Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #220

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. Ride
  2. Reason
  3. Listen
  4. Answer
  5. Start
  6. Wait
  7. Sick
  8. Think 
  9. Popular
  10. Few

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


72 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #220”

  1. I awake to mosquitoes buzzing noisily around my ears. The pounding inside my skull makes me question whether I had been on the receiving end of a Mack truck’s front bumper. A piece of grass tickles against my nose and shapes start to swim hazily in and out of focus as I open my eyes. My stomach churns quickly, rolling over in a flip-flop. A yarking noise forces itself from my throat as I lift my head, getting violently sick. A single daisy sits next to the steaming pile of my mess. It seems that this is what my life has been reduced to; a beautiful thing that I keep messing up.

    Closing my eyes, I take a deep breath and try to will my stomach to stop rolling. I wait for a brief moment and lie my head down in the grass again where the world seems to spin less. I suddenly become very afraid to open my eyes again as I come to the realization that I have no idea where I am. A field. It is daytime. I listen carefully, trying to hear over the pounding of blood into my brain with its steady whoomp, whoomp, whoomp. A bird sings its morning song. Water is travelling somewhere nearby and in the far-off distance, I can hear cars on what might be a highway.

    I try to think back to the events of what the past twenty four hours held (or at least I hope it was only twenty four hours this time), piecing few snippets of memories together like a child working through a jigsaw puzzle, reasoning my way into insanity. I’m not sure the answers are there and I’m really not even sure I want to remember them.

    Suddenly the image starts to push its way into my consciousness again. The popular boy in school. Wondering why he would want to take someone like me for a ride in his truck. All those years of taunting and teasing because I was the shy girl. Plain. Quiet. Lonely. The girl who drinks alone. How he looked at me smirking and passed me the bottle I knew all too well, in the dimly lit cab as we sat in the dark on that quiet country road.
    I lift my head becoming violently sick again, wishing the bile would purge the memories of my life.

    • Jeanette says:

      @Lisa.  This piece was so incredibly descriptive and engaging.  I read it twice to pick up on every clue you offered.  I felt as if I was right there in the grass with this poor girl.  Great job!

    • Lisa, let me tell you how cool this is: I’m always trying to guess if the writer is having us on. I kept waiting for this to be about a dog. Steaming pile mess tends to evoke that image. LOL

      So, here I am, enjoying this dog’s thoughts, thinking, “maybe he DID get hit by a Mack truck”… then bam! the last two paragraphs slap the silliness out of me.

      That, to me, is cool writing.



      • Thanks Mitch and Jeanette!

        I like to sometimes write in a way that ends completely in a different direction than what you think is going on (especially when I’m in a silly mood) but sometimes the heart takes a piece all the way through to the gut wrenching end.  

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Lisa: YOU NEED TO WRITE EVERY DAY! Anything less is a shame. 😉 Seriously, fantastic piece.

    • Chris Fries says:

      Wow, Lisa — that was intense!  Gritty, and emotion-filled.  You do a great job of maximizing the immediacy — I right there with the MC every step of the way.  I really feel for her — this is heartbreaking.
      Fabulous job!

  2. Here is my poem entry for this one.

    Speaking True
    Who needs a reason?
    wait; listen with your heart
    then think with your mind
    and start your answer
    don’t ride the sick popular train
    stand with the few who are left
    and speak with integrity 

  3. Jeanette says:

     “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.”  She rubbed her temples in a circular motion using her translucent thumbs, the only fingers not affected by arthritis. Her hospital gown fell slightly from her right shoulder and she didn’t bother to fix it. 

     “Where are all of these medical advances you read about?  Not one doctor has been able to give me a straight answer.  Do they think I’m stupid? Either they really have no clue or you guys are taking me for a ride.” 

    The man stood with his back turned to her.   He emptied the garbage can and set it down gently. Grabbing for the door knob he felt something graze his ear.  A pen bounced off the door and hit him on his chest. 

    “Listen to me! I’m trying to tell you that I’m not happy.”

    The man bent down and picked up the pen from the floor.  “You dropped this.”  He placed it on her night table.  Her mouth stood slightly open, dumbfounded. 

    His accent was heavy. When he spoke, the words tumbled from his mouth like heavy marbles.  He went to fix her gown but changed his mind.   If he were to get written up again, he would lose his job.

