Flash Fiction Friday!


If you browse the internet, as we writers are wont to do, flash fiction has several defining characteristics, most of which involve word count. You will find flash fiction—also known as sudden fiction, micro fiction, quick fiction, etc.—defined as any work of fiction that is under 1,000 words…sometimes. Definitions vary greatly. Some say FF is as many as 2,000 words, and some say it is as few as 50.


Whatever word count you choose to incorporate for your personal definition, the rewards of learning to write short are vast. Nothing hones your skills as a writer more than having to pare down your story or scene into a few decisive words, each one burdened with glorious purpose. (Okay, I stole that from Loki.)  

Basically, every word choice is really important.


Thus, every Friday (barring any previously scheduled event, like the upcoming 10thAnniversary of the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood Blog!) we will be posting a writing prompt and a maximum word count for you to flex those writing muscles. Stoke that creative fire. Ignite that powerful imagination. And tell anything that gets in your way, “I will no longer be your slave!” (Sorry, that was Carina. I stole that, too.)

The word count will change from week to week. This week, we’re going easy on you. You will have a maximum of 50 gloriously burdened words to complete the exercise.

Today’s writing prompt goes a little something like this…

Your opening line will begin with, “If I knew then what I know now…”

And that’s it! Start with that line, write your story in 50 words or less, and post in the comments below. No one is expecting perfection! Don’t even try to achieve it. This is just a fun exercise and a judgement-free zone. 

But here’s the thing.

We’re all busy. We all have a lot on our plates. So, I suggest giving yourself a time limit. Maybe 15 minutes. Or 30. Or even 60. Any amount of time you can devote to your craft is time well spent. Remember, this is like going to the gym, only WAY more fun. This will build brain muscle, stretch and strengthen, tighten and tone.

Still not motivated to give it a shot? How about I up the ante? If at least five people post their stories here today, I will give away a digital copy of ANY Ruby book (your choice) to each and every writer who posts his or her work! If 50 people post, 50 people will be gifted a book.*

Go ahead. Make me regret this decision. I dare ya.


For an example of a 300-word piece of flash fiction, check out this story written by yours truly.

*Books gifted preferably through Amazon. If you live outside the US and the book you choose cannot be gifted, we have a few options. The book will be delivered directly from the Ruby you’ve chosen, you may choose another book, or you will be sent a gift card monetarily equivalent to the book you choose.

60 responses to “Flash Fiction Friday!”

  1. Savannah Pelotto says:

    If I knew what I know now I would be a phlebotomist. My slogan, one stick that’s it. Instead I am a mother of three, taking care of my father and my husband. My life consist of late mornings, cat hair, laundry, coffee, pizza and tacos. Lint rollers are life.

  2. Jacie Floyd says:

    If I knew then what I know now…I would have planted that tree, climbed that mountain, finished that book. Time passes us all, whether we accomplish great things or small. Mostly, I did the small and I took pride in that. Fixing the lunches, reading the stories, finding the lost sock. But where is my mountain? What will I be remembered for?

    • Jacie Floyd says:

      Hi Darynda! I hope it’s all right that I decided to play too, but brevity is one of my biggest challenges. And see? I was trying to write short and I still went over the limit.
      It’s a fictional piece, reflective about what we’ll see when we look back at our lives. I can’t see it ever working in to my writing, but I liked losing myself in the old woman’s story for a few minutes. Thanks for the prompt! That was fun.

    • Awww, Jacie, I love this! So heartwarming. Thank you for posting.

    • June says:

      Jacie, this is a wonderful thought provoking piece. I have problems with brevity, too, but you’ve actually nailed it here.

  3. Rhianna Ulrich says:

    If I knew then what I know now I wouldn’t do anything different. My entire life has been utter hell, but those flaming piles of shit have led me here. There’s no other place I’d rather be than here, with you, ready to start Part II in the My Life Chronicles.

  4. June says:

    If I knew then what I know now, I never would’ve fired that gun. I could’ve asked him to stay, but I couldn’t risk his refusal.

    One day, maybe he’ll understand. He’ll never trust me again or likely forgive me, but for now, he’s safe.

    And, I’ll always love him.

  5. If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve washed the blood off my face before answering the door. Who knew Mrs. Redenbacher had such a delicate constitution? Thank goodness the ambulance hurried. The woman thought I’d murdered my husband. Curse my need to begin practicing for Halloween in July.

  6. If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have put laxative in my abusive, ex-husband’s coffee. The crappy situation dealing with him worsened when his stench destroyed the bathroom, making future prospects afterwards with the cute, washing machine repairman who was flirting with me, an impossibility. Lesson learned.

  7. Gwyn says:

    If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t postpone my ambitions. I had a plan; raise my crew, then pursue writing. The cosmos found my plan hilarious, apparently, unfolding a future antithetical to my Utopian image. I’m not dead yet, and as Scarlett says, “Tomorrow is another day.”

    Whew! Made it. Much harder than I thought it would be. Had to find a couple of condensing synonyms, but I actually feel quite proud of myself. Game ON! LOL

  8. Debi Murray says:

    If I knew then what I know now, I would have killed this guy when I first met him. Here I stand with an Italian mobster at my back, knife to my throat, and his garlicky breath wafting over my shoulder. Ah, but I had an ace in the hole. Big Louey did not know that garlic does not really bother vampires any more than it did humans. Ciao, Big Louey…

  9. WOOT WOOT!!! We hit five stories and then some! Way to go everyone. What a talented bunch! As promised, everyone who submitted a story (or who still submits a story through, let’s say, noon EST Sunday?) will be gifted any Ruby book she wants!

    I will email you guys individually, but you can also just email your choice to my sister/assistant, Netters, here:

    Thank you guys for playing!

  10. Debb Stanton says:

    “If I knew then what I know now…” I’d have gotten my degree as a writer, because that is where my passion lies. I’d pay more attention to what I loved and thought instead of allowing myself to be railroaded.

  11. amber says:

    If I knew then what I know now I wouldn’t be stuck in this tree. I would tell past self the cat doesn’t need rescuing. That she doesn’t know how to climb up trees much less down. Do firemen rescue people stuck in trees? Hmm this could actually be good.

  12. These are all so damned good!! What a great job! Here is my attempt.

    If I knew now what I knew then I’d never have threatened to castrate my cousin’s asshole of a husband. It’s all fun and games until the guy ends up dead on your porch with his frank and beans missing.

  13. Lindsey Gay says:

    If I knew then what I know now, I would have stopped him. I would have held him close to me, his not yet stubbled cheek pressed against mine as I inhaled the unique combination of innocence and daring that is adolescence. I would have made him understand his worth.

  14. Alice says:

    If I knew then what I know, I wouldn’t have said “I don’t need you around”. Stuck in the bathroom with a huge spider, the chorus of my favorite Backstreet Boys’ song started to make sense. Now Lenny was gone and my chances to prevent the eight-legged creature to eat me alive with him.

  15. Casey says:

    If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have ever looked into those blue eyes. Lost in the sea ocean blue color that now I can not escape. I have been shown his truth but can I stay… I did ask for an adventure!

  16. April says:

    If I knew then what I know now, I never would have opened the door that night. One look was all it took to change my life forever. He was beautiful but deadly. His name? Lucifer, God of the underworld. He only wanted one thing on this planet. Me.


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