book club writing prompt

BCWP: He doesn’t reply…

First post of the Book Club Writing Prompt, which is an awful name, do not put me in charge of naming anything. I randomly opened up the book I just finished reading and chose the first sentence that popped out at me as a starter sentence.

(The Girl Before, JP Delany, pg 328) I will start a 15 minute timer and see what dribble comes out.

He doesn’t reply at first, letting the question hang in the air

– JP Delany, The Girl Before

He doesn’t reply at first, letting the question hang in the air, the thick, musty air. The whole house felt too heavy, too dark, too humid and stale. And he just sat there, looking at Melissa, Melissa looking at him, a standoff of wills.

“Can I open a window or something?” I tried not to say out loud but the air and the awkwardness was threatening to crush me. “You know, I’m just going to take this to the car, don’t mind me.” I stammered as I stood up and grabbed a half filled box from the table next to me.

“No, stay, Nancy. I’m obviously the one that’s making this whole thing weird right? You’re feeling weird? Nobody else in this room is feeling weird, just you?” Sam had that same cartoon voice he always had, the same jokey cadence to his voice, but I’m pretty sure he wasn’t kidding. And it terrified me. His eyes bearing into my soul.

So I ran out of the house. I didn’t know what else to do. Stephanie followed me outside. “Kind of intense in there, huh? He’s just having a bad day, I figured I’d give them a minute, you know?”

“Steph, I don’t know if we should leave Melissa alone in there.”

“It’s their marriage, they don’t need us butting in.”


Okay. Timer’s up. It’s boring but it’s actually able to fit into a scene I’m working on on something else so, I’ll fix it up and consider it progress. Hopefully tomorrow’s little 15 minutes is longer and more fun.

Writing to Write

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this at least one hundred times, but I’m in the middle of writing a novel and it’s hard and I keep finding myself in the corners I’ve written myself into. Mostly because it’s supposed to be a funny book and I increasingly end up instead scrolling the internet and reading the news and feeling that feeling in the pit of your soul that’s a mixture of fear and anger and overwhelming anxiety. And I’m playing Hall Monitor to my remote schooling children which mostly consists of me yelling at them to get back to class. I need a whistle. And a bottle of sparkling rose’.

I did finally score some yeast this week so if I can remember what I wanted to bake back in the Tiger King era of lock-down, I can maybe get back into the normal part of all of this. Or at least a jovial part.

But! The most rewarding ritual that has come out of this train wreck of a year has been the once a week writing group zoom I’ve become a part of. It’s fantastic and my favorite part of it is when we chose a starting sentence and go off into our own world for 5 minutes and come back and read whatever came out of us. I love it. Mostly because it’s writing to write, and it has nothing to do with the novel that’s just sitting there starting at me from a tab at the top of my screen. The anticipation it must feel rivaling me and my Tiger King yeast.

So in this vibe of writing without, you know, writing, I’ve decided to do my own little writing prompts game. I’ve planned it all out. I’m going to grab the current book I’m reading and on the current page, I’m going to pick a sentence at random and set my timer for however long, maybe 15 minutes, and see where it takes me. And I’ll do it out in the open, here on my blog in the event anyone wants to do this with me. We’ll call it The Book Club Writing Prompt, or something. I’m bad at titles. So if you want to follow along, that’s how I’ll tag it. If you want to write with me, link your posts in my comments so I can read them!

I just finished the book I was reading last night and haven’t chosen a new one yet, so my first post will be from that book, The Girl Before by JP Delaney, which was a good read, by the way.

He doesn’t reply at first, letting the question hang in the air