View Full Version : May 2011 Flash Fiction Challenge!

05-14-2011, 05:26 PM
Welcome to the May Flash Fortnight!

The May Flash Fortnight (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=213125) will run from Sunday 15th May (Day 1) to Saturday May 28th (Day 14). Each morning during the challenge, I'll update this post with a new prompt for the day, so please check back if you find them useful! All of the challenge prompts will remain permanently available to you, so if you'd like to use any of them outside of the Fortnight, please feel free to do so.



Day 14 : A Strange Day at the Office
Day 13 : Noise, Where Silence is Expected
Day 12 : A Spot by the River
Day 11 : Visitors. (This prompt is the specified theme for an upcoming edition of 5x5 literary magazine (http://5x5litmag.org/Submit.html).)
Day 10 : A Moment in the Trenches
Day 9 : A Spy in the Emperor's Court

Day 8 : A Discovery Made in an Old Attic
Day 7 : "It's quiet. Too quiet." (This prompt is the specified theme for an upcoming edition of 10Flash (http://10flash.wordpress.com/guidelines/).)
Day 6 : An Incident During an Ocean Voyage
Day 5 : A New Kind of Forest
Day 4 : A Signal Sent to the Wrong Person
Day 3 : Written by a Prisoner
Day 2 : Driving on a Dark Night

Day 1 : The End of Summer


Tips on using the prompts

Think of the prompt as a starting point. When you look at it, certain words, phrases or ideas might immediately come to your mind. Try writing these down. For each of these things, consider what words, phrases or ideas that they, in turn, inspire.

Keep going in this way. You could free associate on the thoughts you're getting, or ask yourself questions on each thing: What is it about this that I'm drawn to? What would happen if I followed this train of thought to its logical conclusion?

Try not to censor yourself, or second-guess your imagination. In the end, the idea you end up with might be completely unrelated to the prompt - and that's completely fine!

Good luck!

Optional: Signature art!

http://i922.photobucket.com/albums/ad65/elarasophia/AW%20Flash%20Fiction%20Forum/1.jpg http://i922.photobucket.com/albums/ad65/elarasophia/AW%20Flash%20Fiction%20Forum/7.jpg http://i922.photobucket.com/albums/ad65/elarasophia/AW%20Flash%20Fiction%20Forum/13.jpg

Here are some images that you are welcome to use in your post signatures, if you wish, to mark your achievements in each challenge. They indicate the total number of days during the Flash Fortnight on which you've completed a story draft. There are 14 images available, one for each day.

You can update your signature with a single new image each day, or put one image up at the end of the challenge; however you prefer.

The images are currently hosted on Photobucket. To add them to your signature:

Go to your User CP (the left-most link in the blue menu bar that is near the top of every page);
Click on the Edit Signature link from the list on the left of the page;
Paste the URL into the signature box, preceded by and followed by ;
Click on Save Signature.

The URLs of the images are all in this form:


Right-click on the link and copy it, and then edit the 1.jpg at the end to the number you would like (e.g. 10.jpg) after you paste the URL into your signature box.

But there's more!

You can also choose a signature picture from this second set of images, which was very kindly created by Williebee (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/member.php?u=15081):

http://i922.photobucket.com/albums/ad65/elarasophia/AW%20Flash%20Fiction%20Forum/W1.png http://i922.photobucket.com/albums/ad65/elarasophia/AW%20Flash%20Fiction%20Forum/W8.png http://i922.photobucket.com/albums/ad65/elarasophia/AW%20Flash%20Fiction%20Forum/W14.png

Again, there are images available for each day of the challenge. The URLs for these are all in this form:


Right-click on the link and copy it, and then edit the W1.png at the end to the number you would like (e.g. W14.png) after you paste the URL into your signature box.

05-14-2011, 05:31 PM
Sounds like fun! I'll try to participate as often as I can.

05-14-2011, 07:57 PM
*Cheer* I'll be here tomorrow. Nice for me that it starts on a Sunday. It'll give me an off-work day to get started.

05-15-2011, 03:14 AM
My pencils are sharpened and I have a fresh pad of paper.

I'm ready, boss!

...is it Sunday yet?

05-15-2011, 02:04 PM
Oooh, prompt appears in the 1st post above, fooled me! :)

Such shiny buttons!


