Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #250

Today we have long-time CCC regular Becca J Campbell choosing the words to coincide with her first book launch, Foreign Identity, a story she hashed out here at the CCC. She’s doing a giveaway of a signed paperback. In her own words:

To enter the giveaway for a signed paperback of Foreign Identity, write a piece with all ten words and post it on the CCC by Sunday, June 18th, 10pm central. The giveaway is open to all countries. People can enter as many times as they like, I’ll pick my favorite entry as the winner. The winner will be announced on the same post by the end of the day Monday, June 18th.


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. Foreign
  2. Identity
  3. Memory
  4. Strangers
  5. Decode
  6. Uncertain
  7. Fear
  8. Lost
  9. Escape
  10. Zap

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


99 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #250”

  1. Jeanette says:

    The silence is foreign to me.  There are no sirens in the distance or horns blazing above muffled music. I could actually hear the wind ruffling the grass.  With my eyes closed, I try to lock the quietness in my head by memory.  I imagine an antique chest filled with soft pillows where I will lay the silence down on its side and allow it to rest peacefully. I will need it soon enough. 

    When I open my eyes, I stare at my car parked across the street.  Her head strains to see what I am doing.  The fear in her eyes mirrors my own. We are complete strangers.  Outside of me giving birth to her, I know nothing about her.   

    I check my phone for a signal.  I wish I could say I was lost, but I have been here before. To escape uncertainty is my specialty.  I wear it like a red badge of courage.   I type in the phone number.  He answers on the second ring.  A zap of static rings through my ear as he speaks.  I pull the phone away and turn my back to the car.

    “I’m here.  If you want her, come get her. If not, find someone who does.” I end the call.  My identity is irrelevant.  He can investigate and decode my message in a short enough time to find her safely.  

    Crossing the street, I wonder if the car is sticking out too much.  I pop the trunk and grab my backpack and water bottle. I slam it down and I see she is startled.  I pull my hat low and walk in the opposite direction.

  2. Jeanette says:

    Hi Shane!
    I’ve missed CCC too!  I made a guest appearance on CCC #244 but I think you missed it.  I’m trying to find my way back.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Jeanette: I can’t believe I missed that one either. One of my all-time favorites from you. So, when is YOUR first book coming out?

      • Jeanette says:

        Oh Shane…  If only I could flee to the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado and write my novel….I need to find the focus I need to do it. 

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Jeanette: I’ll answer that with one of my fav movie quotes: On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.

          Tick, tock. 😉

  3. Sean Murphy says:

    Leo fell onto the cheap motel bed, fatigue pulsing black at the edges of his vision, a siren song begging him to escape into unconscious. Even with his eyes closed, however, sleep wouldn’t take him. There was too much to process. The last 24 had seen death, rebirth, and new beginnings. He felt like a phoenix, newly raised from a burnt up body, uncertain what this new life held. He’d killed a man – the brutal memory was clear, he could visualise every action. But at the same time, it was as if he was seeing it through a stranger’s eyes, the lens of one short day seeming like a window to a distant past. Looking back on his former life, he could see the sum of his actions – he’d been a worthless drifter, a nobody heading nowhere pleasant. By all rights, a murder should have sent him further down that path, but instead it had made that identity seem foreign to him. Shed of the shackles of his past, he no longer knew who he was, but somehow he felt it was better.
    Laura. He’s felt awakened, renewed, before meeting her, but she’d zapped the spark, igniting something truly remarkable. Something so simple – the warmth of another human being, the trust of an innocent – seemed to validate his inner life, to mark him as a changed man.
    But with that change came fear. He held his new persona like a prized snow globe – unable to decode what held it together, he felt that any moment something would break the spell and the contents would spill out, revealing an ugly truth, telling him that he had not, could not, be changed.
    Tomorrow. He’d meet her again, see if he’d hold up to a closer inspection, if she’d peel back the outer layer and find something rotten within. He couldn’t help but feel fear at the meeting; having lost his whole life, he finally had something worth being scared for.
    It was a heady feeling to carry him into dreams.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Sean: You do realize that I can clearly see this on film right? And in a book?

