flash fiction inktober mash-up

For the past month I’ve been receiving emails or seeing social media posts about Inktober and NaNoWriMo. Apparently, fall is the season for daily challenges.

I did both challenges last year with varying degrees of success.

Inktober (daily ink drawing for the month of October) was something I decided to participate in as kind of a lark. I found it to be immensely satisfying though — it was a nice way to work in another creative medium and add some structure to my day.


Right now, I’m trying to get words out onto a page. I need practice pulling together a tight story arc. I need a way to let myself be playful and experimental again, instead of holding each thing too preciously, too worried about perfection to create. And I need to refocus my energies on process instead of product.

And since it’s hard for me to pass up a good prompt list, I decided to smush the Inktober prompts onto a bunch of writing prompts I’ve been collecting, thus creating a FLASH FICTION INKTOBER MASH-UP CHALLENGE. (Please read that to yourself in your best announcer’s voice. Whether silently or aloud is up to you.)


  • Write a piece of flash fiction daily for the month of October — 31 first drafts for 31 days.
  • Each flash fiction piece should be <1000 words long and must contain an arc/plot/conflict (vignettes and slice-of-life stories don’t count).
  • Feel free to use the list of prompts collected below (from E. A. Deverell, a host of Twitter bots, and fragments of text)
    • Try to go two to three layers down from where your brain first goes with the prompt.
  • Share the piece: to your blog, to a kind friend, to an internet rando (feel free to send it to me!). Maybe tag it with #flashfictioninktober. (Or not. I don’t know how clever hashtags work. How do internet?)

BONUS POINTS (Even though I’m not really keeping score, since that would require figuring out a score keeping system. Award these to yourself proudly.)

  • Make your piece <100 words (still has to have conflict!).
  • Try out some genres you don’t usually write in.
  • Include the Inktober word somewhere in your piece.
    • Extra house points if the word is tied to the theme of your piece.


  • Triple point score if you also do Inktober! Illustrate your flash. Or draw a completely unrelated picture. You know, you do you.


  1. A language class for aliens
  2. A witch is hiding in a castle. She is thinking about laughter.
  3. The lazy sea. Some of our number chase swooping horrors from our jars of mollusks.
  4. Animal council assigns place and work to all.
  5. One of the children shivers.
  6. I have discovered a planet. It is cloaked in night. An icy moon drifts alone below its friendly star. Through its cliffs, a composer runs.
  7. Saint causes loss of magic powers.
  8. An unfinished work of art, a mycologist, a sense of foreboding.
  9. You will dream of a star tonight. The star will destroy you.
  10. “Smoke hung so thick in the library’s rafters that she could read words in it.”
  11. A murderer sees love inside a glass cemetery.
  12. We think about war.
  13. Old man of the sea.
  14. Something dances there, unnaturally wishing for the others.
  15. A shy priestess, a weaver, rain.
  16. “Winter was the only season we could be together.”
  17. Magic drink causes memory.
  18. A phoenix-like being lives there and crawls within the seas.
  19. A pastry chef obsessed with marmalade.
  20. An anxious cocktail waitress falls in love with serendipity.
  21. Someone’s life takes on a new meaning after they discover an unusual tree.
  22. We remember unkind eyes.
  23. Apples at Christmas.
  24. Extraordinarily sharp knife
  25. “The floor tasted like…”
  26. A boy saves up his money in order to buy solitude.
  27. A literary one night stand
  28. You discover your mother is a god.
  29. We long for somewhere new.
  30. Eating an enormous amount
  31. A party, six pastries, a duel.

Here’s a relevant episode of Writing Excuses that goes over the MICE/MACE quotient. I go back to it whenever I’m stuck trying to figure out the shape of a thing. I trust it will come in handy.

I’m curious to see how this goes. It’ll be like writing calisthenics — an exercise in willpower, consistency, and tight plotting. (I’m told exercise is good for you.)