Creative Copy Challenge #99

Please welcome Laura Spencer of WritingThoughts as our word picker today. Show her how you crush writer’s block.

BET YOU CAN’T do this writing prompt. Take the 10 random words below and, in the comments, crush writer’s block by creating a cohesive, creative short story tying all of them together! And remember: after (if) you finish, highlight your words and click the bold button to make them stand out and help you determine if you forgot any words. (If you’ve missed previous writing prompts, we BET YOU CAN’T do those, either.)

  1. Fortuitous – Happening by a fortunate accident or chance; lucky
  2. Swoon – overwhelmed by ecstatic joy; A state of ecstasy or rapture
  3. Babble – to utter a meaningless confusion of words or sounds
  4. Imperious – Arrogantly domineering or overbearing
  5. Flabbergasted – overcome with astonishment
  6. Pizzazz – Dazzling style; flamboyance; flair.
  7. Debilitate – To sap the strength or energy of
  8. Rappel – To descend from a steep height by this method.
  9. Cull – To remove rejected members or parts from; to gather
  10. Freelancer

NOTE: Don’t copy and paste from MS Word. Use a program like notepad that removes formatting or just type in the comment field itself. Also, finish your submission, THEN bold the words. Thanks. (And don’t forget to tweet this and share it with your friends.)

Resources you should check out:
Thesis: Best Damn Theme on the Web
Collective Ink Well: Personalize Your Thesis Theme
Third Tribe Marketing: Marketing done the right way
Story Structure Demystified: Best damn writing book out there


81 Comments on “Creative Copy Challenge #99”

  1. Shane Arthur says:

    Ah, the fortuitous life of a freelancer.
    All those swooning clients with their babbled second-guessing.
    Their imperious revision demands and flabbergasted sticker-shock exclamations.
    Their Debilitate-N-Pay-Late mantras.
    “Could you add a bit more pizzazz to that parameters-of-paradigms sentence I insisted you keep?”
    Sure I can!
    Right after I rappel down a cliff lined with razorblades.
    After I apply some hot sauce on a hemorrhoid.
    After I swim through a sea of culled chicken guts.
    Anything else I can do for you?

  2. “What a fortuitous occasion!” James waved his glass of Shiraz and beamed at the group. “Laura’s blessed us with words to swoon over!”

    “Does he always babble like this?” Laura looked wide eyed and hoped Naomi could control the situation.

    “Babble is what James is all about,” Naomi snorted before she reached over to snatch the bottle of Shiraz with an imperious hand. “Jesus, are you going to share or what?”

    “Or what,” James agreed affably. “But seriously, did you see these words?” He pointed at the blackboard. “I bet Laura was thinking she could debilitate me. Ha! Nice try,” he waggled a finger at her, the grin on his face plain as day. “These kind of words just cull the strong from the weak. Which is what I am,” he added with a nod.

    Naomi snorted again. “Weak?”

    “No, strong, you idiot,” James shot back.

    “Oh, right. You’re just full of pizzazz over there.” And she rolled her eyes at Laura again. “I bet James thinks he can rappel off mountains too.”

    “I could if I wanted to.”

    “Could not.”

    “Could too. Try me,” he waved his glass of wine around again. “Chartrand Extraordinaire – not just your every day freelancer. You’d be flabbergasted,” he pronounced.

    “Yes, dear.” Naomi sighed and leaned towards Laura again. “Just humour him. Maybe he’ll make sense once he’s sober.”

  3. What fun!
    You guys have really made good use of my words.  🙂
    Here comes mine:
    As a freelancer, I’m used to getting last minute requests. While I can’t always accommodate them, I try to accept them if I can. So, when Shane Arthur asked me to meet him right away for coffee at a little shop on Main Street to help him cull some good blog post ideas from a book that he had started writing, I didn’t hesitate to go.

    In fact, since Shane is a well-known editor and proofreader, I thought that I could learn a lot from him. The opportunity to meet his imperious self in person seemed fortuitous. I knew that meeting Shane would be a good professional connection.

    I jumped in my little economy car and zoomed right over to Main Street. The closer I got to the coffee shop, the more nervous I became. Although client meetings don’t normally make me nervous, I was nervous about this one. In fact, I was afraid that I might swoon when I met Shane.

