Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #240

This is a writing prompt. Bet you can’t do it! 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. Office
  2. Early
  3. Hidden
  4. Blind
  5. Stout
  6. Heading
  7. Drab
  8. Flow 
  9. Feed
  10. Silent

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
The Digital Writer
Third Tribe Marketing: Marketing done the right way
Story Structure Demystified: Best damn writing book out there


55 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #240”

  1. Kathleen K says:

    Okay… I have missed yah’ll.
    Others I am sending your way are beaming with fresh excitement.

    I needed this today. So here you go.  —

    I am in the office
    Early as usual
    Staying hidden from the world
    And those blind to my burning passions
    The drab walls, I am determined to not let them get me down
    A break from writing causes the photos on the hard drive to rotate
    The ones of my ex feed the flow of tears
    The silent reminder of how my passion to write intimidated my spouse
    I am heading for a stout glass of vino, as tequila is not in the house.
    I cannot believe how being silent can feed the flow of pent up words. The drabness of the other person’s walls, heading there daily …  stout old walls that they are leave even me blind to my now hidden urges. Early into the office now… makes me happy.

    • Kathleen, this is a nice double-dip of creamy, wordy goodness.
      I got to the bottom of the cone and enjoyed seeing the words in reverse order.

      Welcome back!




      • Kathleen K says:

        Mitch — thanks for the warm welcome back. 
        I am seeing how glad I am to be not hammered to not write. It is right for some of us to write and write this descendent from the Wright family will do.  

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Kathleen: Oh damn! I love this reverse style. I know Steve used to do this and one other person, but I’m drawing a blank right now. Carry on, and welcome back!

      • Kathleen K says:

        Shane… thanks you know, even in absence, I love these and I love the wordplay.  Hope all is well

        • Cathy Miller says:

          @Kathleen K – Welcome back!

          More than one of us has found the office hard to escape. As early as we start, a hidden trap locks away our fun. When we have worked hard enough that our eyes have gone blind, we make a stout move to cut loose and can be found heading for CCC.

          Our drab flow of words feed into the energy source of a community that appreciates the silent challenges beckoning us home.

          Good to see you again.

          • Kathleen K says:

            Cathy — I started reading the reply and just knew it was from you… and I was right! 
            Thanks… I had a feeling I was not alone. 

          • Cathy Miller says:

            Not at all, Kathleen. I have had a terrible time getting here. I guess it’s a good thing because I’m so busy with work, but I miss my CCC. 😦

    • Chris Fries says:

      Wow, excellent, Kathleen.
      A great double-spiral of awesomeness.  I really love how the emotions mirror the movement — depressed and downward to the middle, and then uplifting as we travel upwards back to the top at the end with renewed energy.

  2. Dillon Hall was filled to capacity with students eager to learn about hunting the Martian land piranha. Young men milled about, chattering excitedly with friends, smoking non-stop and generally enjoying the carnival atmosphere. Hidden just below the civility, though, was a crackling anticipatory layer of explosive release. Many of them had lost loved ones to the dreadnoughts in the first Interplanetary War and were now old enough to satisfy the atavistic bloodlust that cried for revenge. 
    When the Office for the Settlement of Debt announced the annual draft lottery for graduating students, every campus around the globe made early preparations for the mad rush. The economy was perpetually moribund and students really had no better prospects than to zoom into space for a ten-year military tour. The alternative was to haul garbage to the moon or to work at the Platinum Arches. These high-born Fighting Irish would have none of that blue-collar existence. They all hoped to be among the lucky Yotta Ticket holders.
    A stout, military officer entered the lobby. He was over seven feet tall. His olive drab uniform, bearing and height were sufficient to create a huge personal space. As he strode to the center of the lobby, the hubbub died down to a silent memory. He removed his sunglasses and scanned the room slowly before he opened his mouth.
    “Gentlemen! A new development has occurred. Some overzealous pinheads in the White House saw fit to question the constitutionality of the Yottabyte Lottery System. It seems that your Earthly nationality takes precedence over the Terran Federation’s conscription practices. According to a communiqué from the President’s Chief of Staff, the draft is hereby rescinded, effective immediately.”
    Confused murmurs rose up from the crowd. Nobody understood the way of governments. Each simply wanted a laser and a target. A few of the Poli-Sci majors began to see the big picture and started barking epithets, demanding to exercise their rights.
    The military officer easily shouted them down. “I’m not here as a representative of the United States provincial government or its lickspittle OSD! Save your rhetoric for your thesis. On Mars, the flow of blood will be green! We need every able-bodied member of homo superior to kick some alien ass! Terran Federation has twenty buses outside for those of you holding tickets beginning with the digits 4, 6, 5, 5, 6. Go! Go! Go!”
    A joyous whoop replaced the blind anger of the previous moment. The  men began heading toward the front doors, pushing and jostling as if there weren’t enough buses for them all. In moments, Dillon Hall was empty. The officer smiled grimly. He flipped open his cell phone, punched in a few numbers and waited for a connection. When it came, he spoke crisply:
    Generalissimo! Desayuno! Time to feed the machine.”

