Flash Fiction PromptsThese flash fiction prompts will challenge you to create short and gripping narratives that are under 1000 words. Though many are categorized, don’t feel limited!

Flash fiction can be whatever you want it to be. Whether you use the bite-sized stories you write as exercises, standalone pieces, or segments of a larger work, the condensed length is beneficial. I think you will find that the practice of writing flash fiction will help you gain control over word choice, make your writing feel more kinetic, and increase your abilities when it comes to writing without a clear roadmap. In other words, follow your intuition without inhibition.

Now that you know some of the goals of these flash fiction prompts, let’s get writing.

General Fiction

  • What started off as a sleepwalking problem leads to a night of adventure when Dane gets behind the wheel and does what he was too afraid to do when he was awake.
  • Callie is convinced that she is being spied on by her creepy neighbors, but when she goes into their house, she finds a little moreStack Of Books, Vintage Books, Book, Books, Old than she bargained for.
  • While painting a portrait of what was thought to be a fictional subject, an artist has a revealing flashback about their childhood that uncovers some forgotten memories.
  • A so-called horse whisperer is giving a young boy a lesson on a temperamental horse, when all of a sudden, the horse gallops off into the distance and it’s up to this inexperienced rider to hold on and steer the horse to safety.

Action

  • A car plummets to the ocean after the driver falls asleep at the wheel. Explain his escape or demise, and flashback to scenes from his highly emotional trip to see his long-distance girlfriend that leaves him with some unresolved feelings.Bridge, Sunrise, Water, Boat, Car, Traffic, Street
  • Go inside the mind of a patient whose heart stops for 10 minutes, which gives the patient the chance to make a shocking discovery that reframes their life. Include supernatural elements, but do not dare use the phrase “the light flashed before their eyes,” or any other near-death experience tropes.
  • When an alcoholic bus driver falls asleep at the wheel on the way to a charter school, it’s up to two 10-year-old student to steer the students to safety, which will be hard, since they’re not tall enough to reach the pedals.
  • It’s Marnie’s first night as a babysitter, and she’s only an hour in when she hears a window shatter and the alarm go off. Too bad the house is deep in the forest without neighbors.

Romance

  • A double date between two college-aged couples goes a little too well when best friends Lisa and Jasmine realize they prefer each other’s new boyfriends over their current boyfriends.
  • It’s Friday night at the karaoke bar, and when the host calls Jordan up to sing “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” by the Bench, Couple, Romantic, Love, People, Lifestyle, HappyDarkness. When both a boy and a girl by the same name come up to sing the song they both chose, love is only a duet away.
  • Tell a story of a new relationship from both people’s perspectives. Here’s the catch: there should be no scenes between the two of them. You can only use descriptions to other characters, diary entries, thoughts, dreams, and anything else that doesn’t involve contact between the two main characters. 
  • Two teens get caught at the top of a roller coaster in a tale of love at first sight.

Historical

  • Explore “The Shot Heard ‘Round The World” from a more literal perspective. That is, give (dare I Hans Holbeing, King Henry Viii, England, Great Britainsay) snapshot accounts of the diverse reactions of the Revolutionary War from countries across the world, ending with Britain.
  • King Henry the VIII had 6 wives … but what about his boyfriend? 
  • The Salem Witch Trials are brewing, but it turns out, real witches are the only ones who can save the town from an alien attack.
  • Every 500 years, ancient Egyptian mummies come back to life for one night. It’s 2200. Teleportation has been invented, and it’s time for them to rise.

Humor

  • Psychic shops seem to be going out of style, at least until an eccentric old couple of mystics take things to the 21st century with an occult photo-sharing app called “Pentagram.”
  • Something seems fishy at tToys, Mr Potato Head, Fun, Happy, Cute, Play, Smilehe local pet store, so the best police officer in town goes in to investigate undercover. It’s easy since she’s a golden retriever.
  • Write about a potato family: The Mashes. One of their spuds wastes all his time getting baked, while the sweet parents can barely control their spunky tots. Things get even crazier when you throw their French fry foreign exchange student into the mix. Make a lot of awful puns.
  • Mall Santas can be fun, until one particular absent-minded fella shows up as the Easter Bunny in December.
  • A waiter’s favorite celebrity has entered the restaurant, so he keeps serving her the wrong food to keep her there. The plan is not effective.