    “Every day is the same.  I tell you I can’t help you. I just come to clean this place.  If you in so much pain, how you throw stuff at me?” 

    The woman smirked.  “Just wait till I tell my husband about this.  He is a very popular man in this community. Just give me one more reason to raise hell.”

    The man shook his head. “Lady, you wait for husband for a long time.  Only people I see come in this room is doctors.  And only a few. Sometimes they start and don’t ever come in.”

    The woman pulled the sheets under her chin and buried her head in the pillow.  “I can’t even understand you. Just leave.”

    • Bingo! Love it! Do you do improv? I bet you would rock at it.

      Every line is a keeper.

      “You dropped this.”

      “…if you in so much pain, how you throw stuff at me?” 

      “Lady, you wait for husband for a long time.”

      All with marbles, yet!



    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Jeanette: Some movie script writer should pay you to take this character and scene. Well done.

    • Chris Fries says:

      Holy shitake, that was freakin’ awesome!!! 
      So much emotion and character-driven drama.  This is engrossing and emotionally wrenching.
      Beautifully written, Jeannette!

    • Jeanette says:

      @Shane, Mitchell, Chris. Thank you!  I was inspired by a recent trip to a nursing home. It tears me up to see how many people don’t have family members and the only interaction they have throughout the day are with workers. 

  4. Stacia says:

    The Placebo Affect

    Sick of your life?  Tossing left and right?
    Few people wait just a little bit longer. 
    Keep, keep going,
    but open your heart,
    and listen hard: Why are you here?  What is your purpose?
    You must make some reason to believe
    in the good things awaiting you.
    Start thinking carefully
    about your goodwill, as long as
    it takes for you to get it and keep it real.

    Because being one of the few
    is like being a really sick patient who doesn’t take pills
    it takes 100% patience, and that popularity is too mainstream.
    While answering these questions,
    enjoy the ride,
    the quest to conquer your soul. 

  5. Chris Fries says:

    So this leads me to yet another 10×10* story:

    “I’m Not Getting on that Death Trap!”

    Ride this!” my friends all giggle and say.  But there’s

    no reason at all why I’ll gamble with my life.

    I intensely listen to gears grinding, then make my decision:

    The perfectly reasonable answer is to simply take the stairs.

    My friends smile, then start laughing as I walk away.

    I hope they’ll stop and wait for me up there,

    but I will not make myself sick with violent fear.

    So I guess, no matter what they think of me,

    I’m being smart; not trying to be the popular kid.

    We who avoid the mall escalators are wise, but few.
    *10×10 = 10 sentences of 10 words each, using the prompt words in order and in number-position (using the first prompt word as the first word of the first sentence, the second prompt word as the second word in the second sentence, and so forth).

  6. Listen, Einstein. Contrary to popular belief, the Feebs do not ‘take over’ cases. I’m merely the department liaison to the joint task force. Get your facts straight and focus on your damn case. You had better start learning how to share! There is no I in team.” Detective Al “Batman” Bateman stormed angrily from the Homicide Bureau.
    15 minutes earlier …
    “Don’t be cute, Waters. If you have something, spit it out.” Bateman enjoyed playing the stereotype of the angry black man. It kept most idle conversation from slowing him down. Few of his fellow officers bothered him. This asshole was a different matter, altogether. Bateman was sick of his posturing and delusions of grandeur. Ever since he had caught the Sunray serial killer, Sam Waters had become insufferable. Time to take him down a peg or three.
    “That cleaver of yours is a match to a print from the Towers double homicide.” Detective Waters didn’t feed into Bateman’s drama. Over-compensating for mediocre investigative skills would not help solve either case. Waters wasn’t one to ride a colleague mercilessly, nor was he about to get into a pissing contest. He handed the forensic report and photographs to Bateman.
    “Alright, this is how this is going to work.” Bateman puffed himself up to his full six foot four inches and stepped into Water’s personal space. “Whatever leads you develop going forward, you notify me. Whatever notes you’ve managed to scrape together so far, I need a copy. Who’s your second?”
    Detective Waters sputtered and stammered, “What? Nobody. Wait a second! What makes you think I’m going to report to you? We both work for the same Captain!”
    Bateman smiled evilly. “And the Captain has assigned me to a federal task force investigating violations of SEC laws. Jacob down in Crime Scene has already informed me of your interest in securities dealers.”
    Waters sighed audibly and broke eye contact. “This is bullshit, Al. You’re a homicide investigator. You don’t know dick about investments and fraud.”
    “For your information, I have a degree in accounting. While you were off god knows where, chasing perverts, my team and I were building a case against the largest financial scam in state history. But you wouldn’t know about that, since your name wasn’t mentioned once!”
    “Your team? Alright, hotshot. Answer this: I have two blank portfolios dripping with blood. I have two dead former employees of financial institutions. Where in all that do you find massive financial fraud?” As soon as the last word was out of his mouth, Waters regretted his falling for Bateman’s blustering.
    “Yeah, smartass. You see it, now?” Bateman waved the forensic reports and photographs under Water’s nose. “You called me, remember? You had no clue until Jacob shared the information. So, now you understand the reason for reporting to me!”
    Water’s nostrils flared. Okay, pissing contest? So be it. “I understand no such thing. Until such time as my Captain informs me that the FBI or whoever is taking over my investigation, I will be working alone!”