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Mitch: Awesome! I liked this just as much or more than one of my fave movies, Starship Troopers. Write this book (after the other 20)!

      • @Shane, I’m going to have to do a space epic, some day 🙂 Much as I play Alpha Centauri. I’m glad this piquéd your interest. 🙂
        @Kathleen, thanks! I think I like downplaying the science in science fiction. Space is just another playground for me, ya know?

    • Chris Fries says:

      Oh yeah, this rocked Mitch!  With hints of Heinlein’s Starship Troopers and Haldeman’s The Forever War, this has a great vibe to it. 
      And of course, as a resident of Michiana and a fan of the Golden Dome, I can’t help but love the setting, too, lol!

      • Thanks, Chris! LOL! Your comment reaffirms the importance of doing at least a little research!
        This is the first time I’ve ever heard of Michiana. MAkes me wonder how many borderline names are out there!

  3. Kathleen K says:

    Mitchell — way to go — I have absent for a while and with on posting I am wishing I was here more. Not usually a big fan of science fiction… I find myself hooked on your story. Good job.

  4. Lynne says:

    The flow of early morning workers, heading to their downtown city office, bank, or shop, stepped quickly past the drab lump of humanity sprawled on the sidewalk beside the bus stop. Nobody gave the stout woman a second glance. Silent, she lay unmoving, unremarked.

    This is the hidden side of the city that never sleeps. A city that has more than its share of drunks on the street on any work day morning. A city where workers are blind as they hasten past and step over the fallen.

    That night on a news feed a story appeared. The story had a face – the face of a stout woman, a mother, grandmother and wife – the person who died, alone on the streets. A heart attack unnoticed in a city of millions and the last thing she heard was the footsteps that sped up as they passed.

    • Lynne, this is a sad, true commentary. I hope that, in this case, it was a bit of fiction! Either way, you did a great job of conveying the callous disregard we humans display to one another.

      • Lynne says:

        Yes, it’s a work of fiction. I was experimenting with writing something heart-breaking to see if I could. 
        Thanks for the feedback Mitchell and Chris. 

    • Chris Fries says:

      Gripping, heart-breaking, and an unfortunately all-too-true testament to the cruel castes of modern society.
      Excellent work, Lynne!

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Lynne: That was super stuff!

      • Lynne says:

        Thank you, kind Sir :-) 
        If you get a chance, I’d love some feedback on my entry to #239. I told Chris, on Twitter, that he was evil in his word choice – I had poutine nightmares! 
        These challenges are great. I am starting to get a teeny idea that maybe, just maybe, I can write. I have a story that is desperate to jump from my brain to some pages but need to get my skills up before I get stuck in. Any and all, including tough critical, feedback is most welcome. 

  5. Chris Fries says:

    Happy Friday!
    I decided to go with something a little longer than a 10×10 for this prompt:

    “A Fresh Start”

    The office was on the twenty-sixth floor of a sleek tower on North Michigan Street across from the Wrigley Building.  An expanse of windows offered an impressive eastern panorama of the Chicago River, the NBC Tower, and Navy Pier stretching out into Lake Michigan, but the view was mostly hidden behind shades that had been lowered to reduce the glare from the bright morning sun.  Jen busied herself organizing the few items in her sparse cube as she waited for her boss to arrive.

    She’d shown up early, eager to begin the first day of her new life; anxious to move past the horror and madness of New York.  As she adjusted the position of her stapler, she silently prayed for her everything in her past to remain hidden.  She wanted nothing more than to quickly and quietly assume the mundane day-to-day existence of Jennifer Wilson, commercial insurance claims adjuster. 