      • Sean Murphy says:

        Well, it’s still pretty loose, but I’ve story boarded this one out a decent way, so we’ll see what it turns into 😉
        Thanks for the support, as always, it’s truly amazing

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Sean: I’m just stoked when I see writing that clearly belongs in books. Today’s post by Becca proves that the task is doable. I read enough and edit enough to know when something deserves to be in a book. This qualifies.

          • Sean Murphy says:

            I’ll be sure to send you a manuscript if and when I get that far 🙂

          • Shane Arthur says:

            @Sean: You’ll get that far, but, yeah, I know how difficult the journey is. I just finished my first book yesterday. Took me three months to write it, but it’s off to the other editors at Sean Platt’s publishing company. Each day, I set a simple goal — open MS Word and type at least one word. That was it! Just open the program and the file and type one word. Of course, I’d end up typing more than that, but the main point is to always move forward. Time moves forward, so we have to write forward, or else our ideas die.

          • Sean Murphy says:

            I’ve definitely been adopting a philosophy of “write something every day” which is a big step up from “write something when I finally feel I’ve absorbed enough material to be good enough to write something.” And congrats on the finished book!
            In a slightly unrelated update: Mitch and I were discussing evernote as a method of keeping up with our continuing CCC stories – I’ve just created mine here: https://www.evernote.com/pub/pangarl/creativecopychallenge

          • Shane Arthur says:

            @Sean: I wish I had time to give your your own page within CCC and update the story as you post it. I used to do that before I got super busy, but I just couldn’t keep up with everything. Glad you are using that Evernote tool to put this in one place. If you can directly link to your full story, you should do so at the end  of each submission.

          • Sean Murphy says:

            @Shane – No worries, glad to have the motivation to get into evernote – It’s awesome having all the bits and pieces in one place now. And I should be able to link to the full version now, so people can get some context.

          • Shane Arthur says:

            @Sean: P.S. My book shows writer’s how to polish their prose. Hopefully, writers will tell me now much they like it and that will be all the congrats I need.

          • Shane Arthur says:

            @Sean: I can’t mention the name of the book yet, but I can tell you (no joke) the title has the word Bleepin’ in it! 🙂

          • Sean Murphy says:

            I look forward to reading it 🙂

          • Shane Arthur says:

            @Sean: Feels super weird though. I’m used to judging the merit of the words I read. Now, I’m like an insecure kid hoping people like and accept what I’ve written. My hats off to writers out there.

          • @Sean: Yay! I Joined your notebook so that I can read it off line (laptop or Kindle!)

    • Nice scene, reminds me a little of the movie Man on Fire with Denzel Washington when reading it.

    • Sean, I am enjoying this immensely. I love the introspective interlude. Redemption. Is it really possible? Whether it is or not, you’ve made me sorta cheer for this character.

    • Jeanette says:

      SM: I’m coming in a little late but this is freakin’ awesomesauce (sorry, Shane).  I’m sitting at my desk, eating my yogurt, completely mesmerized by your words.  There are too many metaphors to quote!  This is what I call ‘soul writing’, when you feel the person has unlocked a level of pure emotion in their writing.  Great job, sir!

    • Nice job! Made me want to read more, to find out what she’ll think of him. 🙂

  4. Today’s entry is a sad one,

    Lost Memories
    Some lost memory of these strangers
    uncertain foreign thoughts seemingly gone
    panic and fear, unable to decode their identity
    game of trials; some recognition escape
    they stand before you smiling; loving
    yet no zap or spark of who they are comes
    and they claim to be your children 

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Justin: I read this as children growing older and us parents not knowing how to feel about their ability to go forth without our help. Super cool. I was looking at my children the other day thinking how fast they are growing up.

      • Wow, you know after reading it again I can see that interpretation as well.  My original thought was of someone suffering from Alzheimer’s being visited by their adult children who show love and he has no recollection of who they are, struggling with his own mind and memories trying to place them or find something.

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Justin: Ahhh! Now I see your version so clearly. That’s why I love language. You wrote one piece, but it multi-tasked into more than it’s whole. Love when that happens.

