Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #125

James Chartrand of Men With Pens chose today’s words. Since it’ll be maple syrup season in just a few weeks, James chose the words below. Show her how to sop up some creative syrup.

Writing prompts cure writer’s block. Take the 10 random words below and, in the comments, crush writer’s block by creating a cohesive, creative short story tying 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, do those too.)

  1. Canadian
  2. Maple
  3. Tree
  4. Spigot
  5. Bucket
  6. Sap
  7. Boil
  8. Syrup
  9. Taffy
  10. Sugar

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


84 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #125”

  1. Shane Arthur says:

    “Bobby, I know you know where Billy is hiding,” James said as he sat backward on a chair, pistol pointed toward Bobby’s head.

    “James, I done sapped my pants. Put a bucket under me will ya. It’s like boiling syrup runnin down my leg. It’s runnin’ like one of them there spigots…that’s a funny word ain’t it James, kind of funny like dat funny flag with the red leaf thingy on it from that funny country up north with all da snow…kind of funny like that there word you be using…what it be…eh? Dat’s a funny word, eh James, eh, eh?”

    “That would be the Canadian flag you country bumpkin,” James wispered as he kicked his chair away, advanced, and shoved the pistol into Bobby’s temple. “How’d you like to get strung up from a maple tree by your balls?”

    “Dat would never work, James. It’s be as silly as tryin’ to count sugar crystals. First, everyone knows maple comes from bottles, not trees. Third, I’m getting’ old. My mountain oysters would stretch like taffy and I’d reach the ground, untie myself, and run off to Gater’s Crossing where Billy’s hidin’ wit Bayou Billy.

    “Hey, James, you can’t kill me no how.”

    “Why’s that, Bobby.”

    “If you do, you ain’t never gonna’ find Billy. Besides, you ain’t been back to the CCC enough to qualify. It ain’t fair and if you killt me, I’d get Shane to blacklist you.”

    “Damn you, Bobby! Damn you!” replied James as he conceded the point and headed toward Gator’s Crossing.

  2. Anne Wayman says:

    Mini rant warning:

    feel I’m a sap, it makes me boil that they have health care and we don’t. I’m tired of the politician’s syrupy talk, with their thinking like taffy, pretending to give me sugar.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Anne: That was only 5 words, but your class participation gave you 5 bonus points, so you passed. 😉

  3. Anne Wayman says:


    Oh to be a Canadian, with maple trees tapped with spigots, filling up my bucket. It makes me feel I’m a sap, it makes me boil that they have health care and we don’t. I’m tired of the politician’s syrupy talk, with their thinking like taffy, pretending to give me sugar.

  4. Anne Wayman says:

    Thanks for the heads up… I missed it entirely – which is only one of the reasons I know I’m not a copy editor.

  5. Kelly says:


    My favo(u)rite Canadian, a lovely willow tree of a lady, sweet like maple sugar yet with a head as hard as a bucket, heads to our great American southwest today. To rustle cattle? To drill for oil? To tame the dusty wilds? No, to mingle with her idols and her minions, to boil the ideas and advice of a dozen speakers down to sound bites she can sap for inspiration, to listen to syrupy compliments and dole out a few of her own. Am I worried that she’ll have her head turned by the glitz and glamour of Texas? No.

    But I’m hoping that when they turn on the spigots in Austin’s bars at night, she won’t have to watch the blogosphere’s finest turn into balls of Laffy Taffy. That might give her the wrong impression of us boisterous Yanks and yokels.

    Y’all be cool down there.    😉

  6. Anne Wayman says:

    Lovely… makes here maybe a floavorite?

  7. Tiffany Hudson says:

    “Whats wrong with your houses?” Alfie moaned at me and Marla.
    “Dads got a new girlfriend.” Marla answered.
    He turned to me.
    “Two reasons. One: Sam asked as to come over. Two: Jenny. She’s brang her friends over for extra cheerleading practise.” I made a face at the last bit.
    “Actully Sam asked you. I just don’t trust you alone with him.” Marla smiled sweetly.
    “So he admited that he’s in love with you too.” Alfie laughed. “That he has since he first met you. Back when he believed he could stretch me like taffy under a canadian mapple tree with a bucket to catch the sap, then boil me like syrup.”
    “Very discriptive. come up with that your self?” Sam cooed from the door.
    “Oh shut it Samual.” Aflie growled
    “It’s his room.” I pointed out quickly.
    “Your very deffensive of my dear old brother lately arn’t you Coral?”
    “Leave her alone. Their going out you spigot.” Marla hissed.
    “Spigot?” Alfie asked, dumb struck.
    “The end of a pipe. Well in one context.” I said sounding way smarter than I am.
    “So your dating my brother?” He asked quickly.
    I nodded.
    “Sweet.” He grinned.
    “As sugar” Marla answered with a laugh. Quite and tinkly.