    A phlegm-filled flow of coughs from the cube next to Jen announced the arrival of a stout man in a drab and wrinkled black suit. He dropped his briefcase onto the desk with a thud and peered over the low cube wall at Jen.  She gave him what she hoped was a friendly smile.

    “Good morning,” she said.

    “Morning,” he replied.  “You must be the new adjuster.  I’m Paul Darden.”  He stepped around the wall and into Jen’s cube, offering his hand.

    She stood to greet him.  “Jennifer Wilson,” she said, taking his clammy hand and giving it a brief shake.  Up close, he reeked of cigarette smoke and too much cologne.

    “Nice to meet’cha.  I’m –” he said, but his words were interrupted by another cluster of coughs.  He tried to cover his mouth with one hand, raised a finger with his other, and then backed out of her cube and headed down the aisle, hacking each step of the way.

    Jen didn’t know if he was heading for a drinking fountain or outside for another cigarette, but she didn’t really care.  The main thing was that he’d seemed completely blind as to who she really was. 

    That was perfect. 

    She wanted nothing to hint of exposure or danger; nothing to feed her barely-contained sense of dread; nothing to even remotely remind her of the terror she so desperately wanted to forget.

    A smooth and deep voice intruded on her thoughts. “Hi there.  You’re new.”

    Jen turned to see a young man with a crooked smile and powder-blue eyes.  His red tie was loosely knotted around the collar of his pinstriped shirt.

    “Hi,” Jen said. “I’m the new adjuster.  Jennifer Wilson.” 

    “Anton Rivera,” he said.

    He offered his hand and Jen took it, feeling a brief tingle from a spark of static electricity. Then, as she broke the contact between them, she saw the corners of his mouth sag slightly, and noticed his bright eyes cloud for just a moment.

    “It’s great to meet you,” he said.  “I’m sure you’re going to like it here.  We’re a pretty good group.”

    “Oh, I’m sure you are,” she said, trying to ignore what she’d seen.  Or at least what she thought she’d seen.

    “I guess you’ll be in our eight o’clock department meeting,” he said.  “We can talk more then.”  He gave her a wink before leaving.

    Jen fought to maintain her smile, but she felt like the floor below her had just given way.

    He knew. 

    He’d done nothing obvious, and had been completely silent on anything that would have made it apparent, but Jen was certain of it none the less.

    Damn it, he knew.

    She had hoped Chicago would be a clean break and a fresh start, but it was clear that there would be no escaping.  No relief. No peace.

    He would have to die like all the others.
    # # #

  6. Here is my entry for this one, late again due to having sick kid all week and taking off most of work.

    Night Shift
    Early in the silent office
    heading through drab corridors
    blind to the actual feed of printers
    which ebb and flow with stout reports
    cooked black margins and bottom lines
    lined with hidden red ink; none would see
    what work is done throughout the night

  7. The first thing I noticed was that the drab curtains in the office matched the painfully dull paint exquisitely. Hidden beneath six inches of dust, sat a behemoth computer that must have been used during the cold war to feed the Russians spy transmissions. How was I possibly going to work on that oversized paperweight, nevermind the fact that this office seemed to be nothing more than a glorified filing cabinet? Boxes upon boxes of paper filled every inch of floor, desk and chairs.

    “These are your new digs! Aren’t they great? Oh, you are just going to loooove it here!,” Monica the chipper little intern bubbled over. Was she blind? I thought “Yeah, great if your idea of a good time is heading to the dead fish section of yourlocal pet store.” followed immediately with the thought “just what do they do with dead fish at the pet store anyway? Feed them to the snakes?” At least it was early enough in the morning that I didn’t have to meet the rest of the staff here at Passion Jewellery Inc. I had no idea why I was even taking this job, I hated the bullshit of luxury markets and I didn’t believe in advertising that focused on selling people what they didn’t need in a manner that made them feel bad about themselves. Buy this product so you will be beautiful and people will love you. Are people really that stupid? I sighed audibly. Was I this stupid to do a job that conflicted with my morals just because I was good at it?

    “Mmhmm… just great” I responded flatly. Perhaps if I were really silent, this bubbly little cherub of happiness would go away and I could find the nearest toilet to drown myself in. The effects of last nights round after round, never-ending flow of stout ale with my favorite Brit was now making my world spin and I was visualizing this mornings eggs adding to the ecru colour of the office walls. I didn’t quite remember the whole night’s events but somehow a very large transvestite named Jackie O.  lay entwined on my couch this morning with my British friend.