    • Perhaps because you preface this poem the way you did, I knew you were talking about an elderly person. that is sad, indeed.
      Nicely written!

    • Jeanette says:

      Justin this was gut wrenching. My grandfather has Alzheimer’s and I often wonder what it feels like inside of his head.  To be trapped in your own body and mind is a true form of hell. 
      Well done.

    • This was a beautiful take on Alzheimer’s. I haven’t known anyone personally with it, but I have a fascination with memory loss in all forms. I really liked this one. 

      • Thank you, it isn’t my only poem dealing with memory loss, I must have written more than a dozen over the years on my poetry blog and is also a subject of fascination.  The Notebook was one that stuck with me too.

  5. Shane Arthur says:

    Okay. I’m officially loving this quick, freestyle style:

    Foreign reflection. Identity uncertain. Memories muddled. Stranger’s pupils look back, decoding the uncertain in a language I don’t remember. Fear is lost within confusion. No escape for me. Zaps within a void.

  6. Liss Thomas says:

    Continuation . . .

     There is only darkness now.  My memory of light launched into the gloom above.  Fear, uncertain of the affects of my antidote, I am lost.  Sounds of scratching, digging, above and at the entrance of my haven.  The foreign sound of thunder rattles.  I hope.  The moans of undead strangers fill my ears, closer, more.   Those above reach me first, slick hands grabbing, pulling me toward them.  Shrieks rise as the rains fall.  The gloom has decoded my message, my cure.  I don’t struggle, I cannot escape.  One brilliant flash of light in the sky, zap!  

    Perhaps too late.  I see the attackers, circle, dark eyes, no pupils, just black.  A savage bite tears into me, black eyes sneer with greed.  My identity, my eyes dim, but light touches them.  Sun, killing the gloom.  Rain spilling the cure and black eyes, changing, understanding, mourning.

    The End/Beginning

  7. Cathy Miller says:

    Wow–that’s fabulous, Becca- congratulations!

    Everything was so foreign. Heather looked in the mirror and wondered the identity of the person looking back. Her memory knew only the last few moments. Try as she might, the image in the mirror and what came before were less than strangers. At least strangers knew who they were.

    Shifting her eyes away from the empty thoughts staring back, Heather gazed at the backs of her hands. She slowly traced the path of a large vein as if it could decode the mystery locked inside.

    Uncertain what to do, she sat wearily on the bed. Strangely, she felt no fear. How could you fear what you did not know?  But, she did feel lost. Lost in a world of someone else’s life, from which there was no escape. 

    “Heather, am I’m going to have to zap you between the eyes to get you moving? Come on. We’re going to be late.”

    Heather stared into the bluest eyes of the most beautiful man she had ever known. Wrong. Make that the only man she had ever seen. Who was he? How did he known her name? How did she know her name?

    “Late for what?”

    “Oh-ho. Don’t think you’ll get out of our wedding that easily,” he chuckled.

    And just like that, the fear took hold.

    • Cathy and the Chronicles of the Cold Feet
      You write such poetic prose. I felt as lost as the woman – almost hypnotically so. How did you do that? LOL

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Cathy: Great, great curve ball at the end. Love your style, as you know.

    • Cathy–thank you! I’ve missed talking to you and everyone on the CCC. I absolutely loved that piece! It reminded me of one of my favorite books, Before I Go to Sleep. If you haven’t read it–you should. It’s an excellent read. 

  8. Sleep Deprivation
    From uncertain memory
    Obscene strangers, lost.
    Rotting, putrid succubi
    Etherizing fright.
    Incapacitated brain
    Gasping for dear life.
    No escape from demons’ cursed,
     Intense stimuli.
    Decode foreign sensation,
    Enigmatic hug.
    Nearly lethal castrati
    Trembling alto voice,
    Incantations zap the fear.
    Trying to let go –
    Your identity chokes off.

