Today, your task is to make a list. A literary list, that is.
Grocery lists, to-do lists, or goals lists written with the effect of showing a person’s life, their struggles, their failures, etc, are terrific pieces of flash.
They test the reader’s inferential powers.
Your challenge: provide a list of items from a luxurious bedroom, an overstuffed garage, or a refrigerator. Use specific concrete details. Reveal a sketch of a person’s life through these items. Imply something.
Windy Lynn Harris is a prolific writer, a trusted mentor, and a frequent speaker at literary events. Her long list of short stories and personal essays have been published in literary, trade, and women’s magazines across the U.S. and Canada in places like The Literary Review, The Sunlight Press, and Literary Mama, among many other journals. She is the founder of Market Coaching for Creative Writers, a program that teaches writers how to get their essays and short stories published in magazines, and she works as a developmental-editor-for-hire, specifically for short creative prose. Windy also teaches the craft of writing online and in person. Visit her website for publishing information and writing inspiration: www.windylynnharris.com.
You can listen to Windy talk about Flash Fiction on the StoryADay podcast here.
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WINDY LYNN HARRIS, WRITING & SELLING SHORT STORIES & PERSONAL ESSAYS
Leave a comment to let us know what you wrote about today, and how it went!
10 thoughts on “Day 12 – Windy Lynn Harris Makes A List”
My story is about a young nervous boy who found the pandemic traumatic. The way he coped was to list things he needed to remember. He posted his lists around the house on post-its. There were shopping lists, homework lists, lockdown rules, cookery recipes for each day of the week, household tasks, who to phone list, who had phoned him list. Each day he discovered a new list to make. The crisis came when he ran out of post-its. The solution came for him in a very unusual form. It’s a story of the strength of friendship.
This is a fantastic prompt! I have explored the contents of my main character’s new bedroom at her new place of employment. All the things she fled from her parent’s house with. All the things she has gathered since. Also a list of her ambitions and regrets. Her dreams and fears. All written in her journal.
I found this a great exercise to get into the daily life of Perin, an elderly scribe. The room I chose was his kitchen. I discovered he had two of everything. Despite his appearance, he held hope someone would marry him. Now, he had a five year-old living with him. Thank you for this!
Oh, that’s fascinating.
Loved this! Made a list of what’s inside my main character’s violin case (besides the instrument, of course). Also a couple of to-do lists since she is ruled by her routines and schedules. Can’t wait to play around with a few of the other characters to see what it reveals about them!
I loved this prompt! I’ve wanted to write a flash fiction piece using drugstore receipts since we buy such personal items there, so I wrote lists of receipts that reveal that a woman got pregnant and then lost the baby.
What a great idea for a revealing list!
His and Her Garage Space
His side of the two-car garage is outfitted with a long wall of industrial-grade shelves. Stacked upon the shelves, plastic bins are labeled with the contents: socks, underwear, shirts, pants, jackets, hats, sweaters, sunglasses, blankets, bed linens, a pillow, towels, toilet paper, bar soap, dry shampoo, paper towels, toothpaste, toothbrushes, a portable radio, flashlights, batteries, matches, jugs of bottled water, a can opener, cutlery, peanut butter, tuna fish, dried meat, binoculars, megaphone, a rifle, ammunition, and first aid supplies. The floor space is furnished with a folding cot, work/dining table, wooden side chair, and a vinyl Barcalounger.
Her side of the garage only contains one item: a late model car with her go bag in the trunk.
Oh ho! Love it!
Made a list of the items in my debut novel MC’s handbag!