Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #233

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. Bucket
  2. Bizarre
  3. Underground
  4. Birth
  5. Lace
  6. Hurry
  7. Mud
  8. Armor
  9. Past
  10. Ashes

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


66 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #233”

  1. Jen says:

    I don’t love this as part of my series, but it’s a start. I think he’s getting the least attention. Anyway. 

    My birth in the French lace domesticity of my mother’s great grandies, into the armoured hallways of my father’s ancestry, should have been enough to  keep me in waistcoats and oak paneled libraries in perpetuity.  Smoking fat cigars and making pronouncements about The Government and how to Handle the Board. 
    They tried. My parents did. They tried to strike a balance in my raising. My mother sent the nannies off for weeks at a time. She took me on vacations where our hotels did not have Presidential Suites. My father had me learn from the gardener how to trim the hedges and how to manage the men who came in droves to mow and edge and sprinkle chemicals. He had the driver instruct me on checking the oil. Mother did not make me attend the etiquette classes my friends suffered through. 
    The day Father found me under the car, changing the oil was a step too far. They had tolerated my  penchant for having the staff call me by my first name. They had rolled their eyes but held their tongues when I brought home girls from the public school. But when he pulled me out, wearing Richard’s coveralls, oil on my face and under my nails, he nearly came unhinged. 
    No small feat for a man for whom being tightly hinged was the utmost and singular priority. 
    “Trey,” he handed me a heavy glass containing the smallest amount of bourbon respectable for that hour of day. I put it back on the bar. 
    “Father.” Trey was my nickname, so called for being the third Bergen Julius Rothstone. It was often amusing to hear my father call me me Trey. It sounded awkward, like a chocolatier trying to find something good to say about Hershey’s. “We can’t have you mucking about in the garage with Johnson.” 
    The quizzical look I shot him made him stutter. “Johnson.” He repeated. 
    I let him struggle. It amused me. Finally I let him off the hook. “You mean Richard, Dad?” 
    The bizarre conversation lasted long enough for him to swallow his drink and mine, and for me to get the point. I was not to be associating with the staff. Of course, I’d been given this message since I made friends with the nannies’ kids when we were little. 
    But all of their poking and prodding and elocution and smugness simply didn’t take. As soon as dear Father was underground, I lit fire to our frilly past, adorned with the stuffy embellishments of revised histories. I shoveled the ashes of our family’s past into a space in my mind I could ignore, a small bucket of silliness that affected nothing. I hurried to camouflage myself with the mud of regular life. The studio apartment and a steady diet of ramen noodles. 
    I was banking on this to attract her. But I would not be above emptying out the bucket to win. 

    • It sounded awkward, like a chocolatier trying to find something good to say about Hershey’s.
      Well, Trey gets a lot of love here! this is pretty cool. Those kids who enjoy slumming are quick to call mommy and daddy when things get tough. Talk about going to the bucket!
      So, if my scorecard is correct, this would be the savvy waiter?

      • Jen says:

        yes, and let me ask you if something I tried for worked. I wanted to suggest that by using the term chocolatier, he hadn’t truly removed the silver spoon from his mouth. Does it work? Too much? 

        • Jen, it flows with the generally snarky outlook of Trey. In that respect, it works. I think it rocks socks just for being in there.
          Now let me ask you something: do you separate the narrator from the character? Because the non-speaking parts do sometimes seem narrative, as opposed to introspective, if that makes sense.

    • Anne Wayman says:

      Yeah, I want to know more!

    • Great back story and setup, so detailed with the history and really set the tone.  Really like the analogy of hiding yourself in regular life “mud camouflage” set a good mental picture.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Jen: Super, super job. I love this story. Reminds me so much of The Help (which is my fave book to date). Write on.

    • Chris Fries says:

      Wow, this is awesome, Jen!  I love the depth of characterization you give.  You do  a fabulous job of creating real, complex, and compelling characters.
      Just wonderful!

  2. There Is No Crown
    Jack and Jill and Dandy Sprat went up Forbidden Hill.
    From afar and with a squint, the well looked quite bizarre.
    Halfway there, the view was sharp; the well was not so queer.
    At the top, old Mary had a giant mutton chop.
    Mary sang a scary tune, “Consume it all or hang!”
    Dandy Sprat could not get past, for he would eat no fat.
    Jill was green and vomitive, for she would eat no lean.
    Nimble Jack took care of that – stabbed Mary in the back.
    Rope and pail – and not a pump – are needed for this tale.
    Put inside was Tiny Jill – selected for the ride.
    Gravity and weakling boys no match for cavity.
    Jill gave birth to many oaths, a mother flocker’s worth.
    Bouncing off the earthen walls, the pail a wracking cough.