    • Jeanette says:

      @Mitch.  Oooooweee… Watson is MAD! Favorite line: “You don’t know dick about investments and fraud.” Cop lingo at it’s finest. 

      I felt like you put a rope around my neck and pulled me back and forth to each sentence.  I read through this piece in no time. Awesome job!

      • LOL. ‘Bout time He showed more emotion. Yelling into the phone doesn’t count, right?
        I’m so glad you enjoyed this. Thanks for the encouragement. The words cooperated today.

        @Shane Dang – I fell into the name trap – I changed Waters into Watson. Grrr 😦



    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Mitch: Through this whole story, you managed to throw in some side-story drama between these two. That’s just bad-ass.

      • Thanks, Shane. I guess these cop shows are starting to rub off on me. 🙂

        If you get a chance, can you change Watson to Waters? I’m going to have stop creating similarly named characters 🙂



    • Chris Fries says:

      Great back-and-forth between the cops, Mitch!  The dialogue and the scene are perfect.  Why does every investigation all have to be so damn territorial, lol!?!?
      What drives this, like ALL great stories, are the powerful and compelling characters.
      Well done, sir!

      • Thanks, Chris! Would you believe I had “The Wire” in my head as this scene played out? They did this stuff nearly every episode. 🙂
        @Shane, thanks for fixing the typos!

  7. Jen says:

    What good luck. Both the elegant nouveau lawyer and the waiter answer my sashay through the opened doors. All I have to do is listen; I can hear the soft shusshing of wool slacks, the soft plush carpet sinking under the weight of two sets of freshly polished shoes. I ride the start of the flush whose origin lies somewhere near my hose-encased knees. If one didn’t know better, one might suppose one was becoming sick, ill beyond reason. 

    But I am, have always been, the belle, and why should that fail me now? I know the word popular has a certain gauche ring to it, but inside my head, few can guess what I’m thinking. Besides, everyone here knows it’s true. I am the popular one. Let’s not kid ourselves.  

    The crystal flute in my hand appears scandalously near empty, but I stand, still as a soldier and wait. One of them will rescue me from a vacant glass. Won’t they?  

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Jen: Outstanding. It’s as if I wrote these words just to help continue your story. I love the CCC!

    • Jen, you continue to tantalize me with your gifted words. So much so that I’m wondering if you meant to write the crystal flute in mind.  I was thinking that was a writerly contraction for my hand. 

      Never mind that, though, I’m still blushing over that saucy flush an its origins. LOL!



      • Jen says:

        Mitch. You are such a cheerleader. I meant to write in my hand…oops. I guess I was still thinking of the saucy knee thing. Thank you. 

    • Chris Fries says:

      Fabulous job, Jen — I love this continuation from CCC #219, but now from the woman’s PoV!  
      And near the knee?  As in, the knee is connected to the thigh, oh my? And from the thigh, go high, and then you’re near… oh dear!
      Well done, Jen! Very, very well done, indeed!

      • Jen says:

        Chris, thanks. Scandalous, eh? If you want to go back one more challenge you’ll see I started with this woman. She’s quite the cougar. Thanks again, friend. 

