Archives for flash fiction

#FlashPIC 25 Orange Railings #writingprompt #amwriting

There are three basic reasons for storytelling; the things which we write about and others want to read. Entertainment, understanding the world we live in, and escape. Sometimes if I am stuck in my own writing, I like to push myself to write about subjects new to me and explore unknown areas. This may mean taking a genre with which I am unfamiliar, which for me is horror, sci-fi, fantasy and military. As part of the Writers’ BLOCKbusters series, here is a FlashPIC prompt to help you explore your own unknown areas. If you like writing short stories, write something longer; if write long, try a flash fiction story. Consider this picture of an ordinary scene. An empty train carriage. Write a list of the everyday, obvious things about it. As many single words as you can. Now, alongside each word, write another list of opposites. Then add a third column, with the most exaggerated version of the second list of words you can imagine. Be experimental, take a risk. Now use the train carriage as the setting for a short story. Write in an unknown genre and allow your mind to explore possibilities in your sub-conscious. Don’t be afraid to be
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Categories: On Writing, Writers' BLOCKbusters and Writing exercises.

#FlashPIC 24 Cable #writingprompt #amwriting #writetip

Plotting is often the nuts and bolts part of writing a novel which a writer may be tempted to ‘allow to sort itself out’. But without plot, the reader will not want to turn the page. There are two key questions which keep the reader reading: Suspense [where the answer lies in the future], and Mystery [looking backwards into the past for the answer]. As part of the Writers’ BLOCKbusters series, here is a FlashPIC prompt to kickstart your plotting for a novel, short story or flash fiction story. This is the fixing of an industrial cable, a common type used in construction of a biggest buildings. It carries a heavy load. It is designed by engineers, specified by architects and installed by construction workers. As a plot device, the cable can supply the reason for a crucial turning point in the storyline. Imagine a setting which features a construction project or a famous building. Add characters [maximum three]. Assume that the cable in the photograph is faulty. Work out a plot in which the faulty cable causes something to happen. Now write your plot in no more than five bullet points. For example, here’s a rather simple idea: Architect designs
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Categories: On Writing, Writers' BLOCKbusters and Writing exercises.

‘Running’, a short story

I didn’t run the Reighton Fun Run in 12 minutes 14 seconds, so why does everyone keep congratulating me? I didn’t come first, I didn’t win anything. I never win anything. No-one’s ever patted me on the back before, but it felt good. The Mercury sent a photographer to take my photo and I told him it wasn’t me but he took the picture anyway. Wanted me in my running vest and shorts, the best I could do was my blue trackkie bottoms and the t-shirt I wear for gardening. But he didn’t seem to care. It’ll be in Saturday’s edition. A boy knocked on my door. Are you famous? Don’t like children, I said. You boys run around our street shouting when you mother’s thrown you out of the house for being too noisy. Why can’t she be bothered to look after you instead of letting you litter the street with bikes and footballs and noise? Dunno, he said. But he’d seen a man with a camera walking down my front path. Had I murdered someone, or won the lottery, or done something really clever? No, the man wanted to take my photo because I ran in a race. Ooh,
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Categories: My Short Stories.

#FlashPIC 23 Deckchairs #writingprompt #amwriting

Dialogue is a writing technique which rewards practice, patience and observation. Reading aloud helps too. So today’s writing tip is a two-hander, two characters only, pure dialogue. From the Writers’ BLOCKbusters series, here is a FlashPIC writing prompt to inspire a conversation for a piece of flash fiction. There are two alternative ways to start this exercise:- 1 Choose your two characters. They could be based on someone you know, a character you have already created, a character you are working on, or celebrities. Mis-matched personalities yield the most conflict and liveliest dialogue. Do not pre-judge whether their conversation will be funny, quickfire, sparse or argumentative. Or 2 Choose the location of your deckchairs and work out why your two characters are there. Do they know each other, have they arranged to meet, or are they strangers? Now, seat your characters in their deckchairs. Each character should, in turn, introduce himself. Find something for them to agree about… And something for them to disagree about. And let the conversation develop naturally. Do not worry about punctuation, simply start a new line to indicate change of voice. Finally, incorporate these characters and their dialogue into a flash fiction story. © ‘Writers’
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Categories: On Writing, Writers' BLOCKbusters and Writing exercises.

