This week, I want you to write about something that scares you.
This can be something overt and obvious (CHAINSAW CLOWNS) to something deeper (“I am afraid of losing my mind to Alzheimer’s”) — but I want you to take aim at it and lay it bare on the page and construct a story around it as best as you can.
You have 1000 words.
Story due by 1/20, noon EST.
Post at your online space, give us a link below.
Write your fear.
85 responses to “Flash Fiction Challenge: Something That Scares You”
Hahaha, ummm, killer ants? I wondered if I would get nightmares after reading Invasive (excellent book, couldn’t stop reading… my work productivity went down for a few days).
What am I afraid of? There’s so much to choose from: Spiders, heights, failure … maybe I’ll combine it all.
This was super creepy, even by my standards.
In Space, They Actually Do Hear You Scream
[…] This week’s challenge: 1000 words on the thing that scares you the most. It’s strange, but maybe I was braver when I was younger, or maybe not smart enough to be afraid. As I get older, I find myself fearing things more. Afraid of not being able to pay the bills. Afraid of my children getting hurt. Afraid of something happening to my parents. Afraid of my own aging body. Afraid of my government. So yeah, the trick isn’t to not be afraid, but to let the fear be the emotion that solely drives you. Because a healthy sense of fear is a good thing. It keeps you alive. It keeps you from doing really stupid shit. […]
I was braver when I was younger and had less to lose.
This gets right to the heart of so many parents’ fears. Even the ordinary can be anxiety-producing.
Absolutely. It’s that everyday, almost banal fear that I think is the hardest to overcome.
I’m a bachelor but man you made that fear seem real. Well done!
The guy with the huge saucer-size bloodshot eyes in a twilight zone episode. Still haunts me from my childhood.
[…] Wendig’s Friday Challenge this week caught my attention and I am going to try to do something for it -perhaps even something OC. I […]
Having Epilepsy has major drawbacks as you get older – they don’t tell you that in the brochure… but when you have the disease, you learn about the other problems that come with it.The biggest fear of this one disease is forgetting your closest family members; then forgetting yourself.
Absolutely horrifying. It’s one thing to know dementia is a possibility as you get older, but it’s another thing to have it as a co-morbidity with another condition. I’m so sorry!
Hey, don’t be sorry… I’ve been told that so long I keep my mind active, dementia may not strike me – or the other two horrible diseases (which aren’t in my family either – but then, they don’t have to be). Being born with a medical condition like Epilepsy, I really don’t know any other life than what I have. I’ve been on about 8 different medications, had the offer for surgery (and wasn’t a candidate) and worked so very hard to get myself back behind the wheel of a car (it took about 20 years to do that! And I’m damned proud of myself).
All I can really do is live my life as well as I can. Take care of myself. paint, garden, cook, laugh and share my life with all my loved ones until I’m unable to anymore. . But keeping to my medication is the most important thing.
I am terrified of my health declining this way though… it’s my biggest fear to look at all my paintings and art, look at all my books and stories and poetry and wonder: ‘Who did all this?’ and be told that it was me.
Incredible work. The repetition at the end is the perfect nail in the story. This honestly hurt my heart– I’ve got a family member in a nursing home with dementia, and this… well, it’s our every visit summed up. I sincerely hope your fear stays far the hell away from you. Well done.
My Grandpa had dementia as well; so I could see it in every visit I had with him as well at the nursing home. He went from a wonderfully intelligent, well-read man who loved Dr Who, enjoyed playing pool, snooker and billiards and was part of the Darling Downs first mouth organ band to a man who could barely remember who I was… he kept calling me Charlotte, Belle… or some Disney character he’d seen on television that afternoon. It broke Grandma’s heart to see him that way.
It breaks mine to know that my future is uncertain as well. I also hope I keep better in my old age than I’ve been told by my doctors.
Thank you for this story and for writing so openly and honestly. I’d say this is a big fear for everyone, certainly it is for me. Keep writing and I wish you all the best!
