Strawberry Shortcake in Cuffs – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 21 March 2018, these three words were chosen:

  • Shocked
  • Fallow (not in use/utilized, light brown color)
  • Wordy

And these blurbs were written within five minutes….Enjoy!



She slammed the book closed and stood up “Strawberry Shortcake is not a woman of historical importance!” her voice drawing attention from most of the other students in the library, some giggling.

He responded again without looking up “Did you turn to page 384?” his voice calm as could be.

Her emotions were teetering between shocked and angry. She was shockingly angry in fact. Why in the hell had she been paired with this… this.. she couldn’t even think of the word to mentally call him.

“That’s it” her voice still louder then she intended “I’m done!”

She started to gather her things when he stated “The great sugar fields laid fallow years after the great  sugar plague of 1983. The consumption having been diminished in the effort to remove the continuing threat.”

Now he looked directly at her.

She squinted her eyes and could only say “Your wordy made up story is laughable.”

He turned the book around to page 384 showing a picture of the fields and Strawberry Shortcake in cuffs.

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I stumbled mentally as our gazes held. My heart thumped heavily and then twisted slightly. My eyes widened, shocked at what my body was telling me. Impossible. An assassin? Really? My usually wordy self failed me.

Martin cleared his throat in an effort to fill the sudden silence. He sipped his coffee and I took a bite of my muffin. I wondered if he knew.

A very short, fallow skinned fellow came through the door. He glanced at Martin, then at me, his eyes lingering for a little too long. I felt Martin tense and it confused me. The little man must have noticed, he turned away and rushed to a seat on the other side of the restaurant.

As I watched the man settle in to the table, a dark and melodic voice spoke.

“What can I help you with?”

My traitorous body swooned. Martin chose that moment to smile at me. I sighed.

“I need someone taken care of,” I whispered.

Martin leaned his head on his hand, elbow on the table and leaned in to me.

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“The sad part of the whole tale was that the finest mind in all the realms was sentenced to lay fallow and go to ruin and waste, locked in a tower until the man died or the world ended,” James finished, only slurring a little, pointing dramatically at the ceiling of the pub. Trema leaned close to Halfard. “Does he always get this wordy when he’s drunk?” Halfard looked shocked. “Lass, he isn’t even close to being drunk.” Trema frowned, doubting the large man’s perception, but then she spied James collecting the coins from the other habitants of the pub with a hand that was steady and eyes that were clear and sharp. He looked up, caught her staring, and winked. She turned away, warmth infusing her cheeks, and didn’t look up until a thump and the protest of the chair announced that James had returned to the table. “Dinner’s on me,” he announced grandly. Halfard grunted, and took another chunk of bread. Trema nodded in thanks. “What was all that?” she asked. “All what?” James replied. “On the stage? Nothing. Remnants of a life best forgotten, my dear. By me, you, and everyone else.” He smiled brightly at her, but it didn’t reach his eyes.

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Uh oh, Josh was up next. After Dee’s dental mishap, we knew the story was in need of some serious beefing up, and nobody but nobody could manage that quite so well as their resident Wordy McWordsmith.

Especially since this was a fantasy story, and not only had the second flash fiction speaker killed off the dragon – their only protagonist – but now we had yellow-toothed zombies running amok, and Jess was worried that they wouldn’t be able to get the story back on track before it got to Alina, their final contributor. She honestly wrote fantasy best, and would make it all end in a cliffhanger of epic proportions, which was great for once it was uploaded. Lotsa twitter followers from that. It would have shocked half the group into stunned silence if she ever ended anything without a cliffhanger. Josh stepped up.

“The zombies turned as one toward the fallow field away from the villagers, which frightened them more than simply attacking would have. As they all congregated on the ashes of where our dragon fell, those ashes rose from the ground and formed back into a mangled broken dragon, Smoke more than fire belched forth. The villagers cowered as a zombie dragon flapped before them, torn wing still working by some unknown magic. Now our noble hero knew that the villagers truly were doomed.”

Boom. Epic save. Over to Alina to wrap it up in a tidy little bow for the blog. They were totally gonna get at least ten new followers from this, Jess thought.


A gasp from a few feet away made her look up and she caught the shocked expression of a teenage girl standing on the other side of the coffee dispensers. Sara followed the line of the girl’s gaze directly to where Jeremy stood in all of his disapproving, judgemental glory.

She narrowed her eyes at the newcomer. What was this? No one else could see Jeremy. Her was her ghost, dammit, her burden to bear, her problem to solve, her crusade to….whatever. She cursed herself. Sometimes it didn’t pay to get too wordy. She had to do something, and fast.

The ghost was also noticing this new attention, and he lit up like a glowstick, preening in his elegant, ancient costume, preparing to make a leg at the young girl who was clearly looking at him, the first person to acknowledge him in centuries.

“Madam,” he began, and Sara shoved herself between them, breaking their line of sight, and hopefully their connection. His diplomacy skills had lay fallow for a long time–he didn’t need to rekindle them now. Not here. And certainly not with her.

“But–” the girl was saying, mouth open in awe.

“Oh no,” Sara told her, reaching out to grab Jeremy’s hand, knowing that he would respond to her touch as he always did, but to nothing else in the real world. “No freaking way.” There was no way her ghost was going to haunt her for all these years only to run off at the last second with some second-sighted tramp in a convenience store.

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“They left the field fallow, okay?”


“Yes, fallow.”

“Look, Kent, I get that you know a lot of words, but I…well, I don’t. English is a lovely language, perhaps use it?”

“I am using it.”

“But you’re being so wordy about it.”

“Okay, fine. My point is this: in my story, there is a tree, and the tree is very tall, and it has a lot of stuff on top of it that is very green.”

“Okay, now you are just being purposely child-like.”

“Yes, I am. It’s called sarcasm, are you shocked by it?”

“A tad—yes.”


“You’re not usually sarcastic.”

“Oh—well, fine, I guess.”

“I’m just saying. But, do tell me, what is the deal with the tree you’re blathering on about?”

“The tree that grew in that fallow earth?”

“Ugh, yes—that one.”

“Oh. I wanted to show you it.”

“So, this is a real tree?”

“Yep. Real tree. Come on, it’s got something on it, I wanted to show it to you.”

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Filed under Creative Writing, Writers Group, Writing, Writing Exercise

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