The 2019 Penprints Flash Fiction Dash

Well, it’s that time of year again. Time for the annual Penprints Flash Fiction Dash.

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What is the #flashficdash?

Definitions of flash fiction can vary, but for the purposes of this challenge, a piece of flash fiction is a short story 1000 words or less. Writing a complete story–something with a beginning, a middle, and an end–with so few words can be difficult, but it is always rewarding.

The Penprints Flash Fiction Dash is a challenge, not a contest.

Every year it’s about the same thing: getting people writing, not picking which story is best. There will be no ranking who’s stories were better than whose, or anything like that.

My hope is that this will challenge you to venture out into a new story, have fun with writing, and exercise the art of telling a story in a very small wordcount.

How it works:

You fill out the registration form, I send you a prompt, you write a flash fiction based on that prompt, you post your story on your blog (optional), send your story to me by June 7, 2019, and I’ll include your story in the giant wrap-up post on June 11, 2019.

How 2019’s Dash Is Different:

In the past, I selected an individual prompt for every single writer who signed up based on the genre info they gave in their registration form.

T’will not be so in 2019.

There are 10 different categories:

  • Contemporary
  • Urban fantasy/magical realism
  • Thriller/suspense
  • Fairytale/folklore/light fantasy
  • Dystopian
  • Gothic
  • Cyberpunk
  • Sword and sorcery/medieval fantasy
  • Superhero
  • Romance

These categories are by no means meant to cover every genre of fiction; I’ve selected the ten most popular categories out of past flash fiction dashes.

When you register, you select one category. Each category will be given one prompt. So if seven different writers select “Dystopian” as their preferred category, those seven will receive the same prompt.

Why we’re going to try it this way: 

  1. Past dashers have asked for model like this.
  2. Each person’s creativity and imagination is different, and I’m super jazzed to see what different personalities and minds do with the same prompt.
  3. I don’t have time to hunt down 40 or more individualized prompts.

Also, this year there are three different types of prompts that will go out: picture, song, or opening line.

However, it’s a secret which categories will get which type of prompt. *dun dun dunnnnn* So you won’t really know which kind of prompt you’re working off of until your prompt arrives in your inbox.

We’ll see if this adds an element of mystery, fun, and thrill or if it’s just annoying.

Why you should totally be interested:

pffd 19 promo.jpgI’ve taken the liberty of compiling a Very Convincing And Not At All Copy And Pasted From Last Year’s list of reasons why you need to sign up right away.

  • I say so (as always, this is the most compelling reason on the list).
  • If you’re in a writing slump, this is a great way to get your creativity rolling again.
  • Writing a story in a 1000 words or less will grow you as a writer (even if you’ve written hundreds of flash fictions).
  • You and your writing can get a little more exposure.
  • I want to read your stories!
  • It’s. so. much. fun!

General guidelines:

  • Your story must be 1000 words or less.
  • Stories with excessive violence, sexual content, or profanity will not be included in the wrap-up post.
  • In order for your story to be included in the wrap-up post, it must be sent back to me by 11:59 pm on June 7, 2019.
  • You must have unfettered fun.

When you post your story on your blog:

Include your prompt, mention that you’re taking part of the Penprints Flash Fiction Dash, and share your story. And then send me the link to it by June 7!

If you don’t have a blog:

Please participate! You don’t have to have a blog in order to participate. You can still sign up, get a prompt, write a story, send it back to me, and be featured in the wrap-up post.

If you don’t have a blog or won’t be posting your story on your blog, send your story to me as a Word or Google Doc (please do not paste your story in the body of the email), and I will convert it into a clickable PDF to share in the wrap-up post.

Dates to know:

registration opens 1May 7, 2019 – registration opens.

May 21, 2019 – registration closes.

May 22, 2019 – prompts go out.

June 7, 2019 – stories due back to me if you want them included in the wrap-up post.

June 11, 2019 – the 2019 wrap-up post will go live with all the participating stories.

Links to have:

The Instagram account.

The 2017 Penprints Flash Fiction Dash Wrap-up.

The 2018 Penprints Flash Fiction Dash Wrap-up.

– > The 2019 registration form. < – 

Just B. Jordan on Writing Flash Fiction.

In Defense of Short Fiction.

13 Tips for Writing Flash Fiction.

That’s it!

I’m so excited to see what happens with the little changes this year, and I can’t wait to read the stories you guys come up with!

Be sure the share this post with anyone you think would like to participate! And let me know if you have any questions in the comments below!

With love,

Rosalie

p.s. – hashtags to use are: #flashficdash and #flashficdash19

 

The 2018 Penprints Flash Fiction Dash WRAP-UP

Well, kids, today is the day.

Today is the giant wrap-up for the 2018 Penprints Flash Fiction Dash.