  8. David rolled the dice and groaned as three ones clattered onto the board. He picked up his red pawn and moved three spaces onto the pink, gloppy space.

    “Ha!” shouted Tina, gleefully. “You lose two turns and you have to take something off! Striiiip!” She grabbed the dice and waited, expectantly.

    “Well, there goes the second one.” David kicked off his bedroom slipper, sending it flying across the room. “Roll, girl.”

    Tina shook the dice. They tumbled out: six, five, three. “Ooh! Fourteen. That should take me past the Canadian border.” As she counted out her moves, she playfully knocked over David’s pawn, vaulted over the blue squiggle between Trois-Rivières and Drummond and ran out of steam on the Sherbrooke square. “Damn!”

    Now it was David’s turn to yell, “Ha!” as he played his last Mountie card. He rolled over the board, jumped on top of Tina and did a naughty bump and grind, while Tina squealed in mock horror.

    “I’m sure we’re playing this all wrong, David. You’re supposed to be stuck in taffy, not humping me!”

    “Yeah, well the Mounties always get their man, right?” He laughed uproariously at his own joke before planting a tender kiss on her glistening lips. “I can still taste the maple lip gloss. Yum.”

    “This is nice but, you better get up before this goes too far. I’ll make us some tea.” She pushed David off of her and picked up her discarded clothing.

    David lay back on the bed, ogling her beautiful body. This was the best date, yet!


    Tina was having second thoughts. David was sweet, but she wanted a roughneck. Why the hell did he stop? She wasn’t going to just throw herself at him – he to act like it was worth fighting for. What was with that weak dry humping shit? Couldn’t the man see the forest for the trees? I mean, come on, a sex board game? If that isn’t a clear signal, I don’t know what else to do! We didn’t even get to try the Sensuous Syrup or the Spasmodic Spigot with adjustable love handle.

    She took down two cups as the kettle came to a boil. With just a little sigh of annoyance, she grabbed two bags of chamomile tea, the sugar bowl and a couple of spoons. Placing the fixings on a tarnished silver service, she poured the hot water into the cups and marched back upstairs.


    David was flipping through the catalog that had come with the board game. When Tina came back into the bedroom, he held it up so she could see the X-rated version of Tiddly Winks. It featured an off-color corruption of the name and suggestively shaped playing pieces. “Can you believe the stuff they come up with? They have this other one,” he flipped back a few pages. “Here it is, “Pop That Cork”. Doesn’t that champagne bucket look just like a …”

    “David! Don’t be crude. Come fix your cup.” Tina gave an exasperated sigh. She was totally out of the mood, now. She looked him over with a critical eye and decided on the spot that he was a sap. Time to get him out of here.

  9. sefcug says:

    Not being Canadian myself I thought I would take a different path. Here goes, in no particular order.
    The sexy Canadian was sitting under a tall maple tree watching sap flow from the spigot into the bucket below.
    While doing so she made my blood boil, my thoughts turn to syrup, then taffy and finally to a consistency of granulated sugar.
    No matter what a sexy woman is doing, whether it be something mundane or outrageous, a man’s mind is affected.

  10. margaret says:

    It made her blood boil every time she thought about that young Canadian Mountie she had met many years ago when visiting a prospective college. She had been bright eyed and gullible then, so full of wonder at the breathtaking countryside and the handsome young officer who seemed instantly smitten with her.
    She remembered sitting under the Maple tree with him on a crisp fall afternoon…She had been as sweet as sugar but as naively malleable as taffy. Oh, he was so smooth, and the lines flowed from his lying lips as freely as syrup from a spigot.

    And when he was done with her, he laughed and called her foolish. She felt like such a sap! There would be no bucket of tears from her over this humiliation in her life.
    She remembered grabbing his gun from the gunbelt laying on the ground and pointing it at his head as he slipped his pants on with his back turned on her.

    Mounties were not the only ones who always got their man.

