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[sticky post] Potential Writing Prompts

Have 15 chickens appear somewhere in your novel.
+ If these 15 chickens appear every chapter

Have a radio star killed by a video.

Include a Spontaneous Chicken Situation.

Include a rock god who is the second coming of Mozart but squanders his genius writing bad music to make money and become famous.

Get the words 'gargoyle,' 'teabag', and 'paperweight' into one coherent sentence.

Include the lyrics to at least one New Wave song.

Include somewhere a reference to a book titled "The cheerleader's guide to bulimia."

Use hedgehog as an insult.

Include 40 cakes somewhere in your novel.
+ If someone steals them.


Have 10 references to a woollen jumper in a chapter.

Include the following advertisement:
Do you like TEQUILA?! Do you like HOT DOGS?! Then you'll love our TEQUILA FLAVOURED HOT DOGS! With REAL TEQUILA!
Disclaimer: Tequila or Hot dog content may vary. Don't try this at home, kids!
The hot dogs are better at Tequila Joe's!


A different kind of cheese makes an appearance/mention in each chapter.

Expose an essential plot point during a game of 'I Have Never.'

Use the phrase "It's only a wombat." somewhere in your novel.
+ If it isn't a wombat.


Have an entire scene spent picking flowers.
+ If picking flowers somehow is vital to the plot.

+ If the MC uses them to defeat the bad guy.
+ If the bad guy uses them to defeat the MC.

Make at least 15 references throughout your novel to the game of Monopoly.
+ If your characters play a game of monopoly.
+ If the game leads to a disaster that becomes the turning point in your plot.

Have a random karaoke contest
+ If it's between the hero and villain

Have someone put money into a microwave.
+ If it explodes.
+ If the person who put the money in there is a sane person and did it for a good reason.


Let one of your characters trip over a cat.
+ If the cat isn't hurt at all
+ If your character is

In the middle of a very crucial battle (may or may not be the final battle), have one of the characters get confused about the whole situation and interrupt the battle to ask the fighting protagonist what is going on.
+ If the character asking is also a MC
+ If the two characters start an argument about what is going on, putting this epic battle to a halt until the argument finishes.

Include a cowboy, a cop, an American Indian, a soldier, a construction worker and a biker
+ If they all show up in the same scene.
+ If it's not Halloween.
+ If the main character doesn't get the Village People reference until several chapters later when they relate the story to someone else.

Include the following exchange:
Character 2: Heads or tails?
Character 1: Edge.
Character 2: *flips coin*
Coin: *lands on edge*
Character 1: Woot!
+ If it happens spontaneously between two serious characters
+ If it a completely inappropriate time.

Have a character give birth in an elevator.
+ If it's stuck, and there's no doctors stuck with the pregnant woman.
+ If the only people stuck with the woman are a couple of teenage boys whose only experience with new-born delivery is watching ER reruns.
+ If the woman names the new-born after the kids helping her deliver. Even if it is a girl.

Have a character spend at least two chapters insisting that the other characters show him/her their passports before travelling somewhere.
+ If that character then forgets his/her passport.
+ If they have to drive at least an hour and a half away to retrieve it.
+ If they still make it to their destination on time.

Have a group of your characters get severely lost in a bus system.
+ If this is late at night.
+ If it's because the subways already closed, and they were forced to take a bus.

Have your MC forced to buy an Italian bracelet.
+ If they aren't in Italy.


Have someone dressed up in a promotional costume harass your MC (e.g. Someone dressed as Captain Morgan at a bar, or in a taco suit out in front of a burrito shop).
+ If punches are thrown or costume stolen by MC.

Have two people argue how they're going to kill each other
+ If one wants to kill the other in a "boring" way and the other (the one being killed) is very upset at this because s/he wants to be killed in a cool or interesting way.

Describe a character's favourite pair of shoes in loving detail

Have two characters conduct a conversation while sitting in a tree

Have your characters fence with spoons.
+ If you can pull this off completely serious.

Have a character ask, "What time is it?" Have someone respond "4:30."
+ If it's not 4:30

Have characters go to a camp and yell about how the trees are blocking their view of the forest.

Have one of your characters sing a song in a foreign language (other than your own country)
+ If it isn’t English
+ If you can include at least one other character who sings along

Have a character stuck in a closet.
+ If they are not actually gay, but actually trapped in a closet.


An earthquake strikes in the middle of a tense scene, trapping your hero & villain in an elevator. They have a heart to heart talk.

Dedicate an entire chapter to a character being bored at school/work/on public transportation/whatever to the point that they study the person in front of them with incredible detail.

Have a person who wears red socks, and have someone refer to her/his red socks at least once per chapter.

Have one of your characters obsessively read Readers Digest for the anecdotes.

Make reference to a specific event/incident that happened in the novel you wrote for last year's or a previous year's NaNoWriMo (even if the novel isn't finished).

Actually make your character use the toilet!


Focus exactly 1,000 words on buying a lamp.

Include a hobo with a wacky sign along the lines of "Ninjas killed my parents, need money for karate lessons".

Put a streaker in your novel.
+ if the streaker is just some random person your main characters comment on during a very important discussion in the story.

Include a cow in your novel
+ if it's not a children's novel

Have a picture fall off a wall and hit a character on the head rendering them unconscious.
+ If it's at an art museum
+ If it's completely random
+ If it's not at an art museum
+ If it's thrown at them

Have a smoke alarm go off at an inconvenient time

Have a supporting character whose name is never mentioned.
+ if the main character thinks only he doesn't know the name and is too embarrassed to ask.
+ if, at the very end of the novel, all the characters come together and realize that nobody knows this person's name.

