Flash Fiction February- My Participation in an Albert Berg Challenge

First off, go check out Albert Berg’s Flash Fiction February Challenge!

Nifty, eh? I’m participating, and will post my stories twice a week on this blog. For this challenge, I plan to keep my stories at about 300 to 500 words. I even made a list of flash fiction prompts.

I’ll be using these prompts in the challenge, and I’m sharing them in the spirit of writerly collaboration- no need to credit me if you use them. Feel free to use and abuse these prompts, or come up with your own, or mix and match, or forget about prompts and just start writing!

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Flash Fiction February Prompts

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1. Wardrobe Malfunction. “an accidental or supposedly accidental failure of clothing to cover parts of the body intended to be covered” –Urban Dictionary. Write a story about an entire wardrobe malfunctioning, or a single item of clothing flipping out- or off.

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2. Polygraph. “A polygraph (popularly referred to as a lie detector) measures and records several physiological indices . . while the subject is asked and answers a series of questions.” –Wiki. The consequences of truth, the consequences of lies. What happens when a polygraph test gives unexpected results?

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3. Embryo Transfer. Assisted reproduction. In vitro fertilization. Octomoms. Dads giving birth. (Pipefish and seahorses do it, so did the transgendered Matt Rice, Thomas Beatie, Scott Moore, and Yuval Topper.) What could go wrong? Write the wrong.

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4. Mormon Pioneers. Or any mass exodus. A group of believers has its collective faith tested on a long and tortuous journey. Do the gods reward or punish the cult? You decide.

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5. Welcome, Stranger. A stranger- animal, vegetable, or mineral, is welcomed into a house, town, or country. Time to go sci fi, fantasy, or bizarro.

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6. Minstrel Show. Put your politically incorrect cap on and write a story about a traveling troupe that makes a living by lampooning another culture or ethnic group.

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7. Bonfire of the Vanities. A person or group wages war against sin by collecting and publicly burning sinny objects. What are “sinny objects”? Cosmetics, books, mirrors, fine dresses, playing cards, musical instruments, manuscripts of secular songs, and artwork, including paintings and sculpture. This used to happen a lot. Still happens. Write your version.

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8. Devil’s Footprints. Or Satan’s shoeprints. Or Lucifer’s hoof prints. How about Mephistopheles’ paw prints? Beelzebub’s bird tracks? Whatever unholy creature made the tracks, they do exist in the space-time continuum. Mark your territory with horror, fantasy or bizarro.

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9. Red Scare. It’s coming. But what is the “red scare”? It could be the Hollywood communists, or could be the dreaded Valentine’s Day. Maybe it’s a blood pathogen. Break out your most paranoid noir, sci fi, or futuristic speculation.

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10. Deep Blue. A computer intelligence usurps a human intelligence in chess (again), the Turing Test, in writing the Great American Novel, or playing 5-finger fillet. Or something else. How will mere humans go on?

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11. Golem. Inanimate matter becomes an animated, anthropomorphic being. What happens next? Tell the world via sci fi or horror.

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12. MacGuffin. Art thieves steal- or attempt to steal- from a museum, gallery, or estate. Are they successful? Do they sell the art, hold it for ransom, or have other plans for it? Track the clues in a crime, mystery, thriller, or caper.

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13. Last minute rush before Valentine’s Day! Play catch-up (or get ahead) on the challenge and choose one, two, or all three prompts. Or come up with something different altogether.

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Antikythera. In the years 1900 and 1901, divers discovered and recovered the first documented analog computer, built between 150 and 100 BC. Decades later, scientists concluded the computer was “designed to calculate astronomical positions.” They were wrong. The astronomical gearing was a foil. The timer on the Antikythera computer finally runs out. Antikythera reveals its true purpose.

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Black Sabbath. An up-and-coming heavy metal band have no collective memory of recording their debut album during a weekend bender. In one week, the album rockets to #1 on the charts. Your story is the explanation.