  8. Cathy Miller says:

    Where do I ride to to find the reason?

    Who do I listen to to learn the answer?

    Do I start my journey now or wait?

    Am I sick to think I know?

    Are we the popular few?

    Where do I ride to?

    Do you know? 

  9. Anne Wayman says:

    Geeze I’m sick!
    Every time I start to lift my head
    I feel like I’m on a loopy carnival ride.
    Can’t find an answer
    Nor determine the reason
    Or think myself better.
    Just have to wait
    Maybe listen throb of my head
    Read a dumb popular book
    Pop a few aspirin
    And trust I’ll be better soon. 

  10. Meredith says:

    There’s no ride or reason she started to write.
    “No wait. That’s not it. There’s no ri, ri, rye? God, what is wrong with me?” Sophie started to answer herself with a list of long-kept, tried and true problems with her personality, outlook, appearance, thinking, ability, what have you, when she remembered that conversation she had with her therapist about asking the wrong question.
    “ARGH!” She stepped away from the computer, probably the best move she’d made that day. Maybe it was the solitude. Some days she just didn’t feel like being alone, yet she couldn’t think of anyone she could listen or talk to during those times. Her own brain, despite the alternative conditioning she’d started and stopped, was deeply critical and unwilling to cease its loud screams of “you’re no writer!”
    There were few people in her life who understood where she was coming from, at least on a cognitive level. When they started talking about their demons coursing ’round their heads, well, she knew exactly what they were talking about. But somehow her ability to convey the same concept was inept. There she goes again.
    Sophie took a stroll along the winding path in the front garden. The weather had warmed and the sun was a blessing. The garden was filled with that sickly sweet odor of Narcissus flowers, oddly appropriate name. The short story she started yesterday was not pelting her brain anymore; it was more like a constant drumming. That she could deal with, just enough softness and distance. What was she writing about? How did she get here?
    The story began with an experience from long ago. She wanted to delve into it, make it more visceral than just a memory, and explore the emotions from this older age. The topic wasn’t popular, and even though she didn’t care about what others thought of her writing, she couldn’t seem to get her voice into the story.
    Sophie grabbed a knife from inside and cut down a few Narcissus flowers. There was something about that scent that shut her brain up. Maybe then she could commence writing something, ANYTHING.

  11. Kool Aid says:

    I haven’t been here in a long while, so I’m a little rusty 🙂

    It’s a popular ride
    So few this season 
    Lines stretch and twist
    Without rhyme or reason
    People stand and wait
    Speak and listen
    Start and stop
    Sweat and glisten
    It’s a sick little dance
    Don’t you think?
    Wait, don’t answer
    The light makes you blink
    The crowd starts to yell
    You hear your name
    Close your eyes and pretend
    It’s all just a game

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @KoolAid: It’s been TOO long indeed. Love what you did here. I could read this several ways, and the best part is I don’t want to know if I’m right or not. The ambiguity is perfect.

  12. Shane Arthur says:

    “Hey Billy. Fat-crack may have had reason to ride my butt out-a here, but he’ll have to wait a few on firin’ me now.”

    “Bobby, I can’t think of an answer to why he shouldn’t have, but start tellin’. I’m listenin’.”

    “Remember dat gag I done played on him wit’ da water in his chair? Well, I was writin’ dat ad for da rustic hemorrhoid pillow for bumpkin’ folks and I thunk, why not just make a water chair for da hemorrhoids. When bumpkin folk have da flame-thrower ass, they just sit in da water chair and gets they prayers answered wit’ instant water relief. And guess what? Da idea is sellin’ like hotcakes.”

    “You’s sick, Bobby.”

    Speakin’ of sick, all dis talk about hemorrhoids and hotcakes is makin’ me hungry. Wanna go to lunch at dat popular Mongolian Grill dat food-poisoned you and flame-throwered me last week?”

  13. […] Creative Copy Challenge […]

  14. Kelly says:


    The ride was short. The reasons were few. The wait was interminable. The thinking is logical. The answer’s predictable. The popular doctor has no words of joy. The sick dog gets worse; she’s old and this happens. The start of the end is tomorrow at 9.

    The listener cries.

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