Include a scene/chapter in which your characters attend a sporting event.
+ if it's a sport that does not use a ball.
+ if the characters have no idea what's going on and continuously accost other spectators to learn the rules of the game.
+ if this has nothing to do with the plot.

Have two or more characters debate what exactly Meat Loaf wouldn’t do for love ("I would do anything for love, but I won't do that").

Start a scene with the word "pantomime".
+ if it's in dialogue.
+ if it's used as a verb.
+ if it's the only word in the sentence.

Write a 100+ word sentence
+ if it has correct punctuation
+ if it is dialogue

Have a character try to pick a door's lock with a paperclip, fail, and when s/he kicks the door in frustration it swings open.

Someone whispers in your MC's ear, "Whatever happens in the next hour, you must never tell your family."

Include at least one "Firefly" or "Serenity" reference.
Have a character contemplate either a lamp, painting, or toenail polish using 300 words.

Include a character who always wears a flamboyant theatre costume and carries a mask on a stick.

Somebody says to the MC, "I'd rather set fire to my own feet than be seen with you."

Include the line : "No, let him go. If we're lucky, he'll die a horrible death and we'll never have to see him again."

Have a character get a bad case of hiccups.

Have someone walk into the bathroom while your character is in the shower

Have a character punch someone in the face
+ If the character being punched is the MC or other important character

Have a character who owns one or more of the following items: a pocketwatch, monocle, quill pen, or antique fan.
+ If it was a gift.

Include the line "Oh, that's bad. That's extremely very not good."

Include the line "You might want to close your eyes for this..."
Include the line "Why are you so close to me?"

Include the line "I love humans, always seeing patterns in things that aren't there."
A cowbell is used to knock a character over the head

Use the line "Hold my Garland".
+ If they actually have one
+ If they're a male

Have someone mention that so many people complain about the weather, but no one ever actually does anything about it.

A character always orders the same drink in any bar: a glass of milk with an ice cube in it.
+ If this character has an elaborate and long-winded explanation for this odd preference.
+ If this explanation is at least 1,667 words long.

Have your characters build a pillow-and-blanket fort.
+ If they are over 18.

Incorporate the line "Sorry about your coffee, I had to throw it at someone."
+ if it's said to the main character
+ if it's said BY the main character

Give someone an out of character hobby.
+ If you can justify it.
+ If it plays into the bigger picture of the story.

Your characters go on a road trip that basically includes the passengers shouting "LEFT!" or "RIGHT" at the turns.
+ If your characters end up in the middle of a field.
+ If your characters manage to take a whole chapter finding their way home.

"I have a bad feeling about this."
+ If you use this line more than 10 times in your novel

Include a light-saber fight.

Have a character that is notorious for not cleaning his/her room/house.
+ if it gets worse and worse throughout the story

Include the line "'Because it's funny' is not a valid reason for turning the enemy troops into fluffy pink bunnies."

Have a duel between two characters using those tiny plastic rapiers they stick in sandwiches.

Have the epic battle of the story be something silly, like a snowball fight.

One of your characters always says “Thank you for calling Dominoes, how may I help you” every time they pick up the phone (instead of Hello).

Include the following exchange:
Char A: All this is available for the low, low price of-
Char B: YOUR SOUL!

"All in all, I think the world needs less ethics and more fire."

Have a character who is always somehow losing their shirt (i.e. they take it off, someone else does it for them, it just magically disappears, ninjas steal it, ect.)

"I wasn't kicking him. I was river-dancing and he got in the way."

Have someone randomly walk into your character's house without knocking.
+ If they walked into the wrong house.
+ If the house they meant to walk into was the one next door.

Have one of your characters insist on eating everyone else's leftovers.
+ if they never say anything during a meal except, "Are you going to finish that?"

Have a character use the phrase "X is harder than herding a bunch of hyperactive squirrels on a sugar rush".

Include in your novel the line: Enjoy your forbidden chicken.

Refer, at least once, to a "Noodle Incident".

Make your character use hand soap in self-defense.
+ if it works.

Have a cow walk across the scenery in front of the MC.
+ if it walks in between the MC and someone else during an important conversation
+ if the characters stop their conversation for it
+ if it walks across during a fight, and everyone stops to let it cross.

Throughout the novel, have your characters refer and mention someone named Tim. Tim never actually makes an appearance,  but the characters constantly say things like "I ran into Tim at the grocery store and that's why I'm late" or "Oh yeah I heard from Tim all about [important plot point]". The characters respond with things like, "How is Tim doing?" or "Tim. What an interesting guy" but you never actually find out anything concrete about Tim or how everyone in the novel knows him.
+ The villain and the protagonist are both friends with Tim and when he is mentioned they stop fighting and have a nice
conversation about Tim
+ Tim finally makes an appearance during the climax. He just wanders by.

