A Fun Writing Exercise

In order to help me establish not only a better writing routine again, but to do better at sending newsletters, I’m going to try something new. Something I hope you’ll enjoy as much as I did with this first story.

I’ve always loved playing around with plot generators because the results range from weird, to dull, to really wild. The one thing they all have in common though is that they’re almost always make me laugh. Just like the one I’ll share with you in a second.

Before I do though, I’ll share what I’m hoping to do with these generated plots and characters. I’ll share the generated one here, on my blog, and then I’ll put the story I come up with in a newsletter. When I have enough, I’ll publish them as a collection of short stories … but subscribers can read them for free.

Tonight, I’ll publish both, so you can laugh at the generated story, and then see what I did for it. That way, if you like what I come up with and aren’t already subscribed to my newsletter, you can sign up for it now by clicking on the tab above (or here).

So… Without further ado…

This is where I got tonight’s generated plot: https://www.plot-generator.org.uk/story/.

Charming Uncles Reading to the Beat (I use the site under my other, currently unused pen name, JJ Belding)

Maureen Parker had always loved quiet bus stop with its rainy, robust rivers. It was a place where she felt sad.

She was a virtuous, helpful, coffee drinker with strong hair and pretty eyes. Her friends saw her as a huge hero. Once, she had even helped a disabled person cross the road. That’s the sort of woman she was.

Maureen walked over to the window and reflected on her pretty surroundings. The wind blew like thinking squirrel.

Then she saw something in the distance, or rather someone. It was the figure of Simon Randall. Simon was an admirable sweetheart with dark hair and slender eyes.

Maureen gulped. She was not prepared for Simon.

As Maureen stepped outside and Simon came closer, she could see the roasted glint in his eye.

Simon gazed with the affection of 2575 cute fantastic fish. He said, in hushed tones, “I love you and I want a phone number.”

Maureen looked back, even more relaxed and still caressing a tattered hat. “Simon, I’m new in town,” she replied.

They looked at each other with lonely feelings, like two deafening, defeated dogs walking at a very adorable holiday, which had flute music playing in the background and two charming uncles reading to the beat.

Maureen regarded Simon’s dark hair and slender eyes. “I feel the same way!” revealed Maureen with a delighted grin.

Simon looked calm, his emotions blushing like a better, brawny book.

Then Simon came inside for a nice cup of coffee.

THE END

To be honest, I wasn’t sure I could come up with anything from that … umm … interesting story. But, after a while, I did. I should warn you that I’m not going to spend a lot of time editing these rewrites. I’ll save that for a collection, but I’ve always tried to write as close to a finished draft as possible. Hope you like what I’ve done with this story. 🙂

Since the generated title made zero sense, I’ve changed it to…

The Matchmaker

Sitting on the bench beneath a shiny green awning, Maureen Parker wondered again why more commuters didn’t wait for their buses at this stop. Located on a curve, across the road from a picturesque river not much more than a block from the busy downtown area, it was pretty and peaceful, and she loved it. Even on a chilly, drizzly autumn day.

But no one had ever joined her, until a couple of weeks ago anyway. Now, she waited, wondering if he would come again today. She’d wondered the same thing every afternoon after work though, and he always showed up, dressed in a suit and tie on the warmer, drier days. Today, she knew, he’d be wearing his trench coat to not only keep him warm, but to protect his expensive garb.

They’d never spoken, but Maureen spent a lot of time thinking about the handsome, dark-haired stranger. Was he an attorney? A banker? A businessman? Everything about him seemed to scream ‘professional,’ though for all she knew – which was nothing at all – he could sell vacuums or hair brushes.

Always tending to be a bit on the shy side, she figured she’d never know. By the time he showed up, she’d pretend to be reading one of the books on the tablet that was always tucked in her purse.

Almost as if on cue, Maureen saw him round the curve and quickly ducked her head, trying to focus on the words on the screen. From the corner of her eye, she saw him sit down on the other end of the bench, laying his briefcase beside him.

Why couldn’t she say something? Anything? Even something about the weather? Like, “Boy, it’s sure cooled off today, hasn’t it?” Instead, she sat there, not really afraid to start a conversation, just not sure how.

