Flash Fiction Challenge: Predictive Text Fun

So, I love the predictive text meme, where you tell a short little story or poem or sentence based on the predictive text your phone or mobile device gives you —

Like, last week, one was to type in “I was born” and then let predictive text fill in your autobiography, and mine came up with:

“I was born a perfectionist and a monster

I had no idea what I was doing”

And I thought, goddamn, that’s fucking good.

That’s “opening line of a memorable novel” good.

So, let’s play with predictive text here today.

Start with the words, “Once upon a time,” and then let predictive text take over the story. Keep tapping the predicted words (you should get three choices, I think, at least you do on an iPhone) until you’re satisfied with the story. Note: we’re not really looking for complete stories here, just a sentence that could serve as an interesting opening line or weird little narrative. We’re doing this in part because a good number of you are, I’m guessing, neck-deep in NaNoWriMo, so this should serve as a fast and easy steam-release of storytelling fun.

You can drop your predictive tales right into the comments below.

[My example: “Once upon a time I had a great idea, and when it got to the end, the first person who wrote it out for me died.” Commas added by me, not the predictive text.]

[EDIT: Interestingly, you can also change the predictive story by adding bits to Once upon a time — such as, “Once upon a time there was,” or “Once upon a time I was” etc.etc.]


  • Once upon a time it is not. Hey I’m sorry but I’m not going to be there when you need.

    The rain she takes control and she takes her time with the kids.

  • Once upon a time I drove through the gate and the water bottle in the fridge and the dogs are chilling in the living room. Thanks again for the great customer service. We have been here since mid-March with the priest and the band is playing in a tournament. I have to get up early tomorrow so I won’t actually be able to get to the airport. You have any questions?

  • Once upon a time there was a good chance that I could have a good time, and the opportunity to be a great help if we could meet him in the face.

  • Once upon a time when the weather is not montitored and you can see the new season of your choic, you are not the named but the truth.

    punctuation is courtesy of me. this is some profound shit, guys. but i don’t know wtf it means.

  • Once upon a time there was a bit of a fight. I have been trying to figure out what to do with this until now. I have been wanting costumes. I will get back in to the matter with the editor.

  • Personal cell:

    Once upon a time I could be with you all day and night, and I was just wondering what time do you get off the plane?

    Work cell:

    Once upon a time the great white rooster almost crossed the line into earthly life.


    What the hell am I doing when I’m at work??? I can use both of these as writing prompts!

  • November 10, 2017 at 7:06 PM // Reply

    Once upon a time there was a little makeup work for you and I’m going back to the house and Jupiter aligns with Mars. I’m going forward with my own eyes open for the rest of my life is not a good time for you to come over.
    By the time we we got home around noon or at least not yet but it looks like a vampire had a good thing to be in front of the house, and Jupiter aligns with Mars is the only thing that I would like to see if we can’t make it then.
    I’m going back to sleep now but I will call before I leave for work. Thanks again for all the help.

  • Once upon a time I was hoping for a better chance of rain. (As I *just* turned on predictive text there really isn’t a lot of personal wackiness here. But I guess it would work.)

    • November 13, 2017 at 4:34 PM // Reply

      I think you just gave me a clue why mine is so dull. I have it on, but don’t use it much. I guess it learns from what we type and select?

  • Once upon a time we need to deal with all the clean-up crew members and you can get to the last weekend so our party will be early and show me how to do makeup and correct the wedding.

  • Once upon a time there was no one else who can help us out of the house for rent and deposit the check to the bank to see me again and again I apologise for me and my wife and Kim and she is not a big fan of your day and how many people will come in handy when you are done with your work on the other side of the house for rent on the phone and Kim and I will get it done today so I’m not going anywhere for the next two days.

    [But I…I don’t know anyone named Kim. Who is Kim, smartphone?!?!]

  • November 10, 2017 at 9:06 PM // Reply

    Doesn’t *quite* work, but I like the emotional heft —

    “Once upon a time, I have no idea how to be there for you. I love you and believe in the liminal space between friendship and the second waiting.”

  • “Once upon a time, there was no food in my house. I had a great steak and a great time. Ok so we can go back tomorrow night or do it just like a couple”. So what I’m getting is that my phone is saying I like food and s… it’s not off but WHAT? hahaha.

  • Once upon a time, before google became a verb, we would chase down fireflies on a warm summer night and when we caught them we would put them in old, cleaned-out, Skippy Peanut Butter jars and after punching holes in the top with a cheap can opener, we would set the jar on the window sill before we went to bed and the lightning bugs would turn off and on all night long.

  • Once upon at time when the real world was still being investigated by the real estate market, he couldn’t tell if the parameters matched with a long history of insomnia, but it was all entirely fake.

  • Once upon a time there is a mess bro. I have to do lunch or dinner with my parents tonight and I will be there. At least it was a good day. YOU WANT ME TO GET THE SWORD? I HAVE THE GIRLS AND USED TO BE THERE AT WORK. YOU CAN COME BACK TO BE THE MORNING. I’M THE MORNING.

    (Apparently, my predictive text gets angry after a while)

  • Once upon a time there was no proof of the chance. I could be like a man who came to the world for the first person to tell him what he did not want. You don’t have to write about it until after the last time you see the same person, the queen who has the name of your own name.

  • Once upon a time, I had a chance to sign up for the first day of the new year, with no idea what the last two years questions or concerns regarding the dumping of my time.

    (I think I signed up to be Baby New Year??)

  • Once upon a time in the house of representatives I was thinking about the delay called for an end to the capital restore point before trying out the video below.

  • Once upon a time in my head I was going to be happy with you and then you had the chance to get to see the other guy and he said that he was in your head with a lot of people who don’t want to be in your head and you know that you don’t want to be with a person that is going through your mind because of what you’re trying to say to me because I don’t know what to say to you

  • Once upon a time in mind that is a whiskey fermented in the car. We were going to teach you how much of what I originally thought was due to be released on the ground, where they belonged. Everything else seemed to have a good idea; that was like a lot of people in this world who have been obtained by DreamWorks.

  • Once upon a time I thought I’d totally peeved myself and got a little bit ashamed and went back in to the hospital with a little rattlesnake bite.

  • November 13, 2017 at 4:31 PM // Reply

    I’m not very good with this tech stuff 🙂 I couldn’t get anything very interesting. The best one:
    “Once upon a time it was just too bad it didn’t work.”

    I’m going to pick one of these for my week’s flash, though.

  • Once upon a time she was just leaving her door open for me. I’ll let her go to sleep now and then we will be kindred spirits.

  • Once upon a time to come in the afternoon or evening, the best bet is to check out your own skin and bones straining under the impression of a woman named Kiwi from the back room.

  • Once upon a time, I guess you can say, the best bet was really just a normal research workshop in your veins. The only thing to say to that kind of thing is that you can get a good night’s rest and feel like a gangsta.

  • Once upon a time I was going to see you and then I was thinking about you.

    Sounds like the start of a good romantic novel.

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