Flash Fiction Challenge: A Title And Two Lines


You have given us titles.

You have given us opening lines.

You have given us closing lines.

Now it’s time to pick a batch and write some stories.

The job is easy enough: choose (randomly if you like) a title, an opening line, a closing line, and then write a story with… well, do I need to explain it? Use the title, the opening line, the closing line. C’MON PEOPLE JEEZ.

Length is — well, flash fiction is usually ~1000 words, but let’s forego any kind of length here and say, “Just write the damn story.”

Post at your online space, give us a link.

Due by next Friday, September 8th, noon EST.

Title

  1. We Never Heard Them Coming
  2. I Held Your Heart Once
  3. How To Run While Falling
  4. Once Hidden, Three Times Found
  5. Neptune’s Rain Cuts Like Diamonds
  6. The Empire Of All-Knowing Eyes
  7. Electric Boy Meets Conductor Girl
  8. When They Called Her Home
  9. The Limits Of Our Imperfection
  10. The Rest Are Your Problem

Opening Line

  1. “Listen to the goat,” Valerie said, “it will change your life.”
  2. The pale pink rabbit, some child’s lost toy, blinked at him from the kitchen chair.
  3. “I told you this was a bad idea!” he shouted.
  4. Three days without sleep was the least of my worries.
  5. Some people don’t follow direction very well.
  6. Martin spread the folders out on the table, “These two.”
  7. The odd man remained silent, forcing a small, copper box into my hands.
  8. The bodies were bobbing on the sea, and a raft drifted behind.
  9. Deep inside the twisting wood, there is a house, in a gully.
  10. No one had ever bothered to tell her about this part.

Closing Line

  1. Silence blanketed the meadow.
  2. We huddled low in the arroyo as wind wailed across the weeping sands.
  3. She spread her wings and stepped off the cliff.
  4. They would never know what she had done.
  5. And that, my son, is how I learned to wrestle alligators.
  6. And though the light was still blinking in the distance, never again could it harm her.
  7. She plucked a hair from the severed head, and threaded her needle.
  8. The children formed a circle, lifted their heads, and watched as the body disappeared into the sky.
  9. The smoke was blue and grey and smelled like a promise.
  10. I watched the butterfly escape the spiderweb and I laughed.

98 responses to “Flash Fiction Challenge: A Title And Two Lines”

      • Just read your comment there. Thank you so much for it. I know there was so much in the content of it… and I had no idea where it was going – but isn’t that half the fun of being a writer? Being taken on that journey inside your mind and imagination?

        Of course it is. 😀

      • Oh! Thank you so much! I’ve researched Angels and have been watching a lot of ‘Supernatural’ lately… so some of my story came from this too. 🙂

        Isn’t it great when two ideas from two totally different things come together? I read this flash fiction to my Mum yesterday, and she loved it. 😀

  1. OMIGOSH! No 7 in the closing lines is mine!! It’s the actual closing line of a story written and published three years ago, so I’ll be interested to see how others get to that line in their own stories.

    Now looking for a combo I can use for something new…

    • Spooky and atmospheric! Fantastic imagery all around. I love the sense that we’re in a larger, longer work but that it stands on its own. The stuff about fallen angels and whatever-you-call-ems is also compelling but not overdone. GREAT!

    • I enjoyed the imagery in this story. Your description of the protagonist jarred me as it was not what I expected so good job on that! It feels like a longer work, and I could see this as part of a bigger story. Well done.

    • I absolutely love your prose. The narrator was a total badass. “A sword-wielding black woman standing ankle-deep in eviscerated white boys?” And then you turn THAT on its head! Bravo! And by the way, the Oxford comma is every bit as important as properly sealed grout.

    • I really want to read more about this character! I really enjoyed her voice and was very intrigued by the mythology and events that transpired in the story. Really well done.

    • Really dark. I feel sad for your narrator as she’s trying to hold it all together with these people in her life who are falling apart. I loved the Jackie Chan line. Great imagery. I could picture their world.

    • Well that one hits you with a bit of a gut punch. The way you sketch out the narrator’s sad and stressful life and how he’s just walking the razor’s edge… very cool.

    • Really enjoyed the imagery and writing style of this piece. I was a little confused at the beginning with Harry but everything started coming together as the story progressed. Cool use of the prompts.

    • That’s fantastic! Love the imagery. I used the same opening and closing lines with a much different result. It’s so interesting where we go with a prompt.

    • If this was your first story, it’s a great start. Creepy and cool! I really loved the ending. I also have to admit that I laughed when you used the word “carapace”–it’s such an unusual word, and I used it in my story this week as well.

      • Thank you so much! I’ve never written a short story before, most of my writing before this has been poetry or unfinished work. I usually start out strong but then have trouble finishing things…I think that having the last line helped me to focus on where the story needed to go. This was such a fun challenge. I learned a lot while writing and continue to learn from what other people are doing with the prompts. 🙂

        • Endings are hard. I’m like you–I always start well then sort of fizzle out. This prompt was a good one, I think.

  2. Very much enjoyed your story. Liked how you used the nursery rhyme to set the tone. On it’s own, Mary Mary can be viewed as a religious allegory. You played that well into a psychological thriller context. Unsettling. (in the best way;)

  3. Title: The Limits Of Our Imperfection.
    Opening line: Martin spread the folders out on the table. “These two.”
    Closing line: She spread her wings and stepped off the cliff.

    I first chose the closing line as it was my favourite. Then the opening line suggested the plot to me. And the title… well, I chose the one who could at least fit a little.

    Around 1000 words.

    https://medium.com/@VicenteLRuiz/the-limits-of-our-imperfection-e49d71286478

      • Sorry, things are frantic here and I’ve completely forgotten to check comments these past weeks (and other people’s efforts as weel, shame on me).

        Many thanks for your comment, I’m glad it makes you want more (don’t we always seek that?).

  4. Hello, Mr. Wendig!

    Once again, a wonderful exercise. Glad to participate in this prompt.

    I chose:
    title: We Never Heard Them Coming
    first line: Three days without sleep was the least of my worries
    closing line: Silence blanketed the meadow.

    paulgrignon.wordpress.com

    Comes in a little over 1,200. But close enough. Thank you for providing your legion of fans a chance to indulge their creative spirits in an excellent format.

    • Nice. The story is vaguely sci-fi without being sci-fi at all. That takes a deft touch. This is the title I suggested, so it’s cool to see such a neat take on it.

  5. I’m a little late here, but I’ve finally finished it.
    Title: The Empire of All-Knowing Eyes
    First Sentence: The pale pink rabbit, some child’s lost toy, blinked at him from the kitchen chair.
    Last Sentence: She plucked a hair from the severed head and threaded her needle.
    I cheated a little. The last sentence is actually the second-to-last sentence.
    Anyway; here it is.
    https://modernauthors.org/2017/09/08/the-empire-of-all-knowing-eyes/

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