    When I arrived at the shop, I took a deep breath and gathered my courage. As I stepped out of the car, I looked around. Shane was nowhere to be seen.

    “Goodness gracious,” I thought to myself. “I am so nervous about meeting Shane. I hope this nervousness doesn’t debilitate me for the rest of the day.”

    Suddenly, I heard a noise outside the shop. I went to the door and looked up. There was Shane, attempting to rappel down the side of the building. What pizzazz he has!

    When he reached the ground, Shane noticed me, waved and started to walk in my direction. After witnessing such a grand entrance, I felt a bit flabbergasted. “Gee,” I muttered to myself. “I sure hope I don’t swoon.”

    Shane ushered me to a table and we sat down. He placed a pile of papers in front of me. “This is my unfinished book,” he exclaimed. “Take a look and let me know what you think.”

    As I scanned through the pages I was aware that Shane was watching me intently. “Well,” he said when I had finished. “What do you think?”

    I started to answer, but (to my horror) I was so flabbergasted that all that I could manage in reply was some meaningless babble. Shane stared at me. At first, he looked a bit confused. Then, I saw a look of sympathy come to his face.

    “I’ll tell you what,” he said. “Why don’t you take this home and review it? Send me an email with your thoughts.”  A wave of relief swept over me and I nodded.

    Shane walked back over to the side of the building, grasped the rope that was hanging there, and began to climb up the way that he had come. What pizzazz he has!

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Laura: A most excellent submission (and not just because you allowed me to rappel down a building). Thanks for not only choosing the words, but doing the challenge, too. What did you think? Tough? Fun?
      I’ll add your name and url to the CCC Community Links page next. Everyone welcome Laura to our addiction.

  4. Jake P says:

    There was a flabbergasted freelancer from Phoenix
    Who refused to babble for peanuts
    Cull the clients imperious!”
    He screamed, “I am serious,
    Pizzazz doesn’t come cheap, and I mean it!”
    On the very next day, quite fortuitous
    He got enough clients for two of us
    His words made them swoon
    And rappel to their doom
    The moral? Text can debilitate the stupidous.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Jake P: Outstanding 1st submission. And a rhyme to boot! Our own Margaret who’s been here since the beginning is gonna’ love you. She’s our in-house rhyming queen. Hope to see more of you here. We have a challenge each Monday and Thursday. What did you think of it?
      Everyone welcome Jake P. I’ll add your name and URL to the CCC Community Links page next, too.

      • Jake P says:

        Thanks for the kind words, Shane. CCC’s a fun idea, and I’m glad that Laura tweeted about it.

      • Cathy Miller says:

        @Jake P-Welcome to CCC!

        Did my nagging at Words on the Page finally get you here? We are so happy you dropped by and soon you will see how fortuitous it is. But, we warn you, it is addicting and you may swoon across your keyboard and babble at the latest words with the imperious challenge.

        But, then your fingers fly and you are flabbergasted at the pundit pizzazz flowing across the screen. When work seems to debilitate and you feel you will never rappel the stack of work, CCC will cull out any pain, leaving you with all the freelancer joy that makes you Dr. Freelance.

        Welcome – now we have to get Lori over here! 🙂

    • Wow, this one is great. (Or, should I say that it has pizzazz?)
      I’m impressed that you wrote a poem.

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Jake-BTW-love the Freelancer Ditty-almost as much as Freelance Follies 🙂

  5. Shane Hudson says:

    Ouch, a tough one this! Here is a Work In Progress:

    Whenever the lady rappel,
    From an imperious height.
    The fortuitous boys just swoon and babble,
    Flabbergasted by her flight.
    With pizazz a plenty,
    The lady touched down.
    All the boys did debilitate, <– This line needs to be changed, do not like it and it does not rhyme with plenty!

  6. Shane, I won’t try to accept Laura’s word challenge, but I do want to congratulate you on your blog being a finalist for Top 10 Blogs for Writers on the Write to Done site.

  7. margaret says:

    My joy is not gratuitous
    but I think it is fortuitous
    that I can earn my living
    with the art that I am giving.

    Just listen to me babble
    like common, peasant rabble
    about how I’m flabbergasted
    that my floral skills have lasted.

    When I create I swoon
    (Are there flowers on the moon?)
    I cull the best of nature’s treasures
    to bring joy of endless measures.

