Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #246

Today’s words are from the ever-lovely James Chartrand. She’s fond of carnies, I believe. 😉

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. Trapeze
  2. Costumes
  3. Sparkling
  4. Peanut Butter
  5. Daring
  6. Juggler
  7. Symphony
  8. Balancing
  9. Extravaganza
  10. Contortionist

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


14 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #246”

  1. 2nd poem I have written so far this morning:
    Final Act
    Body as moldable as Peanut Butter
    the rare daring juggler on a high wire
    spectacle in this balancing extravaganza
    crowds with sparkling smiles rise in symphony
    enchanted by costumes and acrobatics galore
    repeatedly applauding this trapeze contortionist

    The first was my Random Twitter poem from yesterday where I used 17 random words 

  2. Vera wondered who had left the milk out, again. This was the third time this week. Her arms violently crossed her breasts. Her nostrils flared as she swiveled her head from the open carton to the messy stove. She took in every detail: peanut butter on steak knife, nearly empty bottle of sparkling cider, egg skin remnants clinging to crusty pan, victorious spatula in the front burner cradling the rest. Her contortionist motion terminated abruptly, eyes firing lasers into the stoneware bowl balancing precariously on her favorite Garfield coffee mug.

    Slowly, with growing horror, Vera stepped toward the sink. A slash of daring red lip print kissed her precious cup. The vulgar gesture of disrespect was the finger-pluck on the nose of her patient resolve. She ran into the common room, unmindful of her flapping robe. Just before the red haze overtook her, she had a second to register her sorority sisters in various stages of preparation for the Spring Fling Extravaganza. The bright costumes catalyzed her emotional thunderstorm into a psychotic break.


    “I was so scared,” breathed Sissy. She was speaking quietly with one of the detectives. “She bounced in here like a bat out of hell, foaming at the mouth, if you can believe that.” The detective nodded noncommittally.

    In another corner, Peggy Sue was more pragmatic. She told her interviewer that Vera had seemed upset. She held up her finger to pause the conversation while she reapplied her lipstick. She took another sip of coffee before continuing, giving the detective mundane details about the unfortunate incident.

    Sissy stopped babbling long enough to stare across the room at Peggy Sue. She leaned toward the detective and whispered, “Vera hated her. She always accused Peggy Sue of messing with her stuff. She was probably going after her when she tripped on that rip in the carpet. I’ve been trying to get the sorors to contribute to the housekeeping fund but you know how they are. Every extra dollar goes toward drinking and partying.” She punctuated her disapproval with a snick of her tongue behind her teeth.


    Vera woke up to the sound of beeping. Her head was pounding. She could smell her father. “Daddy?”

    “I’m right here, sugar lump. You gave us quite a scare.”

    “I’m so sorry. She shouldn’t have left the milk out.”

    “Don’t worry about that, honey. Just try to get some rest.”

    “I can’t see!”

    “Shush, baby. It’s bandages.”

    “Well, who’s going to do all those dishes?”

    “Never mind them. Get better.”

    Vera felt her father’s soft touch on her hand. She wondered why he didn’t give her a kiss.


    “Now you decide to get involved. I’ve been dealing with her nonsense for six semesters!” Gina was fuming. She and Fred were arguing over their daughter. The hospital lobby was not the proper place for their discussion but each was at wits’ end. Gina crossed her arms and glared at the man she used to love.

    “What am I, some kind of juggler? I’ve been in Colombia for weeks, trying to keep my company afloat. Erin and her family want a spring wedding in nasty-ass Tennessee! I am jetting back and forth on three hours’ sleep a night. What do you want from me?” Fred was wringing his hands as he whined, a drunken conductor performing a sad symphony. He looked helplessly at Gina.

    “Oh, boo-hoo, Fred! I don’t care about your problems. I only care that you be here for our daughter. If you can’t juggle, try the trapeze. You can certainly pass off some of those responsibilities to your partners. It doesn’t always have to start and end with you.”

    Fred could see that Gina was calming down and reverting to overbearing form. He took the opportunity to squash the argument. “You’re right, as usual. I need to spend more time with her. Perhaps she should transfer to Austin Peay.”

    That was a mistake. Gina wound up like a clock spring. She stuck up her middle finger and screamed, “Pee on this! You are not taking my daughter back east! Why don’t you leave that prissy bitch and move back to L.A.! It’s not like you’re going to have time for a second family – you barely acknowledge the one you have now!”

    Fred finally understood. It was always about the milk.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Mitch: If you could see the size of my grin right now! How in bleep did you think of this? What word did it. I was wondering if anybody would be able to work these words in without seeming forced and you knocked it out of the park like nothing.

      • Shane, I’m so glad you liked this. I wasn’t sure how it would go over. (My dad didn’t “get it”.)
        The first thing I thought was, “We already did a circus prompt, so let’s try not to take the easy way out.” Peanut butter was the magic phrase. In my house, it’s a staple and there are always knives of the gunk in the sink. 🙂

        • @Mitch, That was great! My favorite line… The vulgar gesture of disrespect was the finger-pluck on the nose of her patient resolve.
          I am always amazed at how much we are like our parents.