    Another bubbly voice added to the nightmare from behind me, only this time it was male.  

    “Well, hi there, you must be our new advertising director, I work in the office next door.”

    I turned to the voice that was attached to an obese man stuffed into a three piece suit. We locked eyes and he paled.

    “Well hello, I think we may know each other. Jack, is it?” I queried.

    Perhaps this place was going to be more interesting than I originally thought.

  8. Shane Arthur says:

    “She ain’t blind. You’re my ex girlfriend; of course she’ll be flowing with jealousy. She may keep silent about it, but I’ll feel her silent thoughts feeding on my flesh afterward. I can see the Heading now — Husband Has Lunch and Stouts with ex girlfriend. Hidden Sexual Agenda So Apparent.”

    “That’s so silly. We were a long time ago.”

    “Yeah, but every time you call, you ask me questions you know will cause me to answer awkwardly ’cause she’s in the room. You get off on it. It was a long time ago, but you’re still no innocent snowflake.”

    “What little ole’ me?”

    “Okay, I tell you what. Meet me at that drab little dive named Chandlings near my office for an early lunch. You have a skirt?”

    “A skirt. Yeah, I have one. Why?”

    “Wear it, and forget to wear underwear.”

    “What? You’re crazy. Why would I do that?”

    “Because you’re an innocent snowflake, and nothing’s gonna happen anyway, right?”

    “Okay, okay, but what are you gonna forget to wear?”

    “My wedding ring.”

    • Lynne says:

      LOL – love it! But, he is going to wear his wedding ring – and nothing else? My mind is boggling :-) 

  9. Chris Fries says:

    Uh oh!!! 

    Playing with fire can lead to getting burned!  Nothing good can come of this…     LOL!

    Excellent job establishing the tension and stakes with just effective dialogue, Shane!

  10. Jessica and Mark left the office running on silent mode. There is so much that needs to be said that it seems impossible to say anything. A feeling of doom slides over Jessica as they get into the car.

    Mark pulls the Mustang on to a street heading west, his destination unclear to Jessie. Mark picks up speed, darting in and out of the flow of traffic. His face flushed red. His stout arms are stiff as if they are an extensions of the steering column. His body a solid mass, world rushing past. Jessica wants to reach out an touch him but knows better.

    By the time he hits the highway the Mustang is at a clip that makes Jessica snap on her seat belt.

    I’m sorry,” she says.
    “Yeah sure,” he barks back.
    “It happened early in our relationship, long before I knew we were serious,” she explains.
    “He was my best friend.”
    “The councilor said it would help if we told the secrets we’ve had hidden from each other.”
    “And you let him feed you that crap?” his face almost scarlet.”
    “Me thinks thou doth protest too much.”

    Mark slams on the brakes. The Mustang skids up close to the sea wall and comes to a stop that almost sends Jessica through the windshield, despite the seat belt.

    “Get out!” He shouts without looking at her.
    “We can work this out.”
    “Are you blind? I don’t want you.”
    She flinched as he reaches across her and opens the door.
    “Get out while you still can.” his face so close she can feel the heat.

    Gravel pelts Jessica as the Mustang roars away from her.

    Jessica holds very still, looking out over the ocean. The clouds and Atlantic are the same drab grey as the cement wall.

    How perfect! she thinks, here I am embarking on a new start and as far as I can see, the world is fraught with impending storm.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Sheila: You do relationship submissions wonderfully! More of these. So glad you’re part of the CCC family now!

  11. Nikki J. says:

    Wow, I think its been about 200 challenges since I’ve written…. Here we go..
    Deployment Diaries…
    The hours seemed to go by at a snails pace on the way home. What should have been a 6 hour long car drive back from the Walk for the Cure turned into being over 8 hours long as Taylor left his beloved lovey in the bathroom at a rest stop. Elise and the kids were all tired and cranky and just ready to be home. What was I thinking taking the kids on such a long road trip without Todd?

