion and fire and jealousy and rage of two teenagers. It didn't matter that they were both closer to 40 than 16. Driven by a deep desire to settle into the mirror of their souls, they dove in.

When James lost his job, Ella knew the need for money and career could trump his preference for the city they shared. Detroit wasn't exactly a haven for job prospects. As one week turned into one month and then two, she knew he was hanging on by a thread, pounding the pavement hard to hold on to their love, but increasingly enraged at the doors closing in his face and distracted away from Ella's attentions. Both had lived enough to garner the wisdom that long distance is a death sentence for passionate relationships.

Then, two weeks ago, James had left a note on Ella's door. He couldn't bear to tell her in person; he couldn't even write it out by hand. The note was typed.

"Moving back to Philly. Tired of no job, running out of money. Broke lease. Will be with the 'rents. Space tight, mom and dad uptight. Don't visit. I'll call you if things turn around. Best, J."

Ella had read the note more than a thousand times in those two weeks. She had it memorized, but she still folded the paper, traced the letters, imagined James typing it up in tears, sympathetic to his anger and his sadness, filled with contempt for the way he had slipped it in quietly, disappeared, showed no regard for her feelings or respect for what they had.

She had tried to call, but his number was shut off. She tried to write, hoping the letter would be forwarded, but she found it in her mailbox, "Return to Sender - Address Unknown." That was it. A juvenile runaway breakup end to a sophomoric hormone-powered love between a couple of thirty-somethings.

One day, Ella swore, she would settle for a reasonable, mature man with a muted heart and devoted responsibility. One day. Today she would mourn a broken heart.


  1. Glad I found your blog. It's really unique.

  2. i played with forms to make them fit!

    Contempt is hard on the eyes
    Maybe you should sympathize
    Melt your cold heart,
    This day a new start.
    And prove to the world you are wise!

  3. Great post! That was interesting.I like your quality that you put into your post.Please do continue with more like this.
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  4. Hello, Alana! I love doing this exercise. I usually pick five words randomly from the dictionary. It's fun to do with another writing buddy, too. It's fascinating how different your stories are though you both were inspired by the same words.

    This is such a great blog! I enjoy doing writing exercises and I post prompts every Wed. on my blog called Wednesday's Writing Workout!

    Have a lovely weekend and happy A to Z!!

  5. Sympathy, contempt:
    Perhaps, one day, the two will
    Melt into wisdom.

    (1 minute, 48 seconds) :)

  6. That's a great way to keep those neurons firing. I'm not a writer, but, maybe I could use the same concept with a photo shoot to increase my creativity.
    Congratulations on being one of 26, Thelmaz picked.
    Kathy at Oak Lawn Images


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