Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #259

Author, songwriter and podcaster Kenn Crawford, picked today’s challenging words. Kenn is the author and producer of the Parsec-nominated audiobook, DEAD HUNT, and wrote “Bayou Billy” right here on the CCC! Check out The Saga of Bayou Billy.

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. Gnu – A large dark antelope with a long head, a beard and mane, and a sloping back.
  2. Foxed
  3. Uncharacteristically
  4. Zombie
  5. Sketchbook
  6. Xenophobia
  7. Polyunsaturated
  8. Incoherent
  9. Blackberry
  10. Gnarly

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:
Third Tribe Marketing: Marketing done the right way
Story Structure Demystified: Best damn writing book out there


40 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #259”

  1. Shane Arthur says:

    Kenn, I see your challenge and raise you one. 🙂

    I once knew a Gnu. Nice enough critter. A bit odd though.

    But he could outfox a fox so well, the fox had no clue he was outfoxed —uncharacteristically so, considering how smart those suckers are.

    I once had an hombre that was a zombie. Sketchbook scary, but a nice enough fellow nonetheless. He was xenophobic though, so he only ate dark meat —said it was high in polyunsaturated fats which made the skin he had left vibrant and healthy. It’s funny, looking back, how I understood him, considering how incoherent a person can be while talking with only half a jaw.

    I once swallowed a Blackberry. Gnarly when the sucker finally finished downloading from my system.

  2. Liss Thomas says:

    Talk about words for thought!  You have not bested me yet CCC!  Here goes . . .

    Bayou Bertha felt uncharacteristically drawn to the young stranger on her doorstep.  A feeling not shared by the others as they reached for shotguns and pitch forks, moving like zombies toward the now panicking young man.  She opened the door and ushered him inside before turning on her neighbors.
    “Go on, git!  This feller’s too small for eatin’ and you tell Billy I said stop watching them movies and getting people all feared of folks.”
    She went back inside and assessed the young man.  There was something familiar about him.  He looked painfully thin and held onto a sketchbook.  It looked familiar too.  He produced a nervous smile.
    “Thank you, I guess your neighbors are a little Xenophobic.”
    “I recon,” she said.  He raised an eyebrow and she continued, “I know what it means, I got some learnin’ under my belt.  You look hungry.  I’ll make some flapjacks while you tell me what this is all about.”  She moved to the kitchen and started the batter.
    “My mother sent me to you in hopes you’ll change your mind,” he said.  “She wants you to come home, to our home.”
    “I ain’t leavin’ this place, you want butter?”
    “Is it polyunsaturated?” he asked.
    “Don’t sass.  You want butter or no?” she asked pointing a gnarly finger his way.  He babbled something incoherent but nodded.  Bertha added butter to the layer of flapjacks and topped it all with homemade blackberry preserves.  She set it on the table and beaconed her grandson over.  He said grace and started in on it like a starving lion on a gnu.  She watched, knowing she would give in eventually  and wondered how she’d gotten out foxed by this young feller so quickly.  The book of course.  She picked it up and flipped through the drawings, memories she thought she’d forgotten.
     “Tell your Ma, I’ll come, if only to make sure you get three squares a day.”

  3. Something different this time, not a poem but a short story.  If you are wondering where the “blackberry” part comes in just think of Stephen King “The Cell” and you know where I draw my reference from.

    Foxed, the Gnarly Zombie Gnu moves with a speed most uncharacteristically as the last brave hero aims his rifle hoping to end it’s terror. Ever since the blackberry virus that spread like disease first from people, then to animals which changed them, turning them into incoherent classic sketchbook horrors that ravaged each other and what was left of the living.

    A most justified xenophobia ensued where everyone feared contamination when they realized that the disease spread from eating tainted meat the remaining population became vegetarian. Now even the diseased herbivores became flesh hungry dangers to everyone with a simple bite on your hand spelling your doom.

    His rifle shot, the sound ringing out so loudly birds scattered like leaves. Pieces of flesh, muscle, blood and fat spewed from the gaping hole just opened in the space between the beasts horns. Almost chuckling to himself, the hero wondered if the fat chunks were polyunsaturated as he reloaded his rifle and continued to find the rest of the infected animals in the area.

  4. The ripping and munching sounds distracted me from my iPad Sketchbook drawing. “What are you eating, Shane?” I asked hesitantly.

    Gnu meat,” he said, blood dripping from the sides of his mouth. “It’s high in polyunsaturated fat.”

