Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #377

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.) NOTE: Our bolding plugin is gone, so you’ll have to put <b> and </b> around each of your words if you want them to stand out, but NOT REQUIRED THOUGH.

  1. Shock
  2. Battle
  3. Coupon
  4. Chrome
  5. Satellite
  6. Submitting
  7. Territory
  8. Sweat
  9. Sour
  10. Pump

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.)

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22 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #377”

  1. JK Koos says:

    Beads of sweat were forming on my forehead as I looked at the flames. I turned to Bello for help, but my furry friend appeared to be in a shock and wouldn’t move. He had even stopped growling at Bill Brimer. Was he submitting to the authority of this strange man with his German accent? After all, my watchdog appeared to have no battle plan, but just stood there panting and refused to defend our territory. Brimer just stood there smiling victoriously. Why was he not afraid of the flames?
    I ran back upstairs in a daze and hoped Bello would follow. The guests had all fled.
    Nice friends I’ve got.
    I was the only one left to deal with the situation.
    The fire brigade! I’ve got to call the fire brigade. But the line was dead. Somehow the fire had knocked out all the electricity.
    Maybe I could email them. After all, my laptop was fully charged.
    I logged in to Google Chrome in order to find the email address of the fire brigade.
    Come on! Why is it going so slow?
    My heart was skipping a few beats. I muttered a curse under my breath as I clicked on all the wrong buttons and ended up on sites full of spam and useless coupons for sour cream and canned meat.
    I screamed in frustration and slammed my fist on the desk.
    The pump! I still have my water pump.
    My heart skipped a beat when I realised that thing was stored in the basement. I couldn’t go back there now. A violent urge to just save what I could hit me me so I grabbed my passport and the recorder for my satellite dish. It was all I could do as the flames were now all around me and I ran outside.
    There on the grass was Bill Brimer. He still laughed and was holding Bello on a leash…
    to be continued.

  2. Anklebuster says:

    Torture was a barbaric method for gathering information from people. The interrogator not only had to have the proper skill set for administering pain, he also had to sift fact from fiction. Late 22nd century information agencies had learned more subtle ways to pump intel from most humans, without submitting them to physiological or psychological shock.

    Sgt. Bert Rivers was from the old-school of physical abuse. He didn’t have any use for the new-fangled science of reading brains, micro-expressions and voice risk. While effective, they relied too heavily on technology. When the last Keyhole satellite went dark, the gleaming chrome of his torture toolbox still lit the path to his subjects’ innermost thoughts.

    On the urban field of battle, Rivers relied on a different skill: social engineering. The rulers of self-made fiefdoms had no respect for government, authority or each other. As with any bureaucracy, the leaders surrounded themselves with layers of administrative watchdogs. To infiltrate their territory, Rivers became whatever character was most effective to “reach” the gatekeepers.

    At the moment, he was a hustler, plying a brisk trade in black market rations. Haggard mothers traded their daily allotment of paper for a cache of delectable treats or fresh meat. Surly teen-agers swapped paper for a cheap high. Sour smelling old men shuffled away from his cart, clutching the drink of the day.

    He was hoping to receive a specially-marked coupon, which would direct him to his first contact. He waited until most of the other hustlers had closed up shop before doing the same. After securing his cart in an inviting alleyway—no sense in letting the Agency surplus go to waste—he scampered back to his flat to examine the government-issued scrip.

    Unsurprisingly, most of the sweat-stained papers were counterfeit. The dates were altered by changing 3’s to 8’s or 1’s to 7’s. Rivers was looking for a more subtle alteration. There! An extraneous comma in the fine print of a tuna redemption voucher.

    He flipped the coupon over and stared intently at the pattern. After about 30 seconds, he looked away from the paper to the blank wall. He blinked rapidly, taking note of the after-image. He could just make out the code, “Q4”.

    He hid his loot behind the dresser for some lucky squatter to find. The first act was over. After a short nap, he would hike over to Quadrant 4.


    The story begins on CCC #371.

    • Cathy Miller says:

      An extraneous comma in the fine print of a tuna redemption voucher. Sounds like they need a good editor. 😉 Your creativity knows no bounds, Mitch. Love this series. 🙂

      • Anklebuster says:

        Thanks, Cathy. Creativity took a break from the series, though. I’m retooling everything in Scrivener, which I really don’t know too well.

