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.
- A language class for aliens
- A witch is hiding in a castle. She is thinking about laughter.
- The lazy sea. Some of our number chase swooping horrors from our jars of mollusks.
- Animal council assigns place and work to all.
- One of the children shivers.
- 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.
- Saint causes loss of magic powers.
- An unfinished work of art, a mycologist, a sense of foreboding.
- You will dream of a star tonight. The star will destroy you.
- “Smoke hung so thick in the library’s rafters that she could read words in it.”
- A murderer sees love inside a glass cemetery.
- We think about war.
- Old man of the sea.
- Something dances there, unnaturally wishing for the others.
- A shy priestess, a weaver, rain.
- “Winter was the only season we could be together.”
- Magic drink causes memory.
- A phoenix-like being lives there and crawls within the seas.
- A pastry chef obsessed with marmalade.
- An anxious cocktail waitress falls in love with serendipity.
- Someone’s life takes on a new meaning after they discover an unusual tree.
- We remember unkind eyes.
- Apples at Christmas.
- Extraordinarily sharp knife
- “The floor tasted like…”
- A boy saves up his money in order to buy solitude.
- A literary one night stand
- You discover your mother is a god.
- We long for somewhere new.
- Eating an enormous amount
- 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.)