Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #241

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. Waste
  2. Pick
  3. Overdue
  4. Darling
  5. Riot
  6. Disgust
  7. Break
  8. Way 
  9. Choke
  10. Smile

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


89 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #241”

  1. Had fun with this one today, maybe a little dark.

    Left Here
    Life wasn’t always this way
    a smile before the riot
    now people pick through waste
    love and patience long overdue
    instead the choke of stench
    disgust that society can break
    non-existent darling humanity
    only us scavengers left here 

  2. I don’t consider it talent, I am just very creative from all my years writing stories, being a Dungeon Master at Dungeons and Dragons. I can just invent stories around words, themes, and write them into free form poems at will.  Just creative I think, most would say my poetry is amateurish.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Justin G: Whatever it is, keep doin’ the do, as they say!

    • @Justin: Pish-posh. You’re talented. Say, I wonder what a DM podcast would be like. You’d REALLY scare the bejeebers outta the players.

      • I won’t lie, I have made players cry, crawl with terror, laugh, beam with pride before in my campaigns.  Whereas Dungeons and Dragons had all the game mechanics (dice, rpg stats…etc) it was the story part and interaction with players I relished most, I would describe each battle action/scene with detail rather than just simple “you hit / you miss”.  

        I kind of miss it, you don’t get that level of play from online MMO games for sure. 

    • Chris Fries says:

      The only thing that separates ‘amateur’ from ‘professional’ is that professionals actually submit their work for publication.  Do that and you’re as professional as anyone.  You have creativity and talent and vision and excellent word-craft, my friend!
      And gotta love the DnD background!  I miss it!  >thumbs-up<

  3. Glenda tried to pick her way carefully through the pizza boxes and pillow feathers. The sleepover had sounded like a riot and the mess confirmed it. She reached into a bundle of quilt and came up with Bob’s twins. As she delivered the sleepy-heads back to their father, Glenda had to choke down a smile at his look of disgust.

    “They had a great time, Bob. I hope you’ll let them come next month.” She knew that the words were a waste of oxygen, but she had to try, for the sake of her own little darling. Felicia had been socially backward for most of her ten years. She was long overdue for a break.

  4. Hi CCC Family!

    This collection of words has yanked a shortie outta me … Here ya go!

    ~ ~ ~ ~ 

    During the heydey of break dancing and the lazy days of beach blanket bingo, she had witnessed so many oversized hair-dos, huge Afro-puffs, Jherri curls, curly-ques and some creations she still couldn’t name. (She’d had a cool, towering Afro, too!) Throughout the subsequent decades she’d subjected her own hair to being fried, dyed, and laid to the side.
    As songstress India Arie says, “I am not my hair,” but it sure finds a way to take up a lot of thought time.

    Dreds was the one thing she hadn’t done.  She’d been toying with the idea of letting it lock. Using a comb on the curly mass was long overdue. This week it was somewhere between super-fro and baby dreds. Contrary to popular belief, locking one’s hair is supposed to be a deliberate process, not a hair-style arrived at by default.
    * * *
    Armed with a larger-than-normal big-tooth comb and an Afro pick that hailed from the 70s, the thirty-something mama of 3 young boys set about taming the beast that rested upon on her mama’s head.
    “Awww! Hey, don’t choke my scalp! Don’t you know I’m tender-headed?”
    Her daughter stifled her laugh, let a smile slide out instead. “Oh, I’m sorry Ma … I’ll take it easy. Just hope your hair doesn’t break my comb!” At that, she let the laughter out … Mother and daughter shared a good guffaw, both thinking along the same lines: “This hair is a riot!”
    The little fellow eyed the process with unfeigned disgust as he considered his own date with the hair chair, the brush, and his father’s clippers.
    Grandma caught his look, and with characteristic teasing, said, “Don’t worry, baby. You’re next!”
    He didn’t waste any more time in *that* room; his playroom was a much safer (and more fun) place to be. The next time he ventured out, his darling Grandma looked like her usual self, and thankfully nobody called out “Next!”

    • That was a fun read, Vernessa. I just watched my wife braid our daughter’s hair this past weekend. Your account reminded me of Lisa Irby’s website: http://napturallycurly.com/ where she goes into loving detail about leaving the harsh perms behind.

      • Haha, thanks Mitch, 

        I enjoyed writing this. The word that caught my attention was “pick.”  I’ll bet your daughter’s hair was absolutely lovely when your wife finished. I took a quick look at Lisa’s Napturally Curly site and love her approach. She reminds me of my daughters who can rock a hair style, natural or relaxed, with total confidence. 