#FlashPIC 22 We Are Watching You #writingprompt #amwriting

Today’s writing prompt is less about storyline and more about emotions. This is a useful trick if you are trying to get to grips with a new character. From the Writers’ BLOCKbusters series, here is a FlashPIC to turn into a flash fiction story. Perhaps about the surveillance society? Or a stalker? Or an incident at a railway station? As you carry out your daily tasks, consider how it would feel if someone were watching you all the time:- What would you do differently, and why? How does your body react to being watched – sweaty, feverish, twitchy? Let your mind run over the question ‘Who is it?’ Why is it happening? Are you guilty of something? Have you been mistaken for someone else? What emotions are you feeling: indignant, affronted, ashamed, guilty, bashful, frightened, aggressive? How do you want to react? Challenge? Run? Fight? Now in 20 minutes of free writing, write down everything you thought about. Single words, phrases, dialogue, stream-of-consciousness. Then use everything for a new character who is being stalked. © ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’ by Sandra Danby Want more inspiration? Try these other FlashPICs:- Hotel Corridor Red sign ‘Pedestrians’ Go! Clock What are ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’? I want to
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Categories: Writers' BLOCKbusters and Writing exercises.

#FlashPIC 21 Two Empty Glasses #writingprompt #amwriting

Here’s a writing prompt from the Writers’ BLOCKbusters series to help you start the day off well… before your mind is stressed with deadlines and ‘not working’, allow your thoughts to slow down. Let your imagination do the work and turn this into a flash fiction piece. 1 Study the photograph for 60 seconds then put it aside. 2 Write down every word or phrase which you can recall about it. These can include descriptions, feelings, dialogue, expectations, presumptions, colours, smells and noise. 3 Work out a beginning, middle and end for a short story. 4 Write 500-800 words. © ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’ by Sandra Danby Want more inspiration? Try these other FlashPICs:- Plastic Bag Stairs to who knows where Moon rocks What are ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’? I want to help you put words on the page. Those words won’t necessarily be the first line of your novel, or indeed anything to do with your novel, but they will be words to fill that intimidating blank space. And it couldn’t be quicker. Writers’ BLOCKbusters is a collection of three ebooks of writing prompts. Why are they different? Precisely because they are short, easy to use, and flexible. Designed for writers of fiction, any genre, novels,
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Categories: On Writing, Writers' BLOCKbusters and Writing exercises.

Flash Fiction: Paris

In the thing where I keep the small metal circles I give the man in the shop where I buy bread, I find two papers I do not know. Why don’t I know them? This is my thing, it is mine because inside is a yellow paper with my name. Mary. Inside is my purse, this is where I keep the small metal circles and sometimes large paper things with people’s faces on. The lady at the bank, Annette, gives me the paper things every Friday. She says “Hello Mary, have you come for your money?” and she gives me the paper things. She always smiles and is ever so kind. I look at the two papers, they do not have my name on them, on one side there are words and on the other is a picture of two grey men. Who are these men? What are they doing in my thing? Someone must have put them there when I was asleep? I mustn’t go to sleep. People want to steal things. My Bill bought it for me, he said I needed a thing to keep my money in. Perhaps the papers are not mine. They do not have my
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