  11. Kevan Farrell says:

    In the English town of Hereford on the Welsh border by the River Wye, it is said that there is an unrepealed medieval law which permits an Englishman to kill a Welshman crossing the stone Wye bridge at midnight, provided he uses a longbow…..

    John’s bow made from Canadian maple tree
    His sap arisen and his blood a-boil
    Waits for his foe at the promontory
    To cross the bridge to Welsh from English soil
    The Wye froths like a sugar syrup bucket
    As here comes Dai, he staggers from the pub
    Ale supped direct from cask through open spigot
    He thinks no danger lurks, aye there’s the rub!
    Dai gains the bridge’s apex ‘neath black sky
    Cathedral bells chime out the midnight hour
    John cries “For Bronwyn!”, lets his arrow fly
    It strikes the ancient stone through lack of power
    And when you ask John why he wears a frown
    The Taffy bastard’s burnt his cottage down

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Kevan: Another fantastic submission. I love meeting people who so clearly love language and words. Write on.

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Kevan-that was simply fantastic!

    • Kevan, I enjoyed reading this! I have to go look up these references for fuller appreciation.
      I believe that is one of the greatest things about good writing – the reader always wants more.
      So, now I know about the Taff river. 😉

      • Kevan Farrell says:

        Thanks Mitch.  Well in the UK ‘Taffy’ is a nickname for someone from Wales as opposed to what  I assume is a type of toffee over in North America.  As you’ve discovered, the nickname is derived from the River Taff which flows through Cardiff, the capital of Wales.  I’d been talking to someone about that medieval law, there actually several versions of it in different towns in England, it’s probably an urban myth.  So when I saw the word Taffy in the list it set me off

  12. You guys are hilarious – these CCCs are really well done, and I’ve been grinning as I read each of them. Woot!

  13. Anne Maybus says:

    He was Canadian, with hair the colour of maple leaves in the fall.  Good looking and well built he towered like a tree over the men around him.  I was attracted to him despite the gap in our ages.  I felt my sap rising quickly and was swept with a hot flush of lust.  Yes, he was heat on legs.  How long had it been since I felt this way?  I felt like a spring chicken again although my hair had long since lost morphed into a mass of grey.

    Up close he was even more handsome, with eyes of sugar and a smile like tender syrup. I gathered my courage and crossed the room to the young Adonis, barely resisting the urge to stroke his skin.

    Before I could open my mouth to speak, two women shoved their podgy bodies between us.  How dare they move in on my Adonis?   I felt the spigot on my temper loosen and my blood begin to boil.  I was ready to take them down, if only my arthritis would let me! 

    And then he spoke.

    His mind was like an empty bucket and he could barely string two words together.  I felt a sudden drop in body temperature and lust escaped me.  The two podgy bodies made a hasty escape and I felt myself backing away, too.  I was suddenly feeling old again.

    Ah well, at least I hadn’t made a fool of myself. 

    I’d better go home and have a good like down.  Perhaps I’ll pull out a novel from my secret stash and ‘rejuvenate’ myself again. A taffy and a good read will soothe my errant nerves.

  14. Cathy Miller says:

    The honking cry of Canadian geese split the silence of the cool, crisp morning. Michael’s heart jumped at the intrusive sound. Crawling from beneath the maple blanket of leaves and dirt, he peered around the tree soldiering in silent command.

    One by one his senses stretched into readiness. Eyes scanned the surrounding terrain. Ears strained to hear beyond the awakening sounds as he breathed in the smell of the dew-drenched moisture of his hidden home.

    He watched a mother bird feeding her young with a spigot of endless feed into the bottomless bucket of greed. Any other time he would enjoy nature’s gift, instead he felt like a sap that his life had taken such a turn. It made his blood boil that he had been so taken in.

    Lies. They had all been lies, served with the sweet syrup of trust through taffy-colored eyes that invited more.

    Michael whirled at the soft click.

    “Well, hello, sugar. Nice day for murder.”

  15. Tanja Cilia says:

    They didn’t call him Canadian Taffy for nothing. He’d patented the Maple Tree Spigot System which worked on the same principle as that of the rubber trees. The sap and syrup dripped into the bucket; all he had to do was boil it until the sugar crystallized. The rest, he sold as animal fodder.

  16. Tanja Cilia says:

    Real Taffy is made with seawater, isn’t it? This and the other one wrote themselves while I was trying to come up with an ending for two stories – one about a cat who gets a dog for christmas, and the other about someone who works in a caterpillar factory… Thank you.

