Showing posts from December, 2018

FlashFlood Advent Calendar 2018: Day 10

Day 10
The 10th of December is International Human Rights Day, marking the day that Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, and 2018 marks its seventieth anniversary. The Nobel Peace Prize is traditionally awarded on this day.

Write a piece inspired by one of the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  (If your browser doesn't support the fancy version, Here is a plain-text copy of the UDHR; scroll down for the text version.)

For an extra challenge, you could commemorate the UDHR's 70th anniversary by...
Making your story 70 words long...or, if you're up for a micro challenge, 70 charactersWrite a flash in which 70% of the words are in one language and the remaining 30% in another language or a mix of other languagesSpan 70 years within the space of your flash *
For more background on International Human Rights Day, have a look at the Resources provided by the United Nations.

Interested in doing something …

FlashFlood Advent Calendar 2018: Day 9

Day 9: Flash-crostics
Today is Anna's Day in Finland and Sweden, notable because it's the traditional day to start preparing the lutefisk (cod preserved in lye) that makes up one of the components of many traditional Scandinavian Christmas meals. 

We're resorting to a rather fish lead-in here, but speaking of starts....

Using the first letters of their lines of poetry, poets used to (and can still) spell out significant words or names.

Acrostics as they're called, are great fun; can we flash fiction writers get in on some of the fun with a bit of a variation?

To complete today's prompt, come up with an intriguing title, made up of at least 9 words or more.

Write a flash that goes with the title, starting each sentence of the flash with one of the words from the title, in the order in which the words appear in the title (and extra points if you can spot what the seven-word title to this post should be!).

Flash examples of with long titles includes some of thes…

FlashFlood Advent Calendar 2018: Day 8

Day 8: Honouring Your Broken Needles
Today is the celebration of Hari-Kuyō, or the Festival of Broken Needles, in the Kyoto and Kansai regions of Japan.

Hari-Kuyō began over four hundred years ago as a way for needleworkers, both professional and domestic, to acknowledge their work over the past years and celebrate their tools.  Traditionally, women bring their broken pins and needles to a local temple and lay them to rest in a block of tofu to thank them for their hard work.

In today's prompt, we're going to honour a different sort of broken object....

Step 1

Find a phrase or sentence that's nice enough in itself, but that isn't working in its current story (or poem or wherever its living).  Look for something that jars, distracts, or just doesn't feel like a good fit.

If possible, take this from your own work.  Maybe it's a something you've already edited out of a piece, or maybe it's a phrase or sentence you discover you no longer like as much whe…

FlashFlood Advent Calendar 2018: Day 7

Day 7: Little Candles
Today is the Day of the Little Candles, a day of celebration in Colombia in which small candles and paper lanterns are placed pretty much anywhere a candle or lantern can be placed.

In keeping, we're providing you with a tiny prompt today, but also shining some light on some other little flashy projects you might want to look at this December....

Today's prompt is to write a story of no more than 50-some words.

Take up our challenge and write the entire story using only one-syllable words...

...take up one of the thematic challenges put forth by these lovely projects:

Write a story of up to 50 words on the theme of 'winter feast' for the Scottish Book Trust's free monthly 50-Word Fiction Competition.  Deadline: Tuesday, 11 December.Write a story of exactly 53 words on the theme of 'contradiction' for Press 53's free monthly 53-Word Story Contest.  Deadline: Sunday, 30 December.Write a story of up to 150 words that includes…

FlashFlood Advent Calendar 2018: Day 6

Day 6:
Today is the feast day of St Nicholas, and a day where the children of families who celebrate St Nicholas' Day often receive sweets, fruits and small gifts in their stockings, socks, shoes or bags. 

We don't have presents for you today, but we do have a double dose of the present tense, should you wish to take up the challenge....

Write the same story twice (or more), written from two (or more) different characters' points of view.

You can write two separate, stand-alone stories, or write one story told from multiple points of view.

For an extra challenge, write in the present tense and interleave the two different threads so that the reader experiences the events unfolding in the story from two points of view at once.

Want to stay in touch with National Flash Fiction Day throughout the year?  Here's how:

Visit our website where you can check out our latest newsSubscribe to our newsletter (see below)Find us on TwitterFollow us on FacebookDrop us an e-mailSav…

FlashFlood Advent Calendar 2018: Day 5

Day 5: The 5-12 Dialogue Challenge
It's the 5th day of the 12th month, so the perfect day for the 5-12 dialogue challenge!