    • Chris Fries says:

      Wow — what a great job of turning something as simple as hairstyling into a much deeper story!  I love the imagery, the clever turns of phrase (“tender-headed”), the emotional depth.
      Really, really nice, Vernessa!

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Varnessa: How’d I miss this one! Outstanding stuff. Reminded me of my break dance cardboard board. Don’t make me do some swipes and shoulder rolls! 😉

      • Shane, who would’ve thunk it? Hehe … Come on, show us your stuff, man! Video! Video!

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Varnessa: 28 years and one herniated disc too late for me! 😉

          • I remember the Afro Pick days too but I will not be admitting to what I did, those confessions are way too embarrassing. 
            @Varnessa, I really enjoyed your play on words… ” Armed with a larger-than-normal big-tooth comb and an Afro pick that hailed from the 70s”

  5. Late night news comes on the TV, Jeff is reminded again, Darling is way overdue. Her plane landed at 6:20.  Jeff figures she should of been home with in an hour at the latest. 

    She had called when she boarded the plane to say she was on her way. No call since, no indication was not like Darling.

    Jeff walks out to the street looks each way. Again the trip proves to be a waste. He should have never let her go.

    The “peaceful” march on Monsanto”s headquarters turned into a riot that made national news. It really was the attention he knew she was going for.  Her disgust had risen to new frenzy with Monsanto’s latest donation to the small non-profit, House Rabbit Society. “They are worming their way into good favor. One of Monsanto’s favorite evils.” she explained as she drained their savings account to make the trip to Missouri.

    As he steps back into the house he can hear the TV blurt out “Breaking news, Darling Fox has been found dead in her car, just off of highway 30. The Sheriff has stated, this is being treated as a suspicious death.” Jeff moves in front of the screen, there she is wearing the crooked smile he loves. Eyes bright, sparkling. Dead?

    Jeff sinks into his chair, picks up the phone, you can hear is voice choke as he asks dispatch where he should go to find out more.

  6. Chris Fries says:

    This time, the prompt words led me back to another 10×10* story:

    “Treasure Hunting”

    Waste not, want not,” Guerden said, digging into the pile.

    A pick of freshly collected debris eagerly beckons to him.

    He’d been overdue for a trove of wealth this enticing.

    “Come here, my Darling,” he said, grabbing a broken dolly.

    It was probably the riot; nobody wanted to venture out.

    But Geurden didn’t care; no disgust or fear stopped him.

    The riots were Godsends — everything they’d break became his treasure.

    And Government Overseers?  Staying out of their way?  Simple enough…

    Guerden knew how to avoid detection; no-one would choke him.

    He was safe and rich, he thought with a smile.

    *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).

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Chris: Yet another masterpiece to add to your upcoming Writing Prompts 202 book!

    • Chris, this is something I’ve got to try my hand at. You make 10×10 seem so natural. I’d never encountered this writing style until I read some of your submissions. Quite enjoyable!

      • Chris Fries says:

        Thanks, Vernessa! 
        The 10×10 is an artificial constraint that is kinda fun to play around with.  If nothing else, it forces brevity and concise imagery, which helps to overcome my natural tendency for wordiness, lol!

    • Talk about scene-setting, this is awesome! The perspective is fresh. I’d never seen riots through the eyes of a scavenger. Only ones I thought of were the victims and the looters. And the cops, of course.
      The 10×10 format can’t trip you up at all, LOL!

      • Chris Fries says:

        Thank you Mitch!  I really appreciate it.
        And I guess in some ways, a scavenger is just a looter who’s late to the party…  ;^)

        • Scavengers are self-centered, while looters are mob-driven. The difference can be discerned by which one comes around after the riots have died down. 🙂

  7. Cool, another well done 10×10 reminded me a little of the treasure hunter one I wrote a few weeks back.

  8. This reminds me of just how much we are willing to do to get what we want. I will have to try a few 10×10’s. Yours have been great.

