September! Today is the first Monday of the month, so I dug out my Geek & Sundry playing cards and did the draw for the monthly challenge. Pardon, you might say? Well, if you’re new to these here parts, the deal is this: I set a challenge to myself (and anyone else who wanted to try) last January. It’s a year-long monthly Flash Fiction Draw Challenge. Using three suits from a deck of cards, and assigning thirteen genres to clubs, thirteen items to diamonds, and thirteen locations to hearts, I made a deck of prompts. Once a month, drawing three cards creates the challenge. No more than 1,000 words, and no longer than a week to work on it, and… ta-da! Stretched writerly muscles, fun, and zero stress. (And that last rule is paramount: if it gets stressful or stops being fun? Skip the month. There’ll be another challenge October 1st.)
In January, we had Fairy Tales involving a Tattoo Machine set in a Prison! The results were fantastic. February? Crime Caper, Compass, and a Soup Kitchen was a challenge (though with awesome results). March brought Romance, involving a VHS Cassette, set in a Firewatch Tower (results). Then in April, we had Historical Fictions set on Dirt Roads dealing with Rat Poison, and the timelines involved in those results were all over the place. Or time. You get it. May delivered some Science Fiction in our laps, taking place Above the Clouds and involving a Dog Whistle (results). For June, it was a Fantasy involving Hot Chocolate, set in a Junkyard or Scrapyard (which you can happily sip here). In July, we crafted Mysteries involving Typewriters set on a Dam (results here). And in August, we all put together Ghost Stories involving Earrings set in Tobacco Shops (results here).
I made a video of this month’s draw, if you want to check it out.
The chart from which the draws were made was this (minus the cards from previous draws, greyed out):
And the result for September? Ten of clubs, King of diamonds, and Jack of hearts. Which means anyone who wants to play along is going to write a flash fiction piece of 1,000 words within the following guidelines: Suspense, set on or at a Border Crossing, and including a Bag of Money.
If you do participate, please pop a link to this post, or to the Facebook video above so I can gather all the stories again for a round-up post next week.
But the most important thing? This is supposed to be fun and inspiring. If it’s not working for you, take a pass. There’ll be another challenge on the first Monday of October (that’s October 1st), from the remaining items on the list. The “rules” such as they are are pretty limited: You have to use the genre, the item, and the setting (though you can play a bit fast and loose within those guidelines), no more than 1,000 words, and the piece needs to be finished by next Monday (September 10th). That’s it.