  9. I didn’t know if I was ready to have a boyfriend. But I wasn’t just going to let go of someone who did something like this. I mean, this must have cost a fortune. I let the “yes” slip from my lips before I realized what I was doing. Then I hugged him. And for the first time in my life, we kissed. Kissing was very foreign to me. I wondered if I was doing it correctly. I couldn’t control myself, I started laughing.
    “What is it?” He asked me.
    “It’s just, yesterday morning we were complete strangers, and today we are dating.”
    “We are moving pretty fast. But I like it.”
    “Me too.” In all honesty, I was completely uncertain if this was actually a good idea. Especially since we just met yesterday. I had an intense fear about how long this was going to last. We had hung out for about 20 minutes before he looked at his watch and jumped at the time.
    “I’m sorry, but I have to go now, or my parents are going to kill me for making them wait in the car for this long.”
    I smiled and kissed him goodbye. And then it was silent once again. I sat on the piano bench trying to decode my identity, who was I now that I had a boyfriend? Am I different now than I was before I was in a relationship? Especially since we had only known each other for two days? I sat in that practice room for what seemed like hours lost in the memory of his kiss. The placement of his lips, the placement of my lips, the placement of his hands, and the placement of mine.
    Suddenly I heard a clap of thunder and I decided that it was time to go home. I put my clarinet back in my locker and then went outside. As I stood on the ramp, still sheltered by the roof I realized that there was no escape from getting wet from the rain, and I started running out to the car. Then I saw lightning zap the car next to mine, and I decided to wait until the storm passed.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Becky: Welcome to the CCC. That was such a neat, cool submission. Brought me back to more innocent days. Love that.
      Everyone welcome Becky to the addiction. Hope to see you each Monday and Thursday. What did you think of the challenge?

    • Welcome to the CCC, Becky. Your story does bring back memories. 🙂
      I don’t know what Shane is talking about, but lightning always scared me.
      (I’m kidding. Not about the lightning, but about Shane’s comment.)

  10. Everyone did so well! Mine is really rough and probably confusing because it’s being taken out of context! lol – but it’s all for fun, so enjoy! (Besides, Becca got mad at me the last time I was editing during a sprint!)

    “Oh Bluebell!” the three little demons caroled again.
    “My name is not Bluebell!” he cried angrily. His little sisters were forever teasing him about the identity his mother had given him.
    They just giggled and bounded in circles around him. They picked up a sing-song together.
    “Blue and Cassandra, sitting under the shade tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G!”
    “Ha, ha. Alright, that’s enough,” Blue said.
    “First comes love, then comes marriage…”
    “I said, that’s enough,” Blue said a little louder. He stomped his foot just for good measures too. But it wasn’t enough to stop them.
    “…Then comes little kids in a kid-goat carrier!”
    “That’s it!” Blue shouted at them. He lowered his head and prepared to charge them.
    “Ah!” the little girls screamed and darted easily out of his path. The four siblings darted around in circles for a time until Blue was dizzy and fell to his side in a heap on the ground, his feet extended outwards. The three sisters took tentative steps forward. Blue lay, weezing, but mumbling under his breath.
    “Why me…? Why me…?” Blue was asking no one in particular, praying for some sort of escape.
    “Blue?” Buttercup asked, uncertain. “You alright?”
    “Yeah, you alright?” Daisy said. “Ma ain’t gonna like it if you die.”
    “Nuh-uh,” Pat chimed in, agreeing with her sisters.
    “You can tell her just to go bug-off,” Blue said, picking his head off the ground at last. “I’m old enough to go on my Billy-Quest any day now. She can’t keep expecting me to come running whenever she bleats.”
    “What ya wanna go on a dumb old ‘billy-quest’ for anyway?” asked Buttercup. “You’ll just get eaten by a wolf.”
    The other two sisters giggled.
    “I will not,” Blue said defensively.
    “I’ll bet so. You’ll probably make ‘em sick too,” said Daisy, bring up the old joke that a silly goat would make a wolf sick if he ate him. Not that any of them knew that for fact or that any of them cared to volunteer to test the theory.   
    “Will not!” Blue shouted at them.
    “Will so!” they all shouted back.
    “Will not!”
    “Will so!”
    And thus the conversation carried on for several minutes until a movement in the distance distracted Blue from the argument. The little nannies caught the intent in his look and followed his gaze off into the distance.
    There, just coming over the hill were two beings, but they were still quite a ways in the distance. Heat waves distorted their image from this distance but even so, they were obviously foreign and didn’t belong in this country. It wasn’t just that they didn’t look like goats, but that they didn’t look like anything any of the little goats had ever seen.
    The three sisters scampered behind Blue then, thinking that he’d protect them, and peaked out from behind his legs. Blue took a certain measure of satisfaction in their fear. He only hoped he could keep up his own outward mask of bravery.  
    Thus they stood, trying to decode the shape of the approaching strangers through the heat waves.
    Suddenly Pat screamed out, “Wolf!” and took off running back towards the valley. Instantly the other two were on her heals, all three crying, “Mlat! Mlat! Wolf!”
    Instinctively, Blue wanted to turn with them and run too, run back to the safety of the goat herd. But something rooted him in place. While Blue wasn’t one hundred percent certain, but he was pretty sure those two things weren’t wolves. He’d never actually seen a wolf, but he was sure these weren’t it. One of them was big and dark. It had a tail that kept swishing back and forth. The other one, much smaller, walked on two legs. No tail.
    “Wait a minute,” Blue mumbled. He stretched his memory, certain that he’d seen something like this before. Then, excitedly he said, “That’s a … human! Not a wolf!”
    Blue had only seen a human one other time in his life. And that other, bigger creature. They called that one a horse…or did they? The thing looked like a horse, but it’s top half looked kind of like the top half of the human.
    Then he frowned. What would a human be doing clear out here? Clearly, they were lost.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Amanda: Welcome and what an neat, vicarious journey you took me on with this. What word gave you this idea?

