Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #205

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. Climb
  2. Party
  3. Ask
  4. Dumb
  5. Fire
  6. Pan
  7. Amount
  8. Total
  9. Stuck
  10. Power

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


67 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #205”

  1. Cathy Miller says:

    The road here had been an uphill climb. There had been little time to party, but, no one needed to ask Sherrie twice to slip off her killer shoes that were squeezing the life out of her toes. What a woman does in the guise of fashion.

    “I’m getting too damn old for dumb fashion,” she sighed as she settled into her chair of comfort and clicked her computer to life.

    The party had been marketed as the networking event of the year. Seeing how it was held on New Year’s eve, its sparkle was short-lived.

    “That should have been my first clue,” she mumbled.

    Sherrie wanted to set a fire under her own marketing efforts – a task she viewed as a necessary evil. She hoped the last several hours of torture would pan out to something more than sore feet and an overwhelming urge to crawl into a cave for the coming year.

    No amount of glitter and face gunk made Sherrie feel any more than what she was – a writer. She felt like a total impostor in another world made up of too many people, too much food, and way too much noise. She shook off the fear she had of being stuck in that world to return to the calm she felt in her seat facing her dream.

    Here was power, she mused as her fingers raced across their private world.

  2. Frank Ruiz says:

    Don’t let the seductive power of climbing in rank within your party keep you from asking about any issues you may find.  It’s never dumb to keep your critical faculties intact at all times, even if it raises the risk of being fired from the organization you’re questioning.  It’s okay to pan what you see as a problem, if for nothing else than to give the organization you’re taking to task the option of pleasantly surprising you with their response.  In a large amount of cases, though, powerful organizations, stuck in their desire to hold onto their gains, claim total perfection, and thus refuse the vital feedback and opportunity for improvement that questioning can bring them.  In such cases, it’s okay to be at odds with them, as it means you won’t lose your sense of following what’s right just to maintain membership.

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Frank Ruiz-love your code of ethics!

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Frank: I remember all those people I worked with that bucked the system and spoke their minds, especially those with the personalities to match the curse words they used. Few people have the nerve to speak so freely and everyone looked up to these people. Ironically, these people always to a free pass that the rest of the employees didn’t get. Ironic huh!

      • Frank Ruiz says:

        Thanks for your comments, Cathy, Shane, and Anne! Shane, yeah, the folks that throw their weight around to bully their way to the top aren’t my favorites, but I hope there’s a space between them and being a silent victim at the workplace too.

  3. Gertrude would never walk again. She had traded her feeble legs in for the Circumnavigator 52X, a moderately-priced bionic ambulator. So what if she wouldn’t be able to climb Mt. Everest or be the life of the party thrown every month at the Theta Pi house. She had more locomotive power than all the preppies with their vintage Segways. 

    Before the operation, Gertrude had to sign a ream of waivers, pass a psychological evaluation and answer the trick question she had known the surgeon would ask:

    “Why should you be assimilated?”

    Gertrude had carefully rehearsed her faux answer. She told the surgeon that the total amount of money spent on pain medications that she’d otherwise have to take for the rest of her life would exhaust her insurance. The ambulator was therefore a less costly option.

    The real answer, buried more deeply than the psychologists had cared to probe, was more prosaic. The next time a dumb freshman dumped sodium into a pan of water and caused a fire in the chemistry lab, she wouldn’t be the one who got stuck beneath a collapsed workstation. No, Gertie would be the first one the hell out!

    • Frank Ruiz says:

      Awesome piece, Mitch!

      The question of assimilation in your story is a tantalizing one. Does taking on those new legs make her part of a “Borg”-like hive-mind? Looking forward to reading more from Gertrude!

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Mitch: Damn you Mitch. Yet another submission that makes me want to read yet another book from you. 🙂

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Mitch-another great tale-as someone who spent 30+ years in insurance, I would love to see that debate about the less costly procedure. 😀

    • Anne Wayman says:

      Vintage Segway’s indeed –
      Faux answer?
      all leave me wanting more Mitch!

