Friday Flash – “Reconnaissance”

  The branches, like fingers clutching at the sky, flashed white in the seconds it took for the explosion to rock their hiding place.  The early dawn would blow their cover soon enough.  Whistler motioned his men to the right, while he crawled to the ridge for a closer look.

The machinery spread below was twisted and alien, its claws drilling into the earth that had once sheltered the herds.  It would soon break into the colony that honeycombed beneath the surface.  Whistler gave a nod to his team, and raced back to warn the queen.

This week’s photo prompt is from Madison Woods’ site for the #FridayFictioneers.  Check out the other Flash Fiction, and comment or link your story!

Madison graciously provides us with a photo prompt each week, but there are many ways to get inspiration for 100 words.  Here are 10 Ideas for Flash Fiction Writing Prompts from Flash Fiction Chronicles…

Shuffle It

Write a story based on the next song that you hear on your mp3 player.  Use the lyrics, beat, and instruments to generate a story idea.

What Do You See?

Use a photo from your collection, or try a random Google image or Flickr search.

Get Nostalgic

Take out your old scrapbooks and photo albums and get some inspiration from the past.

Ask “What If…”

Spend some time imagining “what if” possibilities, such as “What if I could travel in time? Where would I want to travel?” or “What if I could talk to any person who has died?

The Saying Goes …

Think of an old expression such as “The early bird gets the worm” or “Penny wise and pound foolish” and write a story about it.

Whittle it Down

Think of your favorite movie, book or short story.  Now condense it to a piece of flash fiction.

Change Your Point of View

Pick up a random object in the room where you are sitting, or rummage around a junk drawer or toy chest and draw out a random object. Now write a story from the point of view of this object. What has it seen? What role did it play?

Imagine the Possibilities

Imagine a wrapped box. You open it. What’s inside? Write a story about what you discover.

Random Words

Let your dictionary fall open randomly and point to a word on the page. Use it to inspire a story.

Let Computers Do it For You

If you’re still stumped for ideas, try a random story idea generator, such as this one. There are also character and name generators available, which could also offer inspiration.

Friday Flash – “Second Thoughts”

 

He woke to daylight.  He hadn’t thought there were any cracks last night when they’d dumped him in the hole.  He hadn’t been able to see the stains on the ceiling either, which he now confidently told himself were rust spots.

Focusing his attention on the square of light, he weighed the possibility of fitting his arm through the hole.  A shift in the rock could bring the roof – or worse, the wall – collapsing down on him.

He tested the strength of his desire for revenge, and decided it was a good deal greater than his fear.

I love miniature…everything.  Bite-size cheesecake, dollhouse furniture, toy dog breeds, and diminutive ponies.  If it’s tiny, I’m in love.

Flash Fiction is a wonderful exercise in brevity (and feeds my fascination for all things Lilliputian).  Camille Renshaw, in her article The Essentials of Micro-Fiction, offers the following ingredients for creating your own dessert-sized prose:

  1. Length and form obviously matter. (The average micro fiction will be less than 400 words, with some exceptions that reach as much as 750 words. The form is strictly prose.)
  2. Be willing to edit and re-edit.
  3. Soul-stirring Language: Choose your words carefully. You’re using so few.
  4. Imagery: In such a short space some thread must hold the story together. A recurring image can always do this.
  5. Make it tight: Use a minimum of words.
  6. Play against expectations. Let the narrator tell the reader one thing, lead him in one direction while the text leads the reader in just the opposite.
  7. Implication: The key requirement of a literary short-short is implication. There’s no room for life stories. Just enough for resonance. Know the difference between a situation and a story.  Tips to accomplish this:
    • Use a directive last sentence that gives narrative insight or opinion.
    • Make rereads necessary or at least inviting.
    • Close with a phrase that sends the reader back into the story.
    • Know when you’ve made your point.

Want more Flash Fiction? Visit the Friday Fictioneers for more 100-word heaven! (If you have a flash fiction piece to share, please leave a link in Comments!) You can also visit the originator of the photo prompts, Madison Woods, or follow the gang on Twitter – #FridayFictioneers.

Related articles

Friday Flash – “Pilgrimage”

 

  He was winded from the long hike up the mountain.  It had been easier as a young man.  He negotiated the overgrown path, had an uncertain moment with a dislodged rock and his cane.  There was a rest-worthy rock just ahead, he remembered.

He had sat there with her over fifty years ago and admired the way the wind at this altitude danced with her hair.  He gazed down at the weathered slab of granite, her bones sprinkled over the surface like crumbs.  Over fifty years… And he’d still gotten away with it.

 

100 Words…doesn’t seem like much, but once you’ve got them down there are a few touch choices to make.  Jason Gurley offers these three vital questions to ask yourself before considering if you’re Flash Fiction is truly complete:

  • Is there a definable plot?  By this, go back to the comment made by Guzman. Can you identify the three simple parts of this story? Do you have a clear beginning? A strong centerpiece? A definitive ending? If you don’t, you’ve got nothing more than a snippet of a larger story. Start editing.
  • Does your story make its point and drive it home, hard?  Most flash fiction stories, due to their abrupt beginnings and sudden endings, leave the reader breathless when finished. Though not all stories need to be forceful to fit into this small genre, it is a trend that has followed flash throughout the years. Still, if your story doesn’t have that hard-hitting theme and end by smacking into a wall, don’t worry; it’s not a necessity.
  • Is every word absolutely essential to the story?  Or have you left unnecessary sentences here and there, or maybe a few unneeded descriptives? “The quick brown dog jumped over the lazy fox” is a vivid way of stating the facts, but think of it this way: You’re writing this story from margin to margin. Those margins are solid walls — there’s no going past them. Give yourself five lines, or ten if you’re less daring, and consider the first and last line your floor and ceiling. To tell your story, you’ve got to make the most of the space. “The dog jumped over the fox” leaves you with much more room to move forward, to expand.

Want more Flash Fiction? Visit these Friday Fictioneers for more 100-word heaven! (If you have a flash fiction piece to share, please leave a link in Comments!) You can also visit the originator of the photo prompts, Madison Woods, or follow the gang on Twitter – #FridayFictioneers.

Related articles