I nearly forgot about flashfictober altogether until this morning. Because this year has been… well, I don’t need to tell you.
So this morning, when I was lying in bed having just remembered flashfictober, I stared at the ceiling and debated doing the challenge — 31 pieces of flash fiction in 31 days — at all. What’s the point?
Creativity and creation feels fragile right now, for all that we need art more than ever. And the last thing that anyone wants to feel is any additional pressure to Make! Art! when sometimes getting out of bed is the best you can do that day.
But pressure is not what flashfictober is about. For me, flashfictober is about chasing shiny projects, experimenting with new styles, and letting my mind wander down the twisty path. The past two Octobers when I did this challenge were the most creatively liberating months of those years.
Though things might feel fragile and pointless, they aren’t. You aren’t. That’s something we need to remember. October, for me, has always been celebratory. A month when artists of different media come together and share the beautiful things that they’ve created. When we can cheer each other and be cheered in return.
It’s not about stress; it’s about joy. About taking joy. Any way you can.
So, fuck it. Fuck 2020 and this dark, dystopic timeline. Let’s do the thing anyway and remember the light.
Here are the rules if you want to play along. Feel free to adjust to fit your own goals and brain. I’ll say straight up that I’m likely to aim for 25 again this year, allowing myself some skips. Do what feels good to you.
- Write a piece of flash fiction daily for the month of October — 31 first drafts for 31 days. (Although like I said, I’m likely doing 25 again.)
- Each flash fiction piece should be <=1000 words long and should contain an arc/plot/conflict.
- If you need help deciding what to write, here are a few sources*:
- 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.
- Dawn Vogel has a list of prompts up on her blog.
- If you like the one word prompts from Inktober, here’s a random word generator.
- Also check out fictober (fanfiction!) and OCtober for more prompts and loveliness.
- 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!
BONUS POINTS (Even though I’m still not keeping score.)
- <100 words
- Try out some genres you don’t usually write in.
- Try writing some poetry!
- Triple point score if you also do the art challenge! Illustrate your flash, if you’d like. Keep it ink, and don’t get stuck on ‘perfect.’
*Sidebar. There’s some controversy around the whole Inktober thing (look it up if you’re curious, I don’t want to rehash it here), so I’m not posting the official prompt list. But if you’d like to use that, it’s easy enough to find with minimal Googling.