05-15-2011, 02:20 PM
We're starting! YAYAYAY!

*grabs prompt and runs off to start*

05-15-2011, 04:02 PM
Oooh--signature art! nice!

05-15-2011, 10:48 PM



05-16-2011, 05:36 AM
So I wrote a story. It's too long (2kish) but shorter than anything I've done to date, so a start. Cheated a bit as it was an idea I already had. And needs some serious editing and that will probably bring it down enough. And sorta kinda vaguely fits the prompt. Is there a check in of some sort for this?

05-16-2011, 09:01 AM
I've written mine too, and I rather like it. It's only 500 words or so, but a rewrite would flesh it out a bit now I have the shape of it.

I don't know whether it's the sort of thing I could ever do anything with it, if it's saleable, but I'm glad I wrote it.


05-16-2011, 11:15 AM
I'm glad the challenge is producing results so far. :)

Sagana, you can check in here if you like, or you (or anyone else) can create an on-going challenge check-in thread in this room that can be used every month. Either is fine with me.

My first day went quite slowly, but then in the evening, I got a new idea, and wrote the draft in around an hour after that. It ended up at 1050 words. The story turned out to be a lot closer to horror than anything I've written before. I like the idea of using this challenge to experiment with different genres and styles in my writing, so it'll be interesting to me to see what comes out of it. :)

05-16-2011, 12:26 PM
So far so good! On to Day 2...


05-16-2011, 10:34 PM
Oh, I was so excited for this and then I forgot to check the prompt yesterday! I just wrote my first story and I'm getting ready to start on the second :)

05-17-2011, 06:17 AM
I'm only about halfway through the 2nd (499 words), but today's was my husband's bday so family obligations ran into writing time. Will finish it tomorrow.

I'm really enjoying the prompts. Gives me something to think about all day while I'm wishing I wasn't at work :)

I also decided story number 1 is going to need a serious rewrite, but oh well, it was my first try. (The conflict wasn't conflict-y enough. I think I know how to fix it though.)

05-17-2011, 09:16 AM

Mine's just short of the thousand. I rather like it and might be able to do something with it.

05-17-2011, 10:00 PM
Heh, haven't finished 1 or 2 yet, got a tad distracted, but they know who the master is and they know ah'll be back. Starting 3 also with great optimism!


05-18-2011, 03:33 AM
Number 3 done at just over a thousand words. Not at all what I expected to write, and something that will need loads of work if it's ever to be something.

But an interesting challenge. Thank you.

05-19-2011, 11:12 AM
4 done.

1270 words here, so far too long. But there is a fair bit of crap that could be cut.
And I really like this one.


05-19-2011, 11:56 AM
Fantastic going, Lillie!

05-19-2011, 12:21 PM
Yeah pretty good! I'm still only 1 finished... and several in progress. No retreat, no surrender!


05-19-2011, 03:10 PM
Whee, Lillie. That sounds like about where I am Derek. I have *something* for all the prompts, but most aren't really finished - more in progress. I'll have to really finish up and edit my favorite this weekend for my W1. Still, I'm going to end up with 14 ideas. And I'm getting the 'shorter' thing I wanted :)

05-20-2011, 09:34 AM
5 done. Well over a thousand words.

Turned into an odd thing that really isn't any good, but it might provide the root of something better one day.


05-20-2011, 04:36 PM
So far, I've done the first five. They're not pretty, and about as rough as Brillo Pads, but some of them have potential.

Thank you, Sophia for the fun prompts. I look forward to logging on each morning to see what the new one will be.

05-20-2011, 04:58 PM
I'm really glad that the prompts are of use, and thank you for saying so!

I've completed two stories so far, and am aiming to finish a third today, and hopefully get some of a fourth done. They need editing, but they've been very different from my usual writing, and I've been really enjoying writing them.

Go, go, everyone!

05-20-2011, 05:01 PM
Whee! I did 4 before getting completely derailed by my new puppy :D But I'm having a lot of fun with this! (the prompts and the puppy both, teehee) There's definitely some editing to be done but I like most of them at least...on to 5 and 6!

05-21-2011, 02:35 PM
6 done. Barely 300 words for that after a long false start. But it's a coherent, if nasty, little story.

I look forward to these too.