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Before we get to the stories themselves, I just want to say a few things (because I’m charge and can do as I please, mwahahaha).

I wasn’t going to do a flash fiction dash this year just because of the time it takes, but almost last minute, I decided to launch it because it had been so much fun last year. And I decided to give it an Instagram so that I could give the stories another spotlight and hopefully be able to interact with all you lovely people on another level.

Guys, you made it so worth it.

It was so fun tracking the hashtags and seeing people work on their stories, but when the stories actually started to come in…. man, you guys blew my mind.

So much imagination and creativity and talent has gone into each of these stories, so many unique angles on the prompts that I never dreamed of, and I feel so privileged and humbled to be able to interact with these writers and compile these stories.

I know I sound like a broken record because I keep telling people “I love what you did with the prompt”, but it’s just the way it is–they did amazing things with the prompts.

So, without any more of my rambling, let’s go on 25 different adventures. Click the prompt to read the story.

Disclaimer: neither I nor any of these writers own any of these pictures; they were found in the depths of Pinterest.

[Science Fiction]

To the Stars Who Listen by Athelas Hale.

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Human Error by Faith Song.

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Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Moya Tobey.

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[Fantasy]

Sun Eater by Just B. Jordan

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The Painting by Alina.

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Dragonborne by A.K.R. Scott.

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The Last of the Lightning Bearers by Sarah Rodecker.

 

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Rimewhittling by Spruce Holly Nogard.

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The Deal Is Off by Julian Daventry.

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Song of the Wind by Emily Jayne.

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Letters from the Banned by M.

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Ambush by Katherine M.

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The Pond by Melinda Wagner.

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[Contemporary]

The Day We Say Goodbye by Micaiah Saldana.

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The Decision by Andi L. Gregory.

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Different Storms by J.M. Jablowski

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Survival by Abigayle Claire.

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A Change of Heart by Anika Walkes

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[Historical]

To See by Tapar – through the desert.
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Between the Raindrops by Amanda Harder.

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[Other]

[aka: the category for stories that I can’t figure out what genre they belong; all I know is that they’re mostly speculative]

Replaced by Aebli.

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All for a Sip of Hot Chocolate by True Shaw.

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Black + White by Lisa Elis.

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Ribs by Heid Melo (and she’s a girl after my own heart–she has a playlist for it).

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Not for Me by Michael A. Blaylock.

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And that’s the end of it.

The 2018 Penprints Flash Fiction Dash has come to a close. Here’s a huge thank you to everyone who participated, and a huge thank you to everyone who’s stopped in to read these fantastic stories.

What story was your favorite? What prompt was your favorite?

With love,

Rosalie

P.S. – For news of the 2019 Penprints Flash Fiction Dash, keep a weather eye on the Instagram account.

P.P.S. – The July memo for High Command (aka: my swanky newsletter) is slotted to go out this Friday; sign up now to receive the secret updates.

P.P.P.S. – Flash fiction dashers! Also be on the lookout for a debrief email about this year’s challenge!

The 2018 Penprints Flash Fiction Dash [sign-ups are open]

It’s that time of year again. Time to announce the 2018 Penprints Flash Fiction Dash.

This is where you get allllll the details.

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A brief explanation of flash fiction:

Definitions of “flash fiction” vary, but for the purpose of this challenge flash fictions are stories that are 1000 words or less. They are not always easy to write, but they are often rewarding.

I’ll share some helpful posts about flash fiction at the end of this post.

The general gist of how this works:

If you want to give flash fiction a go (or if you’re already a flash fiction veteran), it all starts with you signing up here. Using the information you give me in your sign-up (genre and prompt preferences), I will pick out a prompt for you (usually from the depths of Pinterest) and send it to you.

Then, you have just over three weeks to draft and edit a flash fiction using the prompt as a springboard. If you want, you can post your story on your blog.

After you’re finished with editing and such, you send me your story (or a link to your story), and I compile ALLLLLLLLL the flash fictions written into one final wrap-up post so that everyone can know where to find them all.

Same as last year–it’s a challenge, not a contest.

This is about getting people writing, not about picking which story is best. There will be no ranking who’s stories were better than whose, or anything like that.

My hope is that this will challenge you to venture out into a new story, have fun with writing, and exercise the art of telling a story in a very small wordcount.

Why you should totally be interested:

I’ve taken the liberty of compiling a Very Convincing And Not At All Like Last Year’s list of reasons why you need to sign up right away.

  • I say so (as always, this is the most compelling reason on the list).
  • If you’re in a writing slump, this is a great way to get your creativity rolling again.
  • Writing a story in a 1000 words or less will grow you as a writer (even if you’ve written hundreds of flash fictions).
  • You and your writing can get a little more exposure.
  • I want to read your stories!
  • It’s. so. much. fun!