Fantasy

  • When a girl who lives in rural Florida brings back a lizard to the house to keep as a pet, her family is surprised by how quickly it grows and forces her to send it back into the wilderness. However, she has formed a bond with what turns out to be one of the world’s last dragons.
  • Devin’s aptitude for swimming sIguana, Wildlife, Lizard, Reptile, Portrait, Greeneems like a normal talent, until she starts growing gills. Soon, it becomes clear she’ll have to leave the human world and accept her fate: she’s turning into a mermaid.
  • A werewolf’s first transition is hard enough, not to mention the fact that a whole audience is watching. How does Gavin Wolfe escape this nightmare?
  • An evil wizard transforms 4 cousins into board game pieces. To survive, they must complete in a Life-size challenge, but what will happen to the loser?

Sci-Fi

  • A newly famous neurosurgeon is curing his patients of cancer, but his new tumor-shrinking technology leads to abnormal hallucinations that cause readers to do the bidding of one they call Spacelord. It turns out, this surgeon is Spacelord, and he forces patients to do his bidding. Tell the story from one patient’s perspective.
  • It’s a World WaWallpaper, Background, Space, Planet, Planets, Universer unlike Earth has seen before when the advanced inhabitants of Venus are able to manipulate the trajectory of the sun and send it plummeting to Earth, who, unbeknownst to Venus, has aligned with the even more advanced and sparsely populated Mars. Do they evacuate, fight, or both?
  • When outdoor animals are coming back to their owners every morning with strange needle marks, it’s up to Jennifer to see what this underground animal testing organization is all about.
  • An alien community takes over Disney World by secretly inhabiting the costumes of the performers. No one knows about the kidnappings due to media coverup, until a young and brand-new reporter Madeleine Klein decides to do some digging. Tell the story from her perspective.

Crime/Mystery

  • Concertina Wire, Fence, Concertina, Barbed, SecurityTanner, wrongly accused of murder, is sure he is going to be executed, until a new guard turns out to be his estranged brother, Evan. Can they work together to save Tanner from death row and rebuild the trust that had been broken so many years before?
  • Stealing from the government is easier when you’re in charge of it, but it will take more than money for beloved Governor Baker to bribe a betrayed jury to acquit him.
  • An undercover cop has been posing as a prostitute for years to help stop the practice in her town, but the stakes are high when a famous politician shows up in the bar where she is working that night.

Dystopian

  • A group of the few remaining humans who are not fighting in World War III have taken cover in the New York subway system, which is sealed off from the city. When they almost run out of supplies and are forced to escape, what meets them at the surface?
  • Zoe is selected as Dna, Helix, Curve, Science, Medicine, Biology, Medicalone of The Eight to fight for her country’s land against its enemy, but it turns out, she’s in love with someone from the enemy’s land.
  • Eli is a member of the first group of kids to be injected with the prototype of a special vaccine that take the place of school by granting them a plethora of general knowledge. Every set of knowledge is different, and Eli’s is a lot to bear, but it could be enough to help him stop this dangerous program.
  • Evolution is backtracking, causing humans to revert to animalistic, instinctual behavior. Paint a picture of this world.

Microprompts

It’s time for the lightning round. Use these mini flash fiction prompts to write stories that are 300 words or less. I refuse to categorize these because I hope they will give you just enough inspiration to take them wherever you want them to go. 

  • Jim wakes up in a hotel at gunpoint surrounded by his coworkers. He knows exactly what information they need from him, but he also knows a way to (hopefully) make them turn on the boss and get out. Can this master of deceit sway the crowd?
  • Ari’s love for game shows means she is so excited when she is cast for Lock Box. It turns out it’s a scam leads her alone into a room with a serial killer.
  • The unlikely team of a snake and a hamster team up to escape the pet store and set all of the animals free on the only day there is no staff: Christmas.
  • Write about the dramatic moment a butterfly emerges from its cocoon.

Titles OnlyFerris Wheel, Fair, Folk Festival, Year Market, Rides

  • Zombie Ski Chase
  • My First Flight, My Last Flight
  • Relapse
  • The Radioactive Hurricane 
  • Human Zoo
  • Never-ending Carousel
  • One Night in Vegas, 10 Years Sober
  • Rumspringa
  • Return of the Lost Tribe
  • Invisible Girl in The City That Never Sleeps

I hope you enjoyed these flash fiction prompts! Comment with what inspired you the most.

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Victoria Fombelle

Victoria Fombelle studies creative writing and oboe performance at the University of Rochester/Eastman School of Music, where she has cowritten two staged comedy vignette productions as well as a wide array of poetry and humor pieces. She performs regularly with the Eastman Wind Ensemble and the Eastman Philharmonia Orchestra. She loves the creative crossover between her artistic disciplines that have opened up new worlds of rhythm, harmony, and delivery in both fields, and she equally enjoys making people smile and making them think. When not writing or playing the oboe, Victoria can be found sipping a chai latte, doing standup comedy, or consciously regretting her days of loyalty to the hit show Pretty Little Liars.

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