Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #208

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. Break
  2. Hot
  3. Chamber
  4. Praise
  5. Down
  6. Shot
  7. Critical
  8. Outrage
  9. Cut
  10. Living

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


51 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #208”

  1. Here is my entry today.

    Rise for Change

    Praise the critical shot
    hot chamber outrage
    break down decisions
    living through choices
    cut from poisoned paper
    until we rise for change

  2. Ethel tried her best to conceal her outrage. Maybe she wasn’t cut out to be a guide – at least not where high school ruffians were concerned. There had to be an easier way to earn a living. As she looked down at the offensive leavings, she vowed to begin job hunting the next day.

    Unmindful of the praise heaped upon her by chaperones and teachers, Ethel dismissed the latest group at the lobby. Instead of going on break, she shot into the head curator’s office and began ranting about uncontrollable students.

    The curator, a wizened old relic himself, waited patiently until his newest employee had wound down. Always critical of untested guides, the curator really didn’t believe the tirade was warranted. More likely, the poor dear was overreacting to the stress of dealing with memorizing all the arcane facts on her route. Reluctantly, he allowed her to lead him to the Pax Britannica Grand Exhibit.

    Ethel, face still mottled with unspent fury, dragged the curator to the “Modest 19th Century Home” display and pointed disdainfully at an open closet. The curator walked over, glanced down and gasped at the still steaming hot pile of poop in the chamber pot.

    • Frank Ruiz says:

      I was worked for an at-risk youth shelter once, and we literally “turned the bus around” one day when the kids were too crazy to be respectful in the museum.  I feel for your protagonist!

      • I bet those kids didn’t even appreciate what they were missing out on…sigh.
        I’ve been more fortunate – the two years our son was in public/private schools, the field trips were uneventful.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Mitch: O, the visual at the end! Haha. Too funny, man!

    • Jeanette R. says:

      @Mitch. Loved what you did here… the juxtaposition of old and new and the flow was nice.  You always pull me in.  When I come to the end of one of your pieces I have a deflated feeling like “oh, it’s over already” Still waiting on that book…

      • Thanks, Jeanette. That’s cool how you interpreted the young-old. That was purely subconscious, thought it would be funny to call the curator a relic. LOL
        You may want to bookmark race2hugo.net to be one of the first to get your hands on my next book 🙂

  3. Love the description of the curator and I knew plenty of high school ruffians myself back in the day.

  4. Frank Ruiz says:

    It’s hard to break from something you love, but I feel I have to in order to continue with my other commitments, even though the praise and camaraderie we’ve shared has been a boon for my heart.

    Life is fickle, though, and she can outrage as quickly as she soothes.  I remember this as the hot flames from burning the candle at both ends engulf me.  Life’s made it clear that I have to cut down what I can no longer handle in order to keep the damage at bay.

    This new year, although young, has shot me into an entirely new chamber.  My professional and family living situations have been completely transformed.  A new mass now looks to me for their critical feeding, and keeping them happy is a job without breaks.  My prized keepsakes from the life I’ve left still call to me, but if I don’t let them go, their weight will crush me under the pace of my new responsibilities.

    I recently reflected on the similarity to death that moving from one chapter to the next in life approximates, but I had no idea how much of a change would really be required.  I’m going to miss my time here sharing in the creativity that abounds within, but if I don’t bid farewell now, the current life that sustains me will dwindle from neglect, and although dreams of full-time creativity nourish my soul, I need other means to nourish my body and family.

    I love the time I’ve spent here and this community I’ve shared such fun with, and I hope I’ll be able to return someday, or at least share this community with our next generation.  Thank you all for everything, and I wish you all the best.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Frank: Damn! That was powerful, and I wish you the best. Even if you can’t submit any longer, at least keep reading if you can. Having kids feels like breathing under water at times, so I know the feeling. I’ve barely had time to get my own submissions and respond to all the comments in these past few months.

