Boy is it fall out there. The maple in our driveway is changing, the air is chilly, and I have a sore throat. But! It’s October, so I dug out my Geek & Sundry playing cards and did the draw for the monthly challenge.
The what-now, you might say? Well, the deal is this: I set a challenge to myself (and anyone else who wanted to play) 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… voila! Stretched writerly muscles, fun, and zero stress. (And that last rule is super-important: if it gets stressful or stops being fun? Skip the month. There’ll be another challenge November 5th.)
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). August brought Ghost Stories involving Earrings set in Tobacco Shops (results here). And September gave us Suspense stories set at a Border Crossing and involving a Bag of Money (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 October? Four of clubs, Three of diamonds, and Six 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: Horror (so not my favourite), set during or at a Blood Drive, and including a…Frog.
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 November (that’s November 5th), 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 (October 8th). That’s it.