  17. Tanja Cilia says:

    Thank you.  The dog turned out to be a cross between a Malamute and a Dalmatian… and I think the caterpillars are going to be fluorescent…

  18. Chris F. says:

    Another belated entry, as I work backwards to catch up:

    Walter shifted in his seat.  This chair was even worse than the one in the room he’d spent the last four hours in.  It didn’t help that his back was aching and his knees were sore from sitting so long.

    He reached for his coffee cup and took another sip, grimacing as he swallowed.  The heavy sugar helped, but it was still bitter.  He hated coffee, but it kept him awake.  He’d rather be at home, shoes off, feet up, watching TV, and drinking a cold Labatt’s.  The Canadian beer was his preferred brand, but he’d even settle for a Bud, or a Miller, or even a damn soda-pop.  Anything would be better if he was at home instead of this place.

    But he wasn’t.  He was here.

    Because Ellen was here.  So Walter wasn’t leaving.

    He looked out the window on the far side of the little room.  A tree was swaying in the breeze, its leaves rippling with the reflected light from the tall poles that surrounded the parking lot.  Maybe the tree was a maple.  Or maybe an elm.  Walter couldn’t tell, and normally wouldn’t have given it a thought.  It was funny how his mind fixed on insignificant details while he sat here.


    He had the area to himself; it’s short rows of metal and fabric chairs were all empty.  Mark and Cindy and the kids were coming, but it would be late tomorrow by the time they managed to get flights in.  Walter had tried to tell them they didn’t need to go to all that trouble, that everything was going to be ok, but he’d choked up on the phone and they’d insisted.  He felt like a sap for breaking down, but truthfully, he was glad they were coming.  Ellen would protest, but Walter knew that deep down she’d be glad, too.

    Susan would have been here, but she’d kicked the bucket last year.  Ellen still hadn’t gotten over the loss of her sister.  Walter’s sister Louise had gone three years before.  That was pretty much the immediate family.

    Ellen’s best friend Sue had been here waiting with Walter for most of the evening, but he’d finally sent her home to get some rest a couple of hours ago.  Sue would be back first thing in the morning, although he had promised to call if there was any news before then.

    Walter stood up to stretch his back, his joints creaking with each motion.  He walked over to the small sink to add some water to his coffee cup.  The last pot the nurses had made was too damn strong.  To Walter’s taste, it was like drinking heavy black syrup.  But the nurses lived off the stuff and they’d probably be happy letting it boil down to a thick sludge that had to be scooped into the cup like molten taffy.  Walter was not a coffee drinker; he wanted it light.  He added a few splashes of water from the spigot, sipped the cup again, and then poured in another sugar just for good measure.


    While he was up, Walter leaned out and peeked down the hall.  Ellen’s door was still closed.  The nurse had told him he could go back in after they’d changed her IV and bed linens.  He was impatient and wanted to go in now.

    It was harder to wait out here, where he couldn’t sit and watch her.  See the gentle curve of her face, much older than when he’d first fallen in love with it, but still as beautiful a thing as he could ever imagine.  See her chest rise and fall as she slept; the same chest he’d caressed and admired for so many years.

    He wanted to be back in with her.  And he’d wait.  As long as it took.

    Because Ellen was here.

    So Walter wasn’t leaving.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Chris: One hell of a write. It’s funny what caught my attention. The part about the maple tree. I’ve been researching making my own maple syrup. I always thought I had to have sugar maples but I recently learned you can make syrup with various maples. I have 9 on my property. I’m all on the self sufficiency trip so I plan on making my own. I won’t be ready this season but next one I will. Can’t wait. Here’s how you identify a maple: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-Ym_hzbMBo

      • Chris F. says:

        Thanks for the kind comments, Shane!
        It is interesting what a person’s mind focuses on, taking a detail out of the flood of them in the situations that we find ourselves in.
        And the video was interesting. Good luck with your maple syrup!

        Oh- and I remember another, older ‘how to identify trees’ piece which you might enjoy:


  19. […] in and week out, quite a few of these seeds have taken root in the form of a prompt-inspired vignette , poem or philosophical outburst. All credit goes to the prompters and the tender care of the […]

  20. […] in and week out, quite a few of these seeds have taken root in the form of a prompt-inspired vignette , poem or philosophical outburst. All credit goes to the prompters and the tender care of the […]

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