Have you ever read a story where every character sounds the same and had trouble keeping track of who is speaking?  If only those authors had tried this simple challenge for a cheap and cheerful method to help give their characters distinctive voices!

Write a flash with two characters where one character only speaks (or thinks) in five-word sentences and the other only speaks (or thinks) in twelve-word sentences.  No cheating with the numbers in the first draft, but of course, all bets are off in the second!

If you're up for an even bigger challenge, cut out the narration, dialogue tags, and descriptions, and make the story consist only of dialogue....

Need some inspiration for dialogue-only stories?  Have a look at the winners of the Bartleby Snopes Dialogue Only Writing Contest and see what these authors manage to do with only direct speech to work…

FlashFlood Advent Calendar 2018: Day 4

Day 4: Recipes
Apparently, the 4th of December is National Cookie Day in the US (not to be confused with National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day on the 15th of May, of course). Not only is the eating of cookies encouraged today, but some businesses even hand out free ones!

Before you get your hopes up, we're sorry to report that National Flash Fiction Day is not doling out free biscuits.  In fact, we haven't even turned on our ovens.  If you want cookies, it's up to you to sort out the recipe....

Today's flash prompt is to write a piece that involves a recipe in some way or another.  Not just cooking, not just the mention of a finished dish, but a full-blown recipe.

This could involve...
A character following a recipe to create a meal or dish, as in Kit de Waal's 'Recipe for a Late Lunch'A character creating a recipe for something quite different, as in Stephanie Hutton's 'The Right Ingredients'The use of the form, language, and/or structure of a …

FlashFlood Advent Calendar 2018: Day 3

Day 3: Mirror Images

Many people see the end of the year as a time for personal reflection.  We look back on the year, and make plans for the next.  Forget the resolutions and forward thinking for now, though; today we're going to focus on ourselves....
Step one Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle.  Spend a minute or two jotting down a list of adjectives or short phrases that you might use to describe yourself.  Write this list on the left side of the paper.  Sometimes staring into an actual mirror can be a great way to get the words flowing.
Step two  For each word or phrase on the left side, write a word that means the exact opposite on the right side of the page.  For example, someone who described themselves as 'tidy, impatient, and calm' on the left might write down 'messy, impatient, and restless' on the right.
Step three Write a flash about a main character who is the exact opposite of how you've described yourself, a character inspired …

FlashFlood Advent Calendar 2018: Day 2

Day 2: Rituals and Writing
Whether you're looking forward to lighting the first candle in the menorah tonight, burning (or eating) a Yule Log on the 21st, hanging a stocking by the chimney with care on the 24th, or just settling in for the annual reruns of The Wizard of Oz, The Italian Job and The Great Escape on the telly, so much of December involves negotiating holiday traditions, rituals and customs...our own and other people's.

Write a flash about a tradition, ritual, or custom that means something different to you than it does to your friends, family or community.

For an extra challenge, mix up something about your own writing rituals. If you normally compose on the computer, try longhand. If you tend to write to music, ditch the soundtrack. If you sit at a desk, try curling up on the couch. If you usually have have a cup of tea to hand, go crazy and swap it out for some elderflower cordial or orange squash or something. If you have no writing rituals, erm, well,…

FlashFlood Advent Calendar 2018: Day 1

Day 1: Beginnings and Endings
Welcome to the FlashFlood Advent Calendar!  Today we bring you the first of twenty-five days of flashy prompts, so it's fitting that we're thinking about beginnings....


You know those amazing first lines, the ones that grab you by the throat and don't let go of you until you've read the rest of the story (and even then they linger)?  Things like:

“The road is covered in ghost.”Jane Monson, 'The Unmended',Speaking Without TonguesThose who don't know any better come into our neighborhood scared.” —Sandra Cisneros, 'Those Who Don't', The House on Mango Street“Peony has whiskers; she has a pointy face and a tail made out of blue raffia; she's messing about in boats and dabbling-up-tails-all, and I am in love.” —C.G. Menon, 'Watermelon Seeds',Love Across A Broken Map: Short Stories from The Whole Kahani“To lift yourself out of a miserable mood, even if you have to do it by strength of will, should be eas…