Prompts

Here are all the 2019 writing prompts, collected together in one place.  If any (or all!) of them inspire, you have until 23:59 to submit your work for possible publication here at The Write-In.  Happy writing! 

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In the Beginning...


Write a story of no more than 150 words in which the first and the last sentences are exactly the same.


If you’re submitting this to us, make sure to note that this is a response to Prompt 0: In the Beginning.
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Nursery Rhymes

Choose a nursery rhyme or other short poem, verse or proverb. (Choose something old enough to be in the public domain.)   Let that nursery rhyme inspire a flash, but make your story about something beyond the situation and characters in the rhyme.

You can keep the nursery rhyme at the beginning of your piece, or interweave your prose with the lines of verse.

To get you started, here is a list of nursery rhymes.

If you’re submitting this to us, make sure to note that this is a response to Prompt 1: Nursery Rhymes, and make sure you let us know what nursery rhyme, poem or proverb inspired your story if it's not included in your final piece.
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Brevity

Write a story that responds in some way to the picture above, in 50 words or fewer.


If you’re submitting this to us, make sure you note that this is a response to Prompt 2: Brevity.

'Reading in the Library' is the first of six images created by Jeanette Sheppard, the National Flash Fiction Day Artist in Residence that feature in the 2019 National Flash Fiction Day Write-In.


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Money Matters

Think back to a wallet, purse, handbag, change jar, swag bag or other item you've owned that's intended for containing currency.  Write a story about it and the money it contains  or does not contain.

If you’re submitting this to us, make sure you note that this is a response to Prompt 3: Money Matters.


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Dictionary Words

Look for three unrelated words that you don't know in a dictionary, thesaurus or other reference book.  Use them in a flash.

Bonus points if you can use words that you've been meaning to look up for a while now, but haven't yet got around to it.
If you’re submitting this to us, make sure to note that this is a response to Prompt 4: Dictionary Words.
 
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Take Note

Write a story as a series of notes.  This could be a series of notes the main characters write to each other, other people or to themselves.

If you’re submitting this to us, make sure to note that this is a response to Prompt 5: Take Note.
  
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Interiors

Write a story that responds in some way to the picture above.

Optional Challenge — write a story about your main character's relationship to a place.  Don't include any dialogue or interactions with other people; keep the focus on the main character and the setting.

If you’re submitting this to us, make sure you note that this is a response to Prompt 6: Interiors

'Fargo' is the second of six images created by Jeanette Sheppard, the National Flash Fiction Day Artist in Residence that feature in the 2019 National Flash Fiction Day Write-In.


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Narrowing the Field
Write a story in which every sentence is shorter than the previous sentence.

If you’re submitting this to us, make sure to note that this is a response to Prompt 7: Narrowing the Field.


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Grin and Bear It
Write a flash in which everyone in the story is genuinely enthusiastic about something you find dead boring.

Extra challenge: be nice to your characters and don't look down on them for having such dubious taste!

If you’re submitting this to us, make sure to note that this is a response to Prompt 8: Grin and Bear It.


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Short Shrift

Write a microfiction version of a story, poem or novel you’ve already written.

Or, write a microfiction version of your favourite novel written before 1900.  (Feel free to change whatever details you like and make it your own.)

In either case, don’t reread the original before starting!

(What is microfiction?  For our purposes, let's call it 100 words or fewer  but feel free to go shorter, if you like!)

If you’re submitting this to us, make sure you note that this is a response to Prompt 9: Short Shrift and let us know the title and author of the work you're microfictioning.

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Cityscape

Write a story that responds in some way to the picture above.

Optional Challenge — incorporate the following five words: nuance, lift, door, lilt, zinc.

(Yes, you can use variations of these words or use the words as parts of compound words or phrases; lilting, lift-off, doorway, etc. are all fine.)

If you’re submitting this to us, make sure to note that this is a response to Prompt 10: Cityscape.

