Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #255

Today we have our own Cathy Miller choosing the words. Cathy is our Welcoming Queen.

This is a writing prompt. Bet you can’t do it! Take the 10 random words below and crush writer’s block by creating a cohesive, creative short story! And remember: after (if) you finish entering your submission into the comment field, 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. Pressure
  2. Smile
  3. Rose
  4. Blind
  5. Aching
  6. Hope
  7. Ridiculous
  8. Savior
  9. Hunter
  10. Cactus

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
Collective Ink Well: Personalize Your Thesis Theme
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 #255”

  1. Nikki J. says:

    The pressure is building. I try to put a smile on my face to mask the pain that I’m feeling. I’m full of confusion right now- do I stop and smell the roses or do I press on towards my goal? Or is there a way to blend those two together? There is an aching in my heart with all this news lately. I don’t want to lose hope but the news I keep getting is just getting even more ridiculous. I try to look to my Savior for comfort in the midst of this chaos. Trying to find a cure or a treatment is like being a hunter without any prey. How do I hunt for something that just isn’t there? I feel as though I have fallen on a cactus- the pain is so piercing.

    • Nice prose, I just caught that it was blind not blend as the one of the words.  Ironically my own poem has similar elements in your last two lines but you use them as metaphors and I use them literally.

      • Nikki J. says:

        Ah, you are right! It is blind! I copied the words on a paper to start writing and couldn’t decipher my own handwriting!
        I just read your poem and we do have similar elements. 🙂

    • Nikki, this is a nice, introspection. I love the yin and yang of the piece – it starts and ends with pain and, like a vortex, the counterpoints meet in the middle. (confusion/how to hunt, goal/cure, aching/Savior, aching=clinging to hope)

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Nikki: Reminds me of when my herniated disc acts up. 😉 Well done.

  2. Cathy Miller says:

    I’m sorry I’ve been M.I.A. June has been an extremely busy month. In fact, I have a very pressing deadline for Friday so if I don’t make it over here today or tomorrow, I will be here this weekend.
    Enjoy the challenge and I can’t wait to read all your pearls. 🙂

  3. Here is my poem entry for today,

    Hope Floats
    What a stupid hunter
    here now looking ridiculous
    an aching smile on my face
    with skin turning rose rapidly
    from a plethora of cactus needles
    now stuck here applying pressure
    relying on blind hope for once
    that a savior will find me
    before I succumb to poison 

    • Justin, this made me smile. I never once imagined a hunter looking at himself derisively. So, I’m guess the character is “playing” at being a hunter – and faring badly. Like a city slicker. LOL

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Justin G: Great capture of that fear of being stranded, alone, injured. As always, well done.

  4. Liss Thomas says:

    Continuation . . .
    Pressure builds behind my eyes as I read the next name on my list.  A short mocking smile rises to my lips before the aching inside blinds me.  It’s personal now and I hope I have the nerve to complete the job.  I feel ridiculous for not believing it would come to this, to her.  She needs me.  I’ll come to her rescue, a true savior, smelling of roses and chocolates before the hunter strikes.  My insides knot and prick painfully like a cactus in my stomach.  I’ll go and I’ll pull the trigger.  It’s my job.  It’s stranger this time.  I’m not sure who will live.

    • Liss, this is hot! That final line sums up the whole crisis for the character, no? 🙂
      Love the cactus in the stomach: errgh!

      • K says:

        I like that it’s a continuation of the other part you wrote for another challenge recently. (Maybe the one before the last one?) You left it at a cliffhanger last time, but this sums up the rest well without being lengthy and perfectly describes the feeling of urgency. Nice! 

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Liss: You brought the heat. Pass the popcorn! When’s the next one?!

  5. Atlantis Rising
    Before there was time, there was the shadow of the cactus. In this shadow was born the proto-adversaries – the Hunter and the Savior. They loved each other as brothers do, until they grew too big to be embraced by the shadowy arms of the cactus. The Hunter kissed his brother before heading north. The Savior went south.

    In the north lay the riches of the land. Savages lived in crude tents, scavenging the surroundings in the most ridiculous, haphazard way. When the Hunter arrived, it was clear that there was no hope for these peoples. They retained not one atavistic shred of evolutionary efficiency. The Hunter could not permit the wanton plunder of his new home. With a heavy aching in his heart, he exterminated every last one of them.

    The Hunter subdivided the north into seven regions. Into the sixth region, he buried the carcasses of the savages. Then, he erected a massive stone golem to ward off trespassers. After a day of rest, he went to work on the other regions.

