Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #222

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. Load
  2. Protect
  3. Copy
  4. Worry
  5. Hang
  6. Silent
  7. Mistake
  8. Slight
  9. Break
  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


96 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #222”

  1. Adam M says:

    “Take a break, no one can hear you,” she said. She had been slumped against the wall of the elevator since its sudden stop almost an hour ago.
    He had stopped yelling ten minutes ago, only able to give out gasping croaks that would never make it past the walls. He gave her a look of panicked worry —  the only kind he had left — and sat down.
    “It’s not like it was any mistake you made that got us here. We just need to hang out, and wait for them to fix the power,” she continued, her voice calm and grounded, her serene face barely illuminated by the emergency lighting.
    He cupped his face in his hands and said nothing. She was just trying to protect herself, he thought. Even a slight break in hope would create two freaked out people in a box. There wasn’t enough room to handle that kind of load.
    He decided to copy her optimism. Or, at the very least, keep silent about his lack of it.

  2. Gail says:

    To protect oneself from worry, one must break away from the power of an unspoken mistake. Being silent hangs over your head and heart. Load your mind with the sense of peace and others will copy you and your life will be more than slightly better, you will soar.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Gail: Welcome to the CCC! Love your tight, entertaining copy. I sense a trained word-slinger with you. 🙂
      Everyone welcome Gail to the club. How’d you find us, by the way?

      • Gail says:

        Thanks, Shane.  My wife sent me the link and suggested I check it out.  Great fun.

      • Cathy Miller says:

        !Gail-Welcome to CCC!

        We have a load of fun here as we protect our right to revel in the joy of words. Others may try to copy the feeling, but CCC is an original. Don’t worry, we welcome all who would like to hang out as we fill the silent space with the happy sound of creativity. 

        You’ll never again make the mistake of doubting your talent for words as CCC provides the slight break that you need to draw from the power inside.



    • Welcome to the CCC, Gail! You write the truth and it is awesome. In my own way, I live by your words. The magic phrase for me is, “I’m Sorry.”

      Talk about catching more flies with honey… 🙂

      See you around!



    • Jeanette says:

      @Gail. This reminds of my favorite quote by Gandhi “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” This was a great first entry. Welcome to the CCC!

    • Chris Fries says:

      Great job, and great message, Gail!
      Welcome to the CCC!

  3. The time was now!  She had to load the copy machine with her memoirs, twenty years in the making.  She was afraid to make a mistake and lose this, her only copy.

    She carefully placed the multi page document in the machine and began to worry.  “What if I made a mistake?”

    She thought of ways to protect her document, but she knew that this was the only way.  Giving the r power button a slight nudge, she was given a silent reply.  “Give me a break!”, she screamed.  Kicking the machine did no good at all. 

    Wait!  There was a slight hum, indicating some sort something going on.  Then…Kaboom!!!..the machine exploded, sending a shower of plastic and confetti into the air. 

    The poor girl thought she might hang herself, but simply collapsed into a blubbering mess. A moment later a friend of hers came and said to the hysterical woman,  “Here are  the memoirs you wanted copied.  What on earth happened here?”
    Lou Barba

  4. Meredith says:

    Continuation of #218 🙂
    Suddenly, the place became totally silent, as if there were a break in life or temporal duty. The dancers were angry at the loss of power and started to leave. The bodyguard was doing her best to protect what was left of the club “Slightly Loaded,” but the worry showed on her face much too obviously. As shelia moved through the crowd telling them they had to stay, she noticed the bartender Mark talking to one of the patrons, one she hadn’t seen before. As she strode over to Mark, he made the mistake of too quickly shutting down the conversation and turning around to his register. That’s when she heard the cops.
    The largest male yelled, “Did anyone get a picture of what was going on before the power went out?” More silence.
    Finally, a petite blonde, cute, emerged from the crowd, “I did, but I don’t think it’s much, just a picture of the hanging light fixtures.”
    “Let’s make sure to get a copy of that. It might have something that can help us retrieve that item.”
    Item, thought Sheila, what item?

  5. Lisbeth forwarded a copy of the e-ticket to her private account before deleting the email. It was over. She had failed her father and he was sending her away. Intellectually, she knew he was doing the right thing. Emotionally, the slight made her feel like a kid again, that same big sister who always got into trouble. The rebel without a reason. The attention-seeker.