Three Dares at Once

Because I'm insane:
Have one of your characters obsessively read Readers Digest for the anecdotes.
Make reference to a specific event/incident that happened in the novel you wrote for last year's or a previous year's NaNoWriMo (even if the novel isn't finished). [I'm using one of my WIPs, a romance novel about a teacher who falls in love with a rock star. I technically started it last November even if it wasn't really a NaNovel, but I figure it still counts].
Actually make your character use the toilet!
---

"Who is Mrs Edith J. Gordon?" David asked as soon as he opened the front door to the house.
"Who?" Tara didn't bother looking up from painting her nails.
"Isn't that the old woman from down the road who keeps filling out applications with our address?" Lottie replied, shutting her laptop and placing it on the coffee table. "She's number 13 and we're 23, but she seems to keep getting it mixed up. We actually a birthday card for her with a cheque in it the other day."
"Do you want me to go drop these off at her house then? We've got two bills and a copy of Reader's Digest magazine," David said, holding them aloft.
"It's fine, I can do it." Lottie jumped up out of her seat and took the letters out of David's hand. "You just got home. I imagine you probably want to rest."
David looked at her suspiciously. "Yeah, I guess, but it's not much fuss for me to walk back down the street again." He narrowed his eyes. "What are you up to?"
Tara shook her head. "My baby sister is addicted to reading those anecdotes at the bottom of the articles in Reader's Digest."
David raised his eyebrows in surprise, and Lottie coloured. "What? They're funny. I wish I had an interesting enough life to warrant writing some witty story about it." She flopped back into the armchair.
Just then, Ryan ran down the stairs and barrelled into the room, clad in a pair of blue striped pyjama bottoms and a Slipknot hoody. His blue hair stood up on his head in all directions.
"I don't know, I think our life is pretty interesting," David replied.
"You guys will never believe this!" Ryan said excitedly, his voice nearly high enough to be considered a squeal. "So, you know that band I really like, the one from Finland?"
"Which one?" Tara replied dryly.
Ryan rolled his eyes. "Edacity? The one I made you all enter contests for, so I could win backstage passes?" Lottie nodded vaguely, already leafing through Edith's copy of Reader's Digest. "Well, I was just looking at one of their fan blogs--David, don't you dare laugh--and there's this rumour going around that the lead singer's got a girlfriend." Ryan held out his phone and waved it at the group assembled in the living room. "There's at least a dozen pictures of him with this girl, and I swear, she looks identical to the woman I had a substitute History teacher last year."
Tara finally looked up from her nails and rolled her eyes. "Really? Some Finnish rock star is dating a high school history teacher from Minnesota? That's a bit of a stretch."
"Look, here's the picture on the blog. This is the best one," He shoved his phone at Tara and she obligingly glanced at it and nodded. "Now, here's the picture I found of here on the website of some private school where she teaches now." He pressed a few buttons and returned his phone to Tara.
"Huh," she said, giving him an impressed nod. "I will concede that it does look like the same woman. Go Abigail Reynolds, you caught yourself a...well, rather hairy and tattooed man, but go you anyway."
"Hey, some of us like our men with more hair," Lottie said from across the room.
Tara tutted. "You'll grow out if it, trust me. Men with short hair are statistically more stable."
"Where does James fit in then?" David asked, finally dropping his laptop bag to the floor and tugging off his coat, obviously conceding that he wasn't going to deliver Edith's mail any time soon.
Lottie and Tara both looked confused for a moment. "I figure he'll cut his hair at some point," Tara said finally, screwing the lid back on her nail varnish. "Plus, he's only just outgrown his 'player' phase. That probably accounts for the hair. He's still in transition," She blew on her hands, then winked at her sister. "What about it, sis? Is James your type?"
Lottie laughed, but even to her it sounded a little forced. She might have had a massive crush on James when she was twelve, but now? "Um, I don't know," she said a little nervously. "I can't say I've really looked at him in that way."
Just then, the front door swung open and James stepped in, brushing his hair back from his face.
"What's up, kids?" He said, grinning broadly at them. "I come bearing more mortgage forms for the ladies to sign." He waved a folder at the group.
Tara raised her eyebrows at her sister. "Now's your chance."
Lottie glanced up at James, who was still smiling, but now looking a little perplexed. She had to admit, he still had that rugged, bad-boy look she'd been so fond of as a teenager. In fact, if he wasn't that jokey guy who always teased her like a brother and treated her like an irresponsible kid--if she'd just run into him in a bar--she might be tempted. She felt her cheeks colour again, and lifted her magazine up to cover part of her face.
"Maybe if I were really, really drunk," she told her sister.
"Did I miss something?" James asked, glancing between the people gathered in the room.
David slapped him on the back. "I think you just got complimented," he told him.
Lottie glanced over the top of her magazine again, and David stuck his tongue out at her. Evidently he was the only one who had picked up on her genuine feelings regarding James. Crap.
"Whatever," Tara said, easing out of her chair. "I need to pee. This baby is sitting right on my bladder today."
Word count: 955
"This is ridiculous," James said, banging against the wooden door of the closet. "What kind of cupboard shuts from the inside?"
"Maybe it was used for holding prisoners in," Lottie suggested half-heartedly, trying not to let her panic show.
"What, did your ancestors hold prisoners or war? Did they also help smuggle slaves while they were at it?" James shot back.
Lottie drew in a deep breath and closed her eyes. Maybe if she couldn't see how cramped the closet was, she wouldn't freak out about the fact it was so small.
"Are you okay?" James asked, his tone lowered.
Lottie nodded. "I'm good. You just keep trying to get us out of here."
"Are you claustrophobic or something?" He asked.
She opened her eyes again. "A little. It's not too bad. Maybe if you can find a lamp or torch or something, I'll feel a bit better."
James rummaged around in the filing cabinet they'd been searching through--still on the hunt for any sort of details about the family's financial situation--but came up empty. "I'm sorry, I can't find anything useful." Suddenly, his hands toughed something rough--the edge of a matchbox. He shook it, relieved to find that it still contained a few matches. "Wait. Okay, I'm going to light a match and see if I can find something." Even a candle would suffice at this stage, he thought.
He struck a match against the box and lifted it aloft in the hope that he'd find something better. Trying to ignore the worried look on Lottie's face, he noticed the stub of a candle sticking out of an ancient, rusted candleholder. Grabbing it from the shelf above Lottie's head, he set it on top of the filing cabinet and held the match against the wick, willing it to light.
"It won't last long, but at least it's better than staying in the dark," he said.
"Thanks," Lottie replied, wrapping her arms around herself. "I think it helps having some light, at least."
James leant his back against the door, wincing when it didn't move even a millimetre. "Does that mean that we've drawn a truce?" He asked, his tone slightly teasing.
Lottie sunk to the floor and leant against the shelves that spanned the right-hand wall. "I guess?" She said with a sigh. "I don't even remember what we were arguing about, to be honest."
James stepped over to her and lowered himself to the floor, crossing his legs like he used to in elementary school.
"You'll get your nice trousers all dirty," Lottie remarked, wrapping her arms around her knees.
"I don't care," he said. "Are you sure you'll alright? Your sister will be back soon, I'm sure, and then we can get out of here."
"You mean you can't even bear the thought of being stuck in a closet with me for half an hour?" Lottie joked. James couldn't help but wonder if she really thought he felt like that. They hadn't exactly been on the best of terms since Tara had invited him to help figure out their financial situation. To say they'd gotten off on the wrong foot was an understatement.
"Truce, right?" He reminded her, tapping her hand lightly.
She drew her hand back sharply. "Whatever."

