October is the best. October means fall and embracing my goals witch aesthetic (I don’t have the wardrobe yet, but I’m coveting pretty hard). It means I can go outside again without melting or getting eaten alive by mosquitoes.
It also means Inktober. And now, to me, it means flash fiction. Last year, I challenged myself to write a piece of flash everyday using a list of writing prompts I had collected combined with the official Inktober prompt list. Having the two different prompts was helpful in kicking off idea generation — there is an immediate constraint, which makes my brain switch into problem-solving mode.
So here’s my plan this year: 25 pieces of flash in the month of October. I’m taking this weekend off, since we’re going out of town, and I’m also giving myself one day off a week. That also means I get 6 ‘skips’ for the Inktober list, if one of the prompt words doesn’t particularly strike my fancy. Otherwise, rules are the same as previously.
Here they are again if you want to play along. Feel free to adjust to fit your own goals and brain.
- Write a piece of flash fiction daily for the month of October — 31 first drafts for 31 days. (Although like I said, I’m doing 25.)
- 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).
- E. A. Deverell has a series of writing prompt resources
- Twitter idea bots: @MythologyBot, @str_voyage, @MagicRealismBot, @I_Find_Planets
- The Story Shack writing prompt generator
- Look through Nature, Popular Science or Atlas Obscura. Pick the third (or insert random number) article you see. (Be careful of rabbit holes.)
- Go to TV Tropes. Click the the “Random Trope” button at the top of the page. Generate three tropes for yourself and try to mash them up into one piece.If you need help deciding what to write, here are a few sources:
- Try to go two to three layers down from where your brain first lands with the prompt.
- Share the piece (or even just your favorite line): to your blog, to a kind friend, to an internet rando. Let someone know about the work you’re doing!
- If you post it to social, tag it with #flashfictober.
BONUS POINTS (Even though I’m still not keeping score.)
- Make your piece <100 words (still has to have conflict!).
- Try out some genres you don’t usually write in.
- Try writing some poetry!
- 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 the way it was intended! Illustrate your flash, if you’d like. Keep it ink, and don’t get stuck on ‘perfect.’
Last year, I did my flash piece as the first thing in my workflow and found that it made my subsequent words easier to write. I had already unstuck myself, gotten into writing mode, and given myself permission to be experimental and to forget about perfection.
Remember, this exercise is about process and iteration. Try things, play around, unleash your creative energies. Reboot your creative brain. And let me know how it goes!