    “Sounds…gnarly,” I responded, looking askance. The sight of a respected editor and writer uncharacteristically gnawing on a raw carcass reminded me of a bad zombie movie. I felt some slight xenophobia rising in the pit of my stomach, and for some reason found myself regretting leaving my pistol at home.

    Shane’s Blackberry rang. He picked it up, moaned something incoherent, and dropped it on the floor, returning to his visceral feast.

    “So, you still haven’t told me why you called me over to visit so urgently, Shane,” I said.

    “Gnu meat good. But lacks brains!” he said, grinning at me with bloody teeth and a horrifying leer.

    Foxed! I ran for the door, but it was locked. My only handy weapon, an iPad stylus, wasn’t strong enough to penetrate the skull. The last thing I saw was Shane flicking his Blackberry at my temple like a shuriken.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Steven: Great to see you back, man! Of course, you probably know I busted out laughing when I finished the 2nd sentence. The whole thing was damn funny. Great creativity.

      And don’t forget about our new Indie Author page. You should submit a work list too.

    • Liss Thomas says:

      I cannot stop laughing!  I’ve tried to use a Blackberry once, I wanted to sling it like a shuriken too! 

    • Ha-ha! Reminds me of that commercial.
      I love this line: “Gnu meat good. But lacks brains!” It sounds so deliciously revenant.

  5. It would be easy to chalk up Charlie’s behavior to drug use. He certainly was incoherent in the squad room; Det. Widmore took one look at the police sketchbook and burst out laughing.

    “Come on, Charles. You’re telling me you got knocked on the head by this gnarly old crone? She looks like the love-child of a zombie and a gnu!”

    “Exactly, mate! I was outfoxed by a changeling. The bitch grew horns and turned into an ungulate. I’m not just a rock guitarist, you know. I studied paleobiology and that, that thing resembled an extinct member of the wildebeest family.” As he rambled, Charlie whipped out his Blackberry phone, tapped a few keys and triumphantly showed the detective a Wikipedia page.

    Det. Widmore stared at the Blue Wildebeest, then glanced down at the sketchbook. Uncharacteristically, Widmore turned dead serious. “Charles, last week, you were in here frothing at the mouth, claiming that you were cheated out of two fish tacos. You Googled “polyunsaturated fats” and then Taco Bell’s public ingredient list.”

    Charlie nodded enthusiastically. “It was soy, mate! I can taste the difference, even if you can’t! And don’t forget, this mugging and that fake taco stand are related. Aliens are among us.”

    Det. Widmore smacked Charlie in the back of his head. “See here, we won’t tolerate any of your xenophobia. It could very easily have been a native Angeleno. We’re not all from south of the border, you know.”

    Charlie lost his mind, then. “Not immigrants, you dumbass! Aliens. Flying saucer, cow-stealing, crop circle jerking ALIENS!”

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Mitch: I”m ALL SMILES! Such a fun, vicarious read this was. You guys are KILLIN’ IT today.

    • Liss Thomas says:

      Laugh out LOUD!  The Aliens reference reminds me of Galaxy Quest (miners, not minors!)
      I wanted to put something in mine about Gnu and Wilder beast but I couldn’t fit it. :) 

      • Heh. I’ll have to rewatch that…I love me some Wikipedia. Folks complain that it is not to be trusted, but who cares if it’s inaccurate, we’re just making stuff up, anyway! LOL

  6. Paul says:

    Kryss popped the blackberry between his teeth, sucking quickly at the released juice before it drooled from his mouth. He considered the zombie cooling at his feet, its rancid innards decorating the pavement like a rough draft from Jackson Pollock’s sketchbook. As if it was a Rorschach test, Kryss saw a galloping gnu in the gore. The blackberry was so bitter as to be almost inedible, but Kryss persevered, thankful for any vitamin C he could get these days. Already his gums were bleeding when he brushed his teeth.

    The killing had been…gnarly, a word Kryss remembered well from the incoherent surfer speak of his friends. Before they were all zombied, and became uncharacteristically silent, undead and rapaciously cannibalistic. Alive they would quibble when presented with butter, rather than low fat, polyunsaturated spreads, but undead they did not discriminate, had no xenophobia: flesh of every colour, creed and belief had tasted good to these monsters.

    The irony of this true equality, shown by undead, unthinking parasites, a value that had long out-foxed cleverer and more noble minds, was not lost on Kryss.

    Kryss had killed his friends himself, using his proudest, and most useful, invention – the garrotting machine. It cut through skin and bone, nerves and veins, like cheese wire through cheddar. It was the surest way of killing zombies, Kryss had discovered, after several horror movie staple ‘coming back from the dead’ incidents. It could be looped over the head from a distance of several metres, like a lasso, and when the device was activated the wire was pulled to tautness and wound back within a second, slicing effectively through any neck it had encircled. Even zombies could not survive headless.

    On this occasion his timing had been out, and when he activated his garrotte the wire had fallen as low as the zombie’s stomach. It had still worked effectively, easily cutting through the abdomen and spine, but the zombie had lived and the device was buried in its putrefied guts. It had crawled towards him, long nails buried in the tarmac, hauling a rapidly emptying torso behind. But still it grinned and slavered bloodily, closing the distance between them surprisingly rapidly.

    Fortunately Kryss’s backup system was less high tech. Pulling the sledgehammer from its sling on his back, he had brought it round and down on the creature’s head. Going. Going. Gone. The cranium had popped quietly, leaking globby brain matter over the street. It was dead, he was sure. Messy and satisfying.

    As a reward for his exertion he ate the last of his blackberries, bursting the thin skin and savouring their lingering sour notes. He didn’t want to die toothless, and the vitamin C could only help.

  7. K says:

    This was quite a hard challenge! I didn’t know some of these words, so sorry in advance if they don’t make sense in context.

    Gnarly bushes filled with blackberries proved to be obstructions as he was forced to trample over the vital sources of food. Although it pained him to do so, his eyes were locked on the distant speck galloping through the forest. Its unkempt, dark fur was the only thing keeping Tyson on its trail. He pressed the shotgun closer to him. By now, Tyson would’ve quit this farce with the gnu under normal circumstances, but the fact that his village had now depended on him compelled him. It was quite a sight when the animal uncharacteristically charged into the small village and destroyed various fixtures in the process. But when Tyson had spotted the gnu, he knew it would ultimately save the town from being decimated. These days, even the sparse fish, filled with polyunsaturated fat, merely gave the village a couple of days until the population would dwindle down to nothing. He drank in as much as air as he could and sped up in hopes of catching up to the animal. Tyson scanned the area of the forest and mulled over the considerable rift between him and the gnu. It then dawned on him. All animals needed water and the nearest source of water was the creek. Having familiarized himself with every rock and plant in the forest, Tyson deviated to the right, losing sight of the gnu for now. His eyes lit up when the creek glistened before him. However, in the corner of his eye, he spotted the bristly mane of the gnu camouflaged by trees. Tyson, careful not to excite it, took a couple of steps forward until he could clearing see it in full profile, using the trees’ foliage to his advantage. He raised his gun, took careful aim, and pulled the trigger. 
    Things did not end up like the way he had planned. 

    Tyson had always been a good shot. Not a great one, but he was one of the better hunters in his village. It was a clear shot to the gnu’s chest, but his hand trembled, shifting the bullet’s intended target. The bullet missed by a mile, and instead, it was impaled in a trunk of a tree. The deafening boom of the shotgun releasing the bullet startled the gnu, and it didn’t hesitate to flee from the clearing. Tyson began to chase the gnu once again and tried to shoot the moving target multiple times. Nothing but clicks came from the mouth of the gun. He stopped in his tracks. Grounding his teeth, Tyson muttered a stream of profanities. How was he supposed to kill the animal now? Tyson decided to surrender and head back to the village empty handed. That was his plan until he heard incoherent blabberings spoken in some foreign language. He searched the clearing and found a man supposedly in his mid-twenties sitting on top of a stump. He was furiously scrawling something in his foxed sketchbook, his face scrunched up in a zombie like trance. What caught Tyson’s attention was not the strange man but the object propped against the stump. Catching the sunlight, the rifle’s metallic surface gleamed. Tyson wanted to approach the gun to hurry and swipe it, but decided that it would be risky considering that densely woven trees blocked his way from sneaking behind the stump. Instead, he opted to stride over to the man to confront him. But once he took a couple of steps toward the stump, something beyond reason stopped him. The more Tyson had looked at the man, the more intimidating he became. Knots bundled up in the pit of his gut, and suddenly, Tyson wanted to turn back, run back to the village, and accept fate. But no, he couldn’t just abandon this cause. The fate of the village was in his hands, and he would never forgive himself for driving the town to mere memories and shambles. He heaved a deep breath as if the sigh would make the earth tremble in its wake. Conquering his xenophobia was now choosing life or death.

  8. Rebecca says:

    The Gnarly Gnu

    The gnarly gnu outfoxed the zombie with its blackberry and sketchbook by Googling polyunsaturated. This is uncharacteristically for the gnu, but it had enough of the incoherent zombie and its xenophobia. The gnu drew a vat of polyunsaturated fat on its sketchbook said “Abracadabra” and the vat of fat materialized. The gnu picked up the vat of fat with its teeth and dumped it over the zombie’s head. The zombie melted and let a stinky puddle. The rain poured down and washed the stinky puddle away and all was right once again for the gnarly gnu.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Rebecca: Oh, wow! That just hit my funny bone today. Considering the pain I’m in, that’s saying alot. Thanks. Fun, run read.

  9. The Saga of Bayou Billy…

    So I’m sittin’ on the front porch eatin’ a big ol’ bowl a gumbo and I says to myself, “Self,” and I recognized the voice right away cuz it sounded just like me, “Self, ” I say’d, “How come is it you done made up the ten challenge words but you ain’t make’d the time to actually write summthin’ wit ’em?”

    So what I done did is grabbed my wife’s, my sweet Yvonne’s, “Cooking with Polyunsaturated Fats” cookbook that she never did use after that whole gnu catastrophe. It was terrible. The recipe called for a cup of fresh gnu milk and she done milked that poor thing for like sixty minutes or almost an hour before the Little Whipper Snapper done told her it was a male. Lord a-mighty she done kill’d that poor kid. Nearly kill’d the gnu too but that’s another story. Anyways, I needed some paper to write down three or two sentences. 

    Let’s see… well, my sister’s cousin’s husband’s daughter’s brother done got hisself a life sentence. And that there feller who use-ta live under the steps of Thibodeaux’s Restaurant & Bait Shop done got sentenced to three or two years for sellin’ illegal Blackberrys. Yes sir, he done saw’d a few bushes growin’ wild so he thought he’d sell ’em as Blackberry Pearls. Now b’fore that he done outfoxed a few folks selling his youngin’s sketchbook as a playbook, but the whole cell phone thingy done draw’d too much attention and he done got caught. Told him he hadda go for counsellin’ so he join’d Zombies Anonymous. Yes sir-ree Bob, and I don’t even kow who Bib is, but Gator’s Crossing done got one a dem Zom-Anons at the old fast food restaurant where I usta work at b’fore I got fired. I still can’t believe they fired me for sticking my finger in the pickle slicer. Not only that, they done fired her too!

    Anyways, that Zom-Anon is just a bunch of brainless, uncharacteristically dumb hillbillies meetin’ each week to incoherently moan and groan about their xenophobia against living people. So what I done did is snucked into their meeting to try and has me some fun. I needed to blend in so I just acted like I was a surfer and kept sayin “gnarly dude” and nobody noticed… well, nobody noticed until I stuck my finger in the pickle slicer.

    Well my frens, I like to stay and chat but I gots to go see the doctor agin for anudder check up. I don’t like that doc none too good. I went to see him three or two years ago and axed him if he done thought I would live to be a hundret years ole. So he axed me, “Do you smoke or drink?” I says, “No, Yvonne no like when I do that so I quit years ago.” Then he axed, “Do you have sex wit a bunch of differn’ womens?” I says, “Of course not, I be married to Yvonne, I don’t even has sex wit her.” So that there Doc says, “Why in da worl do you want to live to be a hunnret years ole?”

    • Liss Thomas says:

      Cant’t stop laughing.  That last line had me rolling!  

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Kenn: I hope you can understand how much I miss reading your stuff. My back is out again, so the pain is intense, even with pain killers. When I read stories like this, I forget my pain for those brief, wonderful moments. Thank you.

      • @Shane Sorry for being so late to reply, getting my podcast episodes published and working of feeds and all that fun stuff is eating up a lot of my time, but that’s not important, what is important was that Bayou Billy was able to make you forget your pain for a short while. I know all about back pain my friend and it’s not fun. Hey, you have the print copy of the Bayou Billy book so whip up a batch of gumbo, find a comfortable spot out on the front porch, kick back and relax and have yourself a good read 🙂

  10. Rebecca says:

    @Shane…Glad you liked it! Feel better. 🙂

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