It’s a fear nobody talks about. And I know that one day, I may forget all the great things that I once was… and if that happened sooner than later, it would be a horrible thing.
Being stuck in an office job with a terrible boss till I die. I am 44.
Having OCD and general anxiety, there were just a host of things to write about, but I settled on something much deeper to my heart: living with someone with depression.
I think it’s a little dark, so be forewarned.
Your story hurt my feelings, in a good way. That sounds super strange considering the topic, but I hope you know what I mean. It really resonated with me, having been there, having picked up the pieces from an attempt… Very well done.
I’ll have to dig really deep about this topic. If it was anywhere else, I’d have to censor myself. Not here I guess!
Ungh, the murky, dark parts of my brain.
This is a really brave story.
I don’t know if it’s any consolation, but it can get better. Time, work, therapy, meds, but it can get better.
A very “It Follows” vibe, but your confrontation climax was more intense! Hope it gets better for you so keep writing!
[…] brief and inadequate response to Chuck Wendig’s latest flash fiction challenge— 1000 words on “something that scares […]
My apologies– this piece didn’t quite come out the way I intended. I may need a bigger canvas to do the feeling in it justice, but that’s a project for another day.
I’m just getting a page-not-found. Did you maybe remove/move it? Try reposting the link, perhaps?
I’ll kick things off with my short (364 word) fic, “Something Wicked”
Be sure to read the disclaimer before the story starts, just in case you’re not in a good place (mentally speaking) to read this sort of thing.
I totally get where you’re coming from. Working on a farm, I’ve had quite a few near-misses while alone. Moments where if one factor was changed, I’d have been toast (notably, being knocked down by a 700 steer whose hoof landed right next to my head and getting caught in a lightning strike radius that electrocuted me through a fence I was holding). You captured that oh-shit-I’m-alone feeling very well.
I felt your fear very clearly while I was reading your story. There were no wasted words, yet you described the feelings and fears completely. I could definitely put myself in that story, or one similar. It’s a big fear, not only dying alone but in such a manner. Nicely told. Thank you.
Hmm. Censorship? Nuclear Jihad? Glyphosate!
But, but…I do those all the time! As nonfiction!
Who said it had to be Fiction?
Aural Myiasis at http://slwhshorts.blogspot.com/2017/01/aural-myiasis.html
There are three things that squick me out: cannibalism, (real) serial killers, and what you write about here. We had a flesh-eating infestation on our farm for a few summers in the late 90s that took out a calf and several litters of kittens.
You do a fantastic job of writing something horrifying calmly, as though you’re channeling the shock you must have been feeling during the procedure. Awesome!
Definitely cringe-worthy! You got me lol.
I wanted to look away, but at the same time I couldn’t. Great job on this one.
Man Behind the Mic: http://www.lpstribling.com/?p=3297
Very chilling. When I was a wee spaceperson, probably only 6 or 7 space-years old, a fellow space-student in my class grabbed a newly sharpened HB pencil and, for reasons which are to these days still unknown to me, stabbed it straight down into my left hand, which was laid flat on the desk next to him. I don’t remember the pain, or the scream—kinda wish I did, as I bet it was horrifying for the teacher to hear—but I do remember my space-parents trying to extract the graphite which broke off beneath my skin using a combination of dish-washing liquid and sugar. It didn’t work, and I still have a tiny point of graphite still lodged in the back of my hand, but it’s reassuring to know that those pencils got their comeuppance in your fic. Here’s to many more pencil-less years of peace.
Wee Spaceman – Holy Cow! What kind of Crazy Illuminati nutso behavior is that? I bet that person’s on some wanted list somewhere… and see? Now you can tell people you actually knew him! Well, my friend, I raise my glass to your horrifying youthful graphite experience. Thanks for stopping by. Your Space Presence welcome at all times.
And here’s to hoping your nightmare of gun-toting politicians never comes to fruition! *clinks glass*
[…] week, the name of the game is Something That Scares You. The assignment is to take a fear and turn it into a story of 1,000 words or less. So of […]
843 words of quasi-autobiographical examination of one of my personal dysfunctions. Yay? Please to enjoy.