      • Thanks, Frank. I guess I’ve been playing too much Alpha Centauri over the holidays. It would be kind of interesting to explore this further.
        Shane, one day, soon … I was delayed in replying because I was busy giving out Versatile Blogger Award nominations.
        Thanks, Cathy! Your response reminds me of a sci-fi novel that explored cloning: {Google failed me, waaahh!} it was about a company that made clones … and sent the original humans to a moon-based colony to finish out their lives. Things get interesting when one original goes back to Earth. There’s a will, somewhere. 🙂
        Anne, you made me smile. Thanks so much for the lovely compliment!

  4. Anne Wayman says:

    warning, political rant:

    I want to climb out of this anger. It’s no party. I want to ask the President how he could be so dumb. He set fire to the Constitution in a misguided attempt to pan for terrorists, The number and amount of rights he violated means a total change in what this country stands for – ie “justice for all.” We’re stuck, completely, unless the powers that be rescind indefinite detention.

  5. Jeanette R. says:

    “You would think in the Land of Dreams there would be power.”  Maria flipped the switch back and forth.

    “Correction, my Spanish Swan, it is the Land of Forgotten Dreams.  And perhaps they forgot to pay the bill.” Samuel chuckled softly while feeling around for his pocket flashlight.

    “Sam, if you refocused the amount of time you spend flirting with me on actually finding the chameleon, we wouldn’t be stuck underground…”  Maria tripped over a box and landed head first.

    Sam flashed the light on her and noticed that she was buried in boxes of tinsel.  “Well ,this is curious, a bunch of old Christmas decorations.” 

    Maria stood up and shook the dust from her hair.  “Hey, what’s that over there? Shine your light to the left.”  Maria walked over to empty containers that appeared to be glowing.  “I think it’s Christmas lights…or a mini fire.”  As she opened one, the room illuminated with bright blues and white. 

    “I don’t think those are lights.  They appear to be stars, of all sizes from the looks of it.” Sam tucked his flashlight in his back pocket and climbed to reach more containers.  “How fascinating!  These must be the stars people have wished on.”

    ‘Give me a break, Sam.  That is the dumbest thing you’ve said yet.  Sometimes you are a total moron. How can you believe in this hogwash?”  Maria scanned the room.  An Eiffel Tower sat crooked in the corner atop a pile of sand with surfboards and jet skis.

    “I have to ask. You say this is the Land of Forgotten Dreams, so what exactly does that mean and how will that help me find the chameleon?”

    Sam clucked his tongue and stood straight.  “Maria, this is where dreams go to die.  Everything you see here is someone’s desires and hopes that they left behind.  Like brownies that get stuck in a pan.  I love that analogy because you eat what you can and discard the rest because …”

    “Sam, stay focused.”

    ‘Very well, as a child, everyone has a clean slate.  You are taught to dream big, ‘the sky is the limit’ and all that good stuff. As you get older, and life gets a bit more complicated your reality becomes tainted, if you will.  And as you discourage yourself from believing in your dreams, they slowly crumble and end up here.  That is why you will find the chameleon here.  You stopped believing in it long ago.”

    “That’s crap, why would I be looking for it if I stopped believing in it?”

    ‘It wasn’t till recently at your divorce party that you remembered it. It’s not a coincidence that these stars are illuminating your path.”

    “Whatever, Sam.  Start digging.”

    • Sean Murphy says:

      Love it – is this part of a series?

      • Jeanette R. says:

        @Sean. No, it’s something that came to me when I was driving home the other day. Thanks for the compliment 🙂

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Jeanette: This is your most intriguing submission yet. Super, super, super anticipation you created here. And you held back just enough for me to fill the box in with my own imagination.
      Well done. (Where’s the book?)

    • Jeanette, this is so cool. I could picture the setting and the bluish white hue lighting everything. The thematic metaphor is powerful.
      I’m glad you came up with this one.

      • Frank Ruiz says:

        Jeanette, I would LOVE if you made this a series!  It reminds me of the vastness of possibility that a series like LOST provided me, and the connection to the graveyard of dreams is so rich with story data!  Incredibly alluring!