Flash fiction: Left or right

The tall dark figure stood behind the small pink one, at the open door of the coffee shop. They looked out at the wet pavement, the December squall pushing the rain horizontally into their faces. “We’re going to go left. Which way is left?” “This one.” A hand waved in the air and was quickly shoved into a pocket. “No… Try again.” The man shared the same dark brows as the pink figure which leant backwards against his legs, sheltering from the chill wind which arrived in their High Street from snow-blocked continental Europe. “Grandpa, can we go. Please.” She stamped her feet. “It’s freezing here.” “Where to next?” “To get Mog.” “Show me the way then.” “The library’s over there.” She waved her left hand vaguely in a left direction. Her hands were cosy inside hand-knitted mittens, each with a crocheted-flower sewn on it. She was so proud of her new mittens. She had chosen the colours and her grandmother had done the special crocheting with a huge grey needle. The pair clasped hands, his left in her right, and disappeared into the cold rain. In the coffee shop, Mary watched them go. She sat at the table beside
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Categories: Book Love, My Flash Fiction and On Writing.

Flash Fiction: The Ten Questions

There are various tests to be passed in life. Some we pass, some we fail. Sylvestra hated tests. Practise or don’t practise, learn by rote or don’t, nothing made any difference. It coloured her life. Spelling tests at school: Rhubarb, Psychosis, Blancmange, Rhododendron. The egg-and-spoon race. The driving test, certification to drive a motor vehicle. The breathalyser test, when stopped for driving erratically in charge of said motor vehicle. Sylvestra tried, and failed them all. She was not a clever woman, but she would not call herself stupid. She knew right from wrong, right from left, she knew wars were started by men who thought they knew better than everyone else, she recognised when she was being over-charged and knew instantly whether or not someone could be trusted. Then came a new Government test. The ‘clever enough to vote’ test. Over 10 years ago, voter turnout fell. Subsequent governments elected were all further and further right-wing. This was the first test Sylvestra had ever passed, but she took no delight. Now Sylvestra awaited the most controversial element of the next Queen’s Speech. It was a white paper anticipated with relief by an ageing electorate tired of decades of family-dominated government
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Categories: My Flash Fiction and On Writing.

#FlashPIC 5 Waiting beneath the clock #writingprompt #amwriting

Don’t waste another minute. Use today’s writing prompt from the Writers’ BLOCKbuster series to kick start a flash fiction story. You can simply use the photo to energise your writing, or use some of the following phrases:- Expectation Disappointment Nervous energy Appointment Delay Life passing Opportunity Regret Tick Tock Stopped © ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’ by Sandra Danby Want more inspiration? Try these other FlashPICs:- Nothing of value left overnight Anonymous people Beach What are‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’? I want to help you put words on the page. Those words won’t necessarily be the first line of your novel, or indeed anything to do with your novel, but they will be words to fill that intimidating blank space. And it couldn’t be quicker. Writers’ BLOCKbusters is a collection of three ebooks of writing prompts. Why are they different? Precisely because they are short, easy to use, and flexible. Designed for writers of fiction, any genre, novels, short stories, flash fiction, they are suitable for all genre of fiction precisely because each exercise is based on a subject unrelated to whatever you are struggling with. I am not looking over your shoulder. Ebooks coming in 2019 at Amazon… Writers’ BLOCKbusters: #500 FirstParas Writers’ BLOCKbusters: #500
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Categories: On Writing and Writers' BLOCKbusters.

#FlashFiction: ‘A Little Drop’

Tatiana could read the writing backwards. EFAC SNUB YENOH YCNACAV EEFFOC WINNING-DRAWA The window stickers hadn’t changed for weeks. The door banged and in with the cold air came ‘Mr Triple Shot Espresso and Cheese & Marmite Bagel’. He didn’t wink at her this morning. His eyes were slits, like the coin slots on a parking meter. She popped a little something into his espresso. Just to give him a lift. Next to arrive was ‘Mrs Hot Chocolate on my way home from night shift’. Her eyes were like coin slots too, narrowed by an eight hour shift plus two hours overtime on the ward. Dealing with other people’s pain was tiring. So Tatiana popped something into the hot chocolate to make sleep come effortlessly. After that there was a bit of a lull, the pause between the night shift going home and 9am starters leaving home. She arranged her bottles under the counter. Brown bottles on the right, clear in the middle, green on the left. Generally she found the brown bottles were needed most often, she kept the green bottles for emergencies. Exhaustion, lethargy, depression, hangover, grief, headache, laziness, irritability, apathy: there was a bottle to relieve them all.
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Categories: Book Love, My Flash Fiction and On Writing.

