The Penprints Flash Fiction Dash

Today is the day that you will always remember as the day I officially announced The Penprints Flash Fiction Dash. Okay, so none of us are probably going to remember that, but I can always hope.

I’ve fallen hard for flash fiction in recent months, and in an attempt to spread the love and joy and oh-my-goodness-someone-hold-me and all that jazz, I have decided to host a flash fiction writing challenge. Details below.


What is flash fiction?

Definitions vary depending on who you talk to (some even argue that there is no suitable definition). For the purpose of this challenge, a flash fiction is a story that is 1000 words or less. I suggest checking out this article and also this article for a more complete rundown on flash fiction.

A challenge, not a contest.

This isn’t a contest, guys; this is merely a challenge (also, I find using merely to modify challenge strangely ironic). There will be no voting or scoring or saying whose is best or whose is worst. There will be a giveaway (more on that later), but it won’t be based on “merit”.

This is only supposed to challenge you to write, to venture into a new story, and to exercise certain writing muscles that are typically neglected. Hopefully, this will inspire and motivate you as a writer.

How it works.

If you are up to the challenge, you can fill out this form.

Everyone who signs up will be sent a unique prompt (song or picture, depending on preference) to use as a springboard for the story. You will have three weeks to write your flash fiction.

Ideally, you will post your story on your blog, mention in the blog post that you’re participating in The Penprints Flash Fiction Dash, share your prompt in the post, send me the link, and then I will compile all the links to the stories into a wrap-up post here on Penprints (please let me know if that doesn’t make sense).

Note to those without blogs: please join in the challenge. Even if you are unable to post your story on your blog, you can still send it to me in Word or Google Doc form, and I can format it into a clickable PDF that will be included in the wrap-up post (again, please tell me if that doesn’t make sense).

The timetable.

Sign-ups will be open through May 10, 2017.

Prompts will be sent out by May 13, 2017.

Stories/links to stories are due back to me by 11:59 pm on June 3, 2017.

The giveaway winner and wrap-up post on Penprints will go live on June 5, 2017.

Reasons to participate.

Now, you may be asking (or you may not be, I really can’t know), “Why should I participate in this challenge? Why should I write a flash fiction at the behest of this strange person on the internet?”

I’m glad you asked. I’ve taken the time to compile some solid reasons why you should join me in this challenge.

1. Because I think flash fiction is amazing.

You know what, I could stop right here with that reason alone because it is. so. solid. But for the sake of the unconvinced few, I shall continue.

2. It will stretch you as a writer.

If you think writing a good story in 1000 words or less is easy, think again. Flash fiction has redefined hard for me as a writer, and writing it grows me so much.

3. It may help you out of a writing slump.

It is so rewarding to hold a completed work of your own fiction in your hands, but novel writing takes a long (long) long time. While still time-consuming (it typically takes me 30 minutes to eck out a rough draft and then another couple hours of editing), flash fiction is much quicker to finish than a novel, and I’ve found that it gets all my writerly gears humming happily along.

4. Oh, also, there’s a giveaway.

All those who send their stories/links to their stories to me will be entered into a giveaway.

The giveaway prizes are: a one year, print subscription to the Splickety Publishing Group magazine of the winner’s choice and a hard copy of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction (if the winner already has these, a comparable prize will be negotiated).

5. I want to read a story of yours!

No two people can tell the same story, and so I very much want to read how you tell a story.


– Your story must be 1000 words or less.

– Anything with excessive violence or profanity will not be included in the wrap-up post.

– Any erotica will not be included in the wrap-up post.

– Your story must be sent to me by 11:59 pm on June 3 to be included in the wrap-up post.

– You must have fun. ;)

And that, kids, is The Penprints Flash Fiction Dash.

Please share this post with anyone you think might be interested in participating! Also, the hashtag to use is: #flashficdash.

In case you want to slap it on any social media or blog posts or anything, here are the various challenge buttons:

logo 5.png

the challenge circle on a transparent background

button 1

button 2

button 3

If anything is unclear, just let me know in the comments below so I can amend this post to make it as comprehensible as possible.

