#SOL19 Day 23 Spark! Flash Fiction

For the month of March I will be participating in the Slice of Life Screen Shot 2019-03-02 at 5.28.56 PMChallenge sponsored by The Two Writing Teachers Blog. Each day I will be sharing a Quick Write as my way of slicing. The idea is to offer a SPARK that will kindle thinking and then write as quickly as you can for 5-10 minutes. No filters, no revisions. I’ve been curating a collection of Sparks and will share some with you all month. It’s a great way to ignite your writing life.

SPOILER ALERT: This spark is filtered through some significant political news that broke yesterday so if you are super-saturated with politics, feel free to click away.

Flash Fiction Sparks

Flash fiction refers to extremely brief stories that offer some context of character and plot development but leave a lot to be inferred by the imagination. There are a variety of Flash Fiction approaches. I’ll take a story out of this weekends headlines and try out some quick writes that challenge me to compose with an economy of words. In 3-5 minutes students may only come up with one idea they like, but some may try several versions with an improvisational style.

Six Word Stories– Legend has it Ernest Hemingway was challenged to write a compelling story using only six words and came up with: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” It’s fun to play with the limitations on word count yet the freedom of word choice. It’s almost like solving a jumble as stories coalesce when you let your mind go free.

My quick writes:


Two Sentence Stories– These often spring up around Halloween as people are challenged to create a spooky story in two sentences.  Invite students to draft several if they can within five minutes or just play around with one idea in a variety of ways. Staying with this timely theme I’ll move from six words to two sentences.

My quick writes:


Five Sentence Challenge– I originally saw this at https://fivesc.net/ where a picture was posted every two weeks and students from all over the world were invited to write five-sentence stories inspired by it. You can set any number of sentences as the parameter, the idea is to challenge ourselves to be creative problem solvers to compose a coherent story. Don’t expect kids to be successful if they only get one crack at this. Playful practice makes perfectly clever approximations and progress.

Screen Shot 2019-03-22 at 9.25.46 PM

My quick write:



Each of these took less than 5 minutes. With practice, our brains can compose like improv; given a spark we take what we know and free-lance ideas with a “yes, and” attitude.



11 thoughts on “#SOL19 Day 23 Spark! Flash Fiction

  1. Love the six-word stories and all your examples including the two- and five-sentence challenge. Lots of choice for students here and a way to help build sentence fluency while determining the importance of ideas and the words we choose to represent those ideas.

  2. I like how you compare quick writes to improv. The shorter the piece, the more each word has to pack in it. Another fun exercise to put into my bag of tricks.

  3. Our visiting author last week taught us about some ways to create memorable characters, then invited us to try out an opening scene in seven minutes. These ideas you share are along those lines, and it’s amazing to see what can come of such an exercise. Thank you for sharing these ideas (and your examples, which I loved– wink, wink).

  4. I love six-word stories – I use them all the time as a way into topic. In third grade my teacher gave us Norman Rockwell paintings to spark story ideas – reminds me of your five sentence challenge.

  5. Thanks for these, Paula! I’m currently using Spark! – brilliant – with my elementary teachers. A gamechanger with kids. Thank you for the efforts and inspiration!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s