Sunday, November 4, 2012

Flash Prompts

Fiction writers often need a prompt to get started.  Sometimes the ideas flow, but sometimes it's like the Sahara desert - dry and desolate.  You may want to consider using prompts if you have tried your hand at fiction, or if you want to try. Prompts can kickstart your creativity.  It can be a single word, a phrase, a complete paragraph or even a picture, with the idea being it gives you something to focus on so the creativity can begin. Sometimes you end up with disjointed notes but other times you end up with a fluid piece or even something that develops into a complete story. the point is, it "prompts" you to start writing.

Sometimes it’s hard to start writing when the blank page is staring you down.  That blinkng curser on the white screen can be terrifying.  Setting a timer for a set time like ten minutes or so can unclog the block. You may find that if you stop trying to think  about what you wanted to write and switch you attention to a prompt instead, the words and ideas for your original piece start to come to you after all.

The things you write from a prompt may also end up as worthwhile material.  This is one of the quickest ways to produce flash fiction, from prompts.  It’s often surprising how much material you come up with once you start.

Writing to a prompt regularly helps to get you into the habit of writing. This can act as a sort of exercise regime, helping to build up your “muscles” so that you start to find it easier and easier to write for longer and longer.  I typically use prompts about once a week to stoke the fires.

Prompts can be a great way to get involved in a writing community. Sometimes groups offer a prompt for everyone to write about, with the intention being for everyone to come up with something they can then share. This can be a source of great encouragement, and also a source of entertainment.  Prompts are great to come up with a humorous story. 

In December we are going to have a flash fest!  We are inviting our readers to participate.  Here are 25 prompts to get you started on your piece of 500 to 1000 words. 

  1. It was the first snowfall of the year.
  2. He hadn’t seen her since the day they graduated from High School.
  3. The city burned, fire lighting up the night sky.
  4. Silk.
  5. She studied her face in the mirror.
  6. She loved the smell of leather.
  7. They came back every year to the place it all began.
  8. The streets were deserted. Where was everyone?
  9. This time he had gone too far.
  10. bloodshot eyes
  11. Stars blazed in the night sky.
  12. He woke to winter's chill.
  13. ‘Shh! Hear that?’
  14. He’d always hated the parade.
  15. She woke, shivering, in the dark of the night.
  16. The dead stalks poked out from the snow.
  17. She sipped her coffee, watching the Cardinal through the tears.
  18. She cried, kicking the flat tire.  She'd never get home by Christmas.
  19. ‘I told him never come back!’
  20. His feet were already numb. He should have listened.
  21. She chewed her lips waiting for his plane to arrive.
  22. red satin
  23. The thermos of cocoa was tucked in the basket next to the ring.
  24. It just wasn't the same this year  without...
  25. She lifted the lid on the box and found, laying innocuously on the sparkling tissue paper, a negligee...
Send your submissions to:; put 'Storytime flash' submission in the subject line.


  1. I love the writing prompts! Great work! Definitely helps me out.

  2. Awesome! Glad they will help someone! Hope to see your December flash.