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Word Play By Morgan Mandel


The 2nd Tuesday of the month is Word Play time here at The Blood-Red Pencil. As writers and readers, we enjoy playing with words. Simple exercises like Word Play get our imagination going while we think up examples and have fun in the process.

How to Play:

It's easy. Just make up a sentence or two, or a phrase, using this month's chosen words. I like to pick words that sound alike, but are spelled differently and have unique meanings.

Here are July's Choices:

Sleigh - adjective or noun - Think cool and winter - Sleigh bells ring - A vehicle with long blades in the snow, usually driven by horses.

Slay - A verb meaning to kill.

More Choices:

Sleight - He practices sleight of hand - Noun for a trick by magic or otherwise.

Slate - Wipe the slate clean - Noun for something like a tablet or recordkeeping instrument.

Slate - I've got a slate floor in my hallway - Noun for a kind of tile.

Your Turn to Play:

Leave a comment below using as many of these words as you can. Include your name, one website or blogspot and where you've heard of this blog. That way people will know where to find you after reading your brilliant examples.

Have Fun Playing!

Morgan Mandel

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  2. With a little sleight of hand, the shard of slate from the roof was planted firmly in the assasin's chest. Robert watched dispassionately as Jason collapsed to the snow, gasping for breath, his hands reaching for and missing Robert's jeans. The snow was stained an oddly festive red.

    Was it a sin to slay someone sent to exterminate you and yours on the holiest night of the year? Robert hoped that wasn't so.

    It was ironic that Jason had caused his own heartbreaks, the ones he blamed Robert for. And now it had come to this.

    He stared at the dying man, choosing his moment to turn and call 911 for the moment he knew they couldn't possibly save his "old friend."

    "The slate is wiped clean," he murmured.

    If all went well from here, the police would believe Jason fell from the rooftop while helping Robert tack down the sleigh before the coming storm. By the time they arrived, his mittens would be ash atop the Yule log.


  3. Andy held up the drawing, proud as punch, images, arrows, words all a-jumble. “I sleighed him, Mom.”

    “No sweetie, that’s ‘slay'.“

    Frowning he poked at the image. “Sleight it, I did, magic, dontcha see?”

    I was in for it. “Hon, wipe your slate and start over.”

    “ Yes’m but I sleighed him, the giant, under the runners. See?”

    “ Yes, dear but I’ve got a slate of things to do today, so go on with you.”

    Singsong, irritating, “Sleighed’em with sleight on ma’slate, I did.”

    “Oh Andy.”

    Diane Nelson
    discovered via FB

  4. “I admit it, Officer. I did slay Santa. Those sleigh bells drove me nuts. on and on and on and on and on… from October they went on and on and on and on and on and on and on....”
    The Officer covered his ears and drew his tazer but Rudolf went on and on and on and on and on and on….
    The officer drew his gun.
    “Shut it or else….”
    “You'll slay me officer? Sleigh bells ring aren't you listening, down the lane snow is…
    No toys this Christmas, children.

  5. After slaying the chalk-dusted professor, Sherry realized that Wiping the knife clean and disposing of evidence while balancing the purloined antique slate in one hand required deft sleight of hand, and she would have got away with the crime, had not the sleigh bells over the door startled her into dropping the treasure onto the slate floor, cracking it - and her composure - into a million tiny shards.

  6. Strange coincidence, because I’m including a true life murder mystery in my work in progress, my novel about Aaron Burr.
    In 1800, a young man named Levi Weeks, the brother of one of New York City’s most successful builders, took his fiancĂ©, Elma Sands, for a sleigh ride. She was never seen again. A few days later, a few boys found her body in a well located in today’s Soho. Levi was the accused. Through his brother’s connections, he hired the ‘dream team’ of the time as his defense lawyers—Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. The jury deliberated for five minutes and acquitted Weeks. But did he actually slay her? And if so, why? Rumor had it that she was pregnant. Instead of facing the scandal in New York, Weeks fled south, to begin life with a clean slate.
    Diana Rubino

  7. Of all their adventures as they moved between dimensions, this was the most bizarre. Fat Jan and Dobbin had left their partners, Kate and Dulcetta, in the Fat Cave and been reconfiguring their translocator beams to take them to the Edinburgh Book Festival when they noticed the entrance to another cave, higher up the mountainside. It was too regular, too oblong, like a letterbox cut into the mountain. They had to investigate.

    They beamed to the threshold and peered into the darkness.
    ‘This way,’ said FJ.
    Inside, they heard the faint echo of his words.
    ‘Sway, sway.’
    FJ felt a strange oppressive weight in his mind. He reached out and touched the wall.
    ‘Slate,’ he said.
    ‘Ate, ate,’ came the echo again.
    D squinted into the gloom. Straight ahead, barely visible in a sort of bay, lay a freight crate. On its side, the single word ‘Crayfish’.
    ‘Hey,’ he said. ‘What say we try a plate?’
    ‘No, it could just be bait,’ said FJ.
    ‘Maybe,’ said D. ‘I hate cray anyway.’