(Okay, so these are basically the same reasons I laid out for you guys last year, but whatevs.)

Some general guidelines:

  • Your story must be 1000 words or less.
  • Stories with excessive violence, sexual content, or profanity will not be included in the wrap-up post.
  • In order for your story to be included in the wrap-up post, it must be sent back to me by 11:59 pm on June 18, 2018.
  • You must have unfettered fun.

When you post your story on your blog:

Include your prompt, mention that you’re taking part of the Penprints Flash Fiction Dash, and share your story. And then send me the link to it by June 18!

If you don’t have a blog:

Please participate! You don’t have to have a blog in order to participate. You can still sign up, get a prompt, write a story, send it back to me, and be featured in the wrap-up post.

If you don’t have a blog or won’t be posting your story on your blog, send your story to me as a Word or Google Doc (please do not paste your story in the body of the email), and I will convert it into a clickable PDF to share in the wrap-up post.

All the need-to-know dates:

Sign-ups are open April 30, 2018 – May 21, 2018.

Prompts will be sent out by May 25, 2018.

Writers have until 11:59 pm on June 18, 2018 (over three weeks) to write their stories and send them to me.

The wrap-up post will go live on June 25, 2018.

All the extra stuff:

The Penprints Flash Fiction Dash is now on Instagram. Updates on the challenge will be shared there as well as some of last year’s stories. AND all of this year’s stories will be highlighted via Instagram in the few months following the close of the challenge because if we have more stories than we did last year, it will be a lot to wade through in one wrap-up post (that was a super long, confusing sentence, but here we are).

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the challenge button on a transparent background

PFFD 18 white letters, BLACK background

the challenge button

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#flashficdash

The official hashtag to use on your social medias is: #flashficdash.

Other posts that might be helpful:

Just B. Jordan on Writing Flash Fiction

In Defense of Short Fiction

The Penprints Flash Fiction Dash [the giant wrap-up post] (from 2017)

13 Tips for Writing Flash Fiction

How to Write Flash Fiction with Ben Wolf


I think that’s everything! If you have any questions whatsoever, drop them in the comments!

Did you take the challenge in 2017? Will you take the challenge 2018??

With love,

Rosalie

The Penprints Flash Fiction Dash [the giant wrap-up post]

The time has come to wrap up the very first ever Penprints Flash Fiction Dash (refer back to this post if you don’t know what I’m talking about)!

There were 44 initial sign ups, 44 prompts went out, and 26 stories came back! My mind = so blown by how excited people got about this challenge and by the uniqueness of each story submitted.

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How this wrap-up works:

All the stories are linked to the prompts below, either via a PDF file or a blot post on the author’s blog.

The stories are divided into very broad genre generalizations (and if I didn’t know what genre to stick it in, it went in “other”), and the last two stories are separate from their genres because they were inspired by song prompts rather than picture prompts (I didn’t want them to get lost in all the pictures, so that’s why I put them at the end in their own little category).

Scroll through this post and click on the picture prompt(s) of the stories you want to read!

NOTE: I do not own any of the following pictures that were used as prompts, and I also don’t own either of the songs used as prompts.

Fantasy.

The Reeducation of Kylee Flintlock by Kat Vinson of Sparks of Ember.

"The Reeducation of Kylee Flintlock" by Kat Vinson

Impossible Love by Adaline Griffiths.

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Till the Wind Changes by A.K.R. Scott.

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Empty Image by Amanda Cox of Hope Perch.

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Painted with Light by Kathryn McConaughy of The Language of Writing.

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Under the Surface by Moya Tobey of An Existence Transcribed.

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White Winds by Emily Jayne.

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The Confession by Rachel Leroy.

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Paper Boat by Melinda Wagner.

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Ellusa by Katherine Massengill.

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The Dragon in the Mini by Chelsea Hindle.

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Science Fiction.

Strange by Evan Hildreth of Plot Hole Fragments.

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Poisoned Time by Kyle Shultz.

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So Close by Leah E.

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Contemporary.

The Backup by Heather Tabata.

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Clouds by Alina Kanaski of Ordinary Adventures.

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Bird-watching and Other Human Pursuits by Jebraun Clifford.

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Ali Green by Lindsey Tessa of Story Haven.

Other.

Away by Michael Blaylock of Fencing With Ink.

"Away" by Michael Blaylock

Underwater Dance by Nicole Fritz.

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Hoofbeats in My Heart by Sarah Rodecker.

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A Delusional Path by Annalia Fiore.

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Historical.

Anika Rojkkers’ Experience of 1953 by Laura Danner of Flowers in My Basket.

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Stories from a song prompt.

Collapse of the General Eternal by Just B. Jordan written from “Ghost of a King” by The Grey Havens.

Birdie by Emily Kazmierski written from “Keeping Your Head Up” by Birdie.

The giveaway winner!

