FlashNano Day 8: Write a story set in the year 2027
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Day 3: Write a story that begins at the end
Originally Published in Flash Fiction Chronicles. Read original here
(Link not working while FFC backing up their old posts)
Rewind to October 31, 2012. It began like this:
Are you doing Nanowrimo this year?
No, are you?
No, I don’t have a novel in me right now. I’m writing flash fiction.
Maybe I should just write a flash story a day, you know, in solidarity.
I would do that if someone sent me a prompt every day.
And so Flashnano was born—30 stories in 30 days during the month of November, in solidarity with our novel-writing NaNoWriMo brothers and sisters.
I’ve participated in and greatly enjoyed NaNoWriMo many times, hitting the 50,000 mark twice. Mostly I love the marathon of it—writing that much material that fast is a really effective way to elude the inner critic. Granted, much of the material is throwaway, but within that big lump of clay are usually some really interesting insights, twists, phrases, ideas, and places that we may not have written ourselves into if we had gone about writing in our “normal” way.
The same is true with Flashnano—not every story is a winner, but participating in and embracing such a heightened outpouring often midwives stories into existence that may not have been created by other means.
Says first-time participant Nicholas Morris: “One of the great things I got out of Flashnano was that it forced me to live up to all of the creative writing advice I give my students, namely ‘Give yourself permission to write badly’ and ‘Try to write every day.’ It’s very easy to give that advice, but it’s much more difficult to follow it.”
And for those of us already in love with flash fiction, getting to play is one of the particular thrills of the form—since the stories are short, you are more inclined to take risks, trying things you might not try in a longer story or novel. Says participant Yvonne Rupert, “I took chances with my writing, approaching each day’s prompt with a ‘let’s try it and see’ attitude—regardless of what happened the day before.”
In 2012 I posted the daily prompts on my personal Facebook page just for fun. In 2013, when I realized it was creating a bigger buzz than I had anticipated, I got more organized and created webpages devoted to the prompts on both social media and my personal website. I would estimate that 200 writers took the plunge with me this past November.
The most common question I get asked about Flashnano is whether I read everyone’s stories. Absolutely not—whew! I wouldn’t have time to write myself if I did. Participants are certainly welcome to share and ultimately submit the work they produce during November, but I am only the facilitator. And just like NaNoWriMo, there is no judge or jury—ultimately this November contract is between you and your personal writing god.
So mark your calendars: This fall I will again challenge flash fiction writers everywhere to write 30 stories in 30 days. And whether you “win” or not, you are guaranteed to feed off the excitement of a flash fiction marathon and write a whole lot of material that you might not have otherwise written. To me, that’s a win.
Flashnano Day 10: Write a story with a theme of escape.
Flashnano Day 11: Write a story while listening to the entire 16 minutes of “Rhapsody In Blue.”
Flashnano Day 12: Write a story around a compulsive behavior.
Flashnano Day 13: Write a story in the form of a fable.
Flashnano Day 14: Write a story that takes place in an abandoned landscape.
Flashnano Day 15: Write a story in exactly 15 words.
Flashnano Day 16: Write a story using the word “vexatious.” (Today’s prompt brought to you by Dictionary.com.)
vexatious \vek-SEY-shuhs\, adjective:
1. causing vexation; troublesome; annoying: a vexatious situation.
2. Law. (of legal actions) instituted without sufficient grounds and serving only to cause annoyance to the defendant.
3. disorderly; confused; troubled.
Flashnano Day 17: Write a story that features one predominant color.
Flashnano Day 18: Write a story where someone is lying.
Flashnano Day 19: Write a story that involves travel.
Flashnano Day 20: Write a story where the ending comes first.
Flashnano Day 21: Write a story that takes place in extreme weather.
Flashnano Day 22: Write a story that involves a miracle.
Flashnano Day 23: Write a story that includes a strong smell.
Flashnano Day 24: Open the book nearest to you. Incorporate the first sentence you read into a story.
Flashnano Day 25: Revisit a piece you’ve written this month (or before, if necessary). Cut it in half.
Check out all our Flashnano prompts (above) and jump on–there is still time!
Nancy Stohlman is coming to Portland for 2 Flash Fiction events next week!
Tuesday, Nov 19, 7 pm: Figures of Speech Reading Series with Nancy Stohlman and Kirsten Rian
In Other Words Feminist Community Center
Corner of N Killingsworth and Williams
web site: http://inotherwords.org/
Wednesday, Nov 20, 6-8 pm: Flash Fiction For Poets Workshop
Flash forms have arrived as backlash to genre boundaries and flash fiction is leading the pack, redefining how we tell stories. By embracing the compressed form, writers are cultivating a new set of skills and creating an entirely new kind of story. In this workshop we will generate original flash pieces, examine what makes successful flash fiction, and try to differentiate flash from its cousin, the prose poem. This workshop is open to writers with all levels of experience in the form.
World Cup Coffee Meeting Room.
World Cup is located on the corner of NW Glisan and 18th ave.
Web site is: http://worldcupcoffee.com/taxonomy/term/1
Limited workshop spaces. To register email: email@example.com
Are you Flash-nanoing with us? Here are the first 9 prompts:
Flashnano Day 1: Write a story that takes place in a hotel.
Flashnano Day 2: Write a story that incorporates a piece of scientific/analytic data.
Flashnano Day 3: Write a story that takes place late at night.
Flashnano Day 4: Write a story that is exactly 75 words long.
Flashnano Day 5: Found text. “Find” a piece of text–non-literary but prose, such as a pamphlet, brochure, contract, junk mail, directions, etc. Write a story that mimics or is otherwise inspired by it.
Flashnano Day 6: Write a story that includes a piece of real overheard dialogue.
Flashnano Day 7: Write a story where someone has an illness, real or invented.
Flashnano Day 8: Write a story that includes all four of these words: pineapple, beauty, bifocals, grass.
Flashnano Day 9: Write a story inspired by a story of your grandparent.
Want to meet others? Join the Facebook Event Page here.
Flashnano Day 1: Write a story that takes place in a hotel.