    FJ crept forward, his gait tentative on the grey slate tiles. The cumulative echoes murmured out to him from the depths ‘aight, ay, eight, rate, ey, ay, ate, ait’. They had to raise their voices to make themselves heard.
    ‘We’re gonna be late at this rate,’ yelled D.
    ‘What time is it?’ shouted FJ.
    ‘Eight,’ said D. ‘It’s late.’
    ‘Slate, slate,’ boomed the echo.
    ‘Great,’ yelled FJ. ‘Kate will slay me if I’m late. I hate that.’
    ‘Wait mate,’ said D. ‘Have you noticed how we communicate?’
    ‘More like pontificate,’ said FJ.
    ‘Enunciate, elaborate, even orate.’
    Their voices were getting lost in the swarm of echoes.
    ‘Can you hear …?’
    The rest of FJ’s sentence was barely audible.
    ‘Did you say “Hay bales”?’ screamed D.
    ‘No, sleigh bells,’ FJ yelled back.

    ‘We’re going crazy.’
    ‘No, it’s a state of mind.’
    ‘Sleight of mind?’
    FJ shook his head and screamed again.
    ‘Pontificate, illuminate, extrapolate, emasculate. This isn’t a cave, it’s a giant rhyming dictionary. And we’re only at A.’
    D was wild-eyed, terrified.
    ‘What can we do? What can we say?’ he babbled.
    ‘Stay straight and pray,’ said FJ.
    They began to pray and wait for Fate.


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  10. Fred Gwynn (the Munsters actor) was brilliant at this--he had beautiful children's books.

    Scott Nicholson

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  12. Apologies for all the deletions, Morgan. It kept telling me that my posting hadn't been accepted then, all of a sudden, they were all there.

  13. This must be some sleight, he thought, as the sleigh drove away. The monster at the reins laughed maniacally while Walter's alter ego's body lolled back, its matted, bloody hair brushing the slate road of its dust and ash, wiping the slate of his hideous to-do list clean. Why did it slay again today?

    Read my blog, Science Fiction and Other ODDysseys, at

  14. Officer Williams wrote two words on the green slate at the front of the room, "Slate" and "Sleigh," then he turned to detectives. "It's perfectly clear there was no sleight of hand in this murder. The scrapes in the floor slate match the runners on the sleigh. Without a doubt, Santa slayed the Easter bunny with forethought and malice."

  15. So far Helen Ginger's is the most diabolical!

    Sorry Blogger is playing so many tricks on everyone again. The word verification thing is acting crazy. What I do is type in one letter for verification,the rest of my info, and then Blogger gives the correct verification word. I type type that in and then I do my password again. Sounds complicated, but it's easy.

    Morgan Mandel

  16. Hi Morgan,

    Great post. Thank you for giving me something to work on when my brain doesn't want to look at the wip. cheers~

  17. I'd rather slide down the hill on a sleigh than slip on a slate floor and slay myself.

  18. I love slate in the bathroom. Slate outside when I walk onto my patio. Slate in the basement.

    Author Assistant

  19. Okay, now for the longest sentence I've ever written:
    While we raced over the sparkling snow in our slate-filled sleigh toward the castle, the knight next to me promised to slay a dragon while his brother would practice a sleight of hand, distracting the beast, while I watched, writing down everything on a slate. Whew...
    I saw your post on Facebook. Here's my blog:

  20. What fun it is to read all these great little stories. These word-plays are a great change of pace for the blog.

  21. These comments are terrific. Just when I thought I read the best one, I read another just as great.
    I had fun reading them. I hope all of you had fun writing and reading them.

    Morgan Mandel

  22. The slayer sped the sleigh after the vampires.

    Steamy Darcy

  23. "It's slay time," sneered the cold blooded killer, as his beady eyes swept over the crowd assembled to hear his words.

    "Right! O fearless one," piped up the smallest attendee. "I'll get right on it!"

    Shortly thereafter appearing with a bagful of Christmas goodies which he dispensed to the crowd, transforming them from vicious slayers to holiday revelers.

    "Slay, not sleigh, you moron!" raged the would be assassin.

    "You can be sooo tedious, Marvin. Turn off the video games and come help decorate the tree."

  24. Santa drove the sleigh, his weight sleight, and a good thing, too. Donder and Blixen pulled more than their weight with heavy, slate bird baths, all slated for the children's new nature Wondrland.

    As usual, this fun to do and read!

    Pat H.

  25. Joshua was a charter member of the Clean Slate Club. Every time he used sleight of hand to pull a fast one he got into trouble, and his mom would ground him for a week or two. Every time this happened, his dad would go down the whole list of Joshua's sins. Finally Joshua got sick and tired of all the haranguing and formed the Clean Slate Club. The rules were simple: after Josh finished his week or two of grounding, his mom and dad weren't allowed to bring the matter up again.

    The problem, Josh found, was in getting Mom and Dad to sign up.

  26. On a ride, wrapped in fur in a sleigh,
    I looked for some rabbits to slay.
    From my floor I had taken a slate.
    After clobbering, wiped clean the slate,
    Using sleight of hand in my fur filled sleigh!

    (Ooh, that was bad! Not the type of poetry I usually write!)

  27. I mentioned this post in my blog about independent clauses this morning; it was just too much fun not to share, Morgan.

  28. Hasn't Blogger implemented a "ban IP" feature YET?


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