Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #226

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. Under
  2. Success
  3. Scene
  4. Model
  5. Arrive
  6. Door
  7. Hopeless
  8. Cloud
  9. Pop
  10. Smash

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


94 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #226”

  1. Troy Worman says:

    She was a model victim, hopeless from the onset. She arrived on the scene on-time and under-dressed, wearing only blue jeans and a Smashmouth t-shirt, smacking chewing gum and sucking on a bottle of pop. Her sense of self-preservation was completely incapacitated by an ever-present cloud of false security spun from institutionalized success. He followed her into the studio and pulled the door shut behind him.

  2. margaret says:

    If success is what you’re hoping for,
    you must leave open every door.

    It won’t arrive and make the scene
    while you’re unprepared and rather green.

    Be patient and don’t feel you’re under a cloud,
    that kind of attitude is not allowed.

    Don’t let anyone pop your bubble or smash your dreams,
    because sometimes an obstacle is not what it seems.

    A challenge is good, not hopeless at all,
    it is is probably better in the long haul.

    Model your life after things that matter,
    stay under a rainbow, or you’ll go mad as a hatter!    


  3. Cathy Miller says:

    Should I fall under the spell of success

    In a scene from the hall of dreams

    Do I model all that will come

    To arrive on destiny’s ride

    Will the door swing open in welcome

    And close on a hopeless journey 

    Will I be lifted on a cloud of hope

    To once more feel the pop of power

    As I smash the restraints that bind

  4. Captain Delaney was not about to pop the bubble-wrap cocooning Cornelius Watson. He snarled into his phone with the ferocity of an enraged boar. His threats weren’t real, but Watson couldn’t know that. The task force had warned him that his detectives were getting too close. Delaney didn’t give a rat’s ass about financial chicanery. He had four dead bodies and, if some rich muckety muck was ordering hits, then no task force was going to keep the Captain from making an arrest.

    “Listen, Watson. Bateman and Waters are on to you. I can only hold the leash so long. You better give me something.”

    “Captain, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I was scammed just like the rest. I told you about all that.” Cornelius Watson was tapping away on his laptop, mildly amused at the Captain’s bluff.

    “Forget that! I’m talking about blackmail that got out of control. That illegitimate child of yours has come home to roost and she’s shitting all over your little nest.” Delaney smiled when he heard the gasp. For sure, it wasn’t about his crude language. “That’s right. We know all about the runway model, 1986. What happens in Vegas sometimes arrives at your door. I don’t know how much you paid for her silence, or if she’s even still alive, but you’re now responsible for her daughter. You’re under a huge Federal cloud that’s about to rain down a storm of aiding, abetting, conspiring and a whole bunch of other things.”

    Watson regained his composure. “You’re fishing. So you found my daughter. I haven’t spoken to her since she was a little girl.”

    “Bullshit! She was in Del Mar. She saw Vanessa fall during her competition. We never found any hospital records – I suppose you folks have your own private physicians!” Captain Delaney snorted in disgust. “Come on, man. Who set up Pearson and Koenig?”

    Watson continued clacking on his keyboard. He was becoming agitated. Lisbeth in California? That made no sense. Unless she was in contact with Vanessa, she had no way of knowing where they were. Delaney was holding his feet to the fire. He hoped Lisbeth was halfway around the world. They would never find her. He logged into the airline website and punched the flight confirmation. It had departed hours ago. He didn’t notice the flashing red envelope in the corner. He decided to throw Delaney a bone.

    “Alright, Captain. Lisbeth did indeed lose control of the operation. She was playing Thomas off against the trustees. One or the other was bound to find out. She asked me how to handle it. I told her to tip off the boy’s mother.”

    “Not good enough, Watson! The Bentworths and trustees were killed within hours of each other.”

    “Let me finish, dammit!” Watson slammed his laptop closed and smashed his fist on the table. “She told me that she had hired someone to talk to the Bentworth woman. Apparently, Thomas was there and something went wrong. When this hired thug told her what happened, she panicked and told him to clean up the loose ends.”

    “You don’t even believe that, Watson. No thug is going to lure two financiers to a high-rise conference room! You know what I think? I think you and little Lisbeth went on a revenge killing spree. The horse farm wasn’t good enough, was it?”

    Now Watson began to feel hopeless. “How the hell did you know about that?”

    “I told you. My men are good. In case you’re still feeling fiercely protective of your little spawn, you should be aware that she was running a game on you.”


    “Oh, yeah. You posted a phony 1.2 million profit. Well, she had Pearson and Koenig post a phony 12 million profit. Thomas got greedy and pulled that money of the trust to pay off some new Ponzi investors. That must have been when he discovered that 50 million had disappeared.”

    “What? You think I had something to do with that?”

    “You’re not listening! Lisbeth siphoned off that money. That task force can’t find it, though. I’m betting it will turn up in darling daughter’s account. You need to bring her in. I’ve given you the last bit of help you’re going to get from me. If my men snare you, so be it.”

    Cornelius Watson knew when to cut his losses. Delaney had no reason to help him; their mutually beneficial relationship centered on the usual political stage – one that did not include scenes of cold-blooded murders. He would allow the scandal of his infidelity to overshadow his success. It would blow over, soon enough, without a warm body to charge with the deaths of four cold ones.

    It would blow away that damned cloud, too. Cornelius Watson ended the call to Delaney and called his lawyer.

  5. Meredith says:

    Clouds of hopelessness flow with raunchy tides
    Under the weight of darkness, blind to colors surrounding
    Fear not for your life, but for your arrival
    Smashing through that open door
    Of your heart.
    Purveying the scene, riddled with models
    Poe, Byron, Frost
    All thick with success
    In the ageless drama of introspection
    A night with them can pop your thoughts.

  6. sh13151223 says:

    From under the muddy soil of hopeless laziness popped a seed of dreams. Stormy days and nights smashed it with hardships but the dreams were winged with selfless love aiming beyond clouds. The scene of darkness slowly vanished in that light of noble heart opening the doors of success and so the bud turned into a mighty tree, a model of destiny’s prudence. Angels arrived with heavenly gifts.
                                     A heavy down pour of water came on her face.
    Mom was standing close to her with a mug in hand and a venomous look on face.

    “Will you be on time for the interview today ??” 

  7. Shane Hudson says:

    The old wives tale goes “Red sky at night shepherds delight” and this evening was a perfect example. As the rare cloud wisped over the hills, birds would glide elegantly towards their nest to feed their young. Even time seemed to slow while the sun successfully painted its masterpiece in the sky.    

    The photographer enjoyed evenings like this, under a dramatic yet peaceful skyline, the photos he took of the scene surrounding the city would win magazine competitions hands-down. He started dreaming about seeing his photography in books and galleries, he imagined going to red carpet events and driving a sports car.

    Then, with an almighty “SMASH” the time-bubble caused by the serene sunset was popped by a hopeless old man who had just arrived with a particularly crooked nose and smelled rather like a sewer. “I WILL be a model, I don’t care what you think, I am loooveely!” he sneered after throwing his glass bottle at the door while shouting up to a third story window.

    It reminded the photographer, who was not happy after being disturbed from his day dreaming, why he stuck to landscape photography.

  8. Still on vacation but managed to eek this one out:


    the cloud
    of hopeless success

    a new scene
    opportunities arrive

    a model door
    past bubbles pop

    clearly display
    choices left to take 

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Justin – something about all these openings today I just love-Smash the cloud of hopeless success – great, great line.

    • Nice one, Justin. You always have the keenest way of matching images to unexpected turn phrases.
      “hopeless success” as a cloud.
      As a former Realtor, I couldn’t help but think of “model door” in connection with the model home in a new development – especially considering the final stanza of your poem. 🙂

      • Reading the poem with your comment, I now see it could be used as a metaphor for the housing/real estate bubble in itself.  My original meaning behind the poem was people who have so much but so little, drive for success only to have their lives decay in other area’s and merely showing that we all have choices.  Perhaps the poem was a little inspired by the movie “Young Adult” which I saw recently.

        • Well, there you go. The definition of true art is the ability of a work to manifest multiple interpretations.

          I see what your interpretation gives the poem. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!




    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Justin G: Past bubbles pop. That was the money line. Well done.

  9. Jen says:

    At the door, the pop and flash of cameras. A cloud of sequined, skinny-jeaned youth clamoring for entrance, dancing on a thin glass slide, under the microscope of my observations. I watch them, standing on the opposite corner, smoking, peering at their writhing behind velvet ropes. They are a petri dish of society, teeming with its human bacteria, its parasitic intruders, its unwitting or witting hosts. The sound of glass smashing against brick, the hollow eyes of the working models, a scene from a movie but here, now, IRL. One long black, tinted-windowed car after another arrives, slipping up to the curb like secret snakes, bearing its cargo, so many tarted up hometown angels cum overnight successes, like a stream of steam, ether, sewer odor, rising, releasing, and then gone. Vanishing unmolested but surely noticed, behind the ropes and into the building, after the clank and pop of metal on rope, the soft pucker of the door closing behind them. Keeping the society, the right society, in. 
    I flick another cigarette, nearing the hopeless resignation that always floats on the other side of those ubiquitous velvet ropes. Thinking about the woman from the balcony, who left with him. And here I am, alone, on the corner, watching the “elite,” again, have their party, have their way with us. I make up my mind. I know how I will find her. 

    • Meredith says:

      I was there, Jen! I was there. Magnificent.

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Jen-this was my favorite line - dancing on a thin glass slide, under the microscope of my observations. So descriptive-great read all the way around.

    • Jen, your waiter is creepy good! I’m still trying to decide if he is a predator or simply a red-blooded macho playa. As with the earlier passages, you’ve created a compelling character.
      In the meta-story, I have to tell you, I detected some very sly innuendo. Am I off-base? velvet ropes and angels 😉

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Jen, looks like a first plot point to me. Excellent!

  10. Rebecca says:

    Feeling hopeless, Carly grabbed her mother’s Jack Daniels and sleeping pills. It was a cliché to die by alcohol and drugs, but she wanted to smash through the veil and walk through the door to the other side. The pain of being on earth was too much for her, and she wanted to return to wherever it is she came from.

    Pop! Already,” screamed Carly as she banged the cap of the sleeping pills against the bathroom sink. To add insult to injury, she had no success opening the bottle of Jack. She slumped against the bathroom wall.

    Carly always felt like a black cloud followed her.

    “Haven’t I been a model daughter? What have I done to deserve this?” asked Carly.

    “Carly, Carly,” said a voice.

    “Jenny. Is that you? ask Carly.

    Her aunt Jenny often spoke about the after life; Carly was fascinated by it. She would become under Jenny’s spell whenever she spoke ghosts and the afterlife. Jenny was visual and knew how to paint scene. 

    “You must stay on earth. It’s not your time. You’re not supposed to arrive for a very long time,” said the voice. 

    Carly froze. She looked up at the bathroom mirror. I-Heart You was written in big letters across the mirror. Those were Jenny’s last words to Carly before she disappeared.

    • Meredith says:

      Nice. Well done.

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Rebecca-oh, I need more of this story-well done indeed!

    • Rebecca, this is great! I could see this building into something. You gave us some intriguing paths to explore.
      Here’s just one: did Jenny “block” those deadly containers?
      More, please! 🙂

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Rebecca: YES!!! That’s one hell of an opening scene to a great story. I’d run with that completely!

    • Beverly says:

      I can’t tell if suggestions are welcome.  
      I’ll make a couple, in case it’s OK.  And none will get rid of the challenge words.
         Get rid of the cliche… To add insult to injury,
      Here: Jenny was visual and knew how to paint scene.     Get rid of ‘was visual and’
      Here:  It’s not your time.     Omit.   
      Just a couple of less is more when doing a short piece.

  11. Rebecca says:

    @ Meredith … Thank you. 🙂

  12. Beverly says:

    Hey, Pop!  I said, standing just inside the door. 
    Normally, I tried not to surprise him.  The unexpected gave him the whim-wams, he always said.  Now, it looked like he’d booby trapped the place. 
    You’ve been warned, son, he told me over the phone the night before.
    The living room scene in front of me looked like a portrait of crazy.  If nutball was his goal, he’d arrived. Every model plane he’d ever made hung from the ceiling, like the hopeless holding pattern of Cleveland airport on a Friday night. Every award he’d ever won was lined up like dominoes, tilting into each other like an orgy of lovers. Each image of a life’s success reduced to hanging, leaning, dangerous obstacles, tied together by twisted string. The vase with Ma’s ashes lay smashed on the floor.
    Pop had been an ordnance guy in the war, and the stray batteries, wires, shells strewn around the floor could very well be some IED he’d cooked up in the two weeks I’d been away.   Under here, I heard him faintly, from beneath his hulking desk.  How does an 87 year old guy move anything?  Never mind create a war zone.
    How can I get over to you, pop? 

    Ha! You just try it.  You want to go up in a cloud of smoke?  Come get me, you warmongering sunovabitch.
    I guess the battle had begun.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Beverly: THAT WAS OUTSTANDING! Welcome to the CCC. Wow, I’m going to read that again. Everyone welcome Beverly to the fun. What did you think of the challenge? Let us know and stop by each Monday and Thursday for more.

      • Beverly says:

        What did I think of the challenge?  I think it’s a story that wouldn’t exist w/o it.  I love/need prompts.  Thank you for yours.

      • Cathy Miller says:

        @Beverly-Welcome to CCC!

        You are welcomed under our umbrella of success. Each scene is a model of excellence as we arrive at the door of creativity. We are hopeless enthusiasts who ride on a cloud of words as we look for that pop of joy each time we smash all doubt.


        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Cathy: You keep us under your awe-umbrella of CCC-welcoming success. No scenes are as model as those you paint for new arrivals entering our door. I’m hopelessly addicted to these welcoming sun rays that pop through the clouds of writer’s-block and smash them to pieces.

    • Welcome to the CCC, Beverly. I enjoyed reading your submission. It made me think of Safe House,  the 1998 movie about a former spy battling Alzheimer’s disease.

      I really liked this part:
      Each image of a life’s success reduced to hanging, leaning, dangerous obstacles, tied together by twisted string. 




  13. Rebecca says:

    @ Shane, @ Cathy, @ Mitch … Thank you! I’m adding this story to my ‘YA list’ and will have to outline it along with a character development sheet. The ‘outline’ has become my friend lately.

    I have so many stories in my head. 🙂

  14. Rebecca says:

    @ Beverly … I welcome suggestions. Thank you!

    @ Mitch … 🙂

    @ Cathy … I have a notebook filled with story ideas that range from articles to YA stories. Not to mention the ones I have in a ‘writing’ file.

  15. Shane Arthur says:

    “Hey Billy. Shut my door. I’s about to successfully pops open this here bottle of K-Y, check out some of them hot models in da big boss’ file, and cloud up my screen wit’ some hot sex-lust-breathin’.”

    “Dat’s a hopeless plan, Bobby. Da boss man will be arrivin’ on da scene in under a minute. He’s sure to smash in da door and brag about something’ he done over da weekend like he always does. And besides, da gal on da last slide, da 300-pound one with da three nipples, buck-tooth, and body odor, is your ex—and da naked body smashed under it is you.”

  16. Kelly says:


    One model indicated that Steve and Rhonda were really on to something. The clouds they were creating under lab conditions could be replicated on a larger scale. Maybe, maybe if this model was right… dared they think of it? Maybe they could make it rain. These discoveries could bring them fame, although the fortune would could to the university; you don’t come to a research university like this one to get rich anyway. The two of them would be something akin to pop stars among their peers, and that was its own reward.

    Steve, in particular, had arrived at a point in his life where he needed a big breakthrough or a river to cry in; the many windmills he had attempted to joust with in his 25-year career were leaving him dark and more than a little hopeless. Success would be nice, but somewhat less important, to Rhonda, new on the scene and still believing that many big failures are a necessary part of eventual stardom in the scientific world. It’s also true that Steve probably had more of an understanding of the stakes of this program than Rhonda did. He tried to explain, as any prof does with his brightest assistant. She tried to listen, but for now she lived happily inside her calculations and experiments. It wasn’t that she was naïve, just that she didn’t have a complete grasp of the historic suffering of farmers and families in the drought-stricken lands they were working so furiously to help, or the many competing forces wanting to elevate their hopes—or smash their dreams.

    When the lab door flew open, late on a Friday night, to reveal the ashen face of a janitor who’d just found Steve in a pool of blood on the floor of the men’s room, Rhonda heard every word he’d ever said coming back over her like a torrential rain.

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