    Underground, beneath the mud, the bucket made no sound.
    Jill got out and looked around, to see who was about.
    Ferryman and Cerberus, Pandora and her clan.
    Motley crew of dead and gone formed up infernal queue.
    Damned to Hell, to ashes burnt, bereft of soul to sell.
    Wretched place, all smoke and rock – no funerary lace.
    Jill rushed back to broken pail, a vain attempt to flee.
    Charon grinned, “Don’t hurry, lass! I’m sure you’ve never sinned.”
    Armor rent and spirit sapped, her crime was evident:
    Jack and Jill and Dandy Sprat trespassed upon the Hill.

    • Anne Wayman says:

      chuckling with delight at this one Mitch. Nicely done.

    • Very cool, really enjoyed it.  Like a Grimm twist on a folk rhyme.

    • Jen says:

      Mitch! Fantastic. Mother flocking fantastic, in fact. Laugh out loud and open jawed with awe. Bravo! 

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Mitch: Man, Mitch! I like your versions of these fairy tales much better. You was a classic example of Pimp My Pail! 😉

    • Chris Fries says:

      This is kick ass, Mitch!  I love this fractured fairy tale!
      What’s so cool is the inner rhythm and melody — When I read it over a second time, I was amazed to realize that there was no rhyme.  It had such a lyrical flow that my mind was certain there was one!
      Fabulous work.

    • @Anne, thank you 🙂

      @Justin, yep. I try to out-Grimm the Brothers. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      @Jen, Thanks! The prompt words were like little Tinkertoys – tough to fit altogether – but fun!

      @Shane, LOL! Thank you. I had fun trying to up the ante on these classics.

      @Chris, thank you, man! The rhyme scheme is achieved through enjambment on all but one line.

      @ALL: This is the first time I tried this kind of rhythm. As I was telling Chris, the first foot rhymes with the last foot – on each line. I doggedly adhered to it until this line:

      Jill rushed back to broken pail, a vain attempt to flee.

      I liked the sound of that line too much to force the rhyme, although I did keep the 13-beat meter throughout.

      Every time I do these, I wind up reading about the different metrical styles and I always vow to study them more seriously. The stuff is rather cool, the way programming languages are cool – I acknowldege the patterns and orderliness of these systems and admire the work of the masters. I mean, to think that people like G. K. Chesterton actually thought this stuff through! 🙂

      Thanks for enjoying the ride as much as I enjoyed steering the bus!




  3. Meredith says:

    He had to hurry with his bucket of bizarre items (which everyone was expecting), but when he went past the blue building, he stopped on a dime. There she was, the créme de la créme. He just had to have her but didn’t know how it would happen. He came by here every 3 hours just to give it a go. He saw a flash of lace in the window, gasped, and followed the stairs underground. His boots came in handy as he traipsed through the mud, but he was always dreaming about armor about now. Something about the atmosphere just called for it. After about a mile, he saw the pit he’d made a month ago. He’d been filling it slowly, but tonight was the night. He dumped his buckets of goodies and lit them on fire. He sat mesmerized, watching the flames dance their hulas, their salsas, their Bohemian moves. The coals were bright orange in most places, white hot in others. Just a matter of time. Finally as the flames slowed down, he waited patiently for the birth from the ashes. She would be his.

  4. Anne Wayman says:

    My bucket list is considered by some bizarre
    Not underground exactly, a birth, a bit of lace
    And many many more.
    I’ll have to hurry to get it all done.
    It includes some mud, but no armor at all.
    The past is not ashes for me, but delightful remembrances

  5. Here is my entry for this one

    Phoenix Underground
    Beneath the mud of some
    bizarre swamp lands
    rising from past ashes
    a bucket of flaming armor
    delicate lace like feathers
    with harsh menacing flames
    that hurry across the tips
    birth of a phoenix underground 

  6. Chris Fries says:

    Hi all!
    I’m hoping to catch a break, but I’ve been so busy between work, home happenings, and my idiotic decision to do the A-to-Z Blogging challenge, that I just haven’t had much time to hang at the CCC lately.  I apologize for neglecting everyone’s posts and not commenting!  I will try to do so later tonight or tomorrow, but for now, here’s my 10×10* offering to this prompt:

    Bucket of bones; tattered bag of dreams,” sang the midwife.

