2020 in a flash

flash images

Flash fiction is a story told in the fewest possible words.

Flash stories have a plot and often a twist or surprise. You can read some examples of the genre in The New Yorker; and here's Fiona Perry's winning story from the 2020 Bath Flash Fiction Award.

The challenge this week is to write a piece of flash fiction using one of the images above as a starting point. You could try the following to generate some ideas to work with:

  1. List making. Choose an image and write down a list of what you see. Look closely: objects, colours, shadows, time of day or night, places to hide, something broken, something growing where it should not be... (this exercise will also be helpful later for scene setting).
  2. Questions. Look at the image and write down questions: why, who, when, how. How do you get back across the bridge? Who is hiding behind that door? Why has the plant inside the bars been left without water when the two lower down the wall are flourishing?
  3. Free writing. Choose one of the images and simply write whatever comes into your mind; keep writing for 15 minutes then refine any ideas that have emerged into a draft story. You could also free write to develop an idea that has emerged from your observations or questions about an image. 



  • The story should be between 300 and 500 words long
  • It must have a title (and as flash writer David Gaffney says, make the title sweat!)
  • It should be set in 2020, or be about the year 2020 in some way


We hope that you might find some inspiration in this week's writing prompt but as always if you would like to write something else - a diary entry, poem, your reflections on something else about your life at the moment - we'd be delighted to read whatever you would like to send. To go directly to the submission page and send us your writing, click here