Your story hit home with me in the way you describe your anxiety and the way it manifests itself. I especially liked your phrase “my heartbeat filled my ears,” it’s very relatable. I understand how getting past such powerful feelings can be an ongoing battle and you tell it very well. Keep on keeping on!
I’m making my way through everyone’s stories, and I’m realizing that so many of us are more afraid of what’s lurking inside than outside. Very interesting to see.
The story is found after the intro in French. Because I usually blog in French… and hadn’t written fiction in over a decade (damn you! or bless you, we’ll see…). There are many fears there, but I played with them in a subdued way. Thanks for the challenge.
The title and the story fit together perfectly. I like nice, sad stories. Well done!
Thank you. My paradox here is that writing in English was not as loaded and scary as writing in my native French. I’m enjoying this challenge tremendously: I’ll be reading everyone’s story as soons as I get a chance.
So English is your second language? Wow. I didn’t even notice. I thought the intro was just a famous quote…ah now I see in your post “I usually blog in French.” Well, you’ve put us all to shame writing creatively in two languages lol. Well done!
Mine’s not as dramatic as some of these others. I went more along the lines of regret. Oh, and the theme of this one seemed so familiar to me, like I’d read something similar a long time ago and can’t remember. Let me know know if you do. Thanks. Enjoy.
That concept will haunt me for a long time. I share your fear. (Also, I want a library with a ladder like that!)
Thanks! I’m glad you liked it! (i’m interpreting “haunted” as good lol) Yes, ever since I was a kid I’ve wanted the rolling ladders in a library. Someday….
[…] Flash Fiction is back. This week, Chuck had us write Something That Scares You. […]
This isn’t crap-your-pants scary, just a plain fear. It might not sound exciting, but I had fun writing it.
This is my first time, hoping for some brutal honesty.
Here’s mine, “Therapy”. I just didn’t know how to tackle this story, then I had the therapy idea and free-flowed it. I just stopped to try and make it a bit coherent. In the end it was an interesting exercise.
I like it. Whether it’s a real therapist, or an inner-therapist, I enjoy the whole concept of discovering your fears by talking about them. A Johari window to the soul.
Yearly Review: http://flash.scottmollon.com/scares_me.html
I can definitely see the fear in this one. Big Brother is not only watching, but controlling—blatantly and subliminally. I really do hope this one never comes to pass. In fact, this story would be equally good in last week’s Non-Standard Apocalypse category, too. The end of the free world is an Apocalypse in itself. Great story!
How much does it matter if I go over the word limit?
I guess it depends on how much you go over it by. Ten or twenty words, forgivable by me at least. A hundred or more? Gotta work at cutting it down.
No one’s grading you. But get too long-winded on the interwebs, and no one will finish 😀
*Hides red grading pen and nods wisely* Yes, Rebecca is correct.
Hahaha I actually laughed out loud at this comment 🙂 🙂 🙂
I wrote about my fear of going backwards. Sliding back down into a place I barely escaped.
[…] Chuck’s Flash Fiction Challenge, the writer is challenged to write about something that scares them. While I have a couple […]
I just finished mine. I’m sorry if it’s really short. https://vookthevook.wordpress.com/2017/01/18/flash-fiction-challenge-it-was-all-just-a-dream/
Hope you all enjoy!
mine is short too but I’m happy to get it done. Tomorrow, I’ll be enroute to Maryland so that I can join the Women’s March on Saturday. I hope other terribleminds authors will be there. Art hard!
Thanks for the opportunity. It’s on Medium.com
Soul Swimming Dark Seven… https://medium.com/@FarkleUp/soul-swimming-dark-seven-4dd8f1f6d74d#.1yjagw6e3
I tried to upload this last night, but I think my internet froze mid-way – trying again.
This is only the second challenge I’ve done here at Terrible Minds. Facing your fears isn’t easy, writing about it isn’t either. I hope mine is up to par. I would appreciate feedback or comments if you have ’em – here to learn and practice! Thank you for the challenge, Chuck.