    • You’ll always be here – in spirit, if not in words.
      Hug the baby for me 🙂

    • Jeanette R. says:

      @Frank. Say it ain’t so!  I totally understand though.  Life is all about balance. Whenever you need a fix, you know where to find it 😉

      • Frank Ruiz says:

        Thanks, Shane, Mitch, and Jeanette,
        Yeah, the new baby is actually not as much of a schedule adjustment as this new job. I’ve been pulling 12-hour days all week, so I know I have to adjust or I’ll drown in my own office cubicle.
        Whenever I can do more than tread water, I’ll be reading and enjoying you all again. Until then, I wish you all as much joy as you’ve given me!

  5. Jeanette R. says:

    “I can confirm that the Peacock shot the Magician.”  The confused congregation turned in unison to investigate. In the upper left corner of the balcony sat a rather large vulture-looking bird with enormous feet and misshaped feathers.  

    “Pardon me for interrupting praise, but may I approach the chamber?

    The orator, stunned by the intruder’s appearance, acquiesced by tilting his head down ever so slightly. The bird descended swiftly and landed softly with his head bowed.  He understood the protocol and did not want to offend.

    The orator’s wife hobbled over to where her husband stood with his beak wide open. Her back faced the audience; her words were hot on his ears.  “Kalil, snap out of it.  He must be of nature to die upon returning here.  You must be strong.  All eyes are… ON. US.”  

    Kalil adjusted his stance and allowed his neck to rise high so that everyone may hear his words.  “I presumed you were no longer of the living.  From the looks of it, you haven’t been too comfortable in this world.”

    A cough in the room cut through the silence allowing a moment of reprieve.  No one had sat down and the intruder had not broken his respected bow.

    “Mungai, you may break.”  The audience was stunned by the informal greeting and low murmurs filled the air.  

    “Silence!  It is critical that we have silence. If any of you were to approach the chamber, you would all be allowed a moment of explanation. For those of you who feel uncomfortable, you may retire through the back doors.”

    Slowly movement began in the pews.  Many of the elders, with outrage on their faces, hobbled in a single file to the exit doors.

    “For those of you who have remained, I will not repeat myself regarding giving our visitor courtesy.  Now, Mungai, what do you know of the Peacock?”

    “Sir, I was present when the Peacock shot the Magician.  It was shortly after the show. Most performers had been retired but they forget to remove me.  I was stuck in the back with the other unused.” Mungai’s eyes fell upon a young chick whose stare gave him chills.  Her hatred seemed to shine through her.

    “The Magician was working with the Peacock on the last act.  They had been having trouble with the reveal and he was quickly losing patience.  The Peacock was just as determined to get it right. Or so I thought.  I could see the shine of the metal under his claws and when the moment presented itself, he shot the Magician…  One exact bullet to his head.”

    Kalil stared in horror. “So it is true.  We must find the Peacock before they find him.”

    • Whoa! Something new and fresh from the mind of Jeanette! I love it when you do things like this. (I still remember that space football type game…)
      The decorum and mannerisms of the court brought a serious D&D mood to this piece.
      Now, it’s my turn to wonder if there’s more. Well done!

      • Frank Ruiz says:

        Wow, this was so cinematic, Jeanette!  Every line drew me in, and the fact that they were animals just entangled me further with interest!

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Jeanette: This is a great departure for you into another super scene. You can write anything can’t you!

  6. Ingrid says:

    Another submission from random FB friends. Rule applied: one sentence each one word each.
    At the first break in traffic Cliff launched himself across the road, frantic to catch the tour group before they boarded the bus.
    It was a hot sweaty day and he was eager for the air-conditioned coolness of the bus.
    He locked himself in the toilet chamber to wash the sweat and grime from his face before returning to the welcome coolness he craved…
    He praised himself on always having a minty fresh goatee, prepared this time for unexpected kisses from former beauty queens that he was wont to enjoy on random occasions.
    Satisfied with his suave appearance, Cliff attempt to press down to the handle of the bathroom, only to discover the handle would not budge.
    He felt shot right through into a bolt of blue, finding his problem was that he was living a life he just couldn’t leave behind.
    As he heard the bus engine rev, he quickly recognized that this situation was critical since he didn’t want to be stuck in the bus bathroom for the next 300 kilometers!
    Determined to not let his panic turn to outrage at the mechanical engineers who had contrived this sanitary vessel of his entombment, he pounded on the door yelling “sweet mercy of longjohns, someone fetch the jaws of life” secretly hoping to be rescued out of the window by a trapeze artist.
    Cut it out, you fantasist!” he scolded the mirror, “Think! Think! Think!”
    In that moment, Cliff remembered his cell phone, which would surely return him to the land of the living.