#Flashfortnight… image rights

  The #Flashfortnight competition by Ether Books is a two-part affair: the first week involved writing the seven stories, this week the emphasis is on promotion. Each story has a dedicated promotional image directly related to it, you can see them here.     From top to bottom: Beginnings… a beautiful tiara brings bad luck [above] Revenge… June’s weapons are a sandwich + binoculars [above] Celebration… the end of a friendship [above] Movies… step into a black cab and a world of movies [above] Home… Joey is more like pigeon Darth than he realizes [above] Space… Why is John’s mother singing ‘Space Oddity’? [above] Endings… the final 60 minutes, the Golden Hour [above] Copyright for all photographs: Sandra Danby [except Beginnings:  Millisenta | Dreamstime.com]
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

#Flashfortnight… Endings

It’s the final #Flash Fortnight story today and the theme is Endings. The End. Fin. Conclusion. The Golden Hour. Click here to read my story Endings for free at Ether. If you enjoy the story, please leave a review. #Flash Fortnight is a competition for very short stories – ie ‘in a flash’ fiction of up to 500 words – so last week I wrote a story a day. Each day, organiser Etherbooks announced a different theme. The first week was about writing the stories, this week we release the stories to the world.   Click here to read my other stories:- Beginnings Revenge Celebration Movies Home Space     To read Ether’s selection of short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays to your mobile or tablet,  click here to download the app at iTunes or GooglePlay. Follow all the Twitter gossip about #flashfortnight and discover new writers using the hashtag or by following me @SandraDanby and @Etherbooks
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

#Flashfortnight… Space

The sixth theme for #Flash Fortnight is Space.  What did your mother do during the Space Race? John thinks he knows what his Mum did, but he’s wrong. Click here to read my story Space for free at Ether. If you enjoy the story, please leave a review. #Flash Fortnight is a competition for very short stories – ie ‘in a flash’ fiction of up to 500 words – so last week I wrote a story a day. Each day, organiser Etherbooks announced a different theme. The first week was about writing the stories, this week we release the stories to the world. Click here to read my other stories:- Beginnings Revenge Celebration Movies Home Coming tomorrow, the final story… Endings. To read Ether’s selection of short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays to your mobile or tablet,  click here to download the app at iTunes or GooglePlay. Follow all the Twitter gossip about #flashfortnight and discover new writers using the hashtag or by following me @SandraDanby and @Etherbooks
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

#Flashfortnight… Home

More than halfway there now. The fifth theme for #Flash Fortnight was Home. Joey has more in common with his pigeon Darth than he realizes. Click here to read my story Home for free at Ether. If you enjoy the story, please leave a review. #Flash Fortnight is a competition for very short stories – ie ‘in a flash’ fiction of up to 500 words – so last week I wrote a story a day. Each day, organiser Etherbooks announced a different theme. The first week was about writing the stories, this week we release the stories to the world. Click here to read my other stories:- Beginnings Revenge Celebration Movies Coming tomorrow… Space. To read Ether’s selection of short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays to your mobile or tablet,  click here to download the app at iTunes or GooglePlay. Follow all the Twitter gossip about #flashfortnight and discover new writers using the hashtag or by following me @SandraDanby and @Etherbooks
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

