Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #243

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. Pop
  2. Grow
  3. Enough
  4. Different
  5. Truth
  6. Stand
  7. Empty
  8. Sacrifice 
  9. Varied
  10. Top

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


54 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #243”

  1. Maybe because it’s Monday and I wish it was already Friday, but this poem is about kicking back at the end of a long week.

    Kicking Back
    Pop the top
    and kick back
    enjoy a different truth

    a week’s sacrifice
    enough varied trouble
    leaving you empty

    Now weekend time
    to stand and grow
    recover and replenish

  2. I could not be more different from my sister Martha.  Even physically we are different. Martha takes after mom’s side of the family, slim, fair and blond. I take after dad, a short fat Italian.

    Martha loves her work at a rest home. She doesn’t drive so living in the city and having a bus system is perfect. When it comes to life, it is hard to tell what is truth or fiction. Actually, she would make a great writer for “The National Enquire,” her favorite magazine.

    I don’t know which she likes best, cemeteries or the local paper for keeping track of old friends and class mates. She can tell you of births, graduations and obituaries. She would be Facebook buff except she has no interest in learning a computer.

    In contrast, I spend days on the computer running two successful businesses in a virtual world. I live in a small town in the mountains and don’t even remember the names of 90% of my class mates. Of course the obits are out since I do not read the news pager or visit them online. I do visit our local cemetery at least once a week, only because it is a good place to get in a quick two mile walk.

    We do have two things in common, different but in common. We happened to grow up in the same house and we both worked in Zion National Park during the summers.

    About 20 years back, I needed to make a trip to St. George in southern Utah. I asked Martha to come along and see Zion Park again.

    Of course we had to include a trip to the St. George cemetery to find Mrs. Jensens’s grave, Martha’s favorite teacher.

    As we entered the cemetery I knew I was in trouble! It was huge and had no map of the graves.

    I watched her wandering row after row, searching each headstone.

    Waiting made the day seem like the it was whizzing by. Impatience set in. I’d had enough.

    Unwilling to sacrifice a day in Zion Park to gaze at some dead persons headstone, I headed down the road to tell her when I saw her head pop up from between two large head stones. She waved excitedly, to my amazement, she found it!

    I am glad we did not come up empty. To this day she has plenty of fodder for the story of finding Mrs. Jensens’s grave. A story that gets a little more varied with each retelling. Different spirits that guided her to the right grave have been added. And to top it off, Mrs. Jensen often stands at the foot of her bed to thank her for being the only student to ever visited her grave.

  3. “If you want to grow as a player, you must master the art of the sacrifice. The top players in this tournament know a dozen different ways to win on an empty board. You may think you have enough material but, the varied mating attacks reveal the truth: you don’t stand a chance.”

    “Really, Pop? Checkmate.”

  4. Troy Worman says:

    I read the menu from top to bottom. It was varied to be sure, listing dozens of different sacrifices. Perhaps, there were too many choices. I found myself unable to make a stand for any of them. I began to wonder if perhaps my stomach had grown too empty. I stared at the menu a few minutes more waiting for one of the delicacies to call my name. “Enough!” I cried at last. I plucked one of the baby heads from the serving bowl at the center of the table and popped it into my mouth. “Truth be told,” I said between chews, “I don’t think I’m very hungry.”

  5. Lironah says:

    Lia walked through the crowded street, looking for a place where she could stand to watch the execution. The crowd made her uncomfortable. If these people knew what she was, knew that she was different … well, she might just end up as dead as the prisoner standing by the execution block was about to be. As dead as his victim had been.

    Lia looked up at the buildings lining the street, and saw one with a roof sturdy enough to climb on top of. She hurried around back and climbed up. She had always preferred the high ground. The roof was empty, and she slid across it until she could see the black-braided heads of the people below. 

    The view varied little as she turned her gaze back toward the wooden riser that held the prisoner and his guards. The people were all so dark of hair and skin that she could hardly tell one from another. She knew the prisoner, though. That one could never hide from her. Trees would grow old and die before she would forget what he had done to her sister.

    The executioner was a murderer himself – only a fool would sacrifice his freedom to wear the killer’s mask – but undoubtedly one who had subjected himself to the law instead of fleeing from justice. Beside him stood the officiator, a clear-eyed woman who stepped up to pronounce sentence.

