FlashFlood Advent Calendar 2018: Day 17

Day 17: Say that again?
When we edit, we're constantly on the lookout for unintentional repetition, clichés and go-to words and phrases.  Today, however, you have our permission to embrace the repeated word, the recurring sentence.  

For today's prompt, write a story in which you intentionally repeat a phrase or sentence at least three times.

For an extra challenge, try writing a prose villanelle, e.g. a flash which steals the skeletal format of a villanelle.  Ignore the rhyming, but choose two refrains, and write your story according to the following recipe (where R1 = refrain 1, R2 = refrain 2, and s = any sentence):

Paragraph 1: R1 s R2
Paragraph 2: s s R1
Paragraph 3: s s R2
Paragraph 4: s s R1
Paragraph 5: s s R2
Paragraph 6:  s s R1 R2

Focus on effectively weaving in the two refrains, and letting them build throughout the piece, feeling familiar but fresh every time the reader revisits them.  (If you'd like to include internal or end rhymes and/or write senten…

FlashFlood Advent Calendar 2018: Day 16

Day 16: Negations
If you've been battling holiday shoppers, menu planning, gift lists, or just grouchiness brought on by super-short days, then you may enjoy a chance to embrace the negativity with today's little prompt.

Write a story in which each sentence involves a negation, e.g. a negative word, phrase or clause that contradicts something, or indicates the absence or opposite of something.

Common examples of negative words include  'no', 'not', 'never', 'none', 'nowhere', 'nobody' and contractions like 'isn't', 'don't', 'won't', 'hadn't', 'can't', 'couldn't', 'wouldn't' and 'shouldn't'. 

For an extra challenge, tell the story entirely with negations.  No affirmatives allowed.  Instead of specifying what happens to your main character, describe what your character doesn't do, think, want or notice. Leave the reader fill in th…

FlashFlood Advent Calendar 2018: Day 15

Day 15: Specialist Knowledge

Write a story in which you steal specialist vocabulary from a subject you know little about. 

This subject could be as broad as 'science', 'cooking', or 'dance', or as specific as 'laws of thermodynamics', 'sushi making', 'foxtrot dance steps'.  Grab a text-book or browse Wikipedia pages until you find some interesting words and then fold them into a story. 

For an extra challenge, let chance choose your subject for you.  Go to Wikipedia and either use the featured article or click the 'Random article' link on the left until you find a page which words or concepts that are unfamiliar.  (Feel free to follow links within your chosen article.)

Do you enjoy writing writing prompts? If you might be interested in providing a prompt, image or exercise for a future writing prompt project, let us know!  We're interested both in prompts that help established writers hone their craft and prompts that inspi…

FlashFlood Advent Calendar 2018: Day 14

Day 14: Sense of Place
We're only a week away from the shortest day of the yearThe low, bright sun and long, midday shadows always make me think about my surroundings in a way that I often forget to do in high summer, which makes this a perfect time of year for a prompt about place. 

Write a piece in which the setting is one of the main characters, if not the main character.  Construct a story that couldn't be told in any other place.  Try to give the story's place a real sense of development and personality, and its own character arc.  At the end of the piece, what has changed for the landscape?  How has the setting developed? 
The setting needn't be glamorous or exotic; tthis prompt is a great excuse for a little walk down to the postbox and back with your writers' eyes set to maximum observation mode.
For an extra challenge, feel free to incorporate some of the flashy themes and word count restrictions from elsewhere on the internet....
Win a spot at the I…

FlashFlood Advent Calendar 2018: Day 13

Day 13: It's All In The Name

It's the 13th of December today, and coincidentally, 13 is the number of the so-called Yule Lads of Icelandic folklore.  These trolls visit children during the last 13 nights before Christmas, leaving gifts or rotting potatoes.

One of the most wonderful features of the Yule Lads are their names which describe their personalities and translate into English as wonderful things like Spoon Licker, Meat Hook, and Door Sniffer (according to Hallberg Hallmundsson's translation of the poem “Jólasveinarnir” by Jóhannes úr Kötlum).

For today's prompt, we're going to come up with some great names of our own and see where it takes us.

Step 1

Set a timer for a couple minutes and write down the most interesting, unusual, and evocative character names you remember from literature or real life.  If you're having trouble getting started, children's books and fairy tales are great sources, as are the complete works of Charles Dickens. Also have …

FlashFlood Advent Calendar 2018: Day 12

Day 12: Making Connections

We're already halfway through the advent calendar, so what a perfect time to think about midpoints....

Step 1: Take two pieces you've written before about different themes, people, locations or topics.  They can have some similarities, but don't cheat and pick two stories that you intentionally wrote about the same character or idea.

Step 2: Now write a third piece that could be placed before, between, or after these two pieces to create a complete Flash Suite. 

If you want to, you can make a few small cosmetic changes to the previously written pieces to make all three stories appear to be about the same people or to be set in the same place...things like changing a proper name here and there, or changing the weather so that the seasons are consistent across all three pieces.  However, try not to fiddle too much!

Embrace the gaps, and search for hidden connections under the surface of each piece.   And most of all, have fun!

For an addition…

FlashFlood Advent Calendar 2018: Day 11

Day 11: Playing with Genre
Write a piece of flash in a genre that you have never tried before, or that you think you dislike. 

You may wish to try one of the following:
Science Fiction Mystery/Crime FantasyRomanceSlipstreamAction/AdventureFable/FairytaleSpeculative Fiction Horror TragedyComedyDystopiaHistorical SatirePastiche Children's/YAMelodramaFlash with a trick twist endingFlash that's suspiciously close to prose poetry Aim for something that you'd be happy to put your name to, despite and/or because of the genre, but most of all, give yourself permission to have fun with this one.

For an extra challenge, combine two or more genres in one story.  Slipstream melodrama?  Dystopian scifi fairytale romance?  Historical detective prose poetry?  Whysoever not?

If you haven't already done so, please consider signing up at EasyFundraising to support National Flash Fiction Day, without any extra cost to you. Every time you shop online at one of the 3,500-some registere…