Guys, I’m jazzed.

Do you think you might participate? Have you written flash fiction before?

With love,


P.S. – did I mention that there’s a giveaway?

P.P.S. – also, did I mention that I’m jazzed?

The Psalm 119 Challenge

Psalm 119 is famous (perhaps infamous) for being the longest chapter in the Bible, reaching 176 verses.

See, we don’t really pay much attention to Psalm 119. Psalm 23 is the poster child for the book of Psalms, and it seems like the other Psalms (especially 119) get ignored or skimmed. Typically, church kids memorize verses 11 and 105 of Psalm 119 at an early age, but I don’t think we usually look beyond those to the rest of the chapter because it’s loooooooooooong (remember, a whopping 176 verses).

The length, not the content, is Psalm 119’s claim to fame, and so its beauty and power have been forgotten. I’ve been going through Psalm 119 for my devotions for the last month, and I can’t believe that I used to think it was a meh chapter. Psalm 119 is about God’s Word and our response to it, and reading it has changed how I view Scripture.

The Psalm 119 Challenge 2016 feature image

The Challenge:

I challenge you to read all of Psalm 119 every day for the next 31 days (aka: the month of August).

The Benefits:

– Inspires a new appreciation for Scripture.

References to God’s Word as precepts, rules, law, testimonies, ways, commandments, and statutes are made 158 times over the course of these 176 verses. When you read how the Psalmist views God’s Word, you will be both amazed and inspired.

– Helps fight against temptation.

All Scripture can help fight against temptation, but after reading all the way through Psalm 119 for about six consecutive days, you’ll begin to notice that lines and verses from Psalm 119 will start coming to mind when you’re tempted. This has been a blessing to me personally.

– A closer walk with Christ.

Any time that you spend in the Word will strengthen your relationship with Christ. Psalm 119 is no different. This challenge is every single day in the Word, and I think very few (myself included) are used to 31 days straight of having a quiet time. This naturally draws you closer to Christ.

– Cultivates a curiosity in the other Psalms.

After reading Psalm 119 for a few days, you’ll begin to wonder what other gems you missed in this beautiful book. The Psalms are so full of wisdom and incredible examples of true devotion, true repentance, true love, true worship (guys, Psalms is one of my favorite books of ever).

Terms/themes to keep an eye out for while you read:

– Delight

– Meditate/meditation

– Long/longing

– Love/loving

– Keep/keeping

(You can download this list; it has more terms as well as some questions to consider. They’re kind of no-brainer questions, but I’m trying to be a good little blogger and give you “resources”.)

Tips for getting the most out of Psalm 119:

– Don’t skim; read carefully. Personally, it helps me to read Scripture aloud (especially a Psalm) because then I’m seeing the words, saying the words, and hearing the words. It reinforces the ideas and helps me stay focused.

– Set aside enough time. Of course, you can use this challenge in addition to your usual devotion if you have one, but I personally recommend letting this take over your devotion time for this month. It’s been taking me about 15 minutes to read all the way through Psalm 119, and I read average speed (I think). When you’re sitting down to read Psalm 119, it’s probably best to set aside at least twenty minutes to afford some time for prayer and reflection. As with any devo time, the longer, the better.

– Write down thoughts as you read. Keep track of any themes that you notice, verses that stick out to you, or any other ways that the Holy Spirit speaks to you. It’s fantastic to look deeper at these verses whenever you get the chances.

– Pray Psalm 119:18 before you begin reading. “Open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of Your law.”

– Morning is better. It’s best to start the day with Psalm 119 because then it affects how you think and act throughout the day.

My last request.

Every day, please pick one or two verses that you will focus on throughout that day. Write them down on an index card and keep it in your pocket. Whenever you get the chance—in line at the store, waiting for some water to boil, eating lunch, etc.,—pull that card out and reflect on those verses.

So! The gauntlet has been thrown! The challenge has been issued! Will you accept?

P.S. – I’ll be sharing my verse picks a couple times a week on Facebook and/or Twitter.

P.P.S. – And please share your findings with me! I would love to know how God uses this Psalm in your live just as He uses it in mine!