    The drama had been her way of keeping her little sister safe from their father’s nefarious manipulations. Not that Vanessa ever appreciated it, daddy’s girl that she is. Still, Lisbeth had absorbed all the lessons her father had given her. Early on, she had seen through his pretense of grooming her to take over the empire. The stuff he was teaching her was more suited to back alleys than boardrooms. 

    She wasn’t surprised when he had finally revealed his master plan. He didn’t come right out and declare his intention to sacrifice her. He didn’t have to. She had watched with amusement as he tried to cover his participation in the largest swindle in state history. Once she understood what was at stake, the game became a battle between Lisbeth, her father, the investors and the government. The only player she feared was her father. Not because of what he was willing to do to her, but because of what he might do to Vanessa if the need ever arose. She knew that, if she left the country, Vanessa would be the next lamb in line. Frankly, the little air-head wouldn’t last a day in their father’s web of deceit.

    Lisbeth turned back to her computer, tapped a few buttons and canceled the reservation. She left a two-dollar tip on the bar, grabbed her cup and walked out into her new destiny.


    15 minutes earlier …

    Cornelius Watson was beginning to worry about his daughter. Even with all his power, he could only protect her if she remained silent. The break she had given the investigators wouldn’t hang her. Her mistake with the portfolios was of no consequence, as she didn’t have a record, of course. There was nothing to connect her to him. However, he didn’t get where he was by being careless; it was time to load her on a plane and make her disappear.

    He thanked Captain Delaney and clicked off his cell phone. He went to his computer and made the necessary arrangements.

  6. Anne Wayman says:

    It was only a slight mistake. We’d never thought to worry that the light load of making a single copy would hang the power up and throw the circuit breaker! Now we’re stuck, hardly silent, in the elevator with little protection – waiting… arhghthhhhhh!

  7. DR says:

    This is a continuation from my previous entries from long ago. If you haven’t read them, here they are.

    I walked back into the theater after being away for so long. Schoolwork and two jobs will leave you with no fun time at times. As I entered the lobby filled with the smells of buttery popcorn and the noise of various conversations, I noticed the owners made a few changes. The theater looked nicer, not too much but not too little to not notice. They corrected their biggest mistake of not having enough concession lines by adding more registers. The interior is almost an exact copy of the ideal one I had in my mind. Weird. I made a slight break to the bathroom first; I never want to be that person who’s whispering “excuse me” and “pardon me” all the way down the aisle during the movie, twice. Luckily a line hadn’t formed yet so I was in and out quickly.
    I wandered over to the concessions to gaze at three dollar hot dogs and super sized drinks. The line ahead of me was moving rather slowly and I began to worry I’d miss the opportunity to get my coveted seat. I like to sit in the middle of the theater for the best viewing experience; I don’t have to crane my neck upwards or downwards to view the action. While deep in thought, like always, stressing over something so simple as a perfect theater seat, some young kids shouted out loud. The crowd went silent for a moment as they stared at the young boys and their commotion. Apparently they were doing great on some video game nearby in the theater’s arcade. And I use the word “arcade” lightly; five games is hardly anything to really get excited about, but for the kids, it’s exciting I suppose. That kid must have felt like he had some magical special power as he cocked his toy gun downwards to load more ammunition to take out those zombies. How charming.
    Out of nowhere a familiar voice was heard. “Haven’t seen you around these parts in awhile stranger,” he said. I turned around to see the familiar face to match the familiar voice. He smiled at me as I swear his eyes lit up. “This has become my little spot to hang and I haven’t seen ya. You’ve been missing in action.” He chuckled.
    I told him work life and school life can get hectic. He nodded his head.
    Finally I ordered my concessions that cost more than an actual meal elsewhere and he offered to pay. I began to decline his generous offer but he waved it away as he handed the money over. My treat, he said. Wow, I have had dates where guys were reluctant to pay, let alone just offer to pay. Maybe I just have been seeing the wrong guys.
    After giving away half my ticket to a worker, I started towards my film. I asked my friend what movie he was here to see, and somehow it was the same as me. Again. Coincidence? I wonder. Or maybe we just have similar tastes in movies. Great, I now have the movie taste of an old man.
    “Be sure to protect your food and drink while walking in here. You don’t want to get this far only to drop your meal,” he forewarned. Or more like foreshadowed as my clumsy feet stumbled just then and I dropped my hot dog. Luckily my ninja skills kicked in and I got it before it hit the ground. 
    “Way to jinx me,” I joked.
    He smiled as we sat down to embark on another movie adventure.
    In my coveted perfect seat, I may add.

