I love satire. Satire is truly able to “say” so many of the things that are too painful/blunt/raw to say straight. And I love The Onion. For more than 20 years, The Onion has been saying it with more truth, somehow, than anyone. And I love to laugh. Headlines I laughed at in The Onion today include:
“Defiant 123-Year-Old Not Going to Let Coronavirus Stop Him From Hanging Out With Friends”
“Parents Don’t Remember Enough Colors to Help With Kindergartner’s Homework.”
“Trump Quietly Checks With Aides to Make Sure He’d Be Included In Receiving $1,000 Checks.”
“Frustrated Dog Has No Time To Jerk Off Now That Owner Home All Day”
Now it’s your turn.
Write a satirical news article, the kind that could be published in The Onion.
Today, I invite you to embrace some playfulness and boldness in your flash. Your prompt:
Write the same ONE paragraph story THREE TIMES. Keep repeating the same elements, but change something in each version that takes the story in a new direction. See how this changes the overall arc from the first to the last story. See how you can create a sense of movement and rising tension simply by moving things around. Do not be afraid to get a bit strange or surreal in this. Keep subverting the reader’s expectations.
I received this very evocative “then and now” picture from the president of CU Boulder yesterday: This is the Old Main Building in 1918 and now:
Which got me thinking about history, and how our story will be told 100 years from now. Let’s not forget that history is always written by the victors. So today, let’s do a little more time traveling, but this time:
Okay, here’s one for the Saturday crowd.I posted this in last year’s Fast Flash Reunion Extravaganza: One thing that is fun to do is to weave facts from other disciplines into your flash fiction (science, art, history, welding, spelunking). I’ve seen this in the marvelous work of Ingrid Jendrzejewski and Tania Hershman to name just a couple.
One of my favorite short stories that does this is “Body Language” by Diane Schoemperlen. I’ve been unable to find it online, but it’s in her collection by the same name and in BASS 1998. It weaves facts about the human body around a story of a couple’s troubled marriage and it’s stunning. (also includes Grey’s Anatomy type illustrations).
It does interesting things to weave a factual voice into an otherwise emotional story for counterbalance. Your facts may serve as metaphors. Or you may use a “borrowed form” from another discipline to tell your story.
Anyway! Your prompt is to do just this in the space of a flash length piece. Consider using the segmented or mosaic form for this. I’ve lifted some science facts below from the internet (so reword them a bit if you use them), but you can also find your own, from science or anything else. Consider including completely made up facts, too!
Bats always turn left when leaving a cave.
The heart of a shrimp is located in its head.
It is possible to hypnotize a frog by placing it on its back and gently stroking its stomach.
The Gulf of California is a spreading zone – many millions of years from now, it will be an ocean.
People who wade into the Dead Sea automatically float. Dissolved salts make the water so dense, humans are less dense in contrast and so float.
A human brain can generate electricity and energy when we are awake and therefore can light up a bulb. It operates on the same amount of power of 10 watt light bulb.
A pregnant woman dreams most about three things, frogs, worms and potted plants. Other than this, due to hormones, women also dream about water or even have sexual and violent dreams.
The brain is capable of surviving for 5 to 6 minutes only if it doesn’t get oxygen after which it dies.
The average heart is the size of a fist in an adult.
Christmas day is the most common day of the year for heart attacks to happen.
“If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour, you’re gonna see some serious s***” ~Doc Brown, Back to the Future
I’ve talked with many people lately who are thinking about the future: what might our new world look like? It’s fertile material for all your sci-fi leaners, but it’s also just an interesting question. Will society go virtual like Ready Player One? Will we someday take virtual vacations (or virtual writing retreats!) like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall? Or will the Terminator show up with a message for us from the future?
So…let’s have some fun with our imaginations. Who knows–the future could be amazing.
Write a story in which your character receives a message from the future.
Of course what this message is, and how they receive it, is up to you.