  6. margaret says:

    When you climb out of bed, move like there’s a fire.
    Throw two eggs in the pan, grab some clothes out the dryer.
    Don’t ask any dumb questions, just jump in the shower…
    that adrenaline rush gives you total power!

    Pretend you are going to a party instead of to work,
    where you’re stuck all day and your boss is a jerk!
    The amount of time you would waste trudging there,
    with a bad attitude will make you lose your hair!

    NOTE: or just F’ing quit and do your own thing! 😉

  7. David says:

    I’ve only just found creativecopychallenge.com but thought I’d like to have a shot at the challenge.  All comments gratefully received.  Here goes:
    Originally all my friends thought I was too dumb to get into Parliament and thought my selection by the local party was just a flash in the pan but I proved them wrong: the total votes I received in the election was more than the combined amount all the other candidates.  While my friends were forced to ask whether the voters knew me better than they did I knew the voters had responded to the fire in my belly. Now I’ve made the climb to the apex of power I think I’ve finally stuck it to my doubting pals.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @David: That was great, man! Welcome to the CCC. How did you find us? And what did you think of the challenge?

      We have a challenge each Monday and Thursday, so hopefully you will return for more. This is the best creative writing hang-out that I know of.

      Everyone welcome David to the fun. Let me know if you have a website so I can add that with your name to our CCC Community Links page.

      • Cathy Miller says:

        @David-Welcome to CCC!

        Join us in the climb where words take flight and the party has just begun. We have words that ask and those that seek answers, while others are struck dumb by the fire inside as we pan for the meaning they hold. Here words amount to a total release, no longer stuck within our souls, so feel the power and smile.


    • Welcome to the CCC, David! I love this “shorty”. You conveyed a lot of message in a few sentences.
      See you Thursday!

  8. Happy New Year, here is my contribution:

    No More Parties
    inviting the dumb
    total chaos in motion
    measurable amount of stupidity
    ending with a pan fire gone wrong
    as people climb out windows
    power flickers hopelessly
    as one fat man gets stuck
    and people ask to this day
    why I just simply refuse
    to throw a party anymore

  9. Martha says:

    As she began the last hill climb, Joanne asked herself what had possessed her to contemplate such a dumb quest. It seemed easy enough to imagine a triathlon last fall, but now that the spring had come, she was stuck with her public promise or be seen as a total failure. She struggled to draw air into her lungs that were on fire with the effort of pedaling upward, in the relentless sun, the first nice day of the spring season. The last dregs of energy were refusing to power her forward, nor could she summon even the tiniest amount of positive self-talk about the post-tri party to carry her through. Her pulse was pounding in her head, its thrumming irritating her in the same way that her mother’s beating the wooden spoon on the frying pan to call them in for supper used to annoy her. Where on earth did that come from thought Joanne as she wiped the sweat from her eyes. She swatted the image away, refusing to let it take over now. She pedaled angrily over the finish line where Mary waited, and collapsed into her welcoming arms. She was home now, the one she had made for herself, and the only one that mattered.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Martha: You know what I love about your style? You put in the most subtle “eggs” in your stories. If a person isn’t paying attention, they will miss them, but they’re like melted chocolate when you spot them. More please!

    • martha, you sure know how to describe exertion! I’m in need of a nap after reading – and not from boredom, either. LOL. This is great!

      • Martha says:

        Thank you so much both of you for the feedback. I’m working on trying on different personalities and seeing different situations from a perspective that is not usually my own. Having run and rowed a few races, I am still astonished at when you can find that last burst and when you cannot. I like making things like the “eggs” less obvious too, but don’t want to overwork the technique either Shane. I am glad that they are working though.

  10. Ingrid says:

    Did this as a collaborative story (one word each one sentence each) on FB 🙂 So courtesy of me and my friends:

    As I climb to the mountain top waiting to meet new fellows I hear echoing over the hills, “Party! Party! Party!”I ask myself “Do I remain, alone, on the mountaintop, or descend into the valley filled with people?””Go, you, for without people you are numb,” replied my inner voice, “and if no, then, I say you are just dumb.”
    “But if I go,” said my other inner voice, “I may face the fire of temptation.”
    “Let me be adventurous, and go – we’ll see how things pan out”, I said out loud, more to myself than anyone in particular.
    “Because this mountain didn’t amount to a hill of beans.”
    “Am I a total idiot to prefer the solace of the mountain over the festivities just below yonder hills?”
    “Am I stuck in the same habits that have dominated this, my reluctant hermit’s life, despite my efforts to change?”
    “I will mull this question over during a power nap.”

