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Flash Fiction: Mix-and-Match Writing Prompts

Flash Fiction: Mix-and-Match Writing Prompts

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Don’t waste time waiting for story ideas to come to you. Flip through this booklet, and you can create characters and plots in seconds.

Simply choose a single word or phrase from each of the five sections, in order, and then turn those selections into a sentence. It's easy, because the sections are arranged like parts of speech.

Here’s a sample prompt to show you how it works.

1.descriptions (adjectives): vengeful
2.characters (nouns): historian
3.actions (verbs): steals
4.plot twists (objects): movie script
5.settings (more nouns): coffee shop

Add a few articles and prepositions, and you have a premise for a story: A vengeful historian steals a movie script in a coffee shop.

Look for combinations that amuse and intrigue you. Feel free to make changes, substitutions, and additions. You might find a garbage man in the list — but you’ll soon discover that your garbage man is actually a garbage woman, or a trash-picking hobo, or an environmentally sensitive vampire who sleeps in a landfill. Let your characters drive the story.

You can also play fast and loose with the grammar. You’re welcome to turn nouns into verbs, or objects into adjectives. Maybe your character isn’t a ghost. Maybe he’s just ghostly.

You can change verb conjugations, too. If your hero isn’t inflicting wounds, for example, maybe he’s the one being wounded.

Feel free to make the most of the suggestions in this booklet. Remember that they’re starting points, not final destinations — and let them take you into a story that practically writes itself.
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