Word count: 545

Tags:

Use hedgehog as an insult.

"You're such a hedgehog," James said, thwacking the bag of bananas into the fruit bowl on the counter. "Why do you have to be so prickly? I was just asking you a question."
"And I don't think it's any of your business whether or not I have a boyfriend," Lottie replied, opening the door to the ancient refrigerator and gently placing a carton of milk in the door pocket. She hoped none of the thirty-year-old fixtures would fall out and splatter food all over the floor next time she opened it. Beggars couldn't be choosers, she knew that--but she did wish their grandmother had updated the house just the slightest before naming her two young adult granddaughters as the new owners of the property. They had not been entirely prepared for the house left to them in her will.
"I'm just interested to see where your life has gone. It's been years since we've talked," James said, leaning against the counter and sticking his hands into the pockets of his expensive suit jacket.
"Well, last time we talked I believe you had a mullet, so things have definitely changed," Lottie remarked, returning to the remaining groceries on the table.
"You can ask me anything, if it makes you feel more equal," James suggested with a grin.
"Why would I want to ask you about your love life?" Lottie scoffed. "You always have some girl fawning all over you."
James looked a little taken aback. "Maybe a few years ago, but not now."
Lottie laughed. "What, you? You're such a player. I bet you don't go an hour without some girl giving you her number."
James shook his head. "I think you've got entirely the wrong impression."
Lottie silently stowed the remaining cans of food in the cupboard. "Whatever. I don't really care, to be honest. Thank you for your help with the mortgage stuff, but I'd appreciate if you can do so without butting your head into my love life."
James rolled his eyes. "I'm just intrigued, that's all. The last time I saw you, you were a kid. Now you and Tara are all on your own and I'm worried about you."
Lottie looked perplexed. "About me and Tara?"
He shrugged. "Mainly you. Tara has a life and a career." Lottie laughed and he shook his head. "I know her acting stuff is a little kooky, but she enjoys it. What are you doing? Working in a cafe? It would suck if you got stuck there just because you're worried about adding to the family debt."
Lottie grabbed the last plastic bag and balled it in her first. "Well, I am worried about that, but you can't do much to change that, can you? My job might be boring, but it pays the bills, and I have plenty of friends to keep me happy. If it makes you feel any more optimistic about my prospects, I do have a boyfriend, and he's a pretty nice guy who's studying for a degree and has plenty of prospects ahead of him."
James's interest was evidently piqued. "Can I meet him?"
"Why?" Lottie asked, tossing the plastic bag on to the counter. "Will you quit it with this whole 'big brother' act? I'm not twelve anymore, and it wasn't cute back then either."
James held up his hands in defence. "Sorry, sorry. I guess the dynamic has changed." He narrowed his eyes at her. "Or are you still secretly in love with me?"
Lottie's face coloured slightly. "What? I was never in love with you."
He roared with laughter. "You so were. It was absolutely adorable."
Lottie stepped forward to meet him at the counter. "Listen. I am not twelve, or adorable anymore. I'm twenty years old, and I have mortgages and bills to worry about, not to mention the fact that Tara is having a baby and her boyfriend is halfway round the world and refusing to answer her phone calls. I have enough to stress me out, without adding your patronising attitude to the mix."
James's face fell. "Tara's pregnant?"
Crap.  She'd misjudged James's presence in the house to mean that he and Tara was best buddies again. Maybe she really had just dragged him over here to be a financial advisor. "I thought she told you," Lottie murmured, stepping away from him.
James stood up and brushed off his jacket. "I think I'm going to talk to your sister. Don't leave, okay? I might have some questions about the house later." Before she could answer, he swung open the door to the back hallway and barrelled in the direction of the study.
Lottie fell against the counter and hung her head. She didn't know if she could imagine a worse re-encounter with James Montgomery if she'd tried.