    “This man has killed with his face bared to the world. Now he will so die. Let it be done!” she said. Lia heard a sound from beside her, and turned to see a man climb onto the next rooftop. He too was masked, and he held a bow in his hand. He nocked an arrow and drew back, aiming for the executioner.

    “Stop!” cried Lia. The masked man stopped; he had no choice. People down below who heard her froze in place, then turned to see who had spoken. Lia crouched to hide her face from them. Her voice always carried the ring of truth, but giving a direct command was even more dangerous than simply speaking. Somebody might figure out what she was.

    Across the street, the sentence had been carried out. Lia’s cry had alerted the executioner to the presence of the archer, and he escorted the magistrate down from the block before the would-be assassin could recover.

    Seeing his plot foiled, the archer turned and loosed his bow at Lia instead. Pain blossomed in her shoulder, and she felt more than heard a loud pop. The seething anger in his gaze filled her clouding vision as she tumbled to the street.

    • Lironah, I’m hooked! This sounds like a great beginning to a journey through one of your cool worlds.

      • Lironah says:

        Not quite the beginning, but close enough. I’m thinking about doing this one for JuNoWriMo this year. I’ve had it in my head for more than ten years, working out the world. I think I might be ready now.

        • That is so cool! I burned out during NaNoWriMo but I enjoyed the concept. I’d probably do better next time, since I’ve been doing at least 750 words a day. (750words.com)
          I hope you’ll let us know if you go through with it!
          Shout out to Becca and Anna: Props for doing JuNoWriMo!

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Lironah: That was such a great story. As Mitch said, this is a great slice of action. Where’s the rest? 🙂

  6. Lynne says:

    Mother’s Day
    When I was a little girl I believed in Santa, tooth fairies, and monsters under the bed. Then, one day, the tooth fairy didn’t visit me. Oh, how I cried – which was not surprising since I had pulled the tooth out by wrapping Mama’s sewing thread around it, attached the other end to my bedroom door handle, then slammed the door. All that sacrifice and nothing to show for it. Mama said that’s what happens to bad little girls who try to cheat the tooth fairy. Mama always told the truth.

    The tooth fairy must have been annoyed with me because she never visited again. However, I still had Santa. Every Christmas Eve I would put out beer and cookies and try to stay awake to see Santa. Christmas morning would barely dawn before I was awake, rummaging through the pillowcase at the end of my bed, checking out what Santa delivered. Then, one Christmas Eve night, I managed to stay awake. 

    There was rustling and footsteps. They came up the stairs so I knew the noise wasn’t coming from the monsters under my bed.

    “Ssh…” I heard my Mama say, “Don’t wake the children.”

    Wha… my Mama was talking to Santa Claus? She wasn’t. Mama and Pop came into my bedroom and stuffed the pillowcase with presents. I squeezed my eyes tight and made loud snoring noises so they would think I was asleep. I don’t think I fooled them but they ignored me and went into my brother’s room.

    Certain I was mistaken, I crept downstairs and peeked around the living room door. There was Pop, drinking Santa’s beer while Mama ate Santa’s cookies. When the plate was empty, Mama turned and spotted me.

    “Santa was busy,” Mama said. “So Pop and me, we stand in for him.”

    I believed her because Mama always told the truth. 

    I kept my belief in Santa Claus for another two years. The third time I caught my parents sneaking into my bedroom to deliver Santa’s gifts I demanded answers.

    “I think you are big enough now, darling,” my Mama said, “… to know there is no such thing as Santa.”

    I cried that night but only quietly – I didn’t want to wake the monsters under my bed. 

    When nights were dark and full of shadows I would lie on top of my bed, too scared to dangle upside down to check if monsters were really there. Some nights I could hear them scritching on the floor, other nights they played shadow hands across my wall. Sometimes, the monsters pretended to be trees, clouds, or wind. The noises varied but I always knew they were made by the monsters under my bed. Then, one day, I realised the monsters had gone. 

    “Is that what happens, Mama,” I asked, “When we grow up the monsters just go away?”

    “There were never any monsters, darling, just an over-active child’s imagination. You are too big now to worry about monsters.” My Mama smiled at me and I believed her. 