    The Savior found no such riches in the south. Indeed, he nearly went blind from stumbling around in the hot white sands of the Great Desert. Were he not a spawn of the cactus, he surely would have joined the bleached bones of the hapless creatures who had made the one-way trip to oblivion. As it was, he wandered aimlessly until he happened upon the most beautiful creature he’d ever laid eyes upon.

    A blood red rose, ten feet tall, grew out of the sand in the very heart of the Great Desert. She bowed before the Savior and then begged him to yank her out of the earth. The Savior wordlessly complied. The rose, now freed, bestowed a smile of gratitude. She refused to pierce the Savior’s thumb with her mighty thorn, despite the pressure with which he still held her. Instead, she shook pollen into his hair and, with a dying gasp, told him simply:

    “Be fruitful and multiply.”

    • Liss Thomas says:

      My favorite line

      Were he not a spawn of the cactus, he surely would have joined the bleached bones of the hapless creatures who had made the one-way trip to oblivion  

      It rings of a rich story to be told.   

    • K says:

      You, sir, like writing stories that are either historical or myth-like. Well, from the submissions I’ve seen so far from you. I hope the Savior did expand in the south after his harsh journey. You did incredibly well!

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Mitch: Love how your mind works and where it takes us. Bravo!

  6. K says:

    It was painful for me to write, but here goes. It was longer than expected. Sorry if it is too terribly cliched.

    The exertion of pressure dealing with the reign of control considerably increases when he presents the object he mentions he had wanted to give to me. His nonchalant nature in arriving here percolates false pretense. What is supposed to be warm regards is in actuality a cold, pretentious smile that conveys a clandestine message. You are a victim on the palm of my hand; you are the ice underneath my feet. I feel as if I’ve betrayed every conviction that has been instilled in me when I remain stationary. The taciturnity prevailing between him and I is instantly broken as he is the first to speak.
    “Here. Happy Valentine’s Day.” Shoving the item in hand in front of me, the brunette has a look of incredulity when I refuse to graciously accept the present I hadn’t asked for. Instead, he grabs a limp arm by my side, unfurls my fingers from digging inside my palm, and places it in my hand. Unable to refute his direct actions, I gingerly wrap my fingers around the cylindrical stem before it would be expected to fall to the ground. I blink, trying to register and process what was happening. The more I focus on the object placed in my possession, the more I think should’ve listened to the sirens going off in my head and responded to them instead of being blinded by irrationality. Beautiful was the first word to describe the plant. The rose was simply that. But in another light, the one that I see it in, the rose’s lurid red petals remind me of pain rather than ardent love or passion and the thorns themselves do no justice to contradict my thoughts. “So?” he verbally nudges for my attention. I raise my head and give him the answer he’s been awaiting.
    “Oh, thank you.” I voice my half-hearted gratitude. Looking umimpressed, an inquisitive eyebrow is arched at my callousness. I heave a sharp exhale. “It’s nice and pretty. Okay? Now, if that’s all you want from me, could I go home?” As soon as I take a step forward, he latches onto my arm. I jerked my arm, expecting to be liberated. I am met with bitter disappointment when his grasp is like wrought iron around my arm. Due to his tenacity, I crane my head to meet him. The grin etched on his face awhile ago is toned down to a hint of a smile. Why is he so adamant today of all the days of the year? “What is it?”
    “Give me one minute. I’ve got something else prepared, and it won’t take long. Just hear me out.” he promises. 
    “Fine.” I reluctantly spit out. “Where is it?”
    “Right here.” the brunette extends his hands though there is no sign of another gift. With it being my turn to be thoroughly baffled by his supposedly empty words, I cock my head to the side.
    “What are you-” Before I could refute his claim, he spins me around to face him. He yanks me towards him, and the gap between us becomes nonexistent. Warmth permeates every fiber of my being when his lips come into contact with mine. To my consternation, overwhelming aversion defeats my general disorientation, and I react to it. My arms resting by my sides lift in order to shove the brunette away from me, but he also had other plans. His hands encircle my wrists, constraining them. Being physically stronger than I am, I am forced to clench my hands into taut fists. A dull, aching throb cuts in the palm of my left hand. Jagged thorns dig into the skin, creating shallow to mild cuts. I endure the physical pain for a bit, and before I knew it, he relinquishes his grasp on my wrists and breaks way from me. Glaring holes into his head, I hope that he would say something along the lines of “Just kidding!” or do something to suggest that it was platonic. There is nothing of the such. He leans in and ruffles my disheveled hair.
    “Bye.” the same smile materializes on his countenance once again, or was it even classified as that smile? The chill I usually experience is replaced by what? Guilelessness? Retracting his hand from my head, the brunette turns on his heel and begins at a steadfast pace down the street in the opposite direction. I try to wrap my mind around the events that occurred and assess it. I find no logical explanation for these occurrences. Peering down the road, I spot the speck in the obscure distance. He just turned around and left in that fashion. Would it be too ridiculous if I chased after him? Deciding against meeting up with him again, I start traversing down the street on my journey home. The only thought haunting me at that time is the question of his action. Was he being sincere, or was he doing it on pure whim? No, he couldn’t have meant it that way. Having heard facts from his childhood friend and also a close friend of mine about the brunette, I know he is a hunter in his Casanova ways. If I were in any way involved with him, I’d merely be a plaything he’d toss out when he was done with me. But why did I oppose those facts and grow closer to the brunette? I am a victim on the palm of his hand, ice beneath his feet. Was I being hurt because of the pain he inflicts on me, or did I bring it upon myself thinking there was no feasible way he would try and hurt me because I was comfortable around him? No matter. I need to sever these feelings and this ineffable attraction to him from me to avoid the affliction of pain. I wouldn’t be a damsel in distress. I wouldn’t need a savior. I needed to be as resilient as a lone cactus thrust against the desert terrain. Bent on my resolve on this issue, I march up the front steps to the door and unlock the door with the keys I extracted from my pocket. I muster up the happiest smile I could make as I step in the illuminated living room. Swinging the door behind me shut, I stow my left hand with the rose behind my back. The gashes palpitate, spilling blood from their mouths. They are the scars of separation. 

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @K: Hard for you to write, but super easy to read, seeing how into it I was. Well done indeed.

    • K, This is gripping, written in a style reminiscent of a writer from Jane Austen’s time. I hope the pain did not result from the proximity of this account to factual remembrance. (heh, your style is infectious…)

  7. The pressure to smile at Rose, down on one knee in front of me, was enough to blind me, but I clenched my aching jaws and tried to sound hurt. “I hope your ridiculous attempt to make me look like a fool is finished?”

    “Oh, babe,” she said, her eyes brimming with tears. “You’re my savior! I only wanted…I’m sorry I made you angry. Can you forgive me?”

    I sighed, finally letting the smile have its way with my face. “Rose Hunter,” I said, “You’re like a prickly cactus sometimes, you know that?” I pulled her to her feet and kissed her. “Of course I’ll marry you, you idiot,” I said, grinning like a fool.

    Around us, the entire restaurant erupted with applause. 

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Gary: Damn, that was hilarious! Welcome to the CCC Gary. I love your style of humor.
      What did you think of the challenge? Let us know, and I hope to see you each Monday and Thursday.
      Everyone welcome Gary to the addiction.

      • Heh…someone on Facebook posted a link to this, and I looked with mild curiosity…and damn if a story using the 10 words–in order–just sort of…happened. 🙂 This is why I love writing prompts. I have a writing group on Second Life that issues monthly challenges of this sort, with a word count limit. 

        I think I’ll be back. :) 

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Gary: That’s cool back story. Yeah, I remember when I first tried this technique. A writing forum member posted a list of words and challenged people to write a poem with one of the words. I thought how cool it would be to use ALL the words and throw the rhyming out the door and see what happened. I couldn’t get over how cool the concept turned out, so eventually I just had to start a prompt site.

      • Cathy Miller says:

        @Gary-Welcome to CCC!
        When the pressure was on and we needed a smile, CCC rose to the cause. Blind to criticism, we have an aching need to bring hope to the words we love. From ridiculous challenges we are sure we can’t meet, CCC becomes the savior to our soul. So, release those worries and become the hunter of all you need as CCC nourishes the cactus of creativity.

    • Liss Thomas says:

      I see you brought your A game Gary!  Nice to see you here!
      Malissa ‘Liss’ Thomas :) 

    • Nikki J. says:

      LOVE IT! that was awesome!

    • Gary, that was fun. A nice twist.
      Welcome to the CCC!

  8. Jen says:

    These are really helping me thrugh some transiitions in my wip. Really thankful. At the same time, I wonder if Im just putting off the inevitable sad part…

     What a ridiculous place for two girls to be. The pressure of decades, centuries settled on two under-prepared sets of shoulders. Staring at her through the chain links, her rose-colored lips bent into an aching smile. In one moment, the scales fell from our eyes, we were no longer blind to the place where we lived. Instead of the openness of naivete and youth, we robed ourselves with cactus skin, a false defense. We could no longer hope our fathers would be the saviors we had imagined them to be. 
    “So.” I offered. 
    “So.” She replied. 
    I wrapped my fingers around the links, she wrapped hers around mine. The hunter green plaid of her skirt winked in the light. 
    “Still want to meet tomorrow?” 
    I shrugged. Of course I did. 
    “It won’t be easy,” I said. 
    “That’s what will make if fun.” I can still hear the laugh she released then, like a dam busting with force and might. Strong. 