Word count: 799
"What the hell is this?" James asked, lifting a twisted hunk of metal off the desk through which he had been frantically searching.
"It's a paperweight," Tara informed him flopping with a sigh into an arm chair in the corner of the room.
"It's ugly as heck," James told her, opening another drawer and rifling through it.
"It belonged to my grandfather, so it's staying," she told him. "If Grandma thought it was worth keeping, I'm not chucking it out."
"Well, your grandmother apparently thought it was worth keeping shopping lists from 1976," he replied, peering awkwardly into the open drawer. "Seriously, if your grandparents had any information about the mortgage on this house, they didn't keep it in a sensible place."
"Tara? Where are you?" A voice called from down the hallway.
"In the study!" Tara shouted back.
A moment later, Lottie appeared in the doorway, dragging two shopping bags with her. "Good. I need help putting this food away. Let's hope that ancient fridge will actually keep this stuff cool." She frowned when she spotted James behind the desk. "What's he doing here?"
Tara sighed. "I asked him if he could help us figure out how much we owe in the mortgage, since I'm just as confused as you are about that."
"You know much about mortgages?" Lottie asked, dropping the bags to the floor at her feet. It had been a while since she'd seen James, although he and her sister had been as thick as thieves back in high school. He'd lost most of the bad boy look he'd sported back in those days, but there were still lingering remnants that reminded Lottie of the crippling crush she'd had on him when she was twelve.
"I work in banking, so yeah," he said, finally lifting his head up from the pile of papers he was sifting through. His eyes lit up. "Is that little Lottie? My, you scrubbed up well."
To her utter horror, heat flooded to her cheeks. There was a time when she might have longed for James's attention, but now was not it. "Well, so do you. Suits, huh? I never would have predicted that."
He gave her a wry smile. "Me neither. What are you up to? Have you started college yet?"
Lottie blushed again. "Not yet. Still trying to save up enough money so that I'm not in horrific debt by the end of it. Anyway. I need to put this food away." She gestured to her sister, but Tara merely rolled her eyes
James tossed the papers on to the desk. "I'll help. Let me just stick these under this magnificent paperweight."
Lottie peered at the item in his hand. "That paperweight looks like a gargoyle with a teabag on its head, if you ask me."
"See, she agrees with me," James said, pointing at Tara. "It's ugly."
"Yeah, well, so are you," Tara shot back, not budging from the armchair.
"Looks like this arrangement is going to work out perfectly," Lottie said, heaving the shopping bags into her arms again.
"I can help with that," James said, easing himself out of the chair.
"I've got it," she called over her shoulder as she made her way out of the room. She and her sister might be struggling, but they didn't need anyone's pity--especially not from a man like James.

Word count: 561
"Has anyone collected the eggs yet today?" Tara called through from the living room.
Lottie glanced up from the dish she was drying to where their flatmates sat at the kitchen table.
David barely looked up from his laptop to give her a brief shake of his head, and Charlie offered her an apologetic, "No."
"I thought it was Tara's turn?" James asked, kicking his feet up on to the chair opposite him and cradling his half-empty mug of coffee.
Lottie rolled her eyes. "Apparently no one bothered today," she shouted back to Tara.
"Unless Dillon did it?" James suggested, raising his eyebrows expectantly at Lottie.
"Really?" She asked, dropping the towel on to the counter. "That's the best excuse you've got?" She swung open the door of the fridge to find what she expected--no eggs.
"Right, who's coming outside with me to do this thing?" She asked. She didn't expect a reply from Tara, given the bad mood she was in.
"I would, but this paper is due in less than three hours," David said, glancing nervously at his watch.
"I just want someone to hold the torch," she begged. "It's dark now."
"That's why you're supposed to collect them during the day!" Tara shouted over the blare of the television.
Lottie looked hopefully back at her rag-tag group of housemates. Finally, James dropped his feet to the floor with a sigh. "I'll get the torch."