    I am an adult now with children of my own. When they lose a tooth, the tooth fairy visits. Every Christmas, Santa comes to call and I eat cookies. On Mother’s Day, I get breakfast in bed (while hoping all the while that the doll’s tea set is made of non-toxic plastic) and thoroughly enjoy my cold-water tea and peanut-butter bread. This Mother’s Day is different though. This year, I won’t be calling my Mama.

    The circle turns the full circle and as my Mama had held me in her arms, so I held her. She had cuddled me close and slept beside me to keep the monsters away. I slept beside her, in a chair, with the rails of her hospital bed between us. I couldn’t keep the monster at bay. Mama didn’t always tell the truth: monsters do exist. Her monster lurked in the shadows until, one day, it took her away.

    • Happy Mothers Day, Lynne. Thanks for sharing this wonderfully poignant story.

      • Kathleen K says:

        Lynne — Great story. (Beer and cookies though…. hummmm) 

        • Lynne says:

          @Kathleen – the beer and cookies part was drawn directly from my own childhood. Dad liked the occasional beer and my parents hated waste so wouldn’t consider leaving milk out. Not that there was ever any spare milk around as none of us drank it!

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Lynne: Holy Bleep! This was the most powerful thing you’ve written thus far! Truly a great submission. Great style. Great pace. Great repetition with certain phrases. Wonderful.

  7. Meredith says:

    She got so tired of the truth. Every time she went to stand, those thoughts wormed around in her head, courtesy of her mom. Truth seemed to be at the top of her mom’s priorities, before feelings, before her. Walking through school at her height was enough of a sacrifice. She already felt different from her peers, and the promises of varied other adults seemed just empty after hearing “the truth” for so many years. She still remembers the first time. it was loud inside her heart, that time her mom popped her bubble about getting taller. According to all the doctors, she was not going to grow anymore.

  8. Kathleen K says:

    This week is no different than other weeks… who actually believes this. These are just empty words and I have had enough. The truth is I stand here with a varied set of emotions. We grow, we pop, and we sacrifice our figures and all to do what is at the top of many lists at one time or another in our lives….
    Happy Mother’s Day to all whom this applies to.

    • LOL.
      Sorry, that struck me funny, Kathleen.
      True love means looking your mate in the eye and whispering harshly…
      You ain’t no catch, either!

  9. Rebecca says:

    Continued from CCC #241 & CCC #242

    Alexandra knew she had to sacrifice her pride if she wanted to get away from Richard. He was on top of her and she felt his sex grow with every breath she took. The truth was she felt bad for the guy. How pathetic was that. But Alexandra recognized the empty look in Richard’s eyes. She’s seen it before dealing with young adults who were abused and tossed aside like yesterday’s garbage. 
    “Enough of this game playing Alexandra,” growled Richard. His voice was different. Alexandra noticed how it varied, depending on how she reacted to him. 
    “Seeing as I’m pinned beneath you, I don’t understand what you mean by ‘game playing,’ said Alexandra. She wanted to pop him in eye so bad, but she had to gain his trust. She had to get him to sit or stand up. And then she could make her move.


    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Rebecca: So cool! I don’t see this angle written about much at all. Love what you did here.

