Writer and Writing Mentor. Screenwriter. Honest. Human. She/Her. @elancassandra on Instagram, @ElanCDuensing on Twitter. https://linktr.ee/elancassandra

Writer, screenwriter, person…?

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Is there anything more sweat-inducing than the classic, “So tell me about yourself?” (Nope. I am literally sweating through my palms onto my keyboard right now.)

Don’t get me wrong; I think this publication is awesome! I just don’t know how to do this right.

There’s just something that feels futile and reductive about trying to tell someone who you are in the space of one Medium story.

But maybe I’m a little more f*cked up in regards to “about me’s” than your average bear.

See, back in the day, 10–12 years ago, I thought I was going to be an actor, and as a part of that, I took several “business of acting” classes. These were designed to help us nail down who we were — what our brand was, how we were supposed to sell ourselves, etc. …


Updates, new writers, and more fun

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Hey Fill in the Blanks oddballs,

It’s been a very [adjective] first two weeks of publication! We’re up to 16 published stories and hit 50 followers this week.

The stories have been epic and we couldn’t have done it without the strange, unique, creative words submitted by all of you.

We’re about a week away from the start of February, which will mean a whole new set of prompts. If you have a burning idea for a killer prompt, drop us a comment.

Now, in case you’ve missed any of these gems…

Here are our first two weeks of stories, organized by prompt.


COMING OF AGE

Try not to repeat my mistakes, yeah?

Hot teenage guy looking judgmentally over his shoulder
Hot teenage guy looking judgmentally over his shoulder

I was sixteen when I met the boy who would become my first boyfriend. We’ll call him Jake.

It was on the second stop of four in my summer — a tour of various programs that only someone terribly privileged would think was reasonable. This stop was a week-long academic program at Brown University, before which, I’d done three or four weeks of acting in New York.

Jake was two years younger than I was, and we weren’t actually in any classes together at Brown — just part of the same small social group who latched onto each other in the first 36 hours. …


MAD LIBS

A totally real and not made up family recipe

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Disclaimer: This story is intended to be random and humorous. It is published in Fill in the Blanks publication, inspired by the classic game, Mad Libs. Blank words contributed by Deborah Weir Jenna Vokolek & Shain Slepian.

Stuffed [giraffe] rolls have been a [sticky] family tradition since before I was born — before even my [kazoo] was born! I know my great-[carbuncle] made them, but who knows how far back the tradition goes.

Prepared [insatiably] and [swashbuckled] as part of the family’s annual [hotel] celebration, they’re a [sticky] way that I celebrate my family’s heritage and love of [vomit].

How do you make stuffed [giraffe] rolls?

First, you have to [pendulate] your filling, a combination of [tintinnabulum], [pants], and [itchy] [eyeballs].


Mad Libs

Our chances of survival? Slim.

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Disclaimer: This story is intended to be random and humorous. It is published in Fill in the Blanks publication, inspired by the classic game, Mad Libs. Blank words contributed by Christopher Kokoski, Quy Ma, and Victoria A. Fraser.

My sleep, lulled by the rocking of waves was broken by the [greasy] sound of something [breakdancing] against the ship’s hull.

As I [bit] out of bed and threw on my captain’s hat, I could already hear [warlocks] from the deck above.

Once out in the salty air, I was confronted by a sight that made my blood run [fuzzy].

A beast the size of a [hot dog] rose out of the dark waters. …


GROWING UP

D*mn, they were exciting.

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When I was a kid, I was the queen of crushes.

And by that, I don’t mean that I had any particular luck with anyone I crushed on, but simply that there were a lot of guys I decided I was into. (I wasn’t ready to open up my options beyond guys at that point.)

See, some part of me — subconsciously, mind you — needed to have someone to crush on in every environment I was in.

This meant that in the years at school, I was able to sustain one singular crush for a decent period of time, but once those very few school years ended and homeschooling began, I’d have to find new, temporary crushes. …


Have you been affected in some way by infidelity?

Couple about to kiss in the doorway outside a building
Couple about to kiss in the doorway outside a building

“At this moment, in all corners of the world, someone is either cheating or being cheated on, thinking about having an affair, offering advice to someone who is in the throes of one, or completing the triangle as a secret lover.” (Esther Perel, The State of Affairs, p. 3)

Infidelity is a crappy subject. And by crappy, I mean that it’s a very expansive subject that comes with a lot of baggage: pain, regret, shame, confusion, embarrassment, societal moralizing, and so on.

It’s also highly taboo, at least in the U.S.

We don’t talk about it because it doesn’t feel good. …


I think it goes without saying that women should too.

Young man sitting, looking worried
Young man sitting, looking worried

When my dad’s partner was pregnant, he went with her to whatever the designated office is in Germany to sign paperwork that legally acknowledged him as the father of the child and committed him to financial support for the next twenty years.

Although I don’t know what he would or would not be committed to legally had he not signed those papers, just the idea of this process piqued my interest.

That was a planned pregnancy — one they were very happy about, but I’ve been witness to unplanned pregnancies and their consequences.

My partner has a daughter who is now nineteen and was born when my partner was seventeen. Obviously, this was an unintended pregnancy. …

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