“Oh, for heaven’s sake!

A crash, followed by an exclamation from her left, caught Maureen’s attention, and she turned and saw an elderly woman gaping at a wire shopping cart lying on its side, the contents of a couple of grocery bags sprawled across the grass. A couple of cans were rolling down the sidewalk.

Almost as if they’d planned it, Maureen and her bus stop companion jumped to their feet and sprinted to the woman’s aid. While Maureen righted the cart and started putting the groceries back into the bags, the guy chased down the wayward cans.

“I am so clumsy sometimes,” the woman said with a chuckle. “I was watching the cardinal couple in that tree-” she pointed across the street where the bright red male and his less ostentatious ‘wife’ sat on a branch, “and the wheel hit the edge of the grass.” She grinned from Maureen to the man.

“It happens to all of us sometimes,” he told her, reaching out a hand and adding, “I’m Simon Randall. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” Maureen felt her insides warm at his amused yet gentle tone.

“Trudy Curtis. Thank you so much.” When she withdrew her hand from Simon’s, she offered it to Maureen, who clasped it and introduced herself. “Thank you too.”

“You’re welcome. Are you all right?”

“I’m just fine. Feeling a little foolish, but cardinals always distract me.” Trudy’s eyes seemed a little sad as she gazed at the branch where the birds were still perched. “They remind me of my husband. He’s been gone almost eleven years, but they were our ‘thing.’” She smiled at Maureen and Simon again. “Every Christmas, we’d buy a new cardinal ornaments, but we especially liked finding the couples. So, when I see them, I think of him.”

“I’m so sorry,” Maureen murmured, not sure what else to say.

“Don’t be. We had forty-two years together. It’s been hard, and I’ll always miss him. We met at this very bus stop, you know. It was just an old green wooden bench back then, and there was no awning to keep you dry on a rainy day like there is now. But he walked up one day, and sat down. And then – our eyes met, and we knew in that moment that we’d spend our lives together.”

“Sounds like a match made in heaven,” Simon said, sounding sincere, which surprised Maureen. A lot of guys would find a story like that corny.

“It was. But look at me bending your ears all day. The bus will be along soon, and I need to get this food home and put away.”

“Do you have far to go?” Simon asked. Trudy shook her head and pointed just down the road and across the street, to the last house on that side.

“Just over there. When my Robert found it was for sale, just before our wedding, we knew we had to buy it. And I’ve lived there ever since, with him by my side most of the time. I always thought it was so romantic, to be able to look out my kitchen window at the place where we first met. I’ll be sorry to let it go.”

“You’re moving?” Maureen asked, for some reason, sad at the thought.

“Yes. Probably before summer arrives again. Our son was transferred to Missouri a couple of years ago. He wants me to move in with him and his family. So, this old place will be on the market again before too much longer. I hope the next couple who buys it will be as happy there as we were.”

“I’m sure they will be. It’s a beautiful house, and it’s in a nice neighborhood.” As Simon spoke the words, Maureen realized it was true. Riverfront property, close to the business district, was prime real estate in this town.

“Well, I should be going,” Trudy told them again. “I think I hear your bus coming. You’re such a sweet couple for helping me.” Before either one could protest that they didn’t even know each other, Maureen could have sworn she winked at them, then headed across the street.

“I think she’s right about the bus,” Simon said, his voice low as their ride came around the curve. Since they weren’t at the designated stop, the driver sailed right past them.

Not that she cared because, staring into his kind brown eyes, she understood what Trudy meant about knowing. And from the surprised look on Simon’s face, she knew he understood it too.

As if drawn by a magnet, they glanced at the house across the street. Trudy stood on her porch, a smug smile on her face. After a moment, she stepped inside and closed the door behind her. Maureen turned to look at Simon again and he smiled at her.

“It’s nice to meet you, Maureen.”

“It’s nice to meet you too,” she said, feeling her cheeks color as she smiled back.

“Since we’ve missed our bus, and the next one won’t arrive for an hour, could I buy you a cup of coffee?”

“I’d like that.”

Photo credit: Pixabay

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