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Exploding Sewers! Miles of sewers explode, sending rubble, wastewater, and unmentionables into the now ripped-out city streets. Oh the humanity! Your story is the why and how.

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14. What Is Love? Two lovers endure a life-altering ordeal together. Does the aftermath bind them together or break them apart? Tell your found love / lost love story with magic realism, action-adventure, or romance.

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15. Genome. A genetic test reveals something abnormal in an individual’s karyotype. Is it aneuploidy, chromosome instability syndrome, or something else? Run the tests and record your results in a neuronovel, except keep it at flash fiction length.

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16. Toddlers’ Truce. Toddlers attempt to take over the world with their weapons of temper tantrums, marathon shrieking sessions, and diaper bombs. What else can possibly appease them? Write your humorous counter-offer, quick!

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17. Double Life. A seemingly ordinary character lives a double life. The double life is revealed, and the secrets are exposed. Whoops.

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18. Pigasus. When pigs fly. The porcine-impossible becomes mainstream. Literal or metaphorical.

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19. Insanity Plea. Which comes first- the insanity or the crime? Can guilt precipitate madness? You be the judge. Crime, horror, or neuro-ish.

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20. Future Shlock. Speed, technology, youth, and violence. Add a car, an airplane, and set it all in an industrial city. Any genre, as long as the result is futuristic and shlocky.

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21. Phoney War. What if there was a war but nobody showed up? A no-show war between villages, cities, or nations . . heck, even between entire universes.

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22. Moose Lodge Murders. Take a family trapped in a lodge during a snowstorm, add a couple of “entertainers,” a nurse, and a wheelchair. Throw in a completely inappropriate . . “flirtation” and several murders. Oh yeah- end it all with somebody in a moose suit getting kicked in the crotch. You figure it out. Mystery farce.

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23. Holiday in Galtür. A skiing resort village in east Austria. A couple on holiday. An avalanche. An action-adventure tale.

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24. Explosive Decompression. In-flight drama. A cargo door blows out of an airplane while flying over the sea. Another action-adventure.

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25. Cult of Personality. Mass media, propaganda, hero-worship. A dictator’s meteoric rise to power, and meteoric fall back to Earth. All wrapped up in a flash fiction package.

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26. Have some catching up to do on the challenge (or want to finish early)? Choose one, two, or all three prompts. Or come up with something different altogether.

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Seaside Visit. Someone from land visits the seaside and gets visited by something from the sea. Or vice versa. Vast and deep, but in flash fiction form.

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Dr. Caligari. Take a doctor and a sleepwalker, and throw in a few murders. But unseemly things aren’t always as they seem. Add a twist at the end. Murder mystery or horror.

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Ghost Rockets. They’re birds, they’re planes, they’re . . ghost rockets? Write a story about ghost rockets in flight, and the delight they bring to an afternoon viewer. Yep, you read that right.

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27. Luddite Moos. At the cusp of the technological Singularity, war is averted when the Cosmists turn the Terrans into virtual cows, so that they may contentedly moo in the fields. Sci fi.

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28. Dord. Connect a ghost word and an ancient bronze horn. Have fun with it.

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29 . . 29? Oh yeah, there’s one more day!

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Eclipse. Something is eating the Moon. Literally. Bizarro!

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Leave a comment

6 Comments

  1. Ghost rockets? GHOST ROCKETS? Holy crap, now that one I’m going to have to do.
    Fantastic list Cynthia, I’ll put a link up in tomorrow’s blog post.

    Reply
  2. Great list! 🙂 Thanks! I just may be inspired by one of them for the next writing group meeting – it’s my turn to give the others a prompt.
    Personally, of course, I ought to do #22. It’s got moose in it. 😉

    Reply
  1. Flash Fiction February: A Pile of Prompts | Albert Berg's Unsanity Files
  2. Flash Fiction February, a la Albert Berg « Brains, Bombs, and Apocalyptic Contemplation

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