Hampton Roads Writers


Use the sentence in the next paragraph as inspiration for a fully plotted FLASH of 500 words or less. Leave out every superflous description and character movement that isn't vital to the plot. As unappealing as this may be to you poets and novelist, do it anyway since flash requires the tightest of tight writing. If you can't come up with an entire story of 500 words or less, create a less-completely-plotted vignette of at least 200 words.

"You gotta believe me," she (he) said.

Just what does character-1 want character-2 to believe? That he's innocent of a terrible crime? And if so, to whom is the character saying this? A judge? His wife? Uncle Harry? The single alien that survived the crash at Roswell in 1947? What's at stake here that causes the character to utter these words?

What happens if character-2 believes character-1?

What happens if character-2 doesn't believe a word character-1 said?

This prompt is vanilla enough for any fiction genre, or for an interesting anecdotal tale in which there's no tension, no conflict, and nothing the protag wishes to achieve. For example, the protag may say, "You gotta believe me," after exlplaining he didn't knock the bowl over causing chocolate cake batter to spill all over the new linoleum. Then character-2 might say, "It's OK. Accidents happen. Doesn't matter how it happened. I have another box of cake mix in the pantry."

So your story can become an anecdotal piece the moment character-2 says, "It's OK." Or "I believe you." Dialog like that virtually eliminates any possibility of tension being created between the two. However, if character-2 suddenly bops the other character over the head with a cast iron pot of partially cooked potatoes, the story suddenly becomes a potential crime genre tale. That kind of violence can also lead to a horror tale if the poor unconscious victim is sliced and diced and offered to the Sun God in a weird ritual.

This prompt could also lead to a sweet romantic tale.


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