#Flashfortnight… Movies

The theme for the fourth day of #Flash Fortnight was Movies. A passenger steps into Jarek’s black cab and enters a world of movies and double-meanings. Click here to read Movies for free at Ether. If you enjoy the story, please leave a review. #Flash Fortnight is a competition for very short stories – ie ‘in a flash’ fiction of up to 500 words – so last week I wrote a story a day. Each day, organiser Etherbooks announced a different theme. The first week was about writing the stories, this week we release the stories to the world. Click here to read my other stories:- Beginnings Revenge Celebration Coming tomorrow… Home.   To read Ether’s selection of short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays to your mobile or tablet,  click here to download the app at iTunes or GooglePlay. Follow all the Twitter gossip about #flashfortnight and discover new writers using the hashtag or by following me @SandraDanby and @Etherbooks
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

#Flashfortnight… Celebration

The third theme for #Flash Fortnight is Celebration and my story tells about the toxic combination of three girls, three dresses and a forthcoming party. Click here to read Celebration for free at Ether. If you enjoy the story, please leave a review. #Flash Fortnight is a competition for very short stories – ie ‘in a flash’ fiction of up to 500 words – so last week I wrote a story a day. Each day, organiser Etherbooks announced a different theme. The first week was about writing the stories, this week we release the stories to the world.   Click here to read my other stories:- Beginnings Revenge Coming tomorrow… Movies.   To read Ether’s selection of short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays to your mobile or tablet,  click here to download the app at iTunes or GooglePlay. Follow all the Twitter gossip about #flashfortnight and disc over new writers using the hashtag or by following me @SandraDanby and @Etherbooks
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

#Flashfortnight… Revenge

My second story for #Flash Fortnight is Revenge, about June who sets out with a cheese sandwich and binoculars. Click here to read Revenge for free at Ether. If you enjoy the story, please leave a review.   #Flash Fortnight is a competition for very short stories – ie ‘in a flash’ fiction of up to 500 words – so last week I wrote a story a day. Each day, organiser Etherbooks announced a different theme. The first week was about writing the stories, this week we release the stories to the world.  The theme for the first day was ‘Beginnings’, click here to read my story Beginnings. Coming tomorrow… ‘Celebration’.   To read Ether’s selection of short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays to your mobile or tablet,  click here to download the app at iTunes or GooglePlay. Follow all the Twitter gossip about #flashfortnight and discover new writers using the hashtag or by following me @SandraDanby and @Etherbooks
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

#Flashfortnight… Beginnings

#Flash Fortnight is a competition for very short stories – ie ‘in a flash’ fiction of up to 500 words – so last week I wrote a story a day. Each day, organiser Etherbooks announced a different theme. The first week was about writing the stories, this week we release the stories to the world.  The theme for the first day was ‘Beginnings’. My interpretation of ‘Beginnings’ involves a beautiful tiara which brings bad luck. Click here to read Beginnings for free at Ether.   Coming tomorrow… ‘Revenge’.   To read Ether’s selection of short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays to your mobile or tablet,  click here to download the app at iTunes or GooglePlay.   Follow all the Twitter gossip about #flashfortnight and discover new writers using the hashtag or by following me @SandraDanby and @Etherbooks
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

Flash Fiction: Stone

Joanna stood like a human pebble amongst the ebb and flow of the tourist tide on the roof of the Reichstag. She’d bought a £39 flight to Berlin and got on the plane the very same afternoon, something she’d never done before. She was giddy with bravery. And now she was here, with Berlin at her feet. So far she had eaten currywurst – a disappointing long sausage with curry sauce on the side, rather than the curry-flavoured sausage she had expected – she’d been on a boat trip down the Spree, walked through Checkpoint Charlie which was a street filled with tacky souvenir shops – not like the films at all – and she’d plucked up the courage to ask a stranger to take her photograph outside the Brandenburg Gate. He was Japanese, she thought, or possibly Chinese, but he smiled a lot and seemed to know more about how her camera worked than she did. She had managed to say danke schön, which afterwards she realised the tourist wouldn’t have understood. And now she was standing on top of Berlin. Her nose felt hot, she hoped it wasn’t red. September in Berlin was hotter than September in Leeds,
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.