All the writers who sent a story back to me (even if they didn’t want it included in this post) were entered to win The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction as well as a one year subscription to the Splickety Publishing Group magazine of their choice!

So I picked a name out of a hat (okay, I just typed all the names into a random name picker, but that’s just boring sounding), and I need a drumroll people.

*whispers* Are you giving me a drumroll?

The giveaway winner is Laura Danner, author of Anika Rojkker’s Experience of 1953! Woohoo!! Congrats, Laura! I’ll be shooting you an email in a day or two!

And congratulations and thank you to each of you lovely people who signed up and wrote stories!

So, which story was your favorite? Have you fallen in love with flash fiction yet??

With love,

Rosalie

P.S. – yes, yes, this post was supposed to go up yesterday, but I encountered major technical difficulties. Thus, this amazing wrap-up post was delayed a day. :( Trust me, there was much growling and groaning and gnashing of teeth as I tried to trouble shoot the technical hiccups. Updates on delays and post sneak peaks and such can be found on my Facebook page, just so ya know.
P.P.S. – writers who participated in this challenge, keep a weather eye on your inboxes as a debrief email should be arriving within the next couple of days.

Fiction Sorted by Length

On Saturday, I put out a poll on Twitter (hint: you should follow me on Twitter) asking peeps what kind of post they’d like to read on Penprints today, and of the three options presented, they favored a post about brief fiction.

Now, my feelings on brief fiction are quite strong (translation: I should probably calm down a little because they’re a wee bit too strong), but as I settled in to write out my thoughts on brief fiction I realized that I need to clarify some terms before diving in. Hence this post about classifying fiction by its length (i.e. – wordcount).

So, here’s a tiny post to lay out some common definitions of the various kinds of fiction.

 

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Micro-fiction.

Micro-fiction (which also goes by the names Postcard Fiction, Sudden Fiction, and Nano Fiction depending on who you’re talking to) is about as tiny as it gets without getting ridiculous. We’re talking 100 words or less. Yeah, it’s basically a blink, or better yet, just a spastic eye-twitch (you know those ones you get when you’re way past tired).

Here’s a piece of micro-fiction by Just B. Jordan that was published over on The Lightning Blog.

Flash Fiction.

Flash fiction (or the short short story) is right on the heels of its younger micro-fiction sibling. At 1,000 words or less, flash fiction is a flash-bang grenade designed to hit hard and fast.

Here’s a flashfic (that’s slang for flash fiction) by the fabulous Katie Grace

Short Story.

Short stories are where things begin to get a little more complicated and require a little more commitment than the leaner likes of micro and flash fiction that you can read in the line at a grocery store. It can take an entire lunch break to polish off a short story that ranges from 1,000-7,500 words.

Here’s a short story from Just B. Jordan on her blog.

Novelette.

And now we come to the beginnings of the novel’s family. Novelette’s are like those kids who never really grew out of that gangly, lanky phase and somehow have a size eleven foot, arms that are too long for any normal shirt, and most likely an intolerance to gluten. Now, I’m not saying this to be mean; I’m just saying that it’s quite hard for a novelette to fit into blogs or magazines or books because they range from 7,500 to 20,000 words. The best hope for a novelette is typically an anthology of some sort.

Five Enchanted Roses is a prime example of an anthology of novelettes.

Novella.

Novellas are the more filled-out brothers to novelettes. Ranging between 20,000 and 50,000 words, novellas are ideal e-books and $0.99 buys for your Kindle. They’re not quite as demanding as a novel and can be read in one night, a fairly quick but still lengthy fiction fix.

Personally, I recommend A Wish Made of Glass by Ashlee Willis (it’s like reading poetry but better) or The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson..

Novel.

At last, we come to the famed (perhaps overrated?) novel. From here on out, the sky is the limit. And I mean that literally. Novels are 50,000 words up to infinity and beyond. Now, some make the distinction between novels and sequels/epics, but I find this to be pointless personally. There are some wordcount distinctions made from genre to genre, but since that’s a genre thing, I won’t get into it here. So, novels can be 55,000 words. Or 89,000 words. Or 111,000 words. Or 230,000 words. (Note: marketability will plummet as your wordcount rises for a debut novel.)

And that, kids, is the brief introduction to next week’s post will be all about my (very strong) thoughts on brief fiction. So stay tuned.

How long are some of your writing projects? What’s the longest thing you’ve ever written? What’s the shortest thing you’ve ever written? Do you think it takes more skill to write a meaningful micro-fiction than it takes to write a 130k novel?

P.S. – don’t ask me what these wordcounts work out to when it comes to the number of pages; that’s all dependent on formatting, dialogue vs. description, etc..

P.P.S. – you should like my Facebook page to get updates on my secret (and wildly exciting) project.

~ Rosalie out. <3

 

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