Lottie placed the final egg into the basket with a satisfied sigh. "Looks like I'm going to be doing some baking tomorrow," she said to herself.
"I vote cupcakes," James said from behind her, swinging the torch around like a mad-man. "Those ones with the vanilla frosting would be perfect."
She shot him a look, even though she knew he couldn't see it. "Could you stop waving that thing around? I'd like to be able to see my way back to the house."
With a disgruntled sigh, James shuffled back on to the path to the house. "You should really do something about all these fallen branches. Someone's going to trip over them at some point."
"Guys!" Ryan came running down the path toward them, not even bothering to find a torch to light his way. "You've got to come into the house. Tara just found the most hilarious thing on TV. Seriously, you have to see this."
"I'll be in a second," Lottie told him, her interest definitely piqued. If Tara could find something on their ancient television hilarious, she must be in a better mood than earlier that day. "Just so long as James stops kicking the back of my shoes."
"I'm nowhere near you," James protested, shining the torch at her. "What are you talking about?"
"Didn't you just kick me?" She asked, blocking the torch-light from shining in her eyes.
"No," James said, confusing creeping in.
"Is there someone else out here?" Ryan asked, pulling his phone out of his pocket and shining the screen at the ground. James shifted the torch light to the path behind them and Lottie let out a shriek when she spotted something furry behind her right foot.
James dropped the torch and grabbed Lottie, tugging her down the path back to the house.
"What was that?" He asked.
"I don't know, maybe a skunk? Hopefully not a fox. Wait, did we lock the chicken hutch properly?" She attempted to turn around, but James gripped her arm tightly.
"If it's a skunk, you do not want to stay out here any longer," he told her.
"Relax guys, it's only a wombat," Ryan called to them. They stopped a few metres away from the back door and turned to face him. Lottie quickly felt to make sure all of the eggs in her basket were intact. "I think so, at least."
"A what?" James called back as Ryan bent to pick up the abandoned torch and shining in the direction the animal had scuttered in.
"I don't even think we have those in this country," Lottie said, almost to herself.
Finally the beam of the torch landed on the tail of some sort of creature. "Oh, wait, maybe it's just the cat from next door."
Lottie let out a sigh of relief, as did James. "What, were you scared?" She teased him.
"No," he replied staunchly. "I just didn't want to get sprayed by a skunk. Dry-cleaning is expensive as it is, without adding in extras to get smells out."
Lottie rolled her eyes, unconvinced. "You sure ran out of there. With me," she pointed out.
"Whatever," he replied. "I'm going to head to bed. See you tomorrow."
Lottie waved at his departing back as he made his way up the steps to the back door, even though she knew he couldn't see her in the dark.
Well, she thought. That had been the most eventful egg-collecting adventure yet.

Words: 814
“Can’t you control James?” Lottie complained to her sister as they unpacked the groceries.
“He’s not mine to control,” Tara shot back, pulling a bag of apples out of a carried bag and setting it on the kitchen table. “Thankfully.” She rolled her eyes.
“He’s your best friend,” Lottie replied, opening the fridge and slotting a milk carton into the door pocket. “And he’s getting out of hand.”
“Who’s out of hand?” Ryan asked, entering the kitchen.
“James, apparently,” Tara replied, tossing Ryan a lime. Thankfully, he caught it. “Help us unpack. Put some of this fruit into that bowl.” She pointed to a ceramic bowl languishing on the counter with a single kiwi fruit in it. 
“He is out of hand,” Lottie staunchly insisted, pulling a carton of orange juice out of the bag at her feet. “At least when it comes to Dillon. I mean, I thought he was bad when I was actually dating Dillon, but now that we’ve broken up, he seems even more insistent on winding him up. It’s getting hard to be in the house when both of them are at each other’s throats all the time.”
“Dillon just needs to learn to take a joke,” Tara breezily replied.
Lottie shook her head. “No, James needs to learn to let it go. I don’t know what his beef with Dillon is, but if he wants us to be able to live peacefully in the same house as Dillon, he needs to stop starting arguments and making fun of Dillon’s choice in women.”
“Ha, beef, good joke,” Ryan said, pointing at the pack of mince Lottie was putting in the fridge. She rolled her eyes. “But seriously, controlling James when he’s around Dillon is harder than herding a bunch of hyperactive squirrels on a sugar rush.”
The two girls looked at him in silence, momentarily stunned.
“Well, that’s one way to phrase it,” Lottie muttered, putting the final item in the fridge before slamming it shut. “I’m going to have a shower. Catch you guys later.” She waved at them before exiting the room, leaving Tara and Ryan on their own.
“So, I’m guessing that Lottie hasn’t figured out that James has a gigantic crush on her?” Ryan finally said.
“What?” Lottie spun around to face him, nearly dropping the bag of flour she was holding.
“James does not have a crush on my baby sister. Not in a million years.”
Ryan shrugged. “It looks that way to me. He’s as offended as Lottie is that Dillon keeps parading his new conquests in front of her, and from the way he’s been acting lately, I think he’s trying to make Dillon so uncomfortable in his own home so that he’ll move out and leave Lottie to recover from the break-up in peace.” 
Tara sat the bag of flour down and pointed at Ryan. “What you’ve just said would make a whole lot of sense, if you weren’t talking about Lottie and James.” She began to tick items off on her fingers. “One, Lottie and James have been at each other’s throats since they were kids. They only make a vague effort to get along with each other for my sake. Two, James is a grown-man with a full-time job who just put down a mortgage on a house. There’s no way he’d consider dating an unemployed waitress who doesn’t even have a college education. And three, she’s my baby sister and he knows that I’d murder him if he even looked at her the wrong way.” She put her hands on her hips triumphantly.
Ryan rolled his eyes. “You’re ridiculous. Okay, how about this,” he began ticking off his fingers in the same fashion as Tara, his eyes gleaming in amusement. “One, Lottie and James aren’t in elementary school anymore. People change. Two, James isn’t as mature as he likes to think, and Lottie has a lot more common sense than most college students I know. Case in point: Dillon.” Tara had to nod in agreement over that point. “And three, he does look at her in ways that would make you want to murder him. Just not when either of you are looking.” He pointed at her. “And, don’t let his past history of being, well, a bit of a man-slut upset you. He seems to have turned his life around.” 
“I know, I know,” Tara turned around again and began unpacking more of the groceries. “That’s not what’s worrying me.”
“You sure?” Ryan carefully balanced a lemon on top of a pile of bananas. “You don’t worry that he’s not good enough for Lottie?”
He glanced over Tara just as she looked up, confusion shown in her creased brow. “I’m honestly not sure about that one. I guess if he’s good enough to be my best friend, he’s good enough to be my sister’s boyfriend...”
“Better than Dillon, at least,” Ryan mused, stacking more items of fruit in the bowl.
Tara sighed. “I wished I’d paid more attention when she started dating him. He’s such a jerk,” she slammed a bag of sugar on to the table. “You know, James picked up on that really early on. He was really angry that I let Dillon move in with Lottie, but she’s an adult; I can’t control who she dates or lives with.”
“So James has been interested in Lottie’s dating habits for a while?” Ryan said, turning his back on the fruit bowl.
Tara narrowed her eyes. “I see that gleam in your eye. Do not go speculating over whether James has been in love with my sister for half a decade. Do not!” 
“So you admit it’s love he feels for her?” Ryan asked, then ducked as she threw a pack of sponges at him. “Fine, I’ll get out of your kitchen. You’ll admit that I’m right some day.”  

