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 Tongues
- “Those 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 easy.” —Franz Kafka, 'Resolutions' (translated by Willa and Edwin Muir)
- “My mother was an upright piano, spine erect, lid tightly closed, unplayable except by the maestro.“ —Tania Hershman, 'My Mother Was an Upright Piano'
Find yourself a magical opening lines.
Write it yourself, take the first sentence of something you've already written, use one of these, or steal a line from the beginning of your favourite flash, poem, novel, short story or script. Nick it from a cereal packet or the instruction manual for your microwave, if you like. Just get one.
Then, write a flash using that amazing FIRST line as the LAST sentence in your flash.
If you'd like to share your writing, swap first lines, or just enjoy some encouraging chat with other writers who are also trying to carve away some time for writing amidst the chaos of the holiday season, feel free to join our private Facebook group.
Speaking of beginnings and endings, National Flash Fiction Day is celebrating the end of an era and a new beginning this year.
NFFD was founded in 2012 by Calum Kerr, and since then we have published hundreds of flash fictions by hundreds of different authors across anthologies, FlashFlood, and other flashy projects. We’ve had numerous readings, launches, workshops, and other events around the country to celebrate flash fiction. This was all thanks to Calum, who decided that this year would be his last NFFD.
When Calum stepped down, the future of NFFD was uncertain, but we believe that the best way to say thank you to Calum and all the writers and readers who have participated in NFFD activities over the years is to keep the project going. This year, National Flash Fiction Day will be run by three co-directors, Santino Prinzi, Ingrid Jendrzejewski and Diane Simmons, who will strive to keep the momentum going and build on what Calum started.
We can't do this alone. In the past, events and activities have relied on generous donations and a small armies of volunteers. And, of course, NFFD wouldn't exist if it weren't for the legions of writers and readers who come together to celebrate flash fiction.
Along with our prompts, we'll also provide you with some ideas of how you might support NFFD, your own writing communities and projects, and each other, should you feel so inclined. However, fear not; we'll make sure all of this waffle is displayed at the very bottom of each post, so you can focus on what's most important: the writing!
As for today, if you'd like to show some support for National Flash Fiction Day, we'd love it if you shared this post with a friend, or give us a shout out on Twitter or Facebook. When it comes to writing challenges, the more the merrier!
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.