      Everyone welcome Amanda to our club.

    • Welcome to the CCC, Amanda! I do believe this is the first time I’ve ever read about frolicking goats! That was so much fun, I hope you’ll reprise this on Thursday!

    • Amanda–I really enjoyed it! You’ve got dialog DOWN, girl! I love how much personality and relationship you’ve infused into this simple conversation. Well done. And your story sounds very intriguing. 🙂

      • Thanks @Becca! That really encourages me, because I feel like dialog is one of my weak points! =D

        Blue is a wacky secondary character in this story and I’m having fun developing him on the page 🙂 This scene was really fun because it’s his introduction to the book.

  11. Paul says:

    ‘You’re foreign, ent ya?’ Rosalie shuddered as his stale breath invaded her ear. She could hear the hatred and taste the alcohol. The smell was rank. His hands invaded her privacy, rifling through her pockets for her identity card, finally finding the precious object in the almost-secret inside pocket of her coat.
    It held a complete history of Rosalie in its memory, her medical procedures, psychological evaluations, financial and family status, but it would only display these to authorised authorities – police and medics and so on. To the man it displayed her basic details – name, nationality, date of birth – but this was more than she wanted him to know.
    ‘Ro-sa-lie. That a pretty name. Pretty lady too. I be Marcan. Now we no be strangers, see?’
    ‘It’s Rosa-lee, weirdo.’
    Marcan’s face paused to let his brain decode the uncommon words. He looked briefly uncertain.
    ‘I thought we be friends, now we no strangers. Better for you if we be. I nice to me friends.’
    Rosalie felt no fear, despite the threat. Her implant had already signalled the local authorities, giving her exact location and extent of her injuries: two shattered legs. Neuro-dampers had dulled her pain receptors, so she was comfortable, if immobile. She was still lost, though. She guessed she had travelled from some height, explaining why her legs were so broken.
    ‘You thinking of escape, Rosa-lee? You legs no work; broken, me sees. You can’t fly anymore, Rosa-lee.’
    ‘I never thought I could, Marcan.’
    ‘Forget lots in the descent, Rosa-lee. Me know. Me forgotten remembering and remember forgotten too. You will never forget forgetting or remember remembering.’
    Rosalie jumped as a burst of static invaded her thoughts, blurring her vision and ringing her ears. Marcan smiled knowingly.
    ‘That be the zap. U be lonely now.’
    Rosalie didn’t know what he was talking about, and then she felt it. Pain sparked in her legs, igniting a insatiable fire of agony that seared her nerves and shredded her sanity. She screamed, high-pitched and hysterical for a second, two, three, then silence.
    Marcan smiled wider, more gaps than teeth, more black than white.
    ‘Welcome, friend.’