    • Chris Fries says:

      Thank you Shelia!  The image I had while writing it was of like maybe an oppressive future society, and a forgotten cast-off dredging through the trash following some riots.  To most, he’d be seen as a worthless fool digging through worthless trash, but to himself, he’s a wise and lucky man surrounded by riches…

  9. My very first try at this so here we go.
    There was no way in hell I was going to acknowledge his existence. It was lucky for him that riotous crowd didn’t snuff him out the same way he extinguished Savannah’s existence. The trial for this waste of humanity was long overdue and I wanted the death penalty.
    We picked the seats next to Savannah’s parents and reassured them that justice would be done for their sweet littl’ darling. The air in the courtroom was heavy with the thick scent of disgust as they lead the murderer in. He just sat there with a pompous look on his face like he was waiting to get an award. Personally, I just wanted to choke that smart ass smirk off his face.
    The murderer’s fate was now in the hands of the jury. “Would the jury break from tradition and give this guy a lighter sentence?” I speculated. “Guilty,” the judge announced. “Death by lethal injection.” Look whose smilin’ now.


    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Colleen: Haha! I know you’d make it! Welcome to the best bleepin’ creative writing community around. Wonderful job on your first submission. I felt that one.
      Everyone welcome Colleen to the fun.

      What did you think of the challenge? Which word sparked the idea?

      • Thanks Shane.  I appreciate the warm welcome and look forward to hangin’ out with my fellow creative types.

        To be totally honest, I didn’t think I could create a decent story.  I’ve been writing copy for my customer’s print ads, brochures, and websites, but I don’t consider myself a writer.  I’ve recently discovered blogging and am visually injecting my brain with everything I can to learn to write better, but this exercise put me in motion.  Thanks for that!

        There wasn’t one word in particular that sparked the idea, it was the entire collection.  It instantly created an image in my mind of what I wanted to do to the local ratbag that kidnapped and murdered his girlfriend and 3 daughters.

    • Chris Fries says:

      Great job, Colleen!  Nothing like the moment of reading the verdict to set up a tension-filled scenario.
      And welcome to the CCC!  Glad to have you join us!

    • Ahoy, Colleen! Welcome to the CCC. You’ve gotten right into the spirit of things. I predict that before this year is out, you’ll no longer think of yourself s anything other than a decent storyteller.
      I hope to see you here tomorrow!

  10. “This vacation was so long overdue,” I thought, “why didn’t I take this break years ago?” The water laps against the side of the pier, providing serene music to comfort my soul.  My legs dangle in the water, little fishes nibbling and tickling at my toes. Normally having anything touch my feet, disgusts me to no end but this somehow feels refreshing. It is just me and God enjoying the soft breeze that softens the warm August air temperatures. The view is incredible as the sun comes up over the lake, a palette with a riot of colour that no human artist can ever hope to emulate. A heron slowly streaks across the canvas in a way that makes me smile deep inside. It is perfect.

    As I am comforted within his beauty, I suddenly feel safe enough to ask the hard questions. I choke back the tears and scream into the silence “Why???!!!” The question echoes across the lake and a lone loon calls back to me.
    “Why, God?! Why?! He was only a darling baby! He didn’t even have time to waste a moment of his life! Why did you pick him? He did nothing to deserve to die!”
    I collapse into a mass of sobbing, despairing humanity as grief overwhelms me, grief that has been years locked away.

    The sound of the loon cries soulfully into my heart, as the walls come crumbling down.

  11. Nikki J. says:

    What a waste, Elise thought as she picked up the boys left overs of their happy meals. Both boys had hardly eaten any of their dinners. Stopping at the McDonalds down the street from their home was a mistake. “We should have just gone straight home, huh boys?” They just both smiled at their mom and talked in their toddler gibberish. It seemed like Avery was overdue and should already be saying more words and sentences than the darling boy was but Elise was just too exhausted to work with him and his words as much as she knew she should be. Between keeping up with him and his one year old brother, being pregnant and having Todd deployed was just too much to keep up with. His vocabulary can wait a bit, she thought. Its not like there is going to be some huge riot if he isn’t speaking in complete sentences at two. But then Elise thought about the disgusted looks on some of the women’s faces from her moms group and sighed. 
    She knew she let the boys watch too much tv each day but she just thought she was going to break into pieces if she didn’t let them. There was way too much to do with Todd being deployed. Elise started to choke back tears and knew she needed to hurry and load the kids into the car and into bed. It had been a long road trip for all of them today. She put on a fake smile for the boys as she buckled them into their car seats and kissed them on their heads. “We’re almost home boys!”

  12. Shane Arthur says:

    “Dude, you’re such a waste. Pick one, man. Don’t matter which; you’re overdue for a darling and so am I.”

    “You’re a riot, man! And you disgust me how easily you can jump from girl to girl, and succeed. You just had one last night. You’ll be breakin’ records the way things are going for you.”

    “Choke that smile of yours and stand up straight; here comes my next meal in heals.”