05-21-2011, 05:39 PM
Me too, me too, enjoying the prompts. I love checking in every day to find them. I've been sharing them with my husband too, which is fun for me. Maybe one will inspire him and he'll write. He's a good writer, but hasn't got the BIC stuff down.

Unfortunately I stalled out on forests, but am hoping I can pick back up and catch up.

05-21-2011, 06:08 PM
Thanks, everyone! :) It's really nice reading how you're doing with this challenge. Thank you for the updates!

Sagana: I did think the forests prompt was a bit of a risky one to include. I wondered if it would work for people, as it was basically a sci-fi idea when I thought of it. I imagined forests of trees genetically cultivated for a particular purpose, be it industrial, medical, or technological, or perhaps some kind of sentient security around a future habitation. Or a forest of plastic, growing spare parts, or some cultivar that cleaned the atmosphere by absorbing some particular thing. It could be used in any genre, of course, but the SF one seemed to fit it best. I might try to include prompts that lean towards other specific genres, too, to try to balance this out.

For everyone: If a prompt doesn't suit you, one thing you could try is to replace any of the words in it that bore or irritate you with ones that you like. The new sentence this creates might not make sense, but it might suggest some image or snippet of dialogue or some hint of a situation that might spark a story idea. Remember, the prompts can be completely ignored if you want; they're just there in case they help, and aren't in any way compulsory to use.

05-21-2011, 09:18 PM
Seven roughs done. Halfway there!

05-21-2011, 09:45 PM
:Clap: Yay, Eldritch!

05-22-2011, 01:39 PM
7 done.

Very, very rough.

05-22-2011, 01:51 PM
Go, Lillie! Great work! :)

05-23-2011, 12:00 PM
8 done. Sort of.

In fact done twice, but both are just 'sort of'.

05-24-2011, 11:08 PM
Okay, I only have 6 and a half of these done. Which is really 5 and two halves, because I already scrapped the ending to one of the "completed" ones. I was doing so well, and then for some unknown reason stopped over the weekend and can't seem to get back going. Ugh. Someone kick me in the rear or I'm not going to finish!

05-25-2011, 12:35 AM
5-and-two-halves stories in one week is great going! Compare that to a typical writing week. You rock!

The aim of this monthly challenge is to try to develop a habit of writing regularly. That's why it's going to run every month, for as long as people want to take part. Think of it as a target to aim for, one that is just out of your reach. It's not supposed to be easy. :) You're building up writing muscles, and doing darn well at it. Each month, aim for beating your total from the month before. For this month, aim for a total that you know you're capable of. Are you satisfied with 5 and two halves? No? Then don't stop until you're at that number that you can hold your head up at having reached. Anything else is beneath you! Go, go, go!

05-25-2011, 01:19 AM
Aaiieee! I'm surrounded by inhuman writing machines!

-Derek (still only has "1" in his sigline)

L M Ashton
05-25-2011, 08:38 AM
Sophia, thanks for doing this. :)

I've written 3/4 of one, starting at day one. I'll be working my way through them. :)

05-25-2011, 12:02 PM
Hi! Good luck! And welcome back. It's really nice to see you again. :)

05-25-2011, 12:53 PM
9 and 10 done.

9 is rubbish but 10 has some macabre potential.

05-25-2011, 03:03 PM
I'm still hanging in there. I just finished number 11. My results have been similar to Lillie's: they need work, some are rubbish and some have potential, a few have long false starts, and some of them turned out quite odd and unexpected.

05-25-2011, 09:34 PM
Yes, I've been using these rather like structured brainstorming sessions. I have to write something and I have to finish it (because I have a problem with starting stuff and not knowing how it ends up so I just go on to something else). Even if the resolution is crap it has to have one. That's good practice for me.

And I'm ending up with a little collection of potential stories. Like a secret stash for a rainy day.

And today's story, number 11 is great. This is the first one that just sort of writ itself and which is going to need very little work before it goes out to get it's rejection badges.

So, thanks, Sophia. This is great fun.

05-25-2011, 09:46 PM
:) That's exactly what I was hoping would be one of the outcomes of this challenge. Thanks for sharing that, Lillie, and huge congrats on having 11 potential stories!

05-26-2011, 01:51 PM
Well, i have two starts. You peeps who are managing one a day rawk!

