Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #252

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. Sketch
  2. Tear
  3. Electric
  4. Mild
  5. Explicit
  6. Hold
  7. Ill
  8. New
  9. Hang
  10. Care

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


39 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #252”

  1. Bobbert says:

    Well, maybe I’ll share another amateurish attempt. Any thoughts on what would make it work better would be appreciated. Also, someone let me know if I’m cheating by using other forms of the words (e.g. “held” versus “hold”, “tore” vs “tear”).

    Traffic could not be heard along this dirty back street deep in the bowels of Chicago. The mob owned this block, and they owned the neighborhood. As far as they were concerned, they owned the city. This restaurant was where they gathered. A social club for well-connected power brokers, and men without conscience.
    The place was closed for business, but through the front doors walked a man with some muscle named Shorty. Everybody knew Shorty, and the scar that ran down the side of his face was unforgettable. But nobody recognized the new guy. Mostly, they noticed that he was wearing a fancy new suit, and seemed quite happy about himself. Clearly, he didn’t know where he was, or care who had hired him. But the guy was a goofball, and obviously no competition for any of the men in the room. Yet his arrogance rose like a stench to the men who he had come to meet. They watched him with curiosity and distaste as he waltzed in like a freak.
    Johnny had city and state politicians in his pocket. He had members of the police force that would cover for him. With a discreet whisper he could make men disappear from the face of the earth, never to be found. He could make a man rich, or bring him to his knees begging for mercy. He was not a man to be played with, and he did not suffer fools.
    Everyone looked at Johnny. He was accustomed to deference. And fear. While he was happy with them, they had it good. But they never knew when times might change for the worse. It kept them on edge, and Johnny wouldn’t have it any other way.
    Johnny explained to the group that the famous artist had been brought from Europe, hired to do a sketch of his finance. He turned to the stranger and said, “What do you have for me?”
    The room filled with an electric shock when he held up the paper.
    Maurice had sketched an explicit picture of a naked woman sitting on a floor rug, and it looked just like Johnny’s fiancé. Her finger was extended, with a beckoning gesture for whoever happened to be looking at the drawing, and she had a “come hither” look on her face.
    With more of a growl than words, Johnny said, “This is some kind of sick joke. Well, F— Y— .” He quickly tore the page in half, and locked eyes with the artist.  “Why did you do this?”
    The poor guy was getting nervous, and he saw a couple of the men putting their hands on what looked like guns. He wasn’t sure what to say, and feeling that his fate would hang in his response, he squeaked out, “I just drew the picture like I was asked. I do these all the time. I’ll show you my portfolio. I don’t mean any disrespect. She seemed to think you would like it.”
    Johnny pondered the answer, trying to make some sense out of it, but mostly wanting the guy to pay for his lack of respect. The men with guns raised their eyebrows and adjusted their stances. Pupils dilated and trigger fingers got twitchy. Then, just as Johnny had decided what to say, his fiancé walked into the room with a big smile on her face.
    “Ooooo! You got my present, Chief! What do you think?”
    “Darlin’. This is not what I was expecting. What did you tell this weasel face to do for you?”
    “I gave him that photo of me from the first time we met. The one where I had my finger out calling you over, so I could give you my phone number. It was the best day of my life, honey. I gave you that sexy look, and someone snapped the photo. I’m so glad they did, because now I can remember that moment forever. I told Maurice here to draw it for you, but to make me look really good. And I was wearing that nasty blue dress with the ruffles, so I told him to make sure he didn’t draw that dress. And make it a picture that my poopsie would treasure.”
    All eyes were on Johnny. The corner of his mouth twisted up a bit, and then he let out a booming laugh. “Maurice, you are one lucky guy. I was about to tell my friends here to dump you in the river. Turns out, you just did what she said.”
    He looked around, and then said to a man named Frankie, “Take Maurice to the airport, and make sure he never comes back.”
    Maurice’s eyes bulged, he got a mild case of the shakes, and then he bent over like he was ill and going to hurl. All he had really heard was “make sure he never comes back.” Frankie got to him quickly, and suggested that throwing up here was not such a good idea. He hurried Maurice out of the room before Johnny changed his mind. “I’m not gonna to kill you. Johnny just don’t want to see you again. Keep the retainer fee, but don’t ask for more. And stay out of Chicago.”
    Johnny was done. “Everyone out! That’s it for tonight. Go home. And not a word to anyone about this.” The room was clear in less than a minute. “Good night, Vinnie” “See you Shorty” “Tell the wife I said hello.” “Can I catch a ride with you, Swifty. The voices and the footsteps faded, and the door slammed shut. In no time, it was completely quiet, and he was alone. 
    Johnny looked around the empty room with a twinkle in his eye. He casually strolled over to the pieces of the sketch and picked them up. And he whistled like a little kid as he walked back to his office to find some tape.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Bobbert. Well, I’ll be damned; you’re a natural-born storyteller. I love seeing this happen here. Continue writing. I believe you were meant to. (and yeah, you can stretch the rules here at the CCC.)

    • Bobbert, that was fun! One of the things I love about the really good gangster movies is that they capture the “mundane” day-to-day of a thug’s life. This was an excellent example!

      Heh, mundane is relative, right? I’m sure Maurice didn’t think it was!




  2. Cathy Miller says:

    If I could sketch but one tear in this electric life of ours, it would be the judgment we all learn to accept. It starts as a mild form of criticism and grows more explicit with age as we try to hold on to the innocence of youth.

