Flash Fiction Challenge: Inspiration Of The Random Image

This link will take you to a random photo. You can keep clicking NEXT RANDOM IMAGE if you so choose. Click through the images until one of them speaks to you in some way — it scratches a creative itch somehow. Then write a short story based on that image as inspiration. (Try to nab a link to the photo, so you can put it in your story so we can see the inspiration.)

Length: ~1000 words

Due by: May 13th, noon, EST

Post at your online space.

Drop a link to it in the comments below.

Grab a photo and write.

88 responses to “Flash Fiction Challenge: Inspiration Of The Random Image”

  1. I’ll be honest – the image didn’t change, I clicked a few times, then I looked at the category box which said ‘all – no nudes’, immediately dropped it down to search for ‘nudes’.

    Didn’t write a thing.

    Sorry man.

    • Hi! Nicely done… your story leaves me interested in understanding the challenges and the world they’re set in. One question, though: why do you use the pronoun “They” for Adrian? After several re-readings, I still couldn’t find a clue as to why the plural pronoun was being used.

    • The idea that the character is a non-binary transperson now makes sense to me. (Sorry, little slow on the uptake, I guess, and the bulb above my head flickers a bit before it lights up.)

      In the context of speculative fiction named for and involving mirrors, the initial use of They had me searching for a meaning related to reflections.

      Is there (or does there need to be) anything aside from the pronoun that should have clued me into that about the character?

      I hope I’ve given no offense, and if I have, I sincerely apologize.

      If nothing else, please know that I very much enjoyed the story and its setting. I’d like to read more in that world.

      • And I’m a little slow on the noticing-further-comments, haha.

        No offense taken at all. To answer your question, usually not. If a nonbinary character’s gender identity is an important part of the story in some way, it’ll obviously be more explicit, but otherwise use of singular “they” (or less commonly, other pronouns that haven’t gotten much recognition yet beyond the queer community, like ze/zir) is usually the only indication.

    • Regret nothing! Even if something didn’t work, at least you got it down. (PS – This one works, by the way. Sharp, crisp, and leaves me thinking about it after I’ve read it.)

    • It’s an interesting start, and reads as if there’s a good story developing.

      Some feedback (take with a grain of salt, please–just one reader’s opinion): the tone is a bit odd, since there are paragraphs of description that come across as high fantasy, yet the setting descriptions (and the voice) seem more like urban fantasy set in a modern-day world. If it is urban fantasy, you may want to give us a bit more for us to understand the setting.

      Not sure if I’m making any sense?

      Another minor thought: your first sentence might be stronger if you use belies” instead of “betrays” — I could be wrong, but betrays” gave me impression that the street was a clue as to what the tattoo parlor would look like (which since the street is clean, we’d expect the parlor to be the same–and as I read on, it definitely was not a clean place!).

      “Belies” means “(of an appearance) fail to give a true notion or impression of (something); disguise or contradict.”

      There’s definitely a contradiction between the clean, polished alley and the disgusting tattoo parlor.

      That said, the world does seem like one I’d like to read more about…

      • Very helpful feedback, @qyksilver. You pinpoint exactly what I’m struggling with. I love the idea of a high fantasy setting, but if I ever get any feedback on my writing, it’s people appreciate when I use a more humorous tone. I was trying to combine the two (and sort of using the comic “Rat Queens” as a template), but clearly that caused confusion on your part. I’ll have to explore it more.

        And you’re dead-on with the “belies” note – that’s exactly what I meant. Thanks again!

      • So for clarification, if I were to tinker with the voice – perhaps having the setting described by James in a lighter/more humorous tone, would that clear up the setting problem?

        • (Grain of salt again!) After re-reading it, I think the issue is the exposition in the 3rd graph. Before and after, it’s pretty consistent in it’s main character’s gritty “hardcore urban fantasy” voice –and then that graph hits and it gets into some deep exposition. That’s where the high fantasy voice kicks in, and throwing us off.

          When that happens, we completely lose what’s been rocking us along: the main character’s voice. Although you’re writing in 3rd person, you’re writing right over James’ shoulder. My suggestion would be to try that 3rd graph again: give us the same info but as if James is the one describing the events and background (even if 3rd person).

          Minor example: with a fairly “normal” name like James, would your main character describe the “inscription” as being in “the common tongue” or “plain f***Ing English instead of that lyrical, tongue-twisting Elvish bullsh*t” –the first changes gears on us, while the other keeps us in that more urban (and gritty) character/story.

          Definitely enjoying it — I think if that exposition is told more from James’ voice it’ll be spot on… and keep us wanting to read more! 🙂

          • Fantastic advice. You’re absolutely right – the backstory goes that James discovered that he was a half-elf toward the beginning of the story, and is now seeking to unpack what that means. Therefore, he’s still mystified by a lot of elf culture, and would most definitely say something like “plain f***ing English…”. You nailed it.

            I’ve struggled in the past with creating likable protagonists, and I think your advice to stick to James’ voice, I’ll be able to do just that.


    • I enjoyed the tone, the one thing that got me was confusion over just what type of world it’s set in. High fantasy? Urban fantasy? A mix?

    • Really enjoyed this, particularly the interplay between “Larry” and his companion Roost. This is a duo and a world I would very definitely like to read more about. (Besides, I like ravens, m’self.)

      • I’m glad you liked it. I already had the character, but didn’t want to leave him alone, so I gave him someone to banter with.

    • I liked the story; there were good descriptions of Grace’s struggle. I do t know if it was a stylistic choice, but I found the lack of commas made those longer sentences difficult to follow. A bit of extra punctuation would have gone a long way, clarity-wise.

      • Hi, afraid your comment go lost in the shuffle, sorry about that! But I wanted to say thanks for the comment. I really appreciate the feedback, it was more stylistic, I felt the run on sentences felt more breathless. But I will keep what you said in mind for future stories. Thank you!

    • Very well done. Sad. I was scared for her. I wrote for Terrible Minds too when I was having a lot of confusing feelings, and I think it’s evident in my piece. Great job with the prompt. I’m interested to know if you’ll take this further.

    • I really enjoyed this read. I tried to comment on your blog, but for some reason was timed out. I could feel Helen’s fear and loneliness. I loved how Trigger was there for her the whole time. So well done. I felt absorbed with the story and wondered what would happen next the whole time. It reminded me a little bit of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, with how close she was to the dog. (despite her comments!)

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