Genre Scribes: Friday Fiction Writing Challenge #7 — Program


Welcome to Week 7 of the Friday Fiction Writing Challenge! Here’s a complete list of all the posts so far. Feel free to join in.

This week’s random word is: Program.

Oh, this is a fun word. There are so many ways to go with it–TV, schedule, computers…. I usually need to psych myself up to do these challenges, mainly because I’m forcing my brain to be creative on a strict timetable. Today, I’m chomping at the bit to get on with the first five-minute sprint.

Here’s my first sprint (meandering and unedited):

Martin pressed enter on the keyboard and waited.


The screen remained blank, no sign that the program was even running.

This was not the time for a system fuck up. Everything was timed down to the last second; if it doesn’t run according to the plan, he might as well eat a bullet right now.

The lights on the server unit flashed reds and oranges.


He reached up and shoogled the external drive the man had given him. The lights changed to flickering green. Martin slumped against the wall and blew out the breath he’d been holding in.

A progress bar appeared on the screen, 87% done. He checked his watch; time was running out fast—the guard’s shift change was almost over.

The door at the end of the corridor groaned. Martin froze. The guard was early. Martin pulled out the gun he had tucked into his waistband. Why the hell had he brought a gun? He wasn’t prepared to use it. He wasn’t a killer—not knowingly at least.

Okay, let me explain the word shoogled. Shoogle is a Scots word; it’s kind of like jiggle but less juddery. It’s hard to put it fully into English—each time I try to explain it my hand motions side to side as I repeatedly say, “See, shoogle.”

One of the fun/difficult parts of doing these sprints is trying to translate what’s in my head (in Scots) and getting it onto the page in full English in the allotted time. At kin mak ye a wee bitty doolally 🤪

Anyway… After a break, I re-read the sprint and found that this section grabbed my imagination: The guard was early.

With my new prompt in hand, I set the timer for another five-minute session.

Here’s my second sprint (basic editing):

The guard was early. Amy squeezed her eyes shut. She was stuck. There were no windows in the basement, and the only way out was the door she came in. Hiding behind the lone desk wasn’t an option.

Light from the guard’s flashlight glinted through the pane of security glass in the door. Amy scrambled across the floor to the door and flattened her body against the wall.

The door swung open, almost hitting her before it clicked shut behind the guard as he stepped into the room.

Amy held her breath as the guard bounced the beam of light around the room, his hand hovering near his Taser. She slipped off her shoes and crept up behind the man. She slammed a foot into the guard’s knee, forcing him to the ground, and relieved him of his Taser.

I enjoyed writing the second sprint, but I like the first one better. There are far more story questions to ask and answer there, whereas the second one feels like it’s a story obstacle—one I’ll probably use down the line.

I had a lot of fun challenging myself this week. Thanks for reading!


  1. Don’t think too hard on the noun; just write about it for five minutes.
  2. Once the five minutes are up, walk away for about five/ten minutes.
  3. Now, come back to the text and re-read it,
  4. Pick out something that piques your interest and write about that for five minutes.
  5. Be courageous and post your results to your blog. (Both sets of writing sessions or just the one, it’s up to you.)


  1. Complete the challenge on your blog before 1700 UTC of the following Friday.
  2. Link to the original prompt post and make sure to use the tag Genre Scribes so that we can see all the posts together in WP Reader.
  3. Your text must be fiction (preferably one you publish in (or plan to).
  4. No real-life stories.
  5. The text can be dialogue, an interior monologue, a scene, flash fiction, anything… so long as it’s fiction.

Full information is on the Genre Scribes: Friday Fiction Writing Challenge page.

Author: Susan T. Braithwaite

Royal Navy veteran from Scotland. My journey into writing started with a screenwriting certificate program at UCLA Ext. Since then, I've worked as a freelance content writer, erotica author, proofreader, professional beta reader, and content editor. I'm now working hard on my dream writing career: romantic suspense author. When I'm not writing, I can be found drinking too much coffee, obsessing over yarn, and planning world domination with my husband,, and our squirrel army.​

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