          • Thank you, Sheila. That was my favorite line, too!
            Yes, the apple, the tree and all that goodness passed down. 🙂

  3. Denise could not decide which was worse, the ache in her feet or the one that had centered between
    her shoulder blades. Nine hours of cooking and cleaning for somebody else was a little more than
    her body could bear. The pay was good, the pain was hard.

    Just as she laid the last shirt on the ironing board, Connie rushed into the laundry room

    “Mama can we use your bedspread?”

    “My bedspread?”

    “We need a curtain for our stage and your bed spread’s just absolutely perfect.”

    “Well, if it is absolutely perfect how can I say no.”

    “Thanks mom! your the best.” Connie pecked her cheek.

    What were those kids up to now?

    Denise walked out on the back deck and slumped into the porch swing just in time to see what the curtain would open to.

    The stage was set around the old metal swing set. Every inch a symphony of pink and blue
    crepe paper streamers. She had to agree, her white bedspread threaded with pink sparkling
    cord would be the perfect curtain.

    Dana and Jame’s took center stage in costumes, a mix of dance leotards and some of the Halloween stash. Snuggles pulled at her tutu.

    Dana hanging by her knees from the trapeze bar was swinging as hard as her little body could muster.

    James, balancing a hula hoop in is head, stopped and ran to her panting, “Here you’re invited.”

    The playbill he handed her was cleverly crafted from yellow construction paper, glitter and photos of each family participating family member…

    “Announcing The Riggs Family Extravaganza

    7 pm tonight
    Riggs backyard

    Connie The World Famous Contortionist
    Daring Dana On The Trapeze
    Juggler James and His Flying Hula Hoops
    Snuggles The Dog as Snuggles The Dog

    “You’ll be here won’t you?”

    “I wouldn’t miss it for the world.” she smiled.

    Denise pulled herself from the swing, went to the kitchen, put five peanut butter cookies on a plate and poured five glasses of milk. Her nine hour work day melted away to the reasons she worked so hard.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Sheila: Such a fun scene that was.

    • Sheila, I love how you captured the seriousness of the childrens’ production. We had the fortune of watching our five kids put on productions with the ancient video camera. Little soap stars, aren’t they?

  4. Shane Arthur says:

    “Hey Vern! How you trapeze critters? They’s stealin’ my crops and making me look like I’s wearin’ a clown costume in my wife’s eyes.”

    “Well Jedd. You put somethin’ sparklin’ in da bottom of dis here tree trunk and add some peanut butter and nails facing down. When da critters see da sparklin’, and smell da peanut butter, they’ll reach in to grab some and da nails will catch them when they pull out. They’s so dumb, they won’t open they hands to make them smaller to escape. Da next part is darin’ though, but you’s got to be a juggler in life and sing da symphony of freedom sometimes.”

    “Hold on Vern! Why you always using big words and analogies on me. You know my balance and smarts ain’t no good since dat accident at dat oil rig extravaganza.”

    “Sorry Jedd. But, here’s what you do. You strip naked and hide behind da barrel. When the critter gets caught, you jump up on top da barrel and yell, ‘Honey! Da peanut butter worked, the peanut butter worked!’ Even though your wife will be balled over like a contortionist laughin’, she won’t think you’s a clown no more.”

  5. Bobbert says:

    It was the first family trip to the circus. Mom, dad and precious little three and a half year old Samantha. They had been looking forward to this day for many months. They had the video camera, the still camera and lots of pocket change to spend on things like a portrait artist or professional photograph. It was a moment they would treasure forever.
    From the second they walked into the circus tent and saw the extravaganza close up, the video camera was on. And so far all it had captured was a squirmy and often crying little girl that wanted to be anywhere but the circus. Mom and dad tried valiantly to cheer her up, calm her down and bring that moment of joy that they wanted so much for her.
    On the way over, the thoughtful parents knew that all the action and activity of the circus might be overwhelming to a little girl, so they had played some music from one of the CDs laying around the house, recorded by the city symphony orchestra. As they walked past the daring young men on the flying trapeze, they knew it had been a waste of their time. Samantha just clung to mom and cried. Only a peanut butter cookie calmed her down enough to go on.
    A juggler was balancing, bouncing, throwing and catching objects in a mesmerizing show that little Samantha ignored completely, like he wasn’t even there. She just tried to stomp on a bug near her feet.
    A contortionist in a distorted costume scared her so badly, that they already were forced to leave, just 15 minutes into the event that was going to bring that beautiful smile to their little girl’s face.
    Sadly, they walked back to the car, disappointed not so much about the circus, but because they wanted so much for Samantha to have the joyful moment that they expected they would be giving her, and they had hoped to get a giant smile on videotape.
    As they walked up to the car in the gravel parking lot, Samantha bent down, fascinated by something shiny on the ground. It was a 5 cent fake ruby ring, with a giant red stone in it that sparkled. Samantha was beaming. She started jumping up and down, waving the ring around. “Look Mommy! Look Daddy! Look at the ring I found! It’s beautiful!” They were finally able to snap the picture they had hoped to get. One day it would be a keepsake, that her own children asked about. And a lesson that in life, we don’t always make or choose the most special moments.

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