It Goes Down Smooth: The Shackleton’s Scotch Flash Fiction Results

Crystalline Field

The other day, I said: “Hey, you. That’s right. You. With the clown shoes. And the iguana. And the faint aroma of spoiled milk. It’s time to write a flash fiction challenge based on Shackleton’s Scotch.”

And somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 of you crazy motherfookers stepped out of the shadows and tossed your flash fiction down on the stage and were like, “BOOM goes the dynamite.”

Or something.

Anyway, below I present to you the mighty Shackleton’s Scotch challengers — it’s some good stuff, so do yourself and them a favor, click on over and read away.

Before I present those links, I’ll ask: did you dig the challenge? Do you want more excuses to write flash fiction? Let me know. I could be convinced to do this again.

These Playas Be Ice Cold

(If the fiction had no title listed, instead of going with “untitled” I’m instead listing them with, most frequently, the first sentence of the piece. Also, I’m listing them in the order they were received.)

Josin McQuein: “First You Run Out Of Food, Then Fuel

Dan O’Shea: “Shackleton’s Hootch

Albert Berg: “The Stone Saucer

McDroll: “Whisky Island

David Blakeley: “Inner Child On Forgotten Scotch

Levy Montgomery: “That Single Fly’s Foot

Adam Maxwell: “Bullet Time And The Beer Taxi

Me Myself And I: “I Don’t Drink Anymore

John Kenyon: “Endure

Sparky: “Booze Run

Billy Prophet: “Shackleton’s Scotch

CY Reid: “The Best Laid Plans

Marc Nash: “Drying Out

Ben Kirby: “Last Case Run

KD James: “Scotch On The Rocks

Sean Preston: “Distillation

Gary E. Weller: “Mackinlay’s Samba

Paul Vogt: “Gun Nut

C.M. Stewart: “Snotrunningly

Aiwevanya: “Jeannie In A Bottle

Shullamuth: “A Paean To Spring

Frank McBride: “That Box My Brother And I Buried

DeAnna Knippling: “A Fly In Amber” (use purchase code QN26W)

Rob Hart: “Stealing Shackleton’s Scotch

Madison: “Three Men On A Snow Day

Anthony: “Shackleton’s Magical Whiskey

Orange Tango: “He’s Not Sure Why He Went To The Bar

T.N. Tobias: “A Drink At The Edge

Marian Allen: “For A Few Bottles More


  • I love flash fiction challenges – they really knock loose the writer’s block by making me think about something else for a few minutes. And when it’s something like this, that’s WAY out of my normal writing scope, it’s even better. I still can’t figure out why the thing wrote itself in 2nd person, though. That was unexpected, but interesting.

    It always amazes me how many variations come about from the same prompt.

  • This was fun! It was a real eye opener to read the other entries and see just how psychotic– that is, how creative and original and different everyone else’s entries were.

    Unfortunately, since I’d never done this before and have NO IDEA how to write a short story, I neglected to include that thing called an “ending” and kind of left people hanging. And believe me they were not happy about that and so then I had to write an addendum in the comments to reassure them that everything turned out okay but then they wanted me to write MORE and make it an entire book or something and I’m kind of in the middle of final revisions to another book and I tell you what, Wendig, you ever try to seduce me into doing something like this again, I will fucking cut you. Um, I mean, I will totally ignore you. And resist the temptation. Stoically. Yeah. That’s what I’ll do.

    Unless, of course, you say, “You know that scene in the middle of your book, the one that sucks, the one you thought was about X? Well, trust me, it’s not. It’s really about Y with a subplot of Z. Go write that instead.” Because I’ll be all over that.

    Seriously, thanks for assigning us calisthenics for our creativity.

  • The challenge finally was the starting point for my blog! I had kicked the idea of the blog around for a few weeks now … this got me to finally start it. So thanks for that …

    This was also something out of the ordinary for me. It took me a few hours to come up with something suitable, but then it came together quickly.

    And yeah … throw another challenge out there, I need an excuse to write. So far I only find excuses to not write … which is frustrating. So many ideas … so little drive to put words on paper.

  • Well that was entertaining. I shall have to read all the other stories penned by this in short order. Yes do it again. It was an excellent excuse to hammer something out quickly and enjoy the process. Not that I don’t enjoy my usual writing but this cleanses the palate as it were.

  • Add one hell yeah from me to the ‘do this again’ list, that was fun. Interesting seeing what people took away from the prompt as well, whether they focused on the adventurous aspect or the lost and found, or the expensive drink (or ‘100 year old spirits’ huh, don’t the Japanese have a myth about them?… apparently my brain is the organic equivalent of round about page three of a google search), goes to show it was a well chosenn prompt as well I think.

  • And another hells yeah. Once all my short stories turned into novels or parts of novels. This is my second short that stayed short and ended up a story. You forget how much fun it is to play with a single elegant idea.

    I also enjoyed travelling the diverse directions everyone else took with their bits of flash. 🙂

  • This was fun. It was also specific enough to push me out of the kind of thing I normally write. Usually, I’m not interested in flash fiction challenges, because they don’t actually challenge you, just give you a kick in the pants to write. I already have that kick; I want the challenge.

    I’d do it again.

  • I had a lot of fun doing it, and would totally like to do more. It really knocked loose a few things, gave me an excuse to write something (I mean, c’mon, it’s just 1000 words!) and has really gotten the creativity flowing again.

    Also, getting to read other people’s stuff was a huge blast too.

  • It was great! I command CMSteward for taking time to leave most kind comments on all the blogs! I hope to participate next time, too. Will even pull up the stakes for self by , on top of sticking to the suggested theme, using 5 randomly chosen words.

  • @Madison Thanks! In the spirit of writerly cooperation, I tried to read / comment on all of them. There were a couple links that didn’t want to cooperate with my browser, though.

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