    My work makes me quite happy
    and you might think  that it’s sappy
    that me,  an artist, gypsy and freelancer
    would hate a nine-to-five like cancer!

    I have no boss imperious
    can laugh, act crazy, not be serious…
    have a job that does not agitate
    or my mood and soul debilitate.

    With poverty I grapple,
    descend the tower of bills with rappel.
    But there are trade-offs in this life
    and when I create there is no strife.

    In my life there’s always jazz
    to people’s lives I bring pizzazz
    It’s nice to know that with God’s gift
    I can sometimes spirits lift.

  8. Shenee says:

    I have been thinking about money a lot! haha. My main character deals with money again.

    It was fortuitous the way this all happened. A freelancer sat down and my office and I told him about his lack of money. I told him he should spend less. He told me about this tree he owns.
    I know what you are thinking. Why does a staff accountant decide to rappel down a large tree in the middle of the forest? Well, this guy. This freelancer. He was no ordinary guy. To say he had pizazz would be an understatement. His swoon-worthy babble was enough to debilitate me. Which is why it’s unfortunate for me to be rappelling down this random tree by a rope. I found myself debilitated. In a very literally sense.
    He asked me: How are you doing? And I froze. I tried to think about Quick books. About financial statements.
    Did I mention this before? He has a tree house. It was the imperious kind, forcing its way into the space the tree occupies, fighting for dominance. The treehouse itself leaned slightly sideways and as a result was unstable. But oh, what a view. I was flabbergasted by the view. You could touch the clouds. But right now, I was frozen. Because it was cold. Because we were high up. Because of the swoon filled babble.
    And he just kept talking. I spent some time staring at the side of the tree. I stared at the bark cull away the dead bits. I thought about taxes.
    Why were we trying to get out of the treehouse? Well I realized that the treehouse wasn’t his at all.   Turns out, he was the lying type.I should have known. I couldn’t remember what he freelanced in.

  9. [continued from #98]
    At the hotel, I had the fortuitous circumstance to collide with the concierge in the entryway. We were both net-walking [editor’s note: looking up things online via a mind’s-eye implant while walking]. The doors are so dark you can’t see anything but your own reflection until they whoosh aside. So the doors whooshed open, we stepped through from opposite sides, and proceeded to rappel down each other to the floor.
    Normally the Concierge at a five-nines hotel is an imperious snob, but this one was flabbergasted. He began to babble something that sounded like “cull freelancer tick tock” then covered his mouth-speaker with both claws and swooned. He woke up a few seconds later, and apologized with such pizzazz I was forced to upgrade my opinion of the entire Concierge line, and felt obligated to keep him company until the maintenance bots could carry him off for repairs. Fragile things, and apparently high-strung; the entire ordeal seemed to debilitate him extraordinarily. As the maintenance bots carried him out the entrance he turned to wave good-bye, and exploded.

    Man, I hate this town.
    [to be continued…maybe]

  10. Cathy Miller says:

    Peering over the horn rims perched on his nose, the doctor lasered me with his all-knowing eyes.

    “It is most fortuitous that you came to me. Just what seems to be your concern?”

    My heart raced at his words and I feared I’d end up at a swoon at his feet. Trying to gather my words in something that was less like babble, I simply replied, “It’s words.”

    “Words?” came the imperious reply. The doctor appeared completely flabbergasted at my response.

    “Yes, words. Mine have lost their pizzazz. I have tried everything – music, meditation, walks in the park, but they’re flat-uninspired.”

    I sighed, the depressing topic seemed to debilitate me of all I had left inside. Would I ever rappel off this mountain of blandness?

    As the doctor searched for a way to cull out my boring, mind-numbing existence, he leaned towards me and asked,

    “You’re a freelancer, a writer, aren’t you?”

    “Yes, I replied,” wondering if it showed.

    “Then there is only one prescription.”

    “Really?” I gasped excitedly.

    “Absolutely. Get thee to CCC – and stay there.”

    Slapping myself on the forehead, I replied, “Of course, I could have a Challenging 10. Now, why didn’t I think of that?”

    The moral of the story? You can fight the addiction, but CCC is the only prescription.

