Wednesday 19 December 2018

FlashFlood Advent Calendar 2018: Day 19

Day 19: Surprise!

Many holidays in December involve the exchange of wrapped gifts.

Have you ever had to act surprised when someone gives you a holiday gift but you already know what it is?  Have you ever wrapped up a present for yourself only to act surprised when it comes time to open it? 

Today's prompt gets at a wonderfully philosophical question: can a person be surprised by a present they give themselves?


Write a flash in which you aim to surprise yourself with every sentence — perhaps even every word — as you're writing.  If you think you know how the sentence is going to end, take it a different direction.  If you think you know what word you're going to use, pick something else.  If you think you know how the story will end, find a different way to resolve it. 

At first this may feel as impossible as trying to tickle yourself, but relax, have fun, and give yourself permission to write weird and wonderful.  Free yourself to write nonsense if you like, as long as that nonsense is a continual surprise. 

For an extra challenge, take your first draft, and edit it into an equally surprising second draft.  That is, keep it linked in some way to the first draft, but aim to completely astonish yourself with your edits. 

For an extra extra challenge, keep going with surprising-yet-related edits until you have enough drafts to quilt together into a flash suite or a segmented flash.

This is a reminder that you can give NFFD a gift without spending a penny extra.  If you haven't already done so, please consider signing up at EasyFundraising to raise a free donation for National Flash Fiction Day every time you shop online at one of the 3,500-some registered retailers.  Thank you for your help!


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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