    • Jeanette says:

      @DR.  “Ninja skills”. I like that!  This transported me into right into that theatre with overpriced treats and all. I could almost smell my butter-stained fingertips ;)  Good job!

    • Dee, it was fun to start from the beginning and come back here to catch up.
      This is a delightful tale that, I’m sure, holds a few surprises for us down the road.

      Those little arcades are so pathetic, huh? 🙂

      Great story!



      • Dee says:

        Thanks! I do have a little something-something in my head. We shall see how our ten words go!

        And I agree. Most “arcades” aren’t nothing to get excited about. At least the ones near me aren’t.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Dee: Great stuff! Great to see you back here too. Hope you have time to stick around.

    • Chris Fries says:

      That was a lot of fun, Dee.  I knew she’d get her perfect seat!

  8. Jeanette says:

    Taking a slight left turn onto a gravel road, his car bumped over the uneven path.  His eyes searched for a space near the back of the building. His worry of someone recognizing his ancient van made him park under a tree with low branches.  Pulling up his emergency break, he threw his head back into the headrest and rubbed his eyes.  The last thing he wanted to do was have someone unload on him. But that’s what he came for…answers.

    If she were here, she would warn him of his mistake.  “In life we are powerless,” she would say.  He took long strides, staring at the ground.  His shoes were scuffed and dirty.  His jeans ripped at the bottom from dragging on the floor all day.

    The neon sign blinked as if sending a Morse code to passerby’s on the street.  It was an outline of a hand big enough to fill the entire window.  He grabbed for the door and let himself in.  The room was smoky and smelled of sandalwood.   A sign was displayed near the front desk that read “Please protect yourself, apply a small dab on your wrist and have a seat.”  He opened the box that contained a bunch of oils and did as instructed.  

    The room was still and silent.  Hanging from hooks in the ceiling were metal sculptures of stars in all shapes and sizes.  If she were here, she would take a picture to copy that look for the house, he thought.  

    A beautiful, Indian woman stood in the doorway and ushered for him to come in.  The room was small and dark with only a round table covered in bright white candles.  Taking a seat, he stared at the woman who smiled at him sweetly.  

    “I’m here to find out where she is.”

    “I know. But I must warn you…you’re not going to like what I tell you.”

  9. Chris Fries says:

    Another 10×10* for this first prompt in March:

    “The Desperate King”
    Load of crap,” Dudley says after reading the latest e-mail.

    To protect my wealth, I need your help, it says.

    Please don’t copy, forward, or delete my pleading personal message.

    I’m filled with worry — I’m an desperate exiled Nigerian king.

    The government will surely hang me if they find out.

    If you can merely remain silent, I will send millions!

    Send your account numbers! Make no mistake — money will come!

    Dudley hits ‘Delete’ after only a very slight, momentary pause.

    Meanwhile in Nigeria, the king waits for a break in

    his bad luck: Does no-one want his money and power?

    *10×10 = Ten sentences of ten words each, using the prompt words in order and in number position within each sentence (the first prompt word as the first word in the first sentence, and the second prompt word the second word in the second sentence, and so forth).

  10. Here is my entry for this one:

    Looking to break the power
    each mistake a silent worry
    slight hang another stress
    you load another copy
    as you protect the original
    this information finally
    must be leaked
    the people
    must know
    Read aloud you can listen to hit here:

  11. Jen says:

    That guy. What a dick. Total power trip out there. On silent feet, with my swimmer’s triangle of a torso held in her hot gaze, I took my load of empty glasses to the kitchen. The tray, silver plate of course, groaned like that plump woman I met last night…what was her name? I abandoned the effort of trying to recall her name, or anything more about her for that matter. Wasn’t worth it. 
    The glasses, rentals from the bland look of them, were rimmed with ghost kisses of the almost elderly. Red and beige and apricot prints pressed into the glass, not seductively. I could not bring myself to imagine the puckers from lush Brazilians or wispy Swedes. No. But I could picture them belonging to their grandmothers. I shivered. 
    Just before my 10 minute break, the new guy, who was supposed to copy my every move, showed that he intended to take this mandate literally. He appeared at my side, shadowed me as I lifted my chin to the manager to indicate I was going for a smoke. 
    “Dude.” I turned to the new guy, whose nose touched mine. “First, back the hell off. Second, if you think you’re joining me? Now?  No.” I hoped that was strong enough. It was. His footsteps did not follow me to the butler’s entry. I didn’t want him, or anyone, even the chick, on the balcony hanging around for the one enjoyable thing I had to look forward to. Hell, the one enjoyable thing I had all day. I protected the ten minute break like it was sacred, a high holy ritual, to me, its god. Oh, the power. 
    A slight smile curled up my lips, which I knew she had noticed. No mistake; been doing this long enough to know the glint in an eye and the lick of the top lip for the … signal it was. I worried a cigarette out of the pouch in my pocket, heard the snap of flesh on lighter, the click of flame, the hiss of sweet, disgusting nicotine burning. I closed my eyes. These ten minutes were mine. I planned to use each and every one of them to relish the thoughts: of how I’d get her alone, without him, how I’d get her home. I knew it all. It was too easy. 