Word count: 977
Use the phrase 'super fabulous perfume!' in your novel.
+ if the characters have a whole conversation about the super fabulous perfume, and call it 'super fabulous perfume' rather than just 'perfume' throughout the entire conversation
+ if the super fabulous perfume is for a male
+ if he's not happy with wearing super fabulous perfume but must do so anyway

This scene is set at the fundraiser for Tara's drama group, and carries directly on from the one in which Lottie is forced to buy an Italian bracelet and concludes in the episode in which the group realises that Ryan has stolen forty cakes. Continuity  In my NaNoWriMo novel? It's astounding! 

By the time Lottie and Tara found James and Ryan, they’d wandered far away from the cake stall.
“Look, I don’t care how super and fabulous your perfume is, I’m not interested in buying it!” James was exclaiming. Ryan appeared to be cowering behind him, attempting to edge away from the group of hippy girls who had ambushed James.
“I told him not to wear his suit to the fundraiser,” Lottie sighed. “But he wouldn’t listen to me.
“Does he ever listen to you?” Tara raised her eyebrows questioningly as they sidled up to the table to get a better look.
“Hey, I’ll have you know that James and I have developed a very respectful relationship over the last few months,” Lottie replied.
“Respectful as in he’s glad you broke up with Dillon and the two of you sit around cracking jokes about him and drinking any leftover wine in the house?” Tara folded her arms. 
“It’s not like you can drink the wine anyway,” Lottie said, adjusting her new Italian leather bracelet. “You’re pregnant. We did that for your own good.”
“Come on, let’s go,” James suddenly turned and started to march Ryan away from the display of perfume. 
“You can’t leave, you haven’t even tested our product!” A girl with curly red hair shouted, while another sprayed perfume at James’s back.
“Argh!” He shouted, brushing at the sticky mess on the back of his neck. “Do you realise how expensive this suit is? Now it’s going to have to be dry-cleaned!”
The blonde girl put her hand on her hip. “Now you smell super fabulous,” she replied. 
“I don’t want your super fabulous perfume. Why do you keep calling it that, anyway?” He continued to brush at the perfume on the back of his neck, which was now dripping down his shoulder. He sniffed his hand and grimaced. 
“That’s the name of our perfume,” The red-head said, pointing at the sign to the right of the stall. “Super Fabulous Perfume.”
“For men,” a third girl added.
“You like?” The blonde fluttered her eyelids and flicked her hair over her shoulder; which was no small feat considering how long it was.
There was a time when the fluttering of a girl’s eyelids or the flicking of her hair would have immediately captivated James, but he didn’t change his tone at all, much to Lottie’s surprise. 
“I’m not interested,” he said stonily. “Maybe you’ll sell more bottles of this super fabulous perfume is you stop spraying it at random strangers.”
Just then, he finally noticed that Lottie and Tara were watching the exchange.
“Can’t you control your students?” He demanded of Tara. “Come on, we’re leaving.” He grabbed Lottie and Ryan’s arms and frog-marched them out of the room.
“Wait, we can’t leave yet!” Lottie cried as Tara ran to keep up with them. 
“What could you possibly want from this room?” James asked, gesturing around them.
Lottie looked sheepish. “My cake-tin?” 
James rolled his eyes, then grabbed Ryan’s shoulders and pushed him in the direction of the cake stall. “Get Lottie’s tin and meet us at the car. Don’t stop or talk to anyone. They’ll probably pelt you with free hippie samples.” He turned to Tara. “Seriously, this is what you do with your life? This is your calling?” She merely smiled and shrugged. James sighed. “Let’s go. I think we’ve had enough drama for one day.”