    • Jeanette R. says:

      @Ingrid. This is so cool that people participate with you on this!  It all makes sense too.

    • Ingrid et. al., you have done it again. It sure would be nice to meet these word slayers. Let’s see what they do with all ten…
      This submission was highly entertaining, as if each writer challenged the next to be more preposterous, while maintaining coherence.
      My favorite line: [O]utrage at the mechanical engineers who had contrived this sanitary vessel of his entombment, he pounded on the door yelling “sweet mercy of longjohns, someone fetch the jaws of life” …

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Ingrid: This is so awesome. You should invite the other members to at least stop by and leave a comment. They don’t have to do the challenges, just say a few words to the group (At the very least, if they have a website, they can leave a comment and get a free link to their sites).

      • Ingrid says:

        Hi Shane! I just posted an encouraging update in the hopes that they’ll stop by. It’s a bit tricky since I basically post the word list (with a link back here) and encourage all of my friends to add a sentence (so very very casual and not at all structured)… then once the story was finished I posted it back here! 🙂 But very very fun to see the answers roll in. 🙂

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Ingrid: Thanks.
          I always tell people this place is addictive, and that’s true. But it’s also true for me. Whenever someone new comes aboard, I can’t wait to see what they will bring to the table. Each person does indeed offer their own unique spin on the world. I love seeing it unfold here.

  7. Anne Wayman says:

    Break out of the muddled thinking.
    Our planet is becoming a hot chamber.
    Praise and support those who shout ‘down with global warming.’
    Don’t get shot!
    We need critical outrage to cut our excessive living.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Anne: I hear ya. I’ve been doing the self sufficiency thing for a few years, and I feel great about it. I grow a lot of my own food and don’t like depending on anybody. My footprint is my own.

  8. Rebecca says:

    I felt my blood pressure rise, and I became flushed and hot. I had a critical computer error. The words “500 Internal Server Error” stared back me. What happened? Did my hosting company have an outage? Did I somehow break my website? Why was it down? I took a deep breath. What else could I do?
    I cut to the chase and started researching WordPress and server errors. It was worth a shot to find out why couldn’t I log in to my WP Admin. Too bad there wasn’t a secret chamber I could access behind the web coding.
    Lo and behold, I figured it out! Sure, it took me three hours but thanks to the awesome WP forums and discussions, I discovered the problem was the new theme I download and activated. It was broken.
    Praise Jesus! I could make a living as an IT person or web designer.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Rebecca: I’m sure millions of people would love, and relate to, this post. Hate when that stuff happens. Write on.

  9. Shane Arthur says:

    “Hey Billy. You hear our good buddy Frank-feller is takin’ a break from da hotness dat is dis chamber-of-college life? He said livin’ is getting a bit critical and he’s got to cut some extra-ka-rick-u…kaaa-rich-u-la… some extra stuff from his life.”

    “Yeah, I heard me some of dat. I felt da urge to be outrageously down from loosin’ a good buddy, but dat’s da way da mountain-oyster cookies crumble. And what ever happened to dat Kelly-gal? Or them Steve fellers? I miss them too.”

    “Don’t know. I hope they’s all doin’ well and thinkin’ of us. Let’s just raise our shot glasses, pound some mountain-oyster rum, and send some praise their way.”

    • Frank Ruiz says:

      Thanks for the wonderful send-off, Billy, Bobby, and Shane, and I hope I’ll be able to come back, and maybe even bring Kelly and Steve with me 🙂

  10. Rebecca says:

    @ Shane … I’d like to write an eBook about my “Adventures with Web Design, Hosting and Word Press.”