    The bizarre tune did little to calm Gwynyth’s taut nerves.

    This far underground, she should have felt hidden and safe,

    but the impending birth of her firstborn brought only fear.

    The midwife arranged the lace blanket of royalty and winked.

    “Our prince is in a hurry,” she said.  “He’s near.”

    Gwynyth laid back against the cold mud walls and winced.

    “He will wield a sword and wear armor of silver,”

    the midwife said. “He will avenge our bitter past torment!”

    Gwynyth groaned and prayed for the end of funeral ashes.
    *10×10 = Ten lines of ten words each, using the prompt words in order and in number position within each line (the first prompt word as the first word in the first line, and the second prompt word the second word in the second line, and so forth).


  7. Rebecca says:

    Do you have a bucket list? How bizarre is it?
    Some would like to experience the underground in Paris.
    Others want to birth a creative project. 

    What keeps people stuck in the past?
    The armor they wear to protect themselves.
    It’s thicker than mud.

    Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust.
    Let everything go — hurry before it’s too late.
    Remove the invisible lace that’s covering your face.
    You’ll see clearly without it.


  8. Rebecca says:

    @ Chris … Thank you! I’m drawing from my life, especially my current situation. I have a lot of material to use.

    @ Shane … I have two websites that would be a good fit for my writings. I’m not sure what I’ll do. I need to do an outline and ‘pros and cons’ list.

    @ Mitch … Thank you! I’m working on the motivational speaking. I have a website, MisticCafe.com and another one AB Family Coach.com and am trying to decide which one to keep or merge them somehow.  I know that teens could use a lot of motivation. Then again, so can their parents.

    • That is awesome That you have an abundance like this – having to decide what to do  with multiple sites. I wish you the best, Rebecca!

  9. Shane Arthur says:

    “Holy Bleep, Billy! Everybody is really dead. They’s gonna be ashes after a few day’s past today. I’d say let’s hurry and bury ‘um under da mud so as not to spread germs dat would kill everyone, but everybody ‘cept us has already kicked da bucket, so they’s already six feet underground.”

    “Bobby, we’s like armored super-humans. We need to roam da earth until we find us some gals dat survived so they can birth our titanium-laced super spawn. It’s bizarre, but I gettin a seventh-sense of some luscious big-boned gal is still alive and I’m gettin’ a vision of her and da name of da place. It’s comin’ to me. It’s. It’s. Da place is called Gater’s Crossing. And, oh God! It’s my Yvonne! Let’s go!”

    • Say it ain’t so! You’re retiring the boyz? Well, they’ll surely go out with a bang.
      Is Gater’s Crossing a new beginning?

      • Shane Arthur says:

        @Mitch: Gater’s Crossing is the home of Bayou Billy! Yeah, I’m gonna end this episode. I have enough material to put into a book, so that’s what I’m hoping to do with Sean Platt’s publishing arm. He is releasing a Writing Prompts book soon, so this ties in nicely and highlights the CCC to a wider audience. Like Sean’s serialized stuff, I can always come back and put the boyz into another run.

  10. That’s really cool, Shane. The network synergy is amazing to watch.
    Have a great weekend!

    Harvey slipped into the campground. There was no hurry. Mud was not a good thing as Harvey does not do well in the mud. Since his birth he has avoided mud, he much prefers the feeling of silky lace and the sandy feel of the desert.
    Slidding into the campground was a bit bizarre because of the slippery mud, but Harvey did not put hurry into his vocabulary, so he put his past behind, and slowley slipped into a delightful campsite that reminded him of so many past campsites and campfires.
    Ashes from the previous camper were still smoldering in the fire ring. Perhaps bringing a bucket of water and dumping it on the fire would be appropriate, but Harvey choose to let the heat settle.

    Who knows what was happening in the underground of the fire. Perhaps there are spirits that have taken off their armour, and perhaps the spririts are, by the warmth of the fire, remembering their birth and where they started their voyage.
    Harvey slept comfortably with the spirits this evening.

  12. Rebecca says:

    @ Mitch … Sometimes having multiple sites drives me nuts. 🙂  I keep thinking about combining my personal development and family/teen life coaching site, somehow. They’re related subjects. I have to think about it.