    And if we stop, would we all feel the pain and become ill with what has gone before us? Could we find something new to hang our hopes on and learn to care like the child we left behind?

  3. Paul says:

    The New Year arrived, introduced by the sonorous chimes of Big Ben and the blinding white of an angry blizzard. I didn’t care for Hogmanay* and the celebration that went with it, but this year was different. For the first time in my life I wasn’t ill. I wasn’t suffering. I was dead.

    It wasn’t as bad as I had feared, despite the explicit warnings from my family. They had willed me to persevere, to fight, to hold on and hang on in there. All the usual platitudes. They said death would be difficult, but like trying to sketch smoke they could never capture reality.

    The passing was a mild electric spark, the static discharge from a door handle or friend, more surprise than shock. I sensed my body and soul tear apart like an Oreo cookie. I was out in the night, dancing with capricious snowflakes, wassailing with friendly revellers. Sunrise was a lost memory and a dream.

    For the first time, I was enjoying a party. And it was too late to go back.
    *New Year’s Eve in Scotland

  4. Liss Thomas says:

    Rapid waters rushed her precious new bundle to safety.  Caspia took hold of her dagger and waited.  The sound of crashing and the ill smell of the beast reached her first.  She blended with her sisters, the trees, up high, before she sprang out slashing wildly at the troll’s face.  He unleashed a string of explicit oaths, flailing to dislodged his attacker.  Caspia dropped to the ground with care, quietly sketching a trail away from the river.

     “I smell your fear! ” he taunted, letting the words hang in the air, electric, deadly.

    “You lie, troll.  I have no fear.” An uncharacteristic smile crooked his mouth.

    “You fear I find your young, ” he said, stomping though the brush, closer, closer.  The troll smashed and toppled a tree in one blow.  Caspia fell from it into his large hands but she did not fear her death.  A tear slid down her cheek, a mild pain spreading.

    “You will never find her.”

  5. Henry was too ill to do much more than hold on to his shirt. He clutched the fabric as if to hang on to the bag of sick that threatened to sketch a new pathway from his boiling gut to his panting mouth. A jolt of electric current tingled his tongue, a clear signal that the vomit was about to win the battle of wills. Henry uttered a mild expletive and pushed his way to the front of the bus.


    Martha watched the greenish man as he lurched toward her. The terminal was two blocks away, but security rules in the post-pandemic age dictated that no passengers on a public conveyance be granted egress at a terminus if one or more infected riders were on board. Martha had already violated two directives during her probation. Her supervisor had threaten to tear her head off if she didn’t last six months. The man’s cheeks were convulsing – it was time for him to go. She slammed on the brakes.


    Petey was twisting his multi-colored cube toy as the bus sped toward his new home. He was traveling alone for the first time, but he was not scared. His traveling papers had explicit instructions for the au pair, who was to meet him at the terminal. He had modified them slightly, to include a detour to the ice cream shop. Petey was twisting the cube, thinking of mint chocolate chip and busty babysitters, when the bus skidded to a halt. Petey fell out of his seat, right into the path of a lurching man.


    Henry didn’t care anymore. He opened his mouth wide, squeezed his eyes shut and…tripped over a little boy. Somehow, the retching muscles got reassigned to balancing duties and Henry got a reprieve. He opened his eyes, took in the glare of the bus driver, the wail of a trampled toddler and the outraged cries of his fellow passengers. He was so confused that he didn’t even protest as the doors of the bus opened and he was pitched out.


    Martha pulled into berth 18. Petey and the rest of the travelers debarked. As they each went through customs, the virus scanners stayed green.

  6. This one was probably one of my more disturbing ones and reading the word sketch, reminded me of a police sketch which set the theme for the poem.

    Just one explicit moment
    tear falling as you hold this sketch
    once mild life of care turned ill
    replaced with electric pain
    wishing you could hang yourself
    or the perpetrator who invoked
    this new state upon you 

  7. Robyn Lostheart says:

    Artist’s Sketch
    by Robyn Lostheart

    Stroke after stroke
    back and forth the pencil strikes
    Electric innovation drives the image into being
    Perfection is far from a mild sensation
    It burns like fire
    Fervent expression through a humble sketch 
    Clarity made explicit
    the nagging disapproval
    threatening to tear the masterpiece to memory
    Hang on, oh artist
    Hold on to the dream you have for your creation
    Out of passionate care
    Out of obsession against the ill
    Something brilliant and new is born


  8. Rebecca says:

    Sketch out your life and tear out the scenes and characters that no longer work.
    Instead of hanging onto the old, let it go, and welcome the new.
    But, take care not to become attached because that which you hold onto could slip through your hands.
    Be explicit when you dream and feel the electric current of possibility pulsate through your being.
    Hold no ill will towards anyone for it can manifest as disease in your body. 
    Now’s not the time to be meek and mild, for now’s the time to roar like a lion.

  9. Shane Arthur says:

    Another quick, free-flow submission:
    Sketch me a tear. I’ll wait, playing cheap electric violin on mild, explicitly holding in my contempt so I don’t get ill.
    Then, tell me something new. I’ll hang with anticipation, and care less with each swing.

  10. Rebecca says:

    @ Shane… Thanks! I’ve been slicing and dicing characters and scenes left and right this past year.

    BTW: Loving the free-flows. 🙂

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Rebecca: Good for you. Keep on keeping on!
      Thanks, I’m loving this free-flow form. Didn’t think I would, but I do.

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