    • Oh. My. God. Where is the book, Paul. I must read this! I know you have it, don’t hold back.
      This is one of the best short pieces of horror I’ve ever read. My skin is crawling with the creepies!
      Dang. I love this! You ever read Agatha H and the Airship City? You have created a vastly darker and scarier world than that one, which is a steampunk theme – and highly humorous.
      Well done. Please send link to your novel 😉

      • Paul says:

        Thanks Mitch. Much appreciated.
        Haven’t read much steampunk, and hadn’t particularly intended to write this style, but there the story went.
        If I ever write a novel I’ll be glad to send the link, or even a physical copy. I wouldn’t clear a space on your bookshelf anytime soon, though.
        You’ve made me smile – thanks! 🙂

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Paul: WHAT AN OPENING SCENE! I’m just amazed at this place we call CCC. So many stories I could see in books and movies. Today is an extremely down day for me, but every time I come here, I get just the lift I need. Thanks everyone. Thanks Paul.

      • Paul says:

        Cheers Shane.
        Like all of us, I’m happy when I write, and even more so when the joy of our combined efforts shines through and can brighten dark skies.
        It’s nice to escape.

    • Paul–Excellent entry! I love the hints at a futuristic or alternative world here. My favorite line is, “Me forgotten remembering and remember forgotten too. You will never forget forgetting or remember remembering.” That was creepy cool. I also love the uncertainty of where Rosalie came from and how she ended up his prisoner.
      Nicely done! 

  12. Before I even open my eyes, I hear the sound of someone knocking bottles over and throwing up. I rub my feet together trying to get the circulation running and pull what feels like my jacket closer to me. I feel the carpet under my face, scratchy and stiff. I don’t want to open my eyes but I know I must. There is no escape from life except for death and I’m not prepared for that yet.

    I pry one eyelid open and the tiny, cramped room swims into focus. Seeing the damage, I groan and shut my eyes again. I was hoping it was a dream. I try to decode the snippets that quickly run through my memory. I am uncertain at which point I lost consciousness. There were so many strangers present at the party last night and I felt lost in a foreign land. Fear took over and I obliterated any uncertain feelings I had with a pint of jack daniels and copious amounts of beer. By the end of the night my identity was zapped into nonexistence.

    But with every darkened night, comes the light of the morning and here I am again. Each time a little piece of me dies every time I wake up. 

    I roll over and look for my clothes.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Lisa: This is a perfect opening scene to a movie. I can see it so clearly. You rock!

    • Lisa–Great description here. This was a very sensory read for me, bringing me right in as if I was the one experiencing it. Love the melancholy of regret in this piece. Great job!

    • Great scene, Lisa. I feel the authenticity here! (Not implying anything – just that I remember the one time I got blind drunk at a frat party. LOL)
      The coolest line – for its simplicity – is: I feel the carpet under my face, scratchy and stiff.

  13. Rebecca says:

    Gianna knew she was in foreign territory, surrounded by strangers, when she arrived in Italy. You’d think she’d feel at home because of her Italian heritage, but she felt lost. She was a toddler when she last visited Italy with her parents. Even thought her memory was vague, Gianna felt she had to escape Chicago. Ethan, her fiancé, decided he didn’t want to marry her. She tried to decode what happened, but her friends convinced her he wasn’t worth it. Gianna was uncertain about her future and wanted to zap herself somewhere else. She was questioning her identity and feared what she might find.

  14. Thanks for entering, everyone! I absolutely loved reading all the pieces and seeing the creativity. You went places with these words I never would have expected. This was a lot of fun. 🙂

    And so, without further ado, I’m pleased to announce the winner: Cathy Miller! Congratulations on winning, Cathy. You get a signed paperback of Foreign Identity! Please email me at beccajcampbell.com with the address where you would like the book shipped.