  11. Ariane says:

    You might swoon over the Fortuitous Freelancer who is imperious enough to consider his babble the one, true god of pizzazz; then again, if you try to cull any sense from his linguistic linguine, you’ll be flabbergasted once it’s clear his motive was to rappel down the rope of your confidence and debilitate you.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Ariane: Welcome to the CCC. That was a damn good 1st submission. Loved the linguistic linguine line. The folks here are gonna’ love you, this I know.
      What did you think of the challenge?
      Hope to see you again soon. We have a challenge every Monday and Thursday. Everyone welcome Ariane to the CCC Addiction.
      I’m adding your name and url(cool name btw) to our CCC Community Links page.

  12. “How fortuitous,” I told Shane via email, “to have Naomi offer a prize just when I am in dire need of her famous help for freelancers.”

    “Enough babble,” Shane wrote back, “and try not to swoon. She hasn’t picked her favorite post yet.”

    “I don’t want to seem imperious,” I replied, “but have you asked her about it?”

    “Her exact words were ‘F**k off, I’m busy’,” Shane responded. “Her usual pizzazz nonwithstanding, I think the whole ‘second act’ thing has her a bit flabbergasted.”

    “She has my sympathy,” I replied. “Such a transition would debilitate any mere mortal.”

    “So what are you going to do?” Shane wrote back.

    “I’ll rappel week by week through the rest of the year,” I replied, “cull out all my bad ideas and see what’s left. Maybe salvation will appear in January.”

    “Don’t count on it,” Shane responded. “she’s probably still going to be too busy.”

    “I am a patient man,” I replied. “If worthy of such a gift, it is well worth waiting for. If unworthy, well, perhaps I can make a living ghost-writing CCC posts.”

    “I am at a loss for words,” Shane wrote back.

    “Don’t worry,” I replied, “there’ll be 20 more next week.”

  13. Kimberly says:

    Opening the mail that day was like any other day, so I thought.  With  letter  addressed to  me  its  contents  revealed  a fortuitous yet  at the same  time imperious correspondence  request from  an unknown  to me freelancer whom  had apparent talents and pizzazz in the delivery of  what appeared at first glance  to be good news. I was flabbergasted, then I began to swoon. This was a kind of letter that seemed to good to be true. I continued to decipher the  utter babble of this  dolt’s obviously unfounded  facts. It  began to debilitate every part of me. My  joy, surprise, and excitement turned to disgust.  I began to rappel from my happy place.  I could not cull my anger over this waste of a postage stamp.    Apparently,  I was the winner of an amount less than the cost to mail this life sucking, time wasting correspondence.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Kimberly: Welcome to the CCC Kimberly. Sorry about the comment moderation. I was doing kid stuff all last night and this morning. Wonderful 1st submission, and so damn true, too. Hate those things, but I do study them to see the methods they use.
      Everyone welcome Kimberly to our addiction. What did you think of the challenge? And just so you know, we have new ones each Monday and Thursday. I”m adding your name to our CCC Community Links page now. I believe you are the 190 person to join the fun. That’s awesome.

  14. Kimberly says:

    Fun challenge  This was my first time posting anything

  15. Kimberly Young says:

    what now?

  16. Cathy Miller says:

    @Ariane & @Kimberly-Welcome to the CCC!

    How fortuitous that you found CCC just in time for the holidays. When you are ready to swoon from the constant babble of sale, sale, sale and the imperious sales clerk has gotten on your last nerve, skip on over to CCC. You will be flabbergasted how good it will make you feel.

    With more pizzazz than twinkling tree lights, each submission is worth its weight in incense, myrrh and gold. So, don’t let the holiday rush debilitate your senses, rappel on down from your mountain of gifts that are still waiting to be wrapped, and cull out the seasonal Scrooge. Become the freelancer angel and hark the good tidings found at CCC.


  17. Hey Shane,
    As  I stop my wimpy babble and rappel down the the side of Mount Vesuvius, I think back to the carefree days of being a freelancer. Sure, the demands of corporate identity projects tended to debilitate and their comments often left me flabbergasted, but I never stopped enjoying  the swoon of clients enamored with my final logo’s pizzazz. Now I cull my living as a pseudo trapeze artist working without even a hint of a net as I swing down the sides of imperious former volcanoes as tourists gawk. The chance to escape the computer seemed fortuitous at the time, now with danger constantly by my side, I’m not so sure.
    thanks, Giulietta

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Giulietta: That was too funny. Great 1st submission, and hopefully not the last. We do these every Monday and Thursday, so I hope to see you again. What did you think of it?

