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.


Human Error by Faith Song.


Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Moya Tobey.



Sun Eater by Just B. Jordan


The Painting by Alina.

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Dragonborne by A.K.R. Scott.


The Last of the Lightning Bearers by Sarah Rodecker.



Rimewhittling by Spruce Holly Nogard.


The Deal Is Off by Julian Daventry.


Song of the Wind by Emily Jayne.

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Letters from the Banned by M.


Ambush by Katherine M.


The Pond by Melinda Wagner.



The Day We Say Goodbye by Micaiah Saldana.


The Decision by Andi L. Gregory.


Different Storms by J.M. Jablowski


Survival by Abigayle Claire.


A Change of Heart by Anika Walkes



To See by Tapar – through the desert.

Between the Raindrops by Amanda Harder.



[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.


All for a Sip of Hot Chocolate by True Shaw.


Black + White by Lisa Elis.


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


Not for Me by Michael A. Blaylock.


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,


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

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the challenge button

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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,