Flash Fiction Draw for January 2021

Happy New Year, I hope. If you want to skip the preamble and get the writing prompt, go ahead and scroll down to the video below and mash the play button. And if you don’t want to watch the video (where I’m sure to be awkward and fumbling), then click here to skip all the way to the end and just get the prompt itself. OK? OK.

For the rest of you, hi. I’m Jeff, and this year I have the privilege of filling Cait Gordon’s shoes, metaphorically speaking, for the monthly Flash Fiction Draw. This was started in 2018 (I think it was 2018?) by my friend ’Nathan Burgoine, and if you haven’t read any of Cait’s or ’Nathan’s work, please do take a moment to check out their websites. They’re both fabulous writers and lovely people to boot.

So, how does this work? It’s simple: on the first Monday of each month, I draw three playing cards, each from a different suit, that correspond with a theme, a setting, and an object. The challenge, should you be up for it, is to write a flash-fiction piece, no more than 1,000 words, in the specified genre, set in the specified location, and incorporating the aforementioned object. You have a week to do it, and once you’ve posted it online somewhere, come back and drop a link in the comments below. I’ll write a round-up post with everyone’s stories.

Now, for some disclaimers:

This is supposed to be fun. If you don’t feel up for it in any given month, no pressure! I skipped a few months in 2020—okay, more than a few—when things got hectic.

Write more than a thousand words? So what! I overshot almost every one of my stories last year. No one’s keeping count, so go ahead and post the whole thing.

Play as fast and loose with the prompt as you see fit. December 2020’s prompt was supposed to include the Eiffel Tower. Well, there’s an Eiffel Tower at the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, so I figured that would do.

In case you’re wondering what this year’s set of prompts will include, here’s the whole thing in a handy table:

Card drawnGenreSettingObject
1RomanceSpaceshipRay gun
2Science FictionRestaurant kitchenKey
3Fairy TaleStudio apartment in a big cityHairbrush
4HorrorAuditoriumLength of rope
5MysterySewerPendant and necklace
6ThrillerHighway tollboothPotted plant
7ComedyFarm fieldTablet computer
8FantasyPawn shopFountain pen
9Ghost StoryMarshDecorative pillow
10SuspenseTulip fieldVacuum cleaner
JCrime CaperTrunk of a carBouquet of roses
QAction/AdventureToolshed / Utility closetA stray sock
KHistorical FictionShopping mallSuitcase

OK, ready? Here we go:


So, to recap, our prompt is:

  • a fairy tale;
  • set in a studio apartment in a big city;
  • and must include a potted plant.

Photo of three playing cards for the writing prompt "Fairy tale, set in a studio apartment in a big city, containing a potted plant"

You’ve got a week to bang out a thousand words. You can do this.

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