        Cheers,

        Mitch

        • I’m testing out Scrivener, too. Let me know what you think. I just started and am plowing my way through. BTW, Jenn Mattern at All Indie Writers has a few posts with templates to use with Scrivener.

          • Anklebuster says:

            Cathy, the best advice I can give is to set aside time to go through the tutorial. The developers did a good job keeping it engaging, while limiting the overwhelm to virtually nil.

            There is no correct way – and a lot of inefficient ways to operate, so I’m learning. I started out having a physical disk folder for each project, but the “Last Used” default was a nuisance to override. In fact, once I saw how Scrivener self-organizes, I was happy to dump all my projects into the default folder of my choice.

            Since I am designing games, nobody has any useful templates for me. I made my own, which includes a few helpful instruction manual creation tutorials from around the web. That turns out to be a great use for Scrivener, as I get to shuffle the bits around until I get it right.

            I plopped the Herrenvolk Backstory into a project and the neatest feature is being able to mass edit all of the word docs at once (which I did to standardize proper nouns and to remove all of the html tags.)

            The second neatest feature when importing documents is the Split at Insertion point (with optional titles!)

            It’s way more responsive than Evernote – which was where I was keeping stuff before.

            The final thing I love about Scrivener is the Reference shelf – I link to spreadsheets where game data is stored; where story timelines have been mapped out; and where I have graphic intensive worksheets that I don’t want to publish, per se. (From my understanding, putting those into Scrivener merely bloats the project to no benefit.)

            I hope this gives you some food for thought!

            Cheers,

            Mitch

          • I just started the tutorial, Mitch. Thanks for these great tips! It does give me food for thought. 🙂

    • bbanne says:

      ”The gleaming chrome of his torture toolbox still lit the path to his subjects’ innermost thoughts. Mitch you have such a way with words. You make me jealous.

  3. John says:

    From “America’s Battle with Sticker Shock at the Pump,” March 8, 2011

    Don Sizemore, Retail Manager:

    “$3.52 a gallon? I wish Texaco had a ****ing coupon for regular unleaded!”

    Libby Gomez, Attorney:

    “I feel like we’re submitting a significant percentage of our blood, sweat and tears to rich oil moguls. And it leaves a sour taste in my mouth.”

    Stan Hopper, Sales:

    “You wanna know what I’m doing? I’m dying. I’m choking while criss-crossing an oversized sales territory at $3.50 per gallon, making zero-money trips to lousy satellite offices of doomed companies in this chrome-trimmed monstrosity. What are you doing?”

  4. Cathy Miller says:

    Hi ~ I’m a bit behind again. Took some vacation time to celebrate Mom’s 92nd birthday. 🙂
    =============

    The shock of yet another battle with her sister left Mary reeling. When had their relationship changed? Their twin-like bond as children had deteriorated into resentment and constant bickering.

    Mary’s heart ached as she recalled Sandra’s last call.

    “What do you mean you won’t be coming?”

    “Sandra, I told you. I’m going to be out of town on business.”

    “Nice how you invent these reasons to avoid our family gatherings,” Sandra sneered, “You treat us like an out-of-date coupon that’s lost its value.”

    “That’s not true.”

    “Isn’t it?” Sandra shouted as she slammed down the phone.

    Tears tracked down Mary’s face in silent release. She agonized over how she could fix the tarnished chrome of their once shiny relationship.

    Endless nights tormented Mary as she tried to solve the mystery that brought them to this place. Satellite visions of past encounters circled in painful review. Sandra had become someone Mary did not know.

    Submitting to the hurt only intensified the sense of hopelessness. This was foreign territory. The baby sister had to save the woman she had lost.

    Sitting in her car outside Sandra’s home, Mary felt a trickle of sweat track down her spine. Had their sour relationship come so far? Mary fearing her own sister?

    With a deep breath, Mary used the increasingpump of her heart to push her from her car. This could not go on.

    Mary gasped her sister’s name at the sight of Sandra’s battered face as she collapsed in a sobbing embrace, knocking the sisters to their knees.


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