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Ingrid: HOLY BLEEP! THAT WAS AWESOME! I never would have thought that our CCC would end up as a collaborative FB submission. What an awesome surprise that was. Thank you for stopping by and sharing.

      How did you learn of the CCC? And what did you think of it? I’d love for everyone that contributed to this challenge do more individually too. We have a challenge each Monday and Thursday.
      Everyone welcome Ingrid and her friends to the CCC.

      That was truly too cool.

      • Cathy Miller says:

        @Ingrid and Friends – Welcome to CCC!

        Climb on board to the party train of words where we’ll never ask to see a dumb ol’ ticket.Fire up the engines of creativity as we pan across the universe of fantasy and life. Take on any amount of the challenges you like as you lose total control of the addiction it brings as you are stuck in the power you create.


      • Ingrid says:

        Thank you for the warm welcome Shane! 😀 It was very fun to do as a group 🙂
        I came across it when I was looking for writing prompts and this site fit the ticket beautifully.

    • Facebook For the Win! Welcome to the CCC, Ingrid, et. al. 🙂
      This reminds me of the shenanigans on NaNoWriMo forums.

  11. Sean Murphy says:

    “This torch is totally dead. Don’t we have any spare batteries?”

    “Considering the last time we went shopping for anything other than food and toilet paper, I doubt it.” John replied.

    “Right, shouldn’t have asked. Fuck!” Chris managed to crack his knee onto their coffee table in the darkness.

    “What a time for the power to go out,” Jennifer complained from somewhere in front of him “The fireworks go on in half an hour!”

    Chris contemplated their situation. The New Years Eve party was small, just him, his roommate John, girlfriend Jen, and their friend Claire. The four of them amounted to most of his social circle, a fact he liked to attribute to his moving to Boston only the year before from college, and not to any innate defect in his social skills. At times like New Year’s he sometimes wished he were doing something more wild than drinks at their apartment. Still, this was what he had, and damned if a power outage was going to ruin it.

    “It’s not a total blackout,” He said, peering out the window of their top floor apartment, “the lights are on the rest of the block. The fuse must have tripped.”

    “I bet it’s that chick in 2b,” John added, “She’s always running hair dryers, straighteners, curlers – total dumb blonde type.”

    Chris chose not to mention that John’s opinion might be influenced by 2b’s rejection of his advances the month before. “We need to get downstairs to trip the breaker back. With the elevators out, the fastest way would be to climb down the fire escape, then ride back up once the power comes on.”

    “Are you sure that’s safe, babe?” Jen asked – he was pretty sure that was for show, since she seemed more concerned with seeing the fireworks than his immediate safety, but he chose to file that away for later. Thing with Jen might not pan out – she was a little too air headed for him – but she was attractive, and New Year’s wasn’t the time to cut things off.

    “Don’t worry, the cell phones still have reception. I’ll give you guys a call if I get stuck.” With that, he felt his way across the room, forced open the old window that led to the fire escape, and began climbing out.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Sean: Welcome back, man! And you don’t disappoint. Damn you on that ending though. I need to know more, dammit! 🙂

      • Sean Murphy says:

        Hah, thanks Shane – I got blocked on my zombie stuff (and I tend to have trouble getting back into things once I’m out for a little while) but while my resolution this year wasn’t specifically about writing, it did involve building and sticking to a tighter schedule – so now the CCC takes part of my half hour writing session each morning.
        As for this piece – I think it’s interesting just because of the possibilities. It could be a totally boring night, or the start of something horrible (ala cloverfield). I don’t know why every scene I write heads that way… 😛

    • Hold up, Zombie Man. This was too funny:
      “Are you sure that’s safe, babe?” Jen asked – he was pretty sure that was for show, since she seemed more concerned with seeing the fireworks than his immediate safety, but he chose to file that away for later.
      I sure missed reading your stuff, Sean. But this one is a keeper. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with a thematic signature opening.