  9. Bobbert says:

    The pressure rose when he was left alone on the stage, with an incomplete set. The play’s director had seen him sawing some wood and assumed that he knew how to finish the work. 
    “How could that man walk away the night before, with a smile and some blind hope that I can do this? It might only be a ridiculous school production of a western comedy, but this is going to be really embarrassing if the set’s not done.”
    He looked at a cactus that needed paint, the bows to be made for the bow hunter, and the log cabin that looked more like a kid’s tree house because the logs on the outside were not yet installed.
    “And I’m supposed to be his Savior tonight? Forget it.” As he rose from his knees slowly, he put a hand on his aching back.
    Then he turned out the lights and walked out, not yet comprehending the level of discomfort and regret he would soon feel. This was a bad day, but it would leave him a better man.

  10. Jake says:

    The pressure to smile rose from a blind and aching hope that no matter how ridiculous it seemed, her savior Hunter, would retrurn from Cactus Creek.

  11. Robyn Lostheart says:

    Our Creativity is Ours Alone
    By Robyn Lostheart

    Pressure on the hand
    Push left 
    Push right
    Smile plastered on the face
    Don’t fight
    Don’t use your sense
    Act blind
    Act dumb
    Forsake hope for pleasure
    A feast 
    for a crumb

    Like a two sided rose
    and Pain
    Ridiculous how we exchange
    for gain
    Saviour from this trend
    Could it
    be real?
    They have us bound in chains
    Trapped deep
    Secretly aching for freedom
    Our ideas they cast away
    Our ideas
    they fuddle
    We are cactus, they are the desert
    Our thirst
    must relieve
    We are smothered and silenced
    They shout loud in ears
    Such noise
    Such din
    Savvy hunter of our gifts
    We Can’t
    Let Them 

  12. Shane Arthur says:

    Quick, free-flow:
    I pressured through a smile. Not rose-worthy, but rather like the blind aching of the hopeful ridiculously awaiting their savior, or a lost hunter acting like the cactus he’s eating is venison.

  13. Rebecca says:

    Your smile is a gift to someone.
    Don’t wait for a savior to save you. Save yourself.
    The aching in your heart won’t go away until you face it.
    Don’t pressure yourself to be perfect. No one is perfect.
    It’s ridiculous to think you have to be like everyone else. Just be you.
    Stop to smell a rose or any other flower. It will brighten your day.
    Even a cactus is beautiful in all its prickliness.
    Don’t turn a blind eye to the injustices around you. Stand up and do something about them and give others hope.
    Eventually, the hunter becomes the hunted.

  14. Duane says:

    The last batter absently scuffed the dust beside home plate, licked two fingers, and held them ominously in the prevailing breeze.  He felt a little ridiculous in his lime-green uniform, which had “Cactus Jill’s Jailbonds” emblazoned, in magenta, across the chest.
    Yet,his heart was aching for him to be the savior of the Series, the last hope, who could break the 3-3 tie in favor of the Jailbondsmen in this, the last game of the Little League World Series, a real pressure cooker- no doubt.  A feeling of power surged through him; he was the hunter,wielding his ash club at an angle that flashed rays of certain defeat to the pitcher.
    Pete Rose squinted into the blinding sun with his characteristic grimace, which the pitcher read as a smile of extreme confidence.  The poor knock-kneed hurler tossed a pathetic, wobbly low ball which Pete effortlessly swatted over the center field bleachers.


    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Duane: That was awesome! Welcome to the CCC. I can tell by this short submission your love of words and creative writing (all in two paragraphs). I’m sure the others will love you here.

      What did you think of the challenge? Let us know. And I’ll look for you each Monday and Thursday when we do the challenges.

  15. Kathleen K says:

    No pressure to smile. The rose – white peddled that is by any other name the Fred Howard (my grandfather) — has thorns who’s aroma blinds you to the aching caused by their sharpness. Hope’s eternal when floral gifts abound. It is a bit ridiculous to think these are signs of love when they are just gifts from the Savior. Hunters in the high desert can even find them on cactus. 

  16. Rebecca says:

    @ Shane…I couldn’t resist that last line. It reminded me of “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell.

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