a hand writing in a notebook with a red pencil

Flash competition inspiration

There’s no theme for the Propelling Pencil flash competition but in our free flash fiction workshop yesterday, we used picture, word and sound prompts to help people start writing their stories.

I also shared some tips on how to use prompts to spark your ideas. When looking at a creative prompt, ask yourself these questions and make notes.

  1. What attracts your attention?
  2. What’s the first thing you think of?
  3. What memories or experiences does it call to mind?
  4. What other words or images do you associate?
  5. What, where, when, who?
  6. How? Why?
  7. What happened immediately/an hour/a week before?
  8. What happened immediately/an hour/a week after?

Now you have something to start from and your story will hopefully build momentum from there.

Here are all the prompts from the workshop.

Picture Prompts

Word prompts

Take any of these sentences/beginnings and carry on. Or change the details, the who, the where, the actions.
• At quarter past eight
• The map wouldn’t fold up again
• His favourite shirt cost £2 at Oxfam ($2 at the thrift store)
• She poured a glass of milk
• From the back seat all you could see

Sound prompts

Imagine these sounds. Where are they happening? Who’s there? What’s going on?
• An axe against a tree trunk
• Singing at the top of your voice
• A skein of geese honking in flight
• A camera shutter
• Three blind mice played with one finger on the piano

Most importantly, have fun with your writing. See where it takes you. Explore Try something new.

And if you write a story of up to 500 words before midnight BST on Sunday 30 April, you can enter it in our charity flash competition, win a prize and support the Trussell Trust. Enjoy yourselves!

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