Word count: 568
“Do you think you’ll raise a lot of money this year?” Lottie asked Tara as they took a leisurely stroll around the auditorium where the drama society’s fundraiser was being held.
“I hope so,” Tara said, stopping to admire a display of Italian leather bracelets. “We are in desperate need of the money.”
“Are they going to keep paying you, even when you go on maternity leave?” Lottie picked up a tasselled bracelet and checked the price tags. “$20, really? For this?” She shook her head.
Tara rolled her eyes. “I know. Some of my students are a little precious about their artwork and how they value it.”
“You haven’t answered my question about your pay,” Lottie elbowed her sister lightly. “Come on, it’s not like they pay you a living wage anyway. Are we going to see any money when you take time off?”
Tara sighed and leaned on the table. “To be honest, I haven’t thought that far ahead. I’m hoping I don’t have to take much time off. It’s not like I have a terribly stressful job anyway. And Charlie only really works Sundays and evenings, so he’s going to help with childcare.”
“You really think you can leave a one-week old baby with Charlie and head over here to teach your students how to act like trees?” Lottie hedged.
“I do not spend all my time teaching my students to be trees,” Tara protested, turning back to the jewellery. “Now are you going to buy anything, or move on?”
“Move on, definitely,” Lottie replied, placing the bracelet back on the stand. “If I even had $20 to my name, I would not be spending it on a bracelet. And we still need to save up for a new microwave, since Dillon and Charlie blew up our old one.”
“We needed a new one anyway, that one had to be at least thirty years old,” Tara said, fingering a pair of beaded earrings wistfully before moving away from the table altogether. “Come on, let’s go find Ryan and James. I imagine they’ll be over by the food.”
“Hey, wait!” The girls turned back to the stall, where an angry looking Italian girl was glaring at them.
“Yes?” Lottie said tentatively. “Can I help you with something?”
“You want to buy a bracelet?” The girl asked, thrusting one of the leather bands at Lottie.
“Uh, no thanks,” she said, pushing the bracelet back. “I’m afraid it’s a little out of my price range right now. But it’s very pretty. You do good work,” she smiled at her appreciatively. 
“Indeed, they’re very pretty, Adele,” Tara nodded at her. “I’ll see you in Thursday’s class.”
“No!” The girl exclaimed, grabbing Lottie’s arm. “You touched this bracelet, you buy it.”
“Sorry?” Lottie looked from Adele to Tara, bemused. “I thought we were allowed to take a look at your work.”
“Look, don’t touch,” the girl shoved the bracelet back at Lottie. “You touch, you buy.”
“Adele, now, really,” Tara ventured. “This is my little sister. She supports our drama society in so many other ways. She even baked cakes for us to sell-”
“She touch, she buy,” Adele demanded, glaring at Tara.
Tara and Lottie exchanged a nervous look, before Tara rummaged around in her leather bag. “Fine, fine, I’ll buy the bracelet.” Lottie began reaching for her purse, but Tara shook her head. “You don’t have any money. Or if you do, you should really spend it on something useful, like food. Here, take this.” She handed her a handful of bills. 
“How much?” Lottie asked with a sigh.
“I give you bargain. Fifteen dollars.” Adele said, holding out her hand.
“Fantastic,” Lottie muttered, tossing the bills into the girl’s hand and taking the bracelet. 
“Have a nice day now!” The girl called as Lottie and Tara scurried away from the table.
“Are all your students that crazy?” Lottie asked.
“A fair amount of them,” Tara replied breezily, making a beeline for the refreshment stall. “So I say we stick to the cakes and avoid touching anything that Ryan and James won’t want to eat, just in case we have to buy it.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Lottie agreed.

Word count: 699

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“What was that?” Lottie asked, glancing up from her laptop, where she was futilely searching for a job.
Tara had paused in the doorway on her way to the bathroom. “I’m not sure. It sounded like something exploding.”
“Did James hold the toaster up to the fire alarm again? Because I didn’t think that was safe the first time.” Lottie spun around in her chair to face her sister.
Tara sighed and rolled her eyes. “Come on, we’d better go check it out before the house burns down.”
Famous last words, Lottie thought as she entered the kitchen to see Dillon frantically dousing a small fire emanating from the microwave with the aid of a fire extinguisher. I will never joke about the house being on fire after this.
“What on earth is going on in here?” Tara shouted.
Dillon succeeded in putting out the last of the fire, then turned to face them, looking more surprised than guilty. “I have no idea. I put a bowl of noodles in the microwave to cook them, and suddenly there was this exploding noise and the whole thing went on fire!”
“You didn’t put any of the foil packet in the microwave, did you?” Lottie asked, trying to keep the sarcasm out of her voice. Dillon wasn’t the brightest of men at times, she knew that more than anyone.
“No, of course not,” he said, giving her a disparaging look. “Just a bowl of noodles and water.”
“How odd,” Tara said, sinking into a chair and fanning herself with her hand. “Would you mind opening the door? It’s boiling in here.”
“Maybe we should chuck the microwave outside, just in case it goes off again. I wouldn’t want it setting anything else on fire.” Lottie pointed out.
Dillon carefully unplugged the microwave, then looked awkwardly at it. “I don’t want to move it just yet. What if it’s still hot?”
“Put some oven gloves on,” Tara suggested.
Just then, Charlie appeared in the doorway to the kitchen. “What’s going on in here?” Then he spotted the microwave. “Oh, shoot. Did someone try to microwave that bowl that was sitting beside the microwave?”
“What?” Lottie and Tara said in unison.
“Did you have something to do with this?” Tara rose angrily from her seat.
“Possibly,” Charlie said, scratching his head. “I found some coins in my pocket this morning when I was doing the laundry, so I threw them into a bowl that was sitting on the counter. I meant to take them back upstairs, and I forgot, but I didn’t think anyone would actually use it before looking inside the bowl.”
The girls turned to look at Dillon, whose face had turned an unusual shade of pink.
“You didn’t look inside the bowl before you added the noodles?” Lottie sounded incredulous.
“What kind of idiot doesn’t notice that there’s handful of loose change amid his lunch?” Tara added.
“I’ll get those oven gloves,” Dillon said, opening a drawer and rummaging through it.

Word count: 500