      Everyone welcome Giulietta to our wonderful club as I add her name and url to our CCC Community Links page.

      • Cathy Miller says:

        @Giulietta-Welcome to CCC!

        We hope you think it fortuitous
        To find CCC and all of us
        You’ll swoon with delight
        Or babble in fright
        With words like imperious
        Their meaning is so serious
        As flabbergasted writers search
        For the next place they can perch
        With words full of pizzazz
        While humming to jazz
        They refuse to let words debilitate
        To lose is something they do hate
        So they rappel down their fear
        And race right over here
        To cull out the bland
        Where a freelancer may land
        And find their way back
        To the courage they lack.

        Welcome to CCC – where courage & creativity is found.

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Cathy: Excellent. Mixing the welcome with a rhyme form. Great mixture and a great flow to that one. I so love these.

  18. Shane Arthur says:

    Programming Note: Our 100th challenge is this Monday. Tis an honor to have our own welcoming queen, Cathy Miller, choose the words. Make sure all you guys show up for it. I’m so proud to read this point.

  19. More from Fairy tale land!
     I walked down the main hall and into the castle proper. I had put on my imperious attitude as well as a small bit of pizzazz just in case Ariel happened to drop by. I had a thing for Ariel… but now I babble.

    I refocused on my job. Sleeping Beauty’s killer must be found. Eventually I entered the throne room. Cinderella and Prince Charming were both sitting in rather plain chairs around a small table. They had just finished eating. My training Elf’s voice came into my head. “Catch them after a meal and they will be more amenable to any questioning. Besides a good punch in the stomach can make them lose that lunch all over their fine clothes. Embarrassment is a better threat than pain for the royal lot.”

    This was rather fortuitous. I would cull the truth from this pair or give my right fist a taste of Royal stomach.

    Cinderella greeted me with a hateful glare. I knew it was for my title and while I didn’t expect her to swoon over my presence, it didn’t give her leave to be rude. I now had to debilitate and or humiliate her.

    “Sleeping Beauty didn’t make it.” I began. The Prince choked on something and looked flabbergasted. Cinderella looked directly at me, calm as a lake on a summers morning. I found the coupon for the three way with you two. Why did you kill her?” No sense being nice now. She started it.

    Cinderella began to clap slowly and disdainfully. “You rappel to a dangerous spot Lollipop man.” She said. “You have no proof I killed anyone, it could have been a freelancer” I smiled at that. And at the tape recorder in my pocket that was about to record enough of a confession to make a jury of 12 convict.

  20. Kelly says:

    [[Er, ahem, Hi all! Been detained again from CCC and missed it terribly, let’s see if I can remedy this and catch up and stay caught up this time!!!]]


    “ You should have been there. Alice absolutely swooned at the sight of some stubble-bearded freelancer checking out business books in line at the library last week. ‘How forituitous that you’re here. What kind of books should I look at if I’m just starting out?’ she said to him. Her babble was so embarrassing, I wished I could rappel off the walls or sink into the floor and disappear. Truth to tell, since the divorce Alice seems to swoon at anything in pants.”

    Yes, the mooning of a forty-something divorcee. C’est tragique. Oh, well.

    The waiter stepped up to our table. I ordered my salad, then listened to sister #2, June, go on about the behavior of sister #1, Alice. As the baby, sister #3, I admired them both, but realized that June had always been the slightly imperious and well-mannered one, and Alice had always been the free and outgoing one. Alice’s “babble” probably wasn’t nearly as gauche as June seemed to think it was, but forget telling her there’s nothing to be so flabbergasted about. Even at our ages, long-buried sibling rivalries could debilitate each of us with just a single, sharp reminder of our old roles. She’d think I was taking sides.

    I culled what I could of Alice’s new life from June’s conversation. No matter what June thought, the split and all its attendant life-agony was still very fresh and any flirtatious behavior was undoubtedly a cover… beneath which Alice would prefer I not try to dig. So when she finally arrived at the restaurant, fashionably late and full of her usual bubbly blonde pizzazz, I greeted her with a sympathetic smile and left it at that.

    We talked about the weather.

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