  10. Sean Murphy says:

    He might actually get away with it. A potent mixture of fear, hope, and adrenaline was growing in his veins as he pulled his old Mustang into the empty parking lot. He couldn’t believe how easy it had been. When he got home early to find Stacy with another guy, the only reason he’d quietly followed the guy home instead of beating his brains in right there was that he couldn’t bring himself to kill in front of his girl, cheating bitch or not. He’d had no thought of evading capture as he’d pulled up at the asshole’s house, popped the trunk, and opened his toolbox. And the only thing he’d been thinking as his hammer crushed the front of the asshole’s skull… well; there weren’t really words for it.
    But somehow, once he’d inflicted enough damage to clear the haze of red from his mind, he’d realised there were no police sirens. No one knew he was here. Assuming Stacy kept her mouth shut, no one could connect him to Asshole’s body. He’d cleaned the hammer off at the kitchen sink, hands shaking with a manic energy, then pulled his car round to the back of Asshole’s dump of a house, and quietly folded him into the trunk. taking the time to clean up any obvious bloodstains, he’d locked the house up with keys taken from Asshole’s pockets. A crazed grin spread across his face as he fired up his car and the truth hit him. He might just get away with murder.
    The drive to the old fairground was agonizing. Every car that passed seemed certainly an undercover cop, and he invented a dozen different conversations he could have with an officer of the law that would keep his trunk closed. But as he left the suburbs, sun setting over the Arizona desert outskirts, he began to feel more confident. He turned up the radio to a country station, singing along to ballads as he searched for the right turnoff. Once he was on the bumpy side-road that lead to his destination, he knew he’d almost made it.
    Growing up, he’d found work at Ventura’s Showgrounds over summers maintaining rides and pitching tents. The place had made many of his sweetest memories of childhood, being one of the few locations where his dad couldn’t beat on him. Fleeing there had been almost instinctual in the tense moments after leaving the house, but the trip had given him time to realise how perfect it was. The showgrounds had been closed almost a decade, lost to the rise of theatres and casinos. The big-top tent was merely a ghost in his memory as he popped the trunk, hefting the cooling body onto his shoulders.
    He knew his destination well. Amongst the varied jobs of his youth, he’d once manned the ice-cream stand at the back of the grounds. They’d pulled the in-ground freezer out when they closed the place down, leaving a hole in the ground that, if memory served, would be the perfect final resting place for the asshole weighing his shoulders down. Reaching the stand, he paused, taking in the sight of the old place. It seemed a shame that one of his best memories would now be sullied with the body of this scum. He supposed sacrifices must be made – and it was almost fitting that the place which had sheltered him as a child would now shelter him from deeper trouble. Stepping through the threshold, he navigated his way carefully to the right side of the skeletal stand, sliding the body into the dark hole left by the freezer. As he looked for something to scoop dirt over the body with, he wondered what he’d do with Sally, then realised he believed he was really going to get away with this, and that there would be a future to worry about. The thought brought a smile to his face, and he began to hum the old theme song that would play when he served strawberry cones to eager children. He had a whole lifetime of freedom ahead of him. It was a heady thought.
    “Alas, my love, you do me wrong…”

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Sean: That was INTENSE! Super job here. You should continue this story.

    • Sean, you are the man! Shane is right, this is an intense perspective of a killer. You’re channelling Stephen King and Bryan Cranston!
      I want to watch a movie of this.

      • Sean Murphy says:

        Thanks for the lovely comments guys – it’s good to be back here after an extended break 🙂 I was going for the feel of a guy who isn’t even considering the morality of his actions – he just sees it as stimulus-response. As in, once the guy crossed him he didn’t even have a choice, and accepted whatever consequences might follow implicitly.  

  11. Shane Arthur says:

    “You can’t stand the truth, Pops. You’ve made sacrifices but they were all empty. ‘I’ll go to two bars instead of three tonight. I’ll only grow dope and do coke on weekends. It will be different this time— I swear I’m on top of my demons.’ Pops, I’ve heard your varied excuses enough to last two lifetimes. I’m done with you.”

  12. @Rebecca, this is quite a harrowing story, especially once I went back to the previous two chapters.

  13. Rebecca says:

    @ Shane … Thanks! Not sure where I’m going with this…

  14. Bobbert says:

    When a plant grows, does it just pop its top aimlessly? No, it shows it’s glory, whether anyone is looking or not. In so many different and varied flowers, they all sacrifice themselves for a moment of beauty. In doing so they bring life for future generations. Is it not enough? Would you stand in its way?
    Then how could you stand in the way of your son, risking his life for justice and truth? You have his material success and comfort in mind. Have you so soon given up on his character and integrity? Do you not realize that his success would be empty without integrity? Give him your unconditional love, and set him free.

  15. Kelly says:


    Words pop off the page sometimes; stand before me, demanding their due.
    An empty page can hold more promise, as
    then, my own demons dance before me, until one shouts out his name;
    commands me to sacrifice the intentions of the moment to his memorial.
    Each moment of creation is different enough that I can never be quite sure of its genesis.
    A sound
    a vision
    the touch of your skin on mine,
    Truth stands erect and unchanging, but the ways of viewing it bend infinitely.
    My own ability to describe its steely presence has varied with my growth,
    growth which is as frenzied, yet as lazy, as those ever-present demons.
    I don’t look to top myself.
    I look to dig
    until I find the words which make us safe.

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