This cityscape of Coventry is the third of six images created by Jeanette Sheppard, the National Flash Fiction Day Artist in Residence that feature in the 2019 National Flash Fiction Day Write-In.

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Call To Order
Write a story involving a telephone call.

For extra credit, only let the reader 'hear' one side of the call....

If you’re submitting this to us, make sure to note that this is a response to Prompt 11: Call To Order.



The New Normal


Craft a flash in which you write about something very unusual, uncanny, unreal or impossible as if it were completely normal, and/or something very normal as if it were unusual, uncanny, unreal or impossible.

If you’re submitting this to us, make sure to note that this is a response to Prompt 12: The New Normal
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Who Says?

Write a flash in which every sentence starts with one of the following phrases:
  • He says
  • She says
  • They say
  • Ze/Xe says
  • It says
If you’re submitting this to us, make sure to note that this is a response to Prompt 13: Who Says?


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Stop, Look, Listen

Write a story that responds in some way to the picture above.

Optional Challenge — incorporate something you overhear in your flash.  (This can be something you overhear as you go about your day, or words you catch from the television, radio, or computer.)
If you’re submitting this to us, make sure you note that this is a response to Prompt 14: Stop, Look, Listen
'Woman Listening' is the fourth of six images created by Jeanette Sheppard, the National Flash Fiction Day Artist in Residence that feature in the 2019 National Flash Fiction Day Write-In.
 
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Pay to Play

Write a story in the form of a receipt.

If you’re submitting this to us, make sure to note that this is a response to Prompt 15: Pay to Play.  


Rear-View Mirror
Write a flash in which the main character is so focused on the past that they can't see what's happening in the present.

If you’re submitting this to us, make sure to note that this is a response to Prompt 16: Rear-View Mirror.
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Word Search

Look around you for any and all words you can see from where you are right this moment.  These can be on packaging, papers, your phone or computer desktop, lettering on your lightbulbs, calendar, or fuse box, or logos on your take-away coffee cup.  Pick ten of the most interesting of these words and use them in a story of no more than 200 words.

If you’re submitting this to us, make sure you note that this is a response to Prompt 17: Word Search.


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True Colours

Write a story that responds in some way to the picture above.

Optional Challenge — write a story in which colour plays an important role
If you’re submitting this to us, make sure to note that this is a response to Prompt 18: True Colours.

'Field Box' is the fifth of six images created by Jeanette Sheppard, the National Flash Fiction Day Artist in Residence that feature in the 2019 National Flash Fiction Day Write-In.



History in the Making

Write a story set at least 500 years ago.


If you’re submitting this to us, make sure to note that this is a response to Prompt 19: History in the Making.



(Half a Portion of) Alphabet Soup
Write a story of 30 words or fewer in which you only use letters from the first half of the alphabet.

You're allowed to use: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M.

But these letters are forbidden:  N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, X
If you’re submitting this to us, make sure to note that this is a response to Prompt 20: Alphabet Soup.





Converging Lenses
Write a flash in three paragraphs where each paragraph is written about the same event(s) from a different point of view.

If you’re submitting this to us, make sure to note that this is a response to Prompt 21: Converging Lenses.


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Under Construction

Write a story that responds in some way to the picture above.

Optional Challenge — write a story about the story you would write if you had time to write it.

 If you’re submitting this to us, make sure to note that this is a response to Prompt 22: Under Construction.


'Building Site' is the last of six images created by Jeanette Sheppard, the National Flash Fiction Day Artist in Residence that feature in the 2019 National Flash Fiction Day Write-In.



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Once Upon Today...

Write a story about your day in the style and/or form of a fairy tale or fable.

If you’re submitting this to us, make sure you note that this is a response to Prompt 23: Once Upon Today.



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Happy Endings

Write a flash with a happy ending.

For an extra challenge, try to write a flash that has a joyful, celebratory mood, but that still has a feeling of resolution or sense of movement by the end of the piece.

If you’re submitting this to us, make sure to note that this is a response to Prompt 24: Happy Endings.

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