05-27-2011, 01:54 AM
12 done.

Yay! I rawk! :D

05-27-2011, 01:56 AM
You do! :D

05-27-2011, 02:08 AM
My secret is that it's a choice between writing and doing the housework. And I never do the housework...

05-28-2011, 01:57 AM
13 done. That was a really difficult one.

05-28-2011, 08:36 AM
It's been such a busy couple of weeks for me. I've only managed to do a very rough draft of a story for Day 11. Still, that's one new story! Yay!

I'll try to do a couple more this weekend, though, and look forward to next month's prompts!

05-28-2011, 06:54 PM
I did it!
Thanks, Sophia. This was a great way to learn more about my creative process.
Maybe one of these days I'll polish some of them up and submit them.

05-28-2011, 08:44 PM
Woo hoo! Fantastic work, Eldritch! You definitely deserve this:


Well done!

05-29-2011, 02:25 AM
Yay! me done too.

05-29-2011, 01:58 PM
:Clap: Yay, Lillie!

This is for you: :)


Well done and thank you to everyone who took part this month. There will be another Flash Fortnight challenge in the last two weeks of June. I hope I'll see you back here then! :)

05-29-2011, 02:40 PM
Well done, all you flash-fictioneering peeps!

L M Ashton
05-30-2011, 12:12 AM
Congrats to those of you who completed all 14. Yay!

Congrats to those of us who wrote more than we would have otherwise. Yay!

I have one flash fiction piece completed, one that turned itself into a short story (I'm not complaining)(plus both can easily be expanded into a novel), and I'm planning to chug along and finish the rest of the prompts before the next series of prompts shows up. :)

Thanks, Sophia, for providing us with useful fodder. :D

05-30-2011, 01:51 AM
I'm only just now jumping in on this, but I like the idea very much. I picked one of the prompts at random and I've got a paragraph of notes. I feel like it's been forever since I wrote anything new. It's only been a few months, but I feel like my creative muscles have atrophied. Time to get back in shape! And thanks L M Ashton for pointing me to this challenge!

L M Ashton
05-30-2011, 01:52 AM
From Twitter to AW and beyond... :D Happy to help, faerydancer. :)

05-30-2011, 11:43 AM
It's not over! I have 14 new files in my 2011 folder, and it's not over till I say it's over! I shall endeavor to persevere until they are all defeated.

Hey Laurie, nice to see a familiar face. :) Hope all's well.


L M Ashton
05-30-2011, 12:01 PM
Howdy, Derek. :) Yup, all is well. We're now in New Zealand where it's cooler. And, because I am a troll, that means my brain works better. :P

05-30-2011, 12:05 PM
Howdy, Derek. :) Yup, all is well. We're now in New Zealand where it's cooler. And, because I am a troll, that means my brain works better. :PNZ? Good choice! :D

05-30-2011, 05:28 PM
Aha! I've been out of town (and without Internet access) but I managed to finish 7 stories by Saturday. I didn't make my original goal of all 14, but that's 7 more than I would have written otherwise, so woohoo! I love one of them in particular, and two others are really just the beginnings of novels in disguise so there's plenty there for me to do before the June challenge :) I'm so excited!

L M Ashton
05-31-2011, 12:19 AM
NZ? Good choice! :D
*laughs* Yeah, we think so. Whereabouts are you? We're in Auckland.

Back on topic - another story done. We'll say three now, even though one is longer than flash fiction length. :)

05-31-2011, 05:08 PM
I just subbed the story I wrote for Visitors.

So Yay!!!
Good luck little story. I might have written you fast, but I like you.

05-31-2011, 05:40 PM
Ooh, yay! Good luck, Lillie!

06-02-2011, 01:54 PM
For those challenge participants who are considering using the Day 7 prompt ("It's quiet. Too quiet.") and submitting their story to 10Flash, there is a thread (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=215386) for that market in the Submitting and Selling Flash Fiction sub-forum (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=152) that includes a link to an interview with the magazine's editors. (Thanks, Izz! :) )

08-07-2011, 03:45 PM
I just wanted to tell you, my day 12 story has just been accepted for publication by Brain Harvest.

Thank you to Sophia and the challenge.

08-07-2011, 10:11 PM
Oh, wow! Congratulations, Lillie! What fantastic news! :partyguy: