Friday, December 21, 2012

Writing Prompt, December 21, 2012

In FAO Schwartz in New York, they had an area where you would pick out your specific baby doll as though you were picking a child from a hospital nursery. I found it slightly creepy, and not just a little over-the-top.

Today, write about someone who goes to such lengths to impress, or get attention, that they go one step too far.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Writing Prompt, December 20, 2012

The Village Vanguard is one of the iconic music venues in New York City.

For today's flash fiction writing prompt, write about a musician who is going to play here. Will it be for the very first time, or maybe for the very last? Will this be their big break?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Writing Prompt, December 19, 2012

Everyone likes getting mail, but everyone LOVES getting packages they weren't expecting.

For today's flash fiction writing prompt, write about a mystery package that someone has received. When they get it, are they excited, scared, puzzled? Where is it from, and what's in it? What happens when they open it?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Writing Prompt, December 18, 2012

"Living in the limelight, the universal dream," says the band Rush.

For today's flash fiction writing prompt, write about someone who is just starting a career in show biz.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Writing Prompt, December 17, 2012

Some things are big, and some things are, well, enormous. They're so big that you can't help but feel humbled by them when you're near them.

For today's writing prompt, write about either someone who has a "big" personality, or about someone who is feels small when they are near that person.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Writing Prompt, December 14, 2012

Some characters are on their way up. Some are on their way down.

For today's flash fiction writing prompt, write about a character that is either rising or declining, in their career, in their health, or in their closest relationship.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Writing Prompt, December 13, 2012

It'd be so nice to just hit a button when we've made a mistake, wouldn't it?

For today's flash fiction writing prompt, write about something your character did, that they wish they could just "cancel".

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Writing Prompt, December 12, 2012

Barbie looks like she's enjoying her bath, doesn't she? She's just floating around the tub, relaxing in the bubbles. Or maybe she's not. You know, you can barely see her face. There are so many bubbles, they're practically drowning her!

For today's flash fiction writing prompt, write about a character who's having too much of a good thing.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Writing Prompt, December 11, 2012

This is part of a group of dinosaur sculptures that can be found in random locations around Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh, also, is home to the Heinz Company. Thus, the ketchup-bottle Triceratops.

For today's flash fiction writing prompt, write about a character that has two traits that are seemingly at odds with each other. For instance, I know a vegetarian butcher. And I know a guy who is 5' 2" who tried out for a minor league baseball team.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Writing Prompt, December 10, 2012

This is a picture of a fence outside a standard neighborhood ball field. It's the one spectators lean on or look through as their 10-year-olds or co-workers play, get dirty and have fun. Meanwhile, we sit on the sidelines being entertained (or bored, truth be told).

For today's Flash Fiction writing prompt, write about a character that has been sitting behind a "fence", watching life happen around them. Do they want to get in and play, or are they content to be amused by the game?

Today's Ads! :)


Friday, December 7, 2012

In Ashes

This work of flash fiction was published on Magnificent Nose on September 15, 2012, as part of their second Flash Fiction Week. The theme of the week was “Lack of Communication”. 

Leslie Gray, a stout burn unit nurse, peered through her reading glasses at a business card, then up at the thin, young man, then back to the business card which revealed the various modes of communication for one James E. Silas, Esquire.

“Well, you can go in, but don’t expect much.” Fluorescent lights reflected off the bright counter surface and onto Ms. Gray’s glasses, making it difficult to see her eyes. “Old Mrs. Long hasn’t said a word since the fire three weeks ago. Took her husband, you know.”

Mr. Silas’s head swayed in lament, as though it was used to doing so. Then he gave a slight smile and went, shoes padding on the shiny floor.

He poked his head into the door of the hospital room, and was struck by the smell of manufactured lemon clean. “Mrs. Long?” Henrietta Long, who had been looking through the window at the overcast day, turned and stared at Mr. Silas as though he were more clouds. “Mrs. Long, I know this is a hard time for you. I’m an attorney.” He paused, feeling how useless he was to her. “I’m so sorry. I’m your late husband’s attorney. We have something. From his will.” Mrs. Long’s expression, partially hidden by gauze and tape, changed not at all.

Not sure his words actually registered with her, he reached into a tote bag and produced a small jewelry box. “Your husband wanted you to have this, after he passed.”

Henrietta Long’s eyes sparkled aware. She looked at Mr. Silas with wonder, and reached up with both hands to receive the silver box. It was vaguely familiar. No, she was sure she knew it.

She cracked open the box and a small plinking song began to drift out. A large tear grew in her eye, then rolled down her cheek.

“Mrs. Long?”

“Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle,” she breathed. She looked up at the lawyer. “An old Italian song. We sang it to our daughter,” she explained. Upon opening the box entirely, she noticed a small card with a phone number and an address. At the top, it said, “Catherine”.

“Your daughter’s address?” asked Mr. Silas. “Your husband said you hadn’t talked to her in a while.”

“I was a hard mother.” Her voice faltered. In her head she began to replay the fights, and the day her daughter left.

He didn’t want to interrupt the personal moment; still Mr. Silas heard himself ask, “Would you like me to stay?”

Mrs. Long smiled. “You’re a nice boy. Go home. Call your mother.”

Mr. Silas stood and turned to leave. “I had a hard mother too,” he said first to himself, then the doorframe, then turning to look at her. “Sometimes, I wish I could call her. You should call your daughter.”

He looked around the hospital room, which held all the tidy, unburnt possessions of Mrs. Henrietta Long and said, “Good luck, Mrs. Long.”

Henrietta sat for a long while, singing and deciding.

Writing Prompt, December 7, 2012

When we went to the amusement park as kids, all the rides had names that promised incredible experiences: "Runaway Train"; "Rolling Thunder"; "Tornado".

Sometimes the experiences lived up to the fantastical names, and sometimes we wondered why we waited in line for so long.

 For today's writing prompt, write about a character who has certain expectations based on what was advertised. Whether it's a Prince Charming or Prince-Turned-Frog relationship, a house that looked great in the ad, or a bottle of mayonnaise that did or didn't work with a potato salad, write about expectations fulfilled or dashed, and how your character handles disappointment or satisfaction.


Books I'm reading, want to read or have read:

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Writing Prompt, December 6, 2012

Since this might be the only photo of a hockey rink you'll see this season, write about something that your character usually takes for granted, until it's gone.

(As an aside, "zamboni" is one of my favorite words ever. I'm going to try to work it into my story.)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Writing Prompt, December 5, 2012

For today's flash fiction prompt: write a story about the woman who is wearing these shoes, where she's going in them, and what happens there.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Writing Prompt, December 4, 2012

This was taken at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, PA. It's a collection of diamonds and diamond reproductions from all over the world.

For today's Flash Fiction writing prompt, write about a jewelry heist.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Writing Prompt, December 3, 2012

We went to an air show over the summer, and took pictures of all the planes and stunt crafts. But this is my favorite picture from that day: the sun shining on the Blue Angels through a break in the clouds.

For today's Flash Fiction prompt, you can write specifically about a flight, a plane, an airport, or an unreasonably dramatic sky. Or, you can write about two or more characters trying to coordinate something complicated and possibly death-defying.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Writing Prompt, November 30, 2013

The last day of the month. We are officially diving into December. This picture was taken at a church, and in scripture, God is known as the alpha and the omega. The beginning and the end; therefore, we are using it at the end of the month, even as December marks the beginning of the holiday season.

This stained-glass window was meant, of course, to represent the idea of the Trinity, hence the triangle and the interwoven rings.

Therefore, for this flash fiction writing prompt, write a story about three peoples' lives which, whether by job, family or circumstance, are completely intertwined. If you can, show what happens when one or all attempt to pull away.

Three characters is a lot for flash fiction; feel free to go as long as you need to, in order to get the story just right!

Good luck!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Contests Ending in December or Thereabouts

I've compiled some contests that are ending soon. I'm sure there are more, but since I just started this blog last week, this is all I've had time to cull together! I'm hoping to make this a monthly thing, towards the end of each month. It should give you just enough time to experience the panic that is associated with completing deadline-driven tasks, but also enough time to possibly complete these tasks.

I endorse none of these contests. Nor do I gain anything by you clicking on them. You are strictly left to your own judgement regarding the goodness and worthwhile-ness of each of these contests. I have enough time to inform, but unfortunately not enough time to investigate.

That being said, if you run across a particularly nasty person and/or company, let me know and I'll look into it.

Good luck! If I find more, I'll update this post for now, and post a notice on Twitter @FlashFicStories.

Contests ending 11/30!

Women On Writing (WOW) Fall Contest
Between 250-750 words
Open Prompt!
Entry Fee: $10.00
First Prize: $350.00 + $25 Amazon Gift Certificate + Entry published on WOW site + Interview on WOW site

Fish Short Story Contest
Under 5,000 words
Open Prompt!
Entry Fee: Online entry,  €20.00 for the first entry, €10.00 for subsequent entries
First Prize: €3,000 - (€1,000 of which is for travel expenses to the launch of the Anthology

Contests ending 12/15

Musings of Mistress of the Dark Path
Up to 2,500 words
Holiday theme and other stipulations (see site)
No Entry Fee
First Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Certificate

Virginia B. Ball Creative Writing Competition
Eligibility: Students who are in grade 8-11 during the 2012-2013 academic year
Poetry: 3-5 poems
Prose: Fewer than 5,000 words. Personal essay or short story, or combination thereof.
First Prize: $30,000 Creative Writing Scholarship to Interlochen Arts Academy Boarding High School for the 2013-2014 academic year and publication in the Interlochen Review.

Contests ending 12/17

Writer's Digest 13th Annual Short Short Story Competition
Up to 1,500 words
Open Prompt
Entry Fee: $20.00
First Prize: $3,000, publication in Writer's Digest, paid trip to NYC Writer's Digest conference, and other publications.

Contests closing 12/31

Flash 500 Competition
500-word limit
Open Prompt
Entry Fee: £5 for one story, £8 for two stories (payable by Paypal)
First Prize: £300 plus publication in Words with JAM

Writing Prompt, November 29, 2012

I was in New York having tea at a wonderful place called "Tea and Sympathy". And yes, this is a tea cup with a picture of the Queen. A good friend and I were working out all the world's problems, as is our custom, while (ironically?) drinking tea with, no, from, the Queen. There was a matching tea pot.
For this flash fiction writing prompt, write a story about two characters having a serious conversation in an unusual, ironic or incongruent context.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Writing Prompt, November 28, 2013

This picture was taken in August in Point Pleasant, New Jersey. But now it's November, it's not a beautiful warm day today, and in fact much of that area was badly affected by Hurricane Sandy.

For today's flash fiction writing prompt, write about something that was a certain way, but then changed drastically. You can either be influenced by time, as with the change of seasons, by an actual disaster, or by something totally different.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Writing Prompt, November 27, 2012

This is a photo I took outside of some kind of second-hand store in Greenwich Village. The collection of items intrigued me. A skull? Three individual shoes that look to be for only the right foot? A military cap? I found the arrangement fascinating.
For today's story writing prompt, use two items from this picture to define someone's job or predominant situation. Will you choose to write a piece of military flash fiction using the cap and a tie tack, or will you write about an unconventional osteopath, with perhaps the skull and a pair of wacky shades? Good luck and happy Tuesday!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Writing Prompt, November 26, 2012

A stick bug is, as you may expect, a bug that looks like a stick. It hangs around on trees, hoping to blend in and not be noticed, at least by predators.

For today's flash fiction writing prompt, write a story about a character who's trying to blend in.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Writing Prompt, November 23, 2013

Sometimes rivers flow as a powerful, raging whole; sometimes smaller, gentler tributaries split off from the main river. Write a story about a character that is split in two different directions, either spiritually, emotionally or in physical demands on their time or presence.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Writing Prompt: November 20, 2012

I'm doing "Today in History" for a while to inform my writing prompts. Seems as good as anything else. So...

Today in history, New Jersey was the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights.

Write a story about someone who has a right violated, or someone in another country that doesn't have one of these rights. For your convenience...the Bill of Rights:

Monday, November 19, 2012

Writing Prompt, November 19, 2012

On this day in 1988, Vincent van Gogh's Portrait of the Artist Without Beard sold at auction for $71.5 million.
Write a short story about an artist who just sold (or is in the process of selling) her first painting. Write for 15 minutes as a prompt, or 500 words to get a good story going. Ok...Go!