    I feel bad for Billy & Bobby; they seem sad. By the way, mountain-oyster rum sounds like it could cure a hangover!

  11. Jamie Graham says:

    The smell of freshly cut grass filled her nostrils. As she wandered through the meadow towards the tall oak tree, it felt great be living in England today.

    With a Jack Kerouac book in one hand and a bottle of scrumpy cider in the other, she was looking forward to the shelter of the leafy branches.
    It was a hot summer’s day and the break from studying would be a welcome relief. She heard a shot in the distance and watched as a flurry of birds rose into the clear blue sky, possibly minus one of their pigeon friends.

    It wasn’t critical she got a job during the holidays this year and she certainly didn’t miss being a chambermaid at the local hotel.
    The boss of the hotel Mr. Franks had never given her any praise despite some of the horrible tasks she had to do – the smell of badly soiled sheets was something she’d never forget.

    As she sat down under the tree, she opened the book and thought of how it must have been a living thing in a previous life.

    A small white puffy cloud appeared out of nowhere the next time she looked skyward. It may have been insignificant to some, but to her it was an outrage on an otherwise perfect day.

  12. Angela says:

    Hot bitter tears cut her cheeks, blurring the city lights as she shot through the streets, desperate to get somewhere private. She rushed down the stairs to the subway and was just able to squeeze through the doors as the local train began to pull out of the station. Shielding her face with her hand, she turned to face the wall, hoping no one would notice her distress.

    Even at night, the subway boiled in the summertime. Suffocating heat, like a death chamber, and how appropriate that she would happen to catch the car with no air conditioning. Displayed on the wall in front of her was a movie poster presenting two lovers embraced. Praise for the film stated that it was ‘the greatest love story ever told’. Sure, she thought. It’s always the greatest until he finds something better. Newer. Sexier. Her pulse throbbed in her head and she swore she could actually feel her heart break. Her emotions swelled to a critical point and she thought she might explode from the pressure; she leaned forward to brace herself and held her breath to keep the tears at bay.

    When she finally reached her stop, she nearly ran from the train, up the stairs, and around the corner, where the security of her apartment building waited. Three story walk-up. Pulling the keys out of her pocket, she found her hands were trembling, and it took two attempts to work the lock. Once inside, she didn’t make it to her bedroom. She didn’t even make it to her couch. Equally outraged and disconsolate, she fell to the ground right there in her living room and sobbed.

    5 years. She’s supported him through law school, his grandmother’s passing, his father’s heart attack. And for a hot piece of ass, he just walked away.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Angela: That was fantastic. Welcome to the CCC. I love what you did here. And that was one hell of an opening line. What did you think of the process? Let us know.
      Everyone welcome Angela to our club. Adding your name to the CCC Community Links page next.

      • Angela says:

        Thanks!  I really like just having the 10 words to use, and leaving the rest open.  Much more enjoyable to me than a writing prompt.  I haven’t written in a very long time, but I’m looking forward to picking it up again.

  13. sh13151223 says:

    outrageous, critical, breaking
    the TRP was shot high
    real, inspiring stories were cut down
    they are living, pressurized
    in a hot chamber, life zeroed out in values
    revolving round scandals, mayhem, disputes and drama
    far away life is still praised and nurtured
    among tiny, merry unknown lives.

  14. Kelly says:


    Tony got a break when the call cut out to some other schmoe, and his frustrated agent decided to call the new kid instead of waiting through cell-phone-chambers-of-horrors to get back to his star. A hot break. They needed someone downtown tomorrow, and all Tony’s tomorrows were, at this point, wide open.

    The photographer was critical. Didn’t like his enthusiasm. “I didn’t ask for a puppy,” he groused, but Tony figured it was better than the outrage he’d hear from Mom back home, and he kept on smiling. Small-town living and New York underwear billboards don’t jive too well, but the praise he got for that one 40-foot-tall shot, grinning away like the unspoiled hayseed that he was, was enough to get him the next hot break, and the next. That grin set him apart from the scowling hordes… not bad for a clueless country boy.
    Alone among that year’s “new kids,” Tony was the one who never had to wag his tail in his skivvies again.

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