    Let’s give Cathy a round of applause!

    To everyone else, you might not have won this time, but I have another opportunity for you. Susan Kaye Quinn interviewed me on her blog today and if you go there you can actually enter to win TWO ebooks. One is Foreign Identity and the other is my dystopian short story entitled Not the Norm. You don’t even have to write anything to enter. How much easier could it be? Go check it out! http://www.susankayequinn.com/2012/06/meet-becca-campbell-author-of-foreign.html

    • Cathy Miller says:

      WOW–how cool! Thank you, Becca. I never win anything – really. 😀

      That’s good motivation to get myself back over here. I’ve been buried and missing all the fun.  I can’t wait to get your book!! I’ll email you shortly. You inspire me to get back to CCC and to get that book written that I started here, too.

      Thanks again, Becca, and best of luck on your book! 

      • You are so welcome, Cathy! I’m glad to do it. I hope you enjoy the book.

        And I love that this has inspired you to get back to your writing. Tell me when you get that book published!  🙂

  15. Rebecca says:

    @ Cathy … Congratulations!

    @ Becca … Thanks! I want to go to the UK this year and have been contemplating visiting France and
    Italy too. 

  16. Bobbert says:

    As the words for this day were chosen by Becca Campbell i honor of her new book, I’ll follow that theme. Looking at the web site, it looks like it’s a scifi book and she likes time travel and super powers, so that’s what I’m aiming for in this story.

    I still don’t know how to create a short story without some kind of twist at the end, so I guess this one falls into that pattern as well. I’ll have to do some reading on writing endings to find some other options. I have spent a lot of time in the past reading about novel structure, as a novel is what I’d really like to write. (And I did the NaNoWriMo thing last year, but it’s only part of the book, and I’m currently bogged down in fixing the plot, which needs some work.)

    Anyway, so having finished the most current two challenges, I figured I’d look at a word list going the other way. I like the CCC concept, because without the word list, I don’t seem to know where to begin when it comes to a short story. Am also struggling with how to control the length of a story. It feels like the story has more control of the length than I do, but I guess I’ll figure it out with some experience. So here’s my third try…