  12. ”I’m telling ya, it’s all a mistake!” I plead, tugging at the bindings that hold my hands powerless behind my back. The noose chafes around my neck but that discomfort is nothing compared to the intense pounding of my heart threatening to break free and run as far away from this scenario as possible.

    If I could do it all again, I would copy my brother’s life and join the priesthood. God knows I tried hard to be good but the devils in my head were always against me. I don’t know why I done the things I did and I’m awful sorry but sorry is wasted breath when you’re under the hangman’s noose. God will judge me. Perhaps the devils will be released and I can rest in His care and protection.
    The horse I am set upon prances and paws at the ground in a state of worry. I fear he will bolt at any slight movement, leaving me to hang to death from this cursed tree prematurely. Many a man has hung from its branches in the past, swinging listlessly in the noonday sun with the crows pecking at their empty eye sockets.  I savour every second left of this precious life. The leaves whisper mysterious languages in the pleasant breeze. A crow calls in annoyance. The heat of the sun feels blessed on my upturned face. The horse snorts and brings me back to grave reality.
    “Be silent, boy!” says Judge Brown. He examines his gun to ensure it is loaded in preparation that I might somehow free myself and escape. Tobacco juice drips from his lip to his chest and he spat on the ground in front of me. This man would delight in shooting me in the back but the law states that a condemned man must die from hanging and today that is to be my fate. He stands silent for a moment and then proceeds, “By the power vested in me by her majesty the Queen, in order to protect this fair state from the criminal element, I sentence this man to death by hanging. May his soul rest in hell.”
    I hear the crack of a switch hit the horse’s flank and she bolts, tossing me from her midsection. The rope catches and the noose tightens around my world, freeing me.

  13. Shane Arthur says:

    “Hey Billy. I’s startin’ to worry ‘bout your secretarial skills. I asked you to reload the copier and you loaded it back onto a dilivery truck instead of just getting’ some paper. I asked you to protect your password so nobody can steal it and you brung in a pitbull. I asked you to hang my photo, and you brung in a noose. See, you’s silent right now ‘cause you know you’s made mistakes and don’t have da slightest intend of findin’ your internal powers and breakin’ free of all these errors. I should fire—”

    “Bobby, here’s dat new porn site I was tellin’ you ‘bout.”

    “Ohhhh, man! These here gals is curvacious and big-boned just hows I likes um. Billy, you’s da best secretary ever.”


  14. Jamie Graham says:

    She fantastised about watching him hang. The shift of power would feel incredible. All those years of worry with nobody to protect her had taken their toll.
    Listening to the waves break below from her third floor balcony, she felt it was time to get this load off her mind for good.
    She closed the sliding door, took her cellphone from her bag and dialed his number. He answered, but she couldn’t do a thing but remain silent.
    She quickly hung up realizing what a mistake it had been. Her slight frame crumpled onto the bed on top of the copy of the newspaper story from that fateful day eleven years ago. 

  15. Kelly says:


    A slight mistake will break my concentration. A big one will hang me. I try not to worry about the little ones, but when I’m playing against this guy every tiny advantage is critical. All I can do to protect myself against future ridicule is pray. Silently, or he’ll accuse me of trickery (and be half-right). I think about copying his moves. After all, he’s copying someone else’s! But the subtle shifts that give him power are lost on me at this point. We were evenly matched, once, but now he’s on another plane unless I get really lucky.

    Yep. My nephew’s only 13 and he can wallop me at golf.

    It’s a load of garbage that grownups can handle defeat better than kids. I wanna WIN!

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