    Elise let out a sigh of relief as she started to see office buildings in the distance. She decided to try to wake the boys a little early from their naps “Avery! Taylor! We’re almost home!” Both boys grunted and Taylor who was hidden under his blanket peeked up to look at his mom. He looked as if he had been blind and seeing his surroundings for the first time as he was trying to blink off his sleep. Elise was smiling back at him just as a stout wind caught her car and pushed them out of the lane.
    The car was heading off the highway and into a ditch! Both Elise and the boys were screaming in terror until she was able to correct the car and get back into her lane. “Thank God we didn’t get hit” Elise said to the boys and then prayed silently, thanking God that there were no cars following closely behind her and that she didn’t hit anyone. All I wanted was an easy trip home. Even a drab one. Elise thought to herself.
    Elise was getting lost in her thoughts, each flowing one after another on all she had to do when they got home that night. It was already very late and pretty dark out but she still had to feed the kids dinner, get all their bags in the house, change diapers and put the boys to bed. I miss you Todd. When are you going to call me again? She absolutely hated how silent deployments could be.

  12. Rebecca says:

    Are you heading in the right direction?
    Were you blind to the early warning signs?
    That your life was about to flow in the wrong direction.
    Silent your monkey mind and feed your soul with inspiration,
    Get rid of the drab that’s colored your life gray,
    Release the stout chokehold you’ve placed upon yourself.
    You’re CEO and President of your life office,
    Hidden behind the illusions of the world is beauty, your beauty.
    It’s your job to see through the bullshit and recognize your true essence.

  13. Rebecca says:

    @ Shane … Thanks! 🙂

  14. […] Creative Copy Challenge #240 Words: Office, Early, Hidden, Blind, Stout, Heading, Drab, Flow, Feed, Silent […]

  15. Bobbert says:


    This drab office around Earnest Truffle was due to ongoing losses in the stock market. But he was increasing his speculative position in the market throughout 1929, hoping to recover the previous riches to which he had grown accustomed. It had been working for most of the year. The fast drop last week on Thursday, Oct 29th was frightening. But Earnest had inside information. There were key players that had adopted strategies similar to those that stopped the 1907 market scare. Then the flow of the ticker tape feed had showed prices heading down even faster in early trading Friday. But again, it was information to the rescue. The Rockefeller family was buying stock, and would keep the prices strong. In the end, the market would rebound and Earnest would be rich.
    That was what he told himself last week. This week, he knew he was wrong and he had lost everything. His wife would leave him, but not just because of the losses. Because he had become interested only in the market. And he had told her that he wished he had never been married because she just tied him down. If it wasn’t for her, he would probably already be retired as a wealthy man. He didn’t mean the things he had said, but he was frustrated and embarrassed. He had lashed out like a fool. Now he was poor and alone, and looking into a future he could not face.
    He had left a note telling his wife that he was sorry, and explaining that he didn’t mean the things he had said. He was a stout little man, and never really could believe such a beautiful woman would love him if he wasn’t rich. He didn’t think she’d believe he was sorry, but he owed her the truth, and an apology. At least you can make things right with people before you are gone. Freed from the silent pain, heading into financial and family ruin. He was blind to the consequences of his financial games. He realized he had hidden his fears so deep in his heart, that he completely believed he was acting logically and rationally.
    How do you do this sort of thing? With gas? Jump out of a building? Cut your wrists? He didn’t think he could do any of those things, and so he decided to use his revolver. A silent eternity, and then a final shot rang out.
    At the funeral, his wife sobbed. She loved him, and couldn’t believe he was gone. Sure, times had been tough, and he had left her in financial ruin. But he had so much fear. If only Earnest could have seen how much she loved him. Maybe everything else wouldn’t have been so scary anymore.
    She laid a bundle of roses, whispered “I love you. And I forgive you.” and walked away, alone, into an uncertain future. 

  16. Kelly says:


    John arrived at the office early this morning
    The sky seemed drab, his thoughts were
    His heart, hidden

    John closed his eyes to the pleasures of Eden
    He covered himself with unending layers
    to protect
    this hidden heart

    A flow of words,
    it fixes nothing
    He doesn’t yield
    his resistance
    I would peel
    the stout layers of cloth from his skin
    He will heal
    when he plunges
    into the world

    John walked the silent sidewalks
    faster, more blindly;
    he fled
    His heart, open

    John learned why he is heading south
    like an insatiable zombie;
    to feed
    this open heart

    A flood of words,
    it fixes nothing
    He must yield
    his resistance
    though I would peel
    the layers of cloth from his skin

    A flood of words,
    it fixes nothing
    He must yield
    his resistance
    I would peel
    the layers of cloth from his skin
    He will heal
    when he plunges
    into the world

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