View Full Version : The 500 Word Flash Fiction Dash

08-02-2005, 01:09 AM
Had an idea for a writing exercise. Thought I’d post it here—see if it sticks.

It’s called . . .

The 500 Word Flash Fiction Dash!

Here are the submission guidelines:

Step #1 Read the newest flash fiction story in the line-up.

Step #2 Cut & paste the flash fiction checklist (provided below) into a
reply window, or use a critique format of your choice.

Step #3 If you are using the checklist, post the key points that you feel
were achieved in the story you read. The :Thumbs: thumbs up smilie is
useful for this purpose.

If you use a line edit or summary style critique, try to keep your
response shorter than the 500 word story you are critiquing.

Step #4 Post your (500 words or less) story—open themes for now.

A few rules . . .

#1 You MUST post a critique to receive a critique. However, if you want to
critique the next story in the line-up, and then post your story later,
that’s fine. Hopefully, everyone will use an honor system regarding
their number of submissions vs. critiques.

#2 Use The 500 Word Flash Fiction Dash Discussion thread to post general or
particular comments, suggestions and issues pertaining to the 500 Word
Flash Fiction Dash thread.

#3 Follow established critiquing rules of etiquette. Focus on the story—not
the writer, be fair—i.e. play nice, be honest and keep an open mind.
Everybody who submits their story for scrutiny ALWAYS has the option to
utilize or disregard the feedback they receive.

#4 If you are seeking a consensus of opinions regarding your story, multiple
submissions of the same story (whether you have revised it or not) are
allowed. Just remember to critique a new story each time you resubmit
your story.

Inevitably some critiques will get cross posted. And some stories may
accumulate a higher number of crits than others. You can always bump
your story back into the line-up if it gets left behind—honor system

Checklist for Creating Compelling Flash Fiction

illuminates a single moment in time

conveys a complete story—with a beginning, middle & end

contains a well developed character and/or characters, setting, situation & theme

begins in the middle of the action and moves swiftly to the story’s resolution

encompasses a verbal, physical and/or mental conflict, difference of opinion or general sense of story tension

provides a satisfactory story resolution and/or change in the protagonist

enlightens, humors, saddens and/or ruminates in the reader’s mind

utilizes tight, active sentences, strong verbs and concrete nouns

avoids unessential modifiers and details not directly related to the story

avoids unnecessary exposition, redundancies and cliche themes

avoids grammar, syntax and spelling errors

avoids the structure of a slice-of-life depiction and/or literary sketch by deriving its story shape from a conventional story telling tradition, true experience, anecdote, speculation and/or an experimental forms, dreams, fables, letters, flashbacks, interior monologues, paradox etc.

FYI—this thread was launched using less than 500 words :hooray:

08-02-2005, 01:16 AM
I'll start the story line up by posting one of my stories, which means I now owe the thread one crit :)


Ms. Prim and Proper leans her petite body backward into her executive-sized black leather chair. "Mr. Simmons, please understand, as Director of Shady Grove Elder Care, I appreciate your parents’ desire for intimacy, but . . ." The billowing clouds painted on her office ceiling hover over me. ". . . quite simply, I must insist you ask them to tone it down."

My silence forms a low gray rain cloud above Ms. Prim and Proper’s head.

She flits through the files on her desk.

This is the third time in three months that she has summoned me to her dove white office. She makes me squirm like a blushing father who’s just been told by the junior high principal that his son had mooned the 4th period lunchroom.

I’ve spent most of my childhood denying my parents’ sex lives, and I refuse to relive my endless struggles to muffle the primal sounds that filtered through the rawboned wall separating my Cowboy Bob bedroom from their red satin sheets, lava lamp and mirrored ceiling.

Ms. Prim and Proper sets her files aside and smiles, her slender fingers combing through her long golden curls—not once, not twice, but three times—until her silky corkscrews uncoil across her shoulders. A kink in her tight-laced feathers perhaps? She’s smiling, but I feel as if her shrewd blue eyes are reading my mind like a tattletale picture book detailing every sexual fantasy I’ve ever had. "Can I count on you to rectify the situation this time?" She asks.

Quite simply, Ms. Prim and Proper—I say to myself—I’m not equipped emotionally to deal with your reports that my parents are still having sex in their assisted living suite. Hell, I’m half their age, and I haven’t had sex since my divorce two years ago! "I’ll have another ‘little talk’ with them." I try to respond as if I’m in charge—not envious—of my parents’ libidos. Though I suspect what Ms Prim and Proper really wants me to do is hose my parents down. I rise from my chair to shake her smooth, narrow hand.

Out in the garden, next to an ivy-choked gate, my parents sway hand in hand on a white wrought iron glider. I pull up a white wicker chair to sit beside them. "How are they treating you here?"

"Oh it’s wonderful, like a little bit of heaven on earth," Mother says as she squeezes Dad’s spotted hand.

"Food’s good too," he squeezes her tangled fingers.

"Fine weather—I pause, clear my throat, and then steadfastly continue to deny my parents’ sexuality, choosing instead to respect their ageless love and lust—not a grey cloud in sight," I say.

"Like heaven on earth," Mother repeats.

Dad leans toward Mother’s good ear, "Food’s good too."

I return home and wait to be summoned back to heaven.

08-02-2005, 01:19 AM
Glad to see you, JAlpha.

08-02-2005, 01:25 AM
Thanks for the greeting, Rich:Hug2:

But, I need you to move your greeting to the 500 Word Flash Fiction Dash Discussion thread, and then hurry back and crit and/or submit a story :)


08-03-2005, 09:20 PM
Ah, my greetings are bursts of thoughts--not subject to anything but greetings.

This just happened to be the first time I heard from you in a while.