    What had he done? Sure, following the 28th century discovery of wormlet consolidation, the technology for time travel was commonly understood, and any grad school physics student could build a working prototype that would move molecules. Most experts didn’t know how to scale it up to be stable zapping a person through time and space. But Bert Templeton know how to do it. And now he had proved it.
    Unfortunately, when he had finally pushed the big red button to initiate his escape through time, it brought the fear that comes from knowing military analysts had likely decoded the telltale Vermanti particle emissions. In other words, they knew what he had done, and they would figure out that he was here. Would they care enough to come after him? He must have lost his mind to do this. His future was so uncertain, and all he had really wanted to do was get away from the maddening routine of that useless government run lab. A single earth government may have been inevitable, but it was inefficient and corrupt. And his little lab no longer made path breaking discoveries. It just followed bureaucratic dictates and pretended the work was important.
    He shook off the memories that had driven him to make such a reckless escape. In this foreign land, he had no identity, no record in the database, no friends or family. Every person that he now met would start off as a stranger to him, and he had no blood relatives who would stand by him in the tough times. But mostly, he missed his wife and kids. His wife had passed away a few years ago, and the pain was still fresh. His kids were grown and busy with their own lives. He was still young, but alone. A lost soul, in a foreign land and a new time.
    The time machine that he travelled in, was a box, but it met all his needs. Not that different from a small apartment, really. No worries about air, water, bathing, nourishment or waste removal. Interstellar travel had been the catalyst for solving that problem centuries ago. It brought a freedom for individuals to concentrate themselves fully on things like relationships, art, education and the acquisition of power. Everyone seemed to fall into one of those categories. They were interested in people, artistic endeavors, the increase of knowledge or what every man desired deep down – to acquire and wield power. Over their environment or over other people. Some found other interests more fascinating, but that call of power still dominated human history. He supposed it always would.
    He realized, while he sat pondering the future, that some time had passed. He thought about facing the unknown outside in his new home, but didn’t feel any need to rush it. There were things to be done first. He cleaned himself up, had something to eat. And he reached over to pick up a cup of old-fashioned coffee when he saw it lift up. Before he had even reached over to get it. He was startled and the cup dropped, spilling some the coffee when the cup broke. He didn’t mind. He had the equipment with him there to make new cups or dispose of the rubbish.  But he was a bit alarmed at the event. It didn’t seem that he had lost his mind, although he probably wasn’t the best impartial judge of that. He had heard stories of telekinesis, but never really believed in it.
    Intrigued by the new experience, he played with this new gift. He wondered if his mind was now powerful, or if the surrounding environment could turn thoughts into motion. In time, he had learned to control everything with his mind. He could even lift his arms up using mind power. He chuckled to himself, thinking that with more time, he might even be able to life himself up and do some flips in the air. He took meticulous notes of everything he learned.
    The lack of exercise was a bit of a concern to him, so he started a routine of pushups and sit-ups and isometrics that he had remembered his sons doing. 
    Over the years, he had become absorbed not so much in the physical gymnastics that his mind could perform, but in the fact that his mind had somehow expanded. He was able to work on problems that had stumped even the great physicians of his day, and find satisfying solutions. The work enthralled him, and he continued to take copious notes on his progress.
    One day, he began to sense something that he had not felt in a long time. Fellowship with another person. He heard a voices in his own mind. They were just kids, but he felt so much joy. Then he realized, the voices weren’t in his mind, they were outside his time machine. They sounded so non-threatening. His fears of the outside world in this foreign land disappeared. He didn’t have to be an intrepid explorer to go outside now, and he jumped at the chance. He opened up the portal to the outside, and he cautiously walked out. He saw the two children. They came running up to him to greet him. He looked out at the beautiful valley and the trees and the expanse and he started to weep.
    Today, he had turned 96, and as he absorbed all the wonder of nature’s paradise, he asked himself, “What have I done?”

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Bobbert: I’m thoroughly enjoying your submissions here. You have a cool style about your writing.

      And as for story and plot and such, I always point people to Larry Brooks over at storyfix.com. I believe in his teachings so much that I put a storyfix cliff’s notes link on our site where I list some of his best material in one place. Take a look there (and get his book).

    • Bobbert says:

      Thanks Shane.

      Am enjoying the site, and thanks for all the comments. Don’t know how many of these I’ll be doing, but I’m sure having fun with them now, and I believe it’s helpful as I try to learn how to write.

      Will check out the story fix info.

      • Shane Arthur says:

        @Bobbert: If you forgot a word, you can re-post if you’d like. No worries. We have few rules here at the CCC.

  17. Bobbert says:

    I edited my first comment… found that I had included “memories”, after all. Thanks. I like the “few rules” approach. Anxious to start another story when I have time. (Am currently on vacation, which is looking like it may include a lot of writing.) I will be interested to see if, after a handful of stories, I run out of ideas.

    Anyone else ever feel like the story ideas are like “popping corn kernels” and that while you can try to apply heat, it’s not really under your control when or how they will pop?

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Bobbert: Everyone goes through that phase of “holy bleep, will I be able to continue.” Some folks here, including myself have done all 252 challenges. The saying goes, “Whether you believe you will have writer’s block, or believe you won’t have writer’s block, you will be right.” You will run out of stories when you run out of heartbeats and breath; until then, no excuses exist. 🙂

  18. Robyn Lostheart says:

    Depression is
    when your emotions are foreign and heavy
    when your identity is a horrible despondent mystery
    when your memory is haunted and scarred
    when strangers replace friends
    when you must decode your own opinions with logic and circumstance
    when your future is so bleak you wish it were uncertain and daunting
    when fear replaces love
    when you are lost without any desire to be found
    when you lose the drive to escape all the burdens dragging you down
    when nothing can zap you hard enough to wake you from your dangerous stupor of hopelessness

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