Flash Fiction Challenge: Ten Words Will Give You Five

Last week’s challenge: “They Fight Crime

I’m going to a random word generator.

*does that*

There. It has chosen ten random words.

Those ten words are:

  1. Library
  2. Ethereal
  3. Dolphin
  4. Replay
  5. Undertaker
  6. Storm
  7. Envelope
  8. Cube
  9. Chisel
  10. Satellite

You will choose five of those words.

You will include those five aspects — not just as words but as actual components of the story — in your 1000-word flash fiction this week. As always: post at your blog or online space, then link back here so we can all read it. You’ve got a week. Due by Friday the 29th, noon EST.

Pick words. Write story. Go.

120 responses to “Flash Fiction Challenge: Ten Words Will Give You Five”

  1. So I did a random number generator to pick the words. I found I had to do a little bit of world-building to make it happen. I’ve got a start! But I need to pick it up in the morning now that it’s outlined. I just had to share what my number generator gave me.

    3 – Dolphin
    8 – Cube
    5 – Undertaker
    9 – Chisel
    1 – Library

    Tomorrow, we’ll see if I can pull it off!

  2. @ Paige S.

    That is a little spooky – I looked at the list, picked five words that kind of appealed to me, scrolled down and discovered that you had picked all the same words apart from one – I went with ethereal instead of undertaker.

    • Wow, at first I thought your story was heavy-going, then I thought “actually, it’s just really, really deep.” I really liked the comparison between life in the States and life on deployment. It rains a lot here, so I often see people running to cover, wielding umbrellas which fight against them in the wind, and I think; what’s the point? It’s not like it’s acid. There’s bigger things to worry about that a little water (one of those being a lot of water all at once). Kudos for writing something so brief, yet so personal.

      • Thanks, I appreciate the feedback. Now if only I had caught those grammar and typo issues the first five times i re-read it. I need a scribe…Well, the ones I could find are fixed now.

    • Good work. Very good. An interesting look into what most people don’t know or can’t understand in other countries. I keep books and teach my little one to do the same. I have things I bought, or begged for, when I was 7. I have books my aunt gave me when I was maybe 8. Things are horrible in other places in the world and I know this. But I cry when a book hits water. I dry it, pull the pages apart. Read it anyway and keep it. Because all words are worth keeping. All are something someone put possibly years into, heart, blood, and soul, to make happen. I know not everyone does, but know that there are some that will keep the written word for future generations, at gunpoint if need be.

    • That was a really touching story. You did a great job taking a small “normal” moment and not only make it important, but show all the layers beneath it. I really liked this one.

    • I love this story. How that, in the midst of a war, the books become things of extra value, but at the same time are something that is shared freely and with no ownership. This really touched something inside of me.

  3. Random Number Generator:

    4- Replay
    8- Cube

    But I’m swapping out dolphin for storm, because when confronted with that list of words the only opinion I had about them was that I did not want to write about dolphins. Boo, dolphins. Even the word looks weird, now.

    I’ll comment again when I finish it!

    • Very cool. There’s not many times when I think “Man, I wish that idea had been mine!” but this is definitely one of them. One of the ultimate tragedies, that a thing meant to save you actually ends up destroying you. I can see only two glimpses of silver lining; 1) At least it was faster than Leviathan. 2) Something died so something else could eat. Karmically speaking, it actually balances.

    • Good job on this one. Came across smooth for having to explain the complexity of what was going on. I have to admit I figured it was going to end badly (for the humans), but that’s half the fun of these kind of stories I think.

    • Interesting piece. I know you wrote it this way on purpose, but I found the dialogue to be very jarring and unnatural. Your intro to the characters was great, but I found myself not caring about them in the slightest.

    • A very twisted tale indeed. Definitely got the soap opera vibe off it. It felt like a big reveal scene of a much longer drama. So with that concept, I liked it.

    • Interesting concept, I like the way you worked the words in as themes. I did find some of it a little jarring though, such as the switches between perspective/narrator, and wonder if there’s a way you could make such switches clearer in future. Also I’m a bit confused about your use of ‘we’ and ‘us’ towards the end, as you hadn’t written any first-person perspective before that. Other than that, the pacing was really nice, with a little refining I think you could get it down to 1000 words.

      • Thank you, I’m terrible with perspective. I probably could have taken a couple more days with it, I just… it was there and needed to get out, I can see how it should be all about Frank experiencing it.

        • Don’t worry, every word written is a lesson, and it gets easier to write flash-fiction the more you practice. A perfect excuse to enter as many challenges as humanly possible. 😀

    • Great story! From the first couple of sentences it had a Pratchettesque vibe to it, which it kept all the way through, which I think came from the dry humour. Though I could quite easily read a lot more words for this story, it is a complete work on its own. The gargoyles were a great idea. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a Library to find…

    • Well that certainly had a weird creepy vibe to it. A bit of a Phantasm-ish thing going on. I thought there were a couple pacing things, but I liked the concept and how you didn’t talking head it too much and let the story unfold.

      • Actually I dreamt about the cube thing… it was a really creepy, exhausting dream; and I found it turned into a great storyline too; which still need tweeking. However, I’ve used a town I’ve dreamt about a few times with a massive library in it. And when I saw the word selection, I was stoked that I could use another part of this particular town for another twist on the same story.

        I try not to get into my characters’ heads too much as then my writing begins to run on too much.

  4. Hello! I’ve been a lurker for about a month, and this is my first time contributing.

    I had a friend who had no idea what I was asking him about to pick five numbers between 1 and 10, which I then matched up to the numerical order of the random words in the original post. He went with all even numbers, so the five words I worked with are: “Ethereal,” “Replay,” “Storm,” “Cube,” and “Satellite.”

    I think I went over by maybe 49 words or so.. I may work on trimming it down and editing it a bit more.

    Link to my story: http://jdflom.hubpages.com/hub/Missionary-jdflom

  5. Good morning/afternoon/evening ladies and gents.

    My words, chosen with a random number generator, were Storm, Library, Ethereal, Undertaker, and Envelope.

    My story, “Letter for an Undertaker” has a dash of alternate history and fantasy in it, and comes in at exactly 1k words, though certainly not by design. I trimmed this, added that, trimmed again, and ended up right on the 1k mark.

    Please take a moment to check it out, any comments/critiques/hate-mail will be much appreciated!


    (A quick FYI – the word ‘bawn’ appears in the story, and is not a typo for barn, though a barn and a bawn are related)

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