Opening Doors

boarded doorway sTime to stretch your writing wings with a prompt that takes us into the supernatural.

This may be a subject you’re already keen on? Or perhaps not? Either way, there is a huge opportunity here for you to create new work with a mysterious undercurrent. Magic, ghosts, superpowers, there are plenty of themes to work with.

I’m suggesting you take the following five words and weave them into a piece of flash fiction – 250 words maximum:

Cold  Door  Fever  Vanish  Broken

By the time you’ve got to the fifth word (and looked at the picture), the chances are your imagination is kicking in and some ideas are forming. Jot them down straight away – good ideas have a way of sneaking off when you are not looking, so committing them to paper can keep them confined for your future use.

Remember, when you are writing flash fiction you have to be very economical with description. So surroundings, clothing and the detail of your characters’ appearance have to be pared back so they are only there if they are important to moving your story along. It doesn’t matter if your protagonist is four feet tall and has a pink beard and a tattoo on his forehead unless this is relevant to the story (and it might be!). Less relevant of course is what he had for breakfast, who his first schoolteacher was, the colour of his front door.

Or maybe these things are key to your character’s story?

Off you go – I bet an idea is already trying to get from inside your head onto paper?

If so, be aware the prestigious Bridport Prize is open until May 31st. Their 250-word Flash Fiction Prize is worth £1,000 – and past winners include author Kit de Waal who won it two years in a row and then returned as a judge. It is very competitive with thousands of entries, and it is quite expensive (£9 per entry), but someone has to win, why shouldn’t it be you?  I was ridiculously thrilled last year to be shortlisted in this competition – of 1,722 entries I made the top 100. Not a win, but I’m taking it as an indication I’m heading in the right direction, so I might even give it a go this year!

New here? Welcome! For the past year I have been posting a prompt to trigger new creative writing every Wednesday at 5pm, Dublin time. Sometimes I suggest stories, flash fiction, memoir, poetry, sometimes creative non-fiction, whatever. More info here.