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....

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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 when you re-reading your older stories.  This exercise is perfect for those 'darlings' that you've had to cull.

If you can't find something suitable in your own work or are just starting out, feel free to pull your sentence from anywhere!

Write your phrase or sentence on a piece of paper and put it down in front of you.

Step 2


Write a new story, just for that sentence.

Forget everything about the old piece of writing and the sentence's original context; just think about writing a story that is the perfect resting place for this sentence.

Extra credit

If you'd like an extra challenge, make the main character in your story a plant, animal, or inanimate object.

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For inspiration (or infinite distraction), have a look at:




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Find out more about National Flash Fiction Day at our website or get in touch if you'd like to learn more about how you can get involved.


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