  13. John F. Moynihan says:

    The two men sat across from each other, each lost in his own thoughts.  Just looking at them, there was no way to know that they were brothers.  The older of the two, Nelson, was barrel-chested with a crop of fading red hair on his enormous head.  Had he been standing, he would have towered over his sibling, and anyone else in the room for that matter.  He took after his father who had been a pro football player.  Robert, on the other hand, was lean and muscular.  More like his mother, Robert had soft features and jet black hair that hung in a ponytail halfway down his back.  Nelson always ribbed him about his long hair, and Robert always replied that he was the only person who really loved the 1970’s and felt compelled to keep it alive in some way. “Besides,” he’d add, “you’re just jealous because you can’t wear your hair long.”  Nelson’s hair grew out, not down and had he let it grow he would have looked like a circus clown.  His high school senior picture could attest to that.  Nelson shuddered at the thought of it.
    They had met for lunch to celebrate Robert’s 50th birthday at his favorite dive, Maggies Bar and Grill. 
    Nelson broke the silence, “That pork steak can kill a man your age.” 
    Robert chuckled, “Don’t tell the wife.  She thinks we’re at the salad bar place.  Anyway, I’m overdue for some sloppy barbeque.”
    Nelson continued, “Well, do you feel any older?”  It was exactly that question that his mother used to ask each and every birthday, until her untimely death nearly 20 years ago. 
    “Not really, at least not physically.”  Robert replied. 
    Nelson picked up the meloncholy in his brother’s voice, he knew it well.  Nelson had turned 50 just two years ago, shortly after the death of their father.  The one-two punch of losing his father and achieving AARP eligibility was devastating.  He spent an entire year in a funk.  It began to bother him that his once muscular frame had softened, and that he didn’t have the energy and stamina that had made him the darling of the ladies in his prime.  Although he never married, Nelson was always involved with some vivacious woman, and was, for most of his life, the envy of other men.  Now, he’d look at himself in the mirror with disgust.  “How did I get this way?”, he’d sigh.
    Robert downed a gulp of his favorite dark beer and asked his older brother, “Have you ever felt you life has been a waste?”
    “At times.  More so now than when I was younger.”, Nelson replied.  “In days gone by, I thought I was a world leader.”
    “And now you feel like a chunky, old guy?”, Robert said with a smile.
    “Funny.  No, but I just haven’t gotten done what I expected to get done and now I don’t have the drive or energy to change that.”
    Robert nodded in agreement, “I know they say 50 is just a number, but it’s a heavy number.  I’ve never felt more concerned about my mortality than I do today.”
    “I know what you mean,” Nelson said, “after I reached that milestone I spent most days thinking about what I’d done and where I’d been.  For some reason it became really important to write down the things I’ve done and seen in my life that made it special.” 
    “Do you mean like the time you nearly caused a riot in the bleachers at the ballgame?”, Robert raised an eyebrow.
    “Me?!  Hey, I came back with a couple of beers and that Cubs fan was trying to choke you!  I guess I should have let him finish.”
    “I’ll never forget watching you pick that guy up by his hair after you pulled him off of me.  I thought you were going to break him in two.”
    Nelson laughed outloud and slammed his big fist on the table, “So did he!  When I put him down he ran like a deer.”
    The solemn moment passed as the conversation turned to happy memories and plans for the future.  When the brothers parted, they both whistled a happy tune and continued with their day.  Nelson called the office and got his appointments for the afternoon.  Robert, enjoying a day off, took a bicycle ride and later met his wife at the soup place for a healthy birthday dinner. 
    That night, though, when each crawled into bed, their thoughts turned to the inevitable.  Both knowing now more than ever, time marches on.

  14. Rebecca says:

    “Darling, hold still. Don’t try to break away, you can’t,” said Richard. He smiled has looked down at Alexandra.
    “You disgust me. You’re a waste of a human being,” shouted Alexandra.
    Richard continued his icy gaze upon Alexandra. He wanted to choke the hell out of her. It was a turn on. He knew he’d have his way with her.
    “My dear, you’re a riot. No one can hear you. We’re all alone. There’s no way I’m letting you go. You and I both know this was long overdue,” said Richard.
    Alexandra turned her head. She noticed a crystal glass on the table. If she could pick it up, she could hit the bastard in the head. She pursued her lips together.
    “Alright. I’ll play along,” said Alexandra. You have no idea who you’re messing with, but you’re about to find out.
    “That’s a good girl, said Richard.”