Fear and Life Lessons: https://michelle-wordplay.blogspot.com/
I’m off to read your stories now!
I have failed this challenge by default because I went over the word limit (oops). But I would appreciate any feedback on mine so that I can improve.
Here it is: http://www.garyaswaby.com/2017/01/slayers-flash-fiction/
I can’t comment on your site as I’m not registered, however, you asked for feedback, so here it is!
I love the concept of the world you’ve created. At first it seems Fantasy, then a blend of Fantasy and quasi-dystopian sci-fi future. I like as well that these Daemons seem to come in different forms, and that you don’t launch into long narrative to explain what they are and how they came about. Just straight down to the action, which helps with the immersion.
The biggest piece of advice is one which gets thrown around a lot but is always useful; Show, don’t Tell. For example, your line: “I was annoyed at being called boy.” Instead of telling us the character was annoyed, could you show us instead? Maybe his hands curl into fists? Maybe his eye twitches? Maybe he imagines himself pummeling somebody’s face at the perceived slight? If you an show something that we associate with annoyance, you won’t have to say it outright.
A second piece of advice relates more to your descriptions of combat/action. Consider your sentence: “I left the tent and froze as I witnessed its towering frame standing on four of its legs and knocking over a watchtower with the remaining four.” This reads very clinically, with little or no emotion attached to the action, almost like a police report of a crime (“I proceeded down the street and witnessed the perpetrator committing acts of violence…”) Action, I find, is one of the hardest things to write. To really get a reader interested in it, you need to try and make it more visceral. You’ve got the sights down pat, but what was your character smelling? Did he feel debris patter against his skin? Did he hear screams? The grating, pandemonious wail of the tower’s concrete and iron skeleton being twisted and warped as the tower was razed, perhaps? And yes, pandemonious is TOTALLY a word.
It’s also fine to mix up the start of your sentences a little, to give some variety. Instead of just “I saw this” and “I did that”, you can start with an action. For example, instead of… “I left the tent and froze as I witnessed…” you could go with: “Gathering my courage, I left the tent—and froze as I witnessed…” It just helps to prevent the feeling of repetition and spice up your writing by allowing sentences to have different beginnings, which again to help with that Tell vs. Show feeling.
Overall, an interesting read with a world that feels very real even with the nod to fantasy and mythology. Keep writing, and you’re sure to find helpful hints and tips from other writers along the way.
Thank you so much for this feedback and for reading my story. This will help me so much. I will return the favour if I find one of your works.
Reality is too scary. I had to make mine funny-scary. Okay, making fun of all of us and our internet addictions.
Not a story, but a dreaded “Trump-related think piece.” Honestly, I couldn’t think of anything that scared me more right now:
I tried! 🙂 https://wonderfulwritingblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/20/flash-fiction-challenge-something-that-scares-you/
The real story I wrote for this will likely never see the light of day (scared of the possible outcome, I guess). But I did write another one, hopefully a bit on the lighter side. http://runnerskye.ca/flash-fiction-challenge-something-scary/
I really liked this one!
I’ve tried to post mine twice. I keep getting eaten by the spam filter me thinks. I’ll see if it will post without a link in it. My story is up at kathleencolins. Net if anyone wants to read it.
What a great challenge. I had a hard time settling on just one of my many fears. My resulting story is a hybrid of something more obvious and a fear less obvious, but I hope it comes through in the story. Enjoy!
I may be late, but it still may not be the end of the world… yet.
Oh man, can’t wait to read all of these. I didn’t have time this week to participate but I’m super glad everyone else did. ^.^
[…] Chuck Wendig, often posts Flash Fiction challenges on his blog on Fridays. I got this one from a January post, so I can’t submit a link to it in his comments as he says to do, but I’m posting it […]
[…] Wendig at terribleminds.com issued one of his Flash Fiction challenges last week, and as I want to make 2017 a year of reading and writing, I decided to participate. The […]