  12. Shane Arthur says:

    “Bey Billy! ‘Member dat party at dat fraternity house where I asked you for three rubbers cause dat big girl I was gonna get squirrely wit’ — da one dat got hit with da ugly stick and fat pan combined — was a bit loose with da givin’ of da goods, and I ain’t wanna’ get stuck with them there mountain-oyster-barnacles?”

    “Bobby, you mean da party dat had dat fire which knocked out da power, burnt da house down, and amounted to a total loss? Da one where Jim-Bob Beam had to climb out da window wit’ his ears on fire?”

    “Yeah, dat one. Well, I has a confession to make, one I feel ashamed and dumb over. I started dat fire.”

    “How in tarnation did you done dat?”

    “Belly-Sue and I gots to screwin’ and them there three rubbers rubbed so hard against each other dat sparks was flyin’ and they caught Belly-Sue’s tarp-sized, grease-stained nickers on fire.”

  13. sh13151223 says:

    A total blackout, dumb and ignorant. You know that you know, but when they ask the amount of power to climb up the wall of inhibition is stuck up in fire, of timidity that resides inside. The party much awaited, of victory seems afar. To pan the courage from within and extinguish the fire of negativity, to establish your thoughts, to mark your identity, yes it needs to party out the whole episode of life positively and see it as one great celebration.

  14. Jamie Graham says:

    Hi Shane and everyone else! I have returned to this site after a long time away and can’t wait to contribute regularly again.

    I didn’t have much time today, so have penned a very short tale below.

    The party exploded into life when some dumb kid poured a tiny amount of petrol on the fire. Nobody hung around to ask who had done it.

    As the flames started to climb towards the power lines overhead, total chaos broke out. A teenage girl emerged from the house with a pan of water, only to stop still and scream.

    That image of the sparks flying all around her will be stuck in her head for a long time while she recovers in hospital.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Jamie: Good to see you back here, and I hope to see more of you this year.
      You do the shortie submission quite well.

  15. Pam says:

    I think I got confused by my metaphors here…
    “Just dumb luck,” that was what his mother always said. Some people would jump out of the frying pan and into the fire, but somehow he would manage to catch the updraft that let him cling onto the brickwork of the chimney and climb up to his next adventure. He liked to pretend he had some kind of magic power – that he only had to ask and he would be able to do anything he liked. And somehow he never got stuck in those chimneys he climbed, even the ones he’d ended up in after insulting a bruiser at a party, causing the total destruction of the deputy mayor’s favourite bicycle, and causing any amount of discomfort to the poor children in whose clothes he accidentally spilled itching powder. “Just dumb luck” for him, but durned unlucky for his victims.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Pam: Wow! That was super. You left me wondering who this character is though! Any hints. I thought of several. 🙂

  16. […] deciding why no more parties will be thrown.  This is a humors poem that was originally entered in Creative Copy Challenge #205 some weeks back.  The bolded words were the challenge words for the week and I built the poem […]

  17. Kelly says:

    Shane—I backed up & noticed that 205 & 206 are also kerphooey. So this is a re-post…


    The power he had over her life was incredible. The amount of time he asked her to take off work to be with him; the places he wanted her to climb to, the twisted positions he stuck her in while he worked his magic…

    She even threw her back out once trying to do as he bid.

    And still neither of them was satisfied.

    The sway he held over her pleasure was almost total. Would her mornings be full of cheer or panic? Would her nights be warm or (let’s face it) completely frigid? Would he be the invisible destroyer of every party? It was all in his hands.

    At times, she was dumbfounded by how much she obsessed over his every move (or failure to move to her desires).

    When she was truthful with herself, though, she knew she was allowing him that control. After all, she could tell him goodbye at any moment. In reality, her fear of the unknown—wondering whether she’d be jumping from the frying pan into the fire—was what kept her from achieving her release.

    What if she did have to pay him off? It would be cheap at any price. Just as soon as she got up the guts to make her move.


    That building manager held all the cards.

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