  15. Rebecca says:

    @ Mitch … Thanks! Not sure what the ‘vision’ is for this story. I’ll see where it goes.

  16. […] I like more (it’s still a work-in-progress). I’ll edit the other one sometime soon. The challenge words are red and […]

  17. Liss Thomas says:

    Waste a foot deep littered the alley way after the riot.  Jesse looked around in disgust making sure he could pick his way through the debris without landing in anything that would make him choke from the smell.  He searched with a long stick, sifting through rotten food, broken bottles and newspapers with the unpleasant odor of kitty litter.  Police patrols were overdue in this area so he picked up the pace.  He caught a break.  A hollow thud met his probing stick and he dug with elastic gloved hands through the muck.  His fingers touched and closed around the object and pulled it up for inspection.  A smile flickered across his lips and he almost kissed the filthy thing.
    “Hello, Darling,” he muttered to the hard metal casing.  Without another thought, Jesse ran back down the alley oblivious to the litter this time.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Liss: (Comment Deleted) Sorry Liss. I forgot you had already commented and were already here before. Forgive me. Long year thus far! 🙂

  18. Liss Thomas says:

    No worries!  Glad to be back in the game!

  19. […] Creative Copy Challenge 241Words: Waste, Pick, Overdue, Darling, Riot, Disgust, Break, Way, Choke, Smile “This vacation was so long overdue,” I thought, “why didn’t I take this break years ago?” The water laps against the side of the pier, providing serene music to comfort my soul.  My legs dangle in the water, little fishes nibbling and tickling at my toes. Normally having anything touch my feet, disgusts me to no end but this somehow feels refreshing. It is just me and God enjoying the soft breeze that tempers the warm August heat. The view is incredible as the sun comes up over the lake, a palette with a riot of colour that no human artist can ever hope to emulate. A heron slowly streaks across the canvas in a way that makes me smile deep inside. It is perfect. As I am comforted within his beauty, I suddenly feel safe enough to ask the hard questions. I choke back the tears and scream into the silence “Why???!!!” The question echoes across the lake and a lone loon calls back to me. “Why, God?! Why?! He was only a darling baby! He didn’t even have time to waste a moment of his life! Why did you pick him? He did nothing to deserve to die!” I collapse into a mass of sobbing, despairing humanity as grief overwhelms me, grief that has been years hidden away. The sound of the loon cries soulfully into my heart, as the walls come crumbling down. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in CCC challenge, creative writing and tagged creative writing by pandorasisland. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  20. Bobbert says:

    Sarah was the best comic actress she knew. And, as the joke goes, extremely humble.
    She was finally getting her big break. It wasn’t broadway, but there were important people in the audience, including some talent agents. You can’t pick your big breaks, they pick you. So you had better make the most of them. And as far as she was concerned, her big break was overdue.
    Ironically, the original star had broken her leg riding horses, so the show belonged to Sarah now as the proven understudy. She still felt a little guilty for all the times she had told the star to break a leg, but she knew it was just a silly emotion and pushed the thoughts away. Focus. The show is starting. Time to become everyone’s little darling.
    As she delivered her first lines, something stuck in her throat. She choked. The stupid mint that she had to get rid of. She tried to swallow it, but it just made it worse. Everyone was looking at her, and she couldn’t talk. The scene wouldn’t make any sense if she didn’t deliver her dialogue, so no one was going to rescue her.
    The director was having a fit just off stage. He told a stage hand to get some water. The actor next to Sarah told her that she had better pull it together fast, or there was going to be a riot as everyone headed to the exits. She finally gave up and ran off the stage, passing the second understudy on the way off, noticing with disgust her wide smile, and what she could have sworn was an evil wink.
    She watched the less talented second understudy complete the show. What a waste.
    But she still smiled, knowing her chance was still to come, and thinking to herself that she would push the little lady off the stage if she had to. She winked at the other actress as she came off stage, with an unspoken “Hope you enjoyed the night, because the stage is mine from now on.” And she resolved that nothing and nobody would ever get in the way of another opportunity.

  21. Kelly says:


    The wastebin brims over with disgust. The desk never breaks out in a smile when I sit down anymore. The bed is a riot of misunderstanding… misunderstanding that I need sleep when I’m in it, mostly. I’m way overdue for a half-decent sleep. Instead I choke on bits of crushed ambition and pick at the sticky residue of longing all night, sweating and shivering with fear; I wake in the morning, put my little darling on the bus with a kiss, and return to my work, prepared for my surroundings to react to my mediocrity with resignation and mock-horror once again.

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