  13. Lynne says:

    We were close back then. Blood brothers since birth, our high-octane energy and bizarre pranks kept everyone else away. We didn’t need them, we had each other.

    Looking at him now, it’s hard to remember the sunshine days of whoops and laughter. The days of cowboys and Indian chiefs, of commandos in mud camouflage, of knights in armour where a cut-out bucket on our heads made us invincible. We played hard and laughed a lot. It was just we two and we knew it always would be. 

    We were wrong, of course. Children’s time does not hurry. Christmas always comes around so slowly, birthdays take forever to get here. But children’s time is fleeting. Too soon, it seemed, our play days were over.

    I watched him – my best friend – stand up beside the girl we had once fought over. He stood so tall and proud beside that confection of frills and white lace as they pledged to love and honour till death do part. That day, we raised a glass to each other and vowed that nothing would change our friendship. We were wrong, of course.

    I look at him now, laid out and soon to be underground, and think of the past when we were inseparable balls of boyish energy. There’s an ache beneath my heart, perhaps an echo of the final thump of the organ that felled him.
    “Ashes to ashes“, the preacher monotones, as I throw down a sprinkling of soil and turn my face away from him for the last time.

    My girl, who used to be his girl, takes my hand in hers, leaning into me and whispering quietly, “He always had a weak heart, it wasn’t catching us that killed him.”
    “No, I know you are right. Besides, he would want us to be happy.” I said.
    We were wrong, of course.

  14. Ashtyn says:

    He lay on the wet, overturned mud,chest heaving as he watched the battle rage around him.  The viciousness of the other soldiers was surprising.  It was bizarre to think that only hours before they’d all been sitting around a table, planning and plotting in the most civilized manner.  Now they were like beasts; their mouths drawn into snarls and their eyes burning with the heat of the fight.  

    He had lost his armor  a while ago.  He felt better this way.  More free.  He didn’t like the stuffy metal contraption anyways.  He had never thought in the past that he’d be wearing one.  But that all changed after he met her.  

    She was so beautiful, so soft.  Like nothing he’d ever seen before.  He could practically imagine her in front of him now with her blonde hair and skin like silk.  And those lace dresses she always wore.  

    He sighed, forgetting where he was for a moment.  He wasn’t on the battle field, he was back underground with her, waiting for her to give birth to his first child.      

    “Let’s go, mate!  We have to hurry!”  He was pulled from his reverie when James slid down next to him, patting his shoulder.  James still had on the thick armor and it clanked together like two metal buckets when he went down.  

    James got up and he followed.  A large fire was eating away at the land and the men were shouting, their swords slicing and hacking.  His own hand tightened on the hilt of his weapon.  He looked at James and in his face, his eyes especially, he saw her.  He knew that he would keep James, her brother safe.  He was years younger than him.  He wouldn’t have been on the battle ground had he not insisted.  

    James continued on and he sighed, inhaling the bitter ashes before stepping back into the chaos, his mind clouded by his love.  


    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Ashtyn: HOLY BLEEP! That was outstanding stuff. Welcome to the CCC. I sure hope to see more from you (each Monday and Thursday). Hell, you should continue this with today’s challenge that I’m going to post in a few minutes.

  15. Kelly says:


    past ashes, past ashes
    laced in my heart, with
    mem’ries of mudfights that
    tore us apart

    past ashes, past ashes
    hurry along
    i need your embrace in the
    midst of this throng

    i keep you in buckets
    remember your birth
    child of destruction, you
    armor my worth

    past ashes, past ashes
    from deep underground
    you scream in my eardrums, but
    never a sound

    bizarre to be with you
    the loneliest nights
    keep charring my tissues
    yet leave me with sight

    i look in the buckets
    where others see earth
    i see shards of ecsatsies
    drier than dirt

    past ashes, past ashes
    hurry along
    i need your embrace in the
    midst of this throng

    • @Kelly: Love how you are plugging away at these.
      Still writing songs?

      • Kelly says:

        Shane—Oh, yeah, still writing songs. Been darned sick for a couple of months, actually (after crazy-life for months before that!! Bye 2012, won’t miss ya!!), and dying to get back to more recording. And maybe maybe, oh how I’m trying, sneak back up on the CCC.

        Feels *very* good to flex these muscles. 🙂

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