Flash Fiction Challenge: See The Scene, Write The Story!

00 wreathHow about a little holiday spirit for this writing challenge? Use the random number generator below and it will tell you which odd little holiday scene to visualize in your head. Then YOU have to write a caption for the scene. It can be drama or comedy, long or short, uh… fast or slow (I couldn’t think of a third thing to complete that line of thought.)


Limit 1,000 words. Write one line or two, or ten – or more, up to a thousand! Totally your call.


What you CANNOT do is take a second random number for a better story line. That’s the challenge part of the challenge, see? One try and you go with what it deals you.


Oh, and you have to use one of the following words in your caption – Santa, Rudolph, etc. on the second list, to complete your caption. The word you get will be determined by another spin on the dreaded random number generator, 1-10. (Yes, I said one spin. I meant one for the story. The second one is for the key word.)


Here is your list of Holiday Scenes

  1. Santa wearing only one strategically placed stocking
  2. A kid sticking his/her head out of a snow bank
  3. A grandparent baking cookies and a bottle of scotch near by
  4. One reindeer laying down with five other reindeer glaring at him/her
  5. Two shoppers lined up at a cash register while a man holds up and examines a necktie
  6. A cooked turkey sitting on a table with a car nearby and nobody around
  7. A dog running after Santa’s sleigh
  8. A child walking in on mom and dad the night before Christmas
  9. A Christmas tree in a small apartment with one open present and no one around
  10. A kid with about 30 open presents and a pile of wrapping paper with a frustrated look on his/her face


Oh, yeah, and your key words:

  1. Santa
  2. Rudolph
  3. Baked
  4. Angel
  5. Snow
  6. Candy cane
  7. Star
  8. Present
  9. Cheer
  10. Merry

And the random number generator!


It looks like this.

Now, your naughty little mind might see a lot of bawdy possibilities here. That’s fine; it’s your writing challenge, your chance to be creative. But I warn you, there is a non-bawdy option for each one, too. And other options. Drama. Mystery. Get it? Be creative. It’ll be your call to see how brave you wanna be. Because great writing isn’t safe. And interesting writing challenges aren’t, either. Throw a curve ball. Be amusing. Mix it up.


Surprise us.


Extra points if you have been drinking when you do this, especially if it’s your lunch hour and you’re at work.


Here are the rules:

What, you need more instructions??? Okay.

  1. Use the random number generator to pick you topic
  2. Use a second random pick for the key word
  3. Write a caption, quip, paragraph, or whole story (1000 word limit) using the scene and the key word (tell us what they were, too, like Scene 1 and Keyword 4, for example)
  4. Post your story below in the comments with a link to your blog where
  5. You also post it on you blog
  6. And mention what the heck this is so people don’t think you’ve been hitting the eggnog
  7. TRY to stay sober long enough to read and comment on OTHER people’s entries.
  8. You have a week. Try not to take that long!


Your prize might be my holiday classic short story Santa Maybe, written by me a loooooong time ago when I still used dialog tags. Whoever gets the most likes (over ten) on their post wins. No cheating. I’ll know, but Santa will know – it’s too close to Christmas to take that kind of risk.


Got it? Off you go!


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Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure.” Click HERE to check out his other works.

Published by Dan Alatorre AUTHOR

USA Today bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 50+ titles published in more than 120 countries and over a dozen languages.

89 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Challenge: See The Scene, Write The Story!

  1. I got scene 6, keyword 10. I’m not doing it now though because I’m falling asleep… Lonnnnng week at work. Hopefully I’ll do it to warm up in the morning before I get back to LA2!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I like to leave vision up to the reader, I think a while and start a line then something inside takes over. This time of year as Christmas approaches emotions heighten, memories, desires, kindness, a moment given, shared can last a lifetime, in this case a year, on year, a guardian angel, a stranger, maybe not, of another life or this, becomes as one with you, the magic of the season, the everlasting magic of words.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Woken up feeling dumb (nothing new in that!) didn’t do the caption thing, broke the rules (nothing new in that either!) … what to do with a candy cane … caption now done … added to blog

        ‘Candy Cane Not Him’

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Dan – Gave this a go today (no time for a re-draft or anything so please excuse any errors! Link is here:

    I got the scene: ‘A child walking in on mom and dad the night before Christmas’, using the keyword ‘Santa’.

    Indecent Intruder:

    A savage wind whipped sleet against the window of Barry’s bedroom, howling and groaning through the gaps in his walls. He couldn’t sleep with such noise going on, besides, in only a few hours time Christmas Day would be here and he didn’t want to miss the chance to see Santa delivering all the wonderful gifts requested on his Christmas list. Sitting upright in his bed, Barry pondered on how the big man would get into the living room, with there being no chimney for Santa utilise. He certainly wouldn’t be able to slide in through the air conditioning unit or the radiators, would he? Was Santa capable of osmosis perhaps? Maybe he just had a master key and would let himself in through the back gate the same way Barry did.
    These questions bounced around Barry’s mind as he stared out of the window, wishing the sleet would turn into snow. He would have loved to make a snowman, a friend. The wind was becoming ever more violent and the groans Barry could hear were being accompanied by loud, repetitive bangs. It almost sounded like he could hear shouts and screams, but he just put this down to his over active imagination.
    There was nothing else for it, Barry had waited long enough. It was time to go wake up mom and dad.
    Swinging his legs out of bed and attempting to squeeze his feet into reindeer slippers that were now far too small for him, Barry began to patter slowly towards his parents’ bedroom door. With each tip-toed step, the strange noises created by the wind outside began to get louder and louder – Groan! Shout! Bang! All of the noises simply stiffened Barry’s resolve and convinced him that waking up mom and dad was definitely the right thing to do.
    He reached out his pyjama covered arm and silently turned the handle, with only the slightest creak being made as the door sneaked open. Suddenly the groans, shouts and bangs became deafening, as Barry looked up and saw his mother lay on her back on the bed, with a man dressed in red and white bouncing up and down on top of her.
    “Mom…? Santa…? What are you doing to mom, Santa?” He cried out, dropping his comfort blanket to the floor.
    The two on the bed stopped what they were doing immediately, the man turning his red, angry face towards Barry. It was Barry’s elderly father dressed in a Santa costume. Distraught, tears began to well up in Barry’s eyes.
    “Damn it Barry!” Raged his mother. “I’m going to take that spare key off you once and for all! You’ve got to stop getting so drunk and letting yourself in our house. You’re thirty two years old! Get home to your wife and we’ll see you for dinner tomorrow.”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Wow, a double surprise!

      In my mind, “walking in on mom and dad” didn’t mean while they were having sex! I thought they were wrapping the kid’s presents! But the extra twist you added was an even bigger surprise!

      Very funny. Well done!


  4. My first visit to your blog and I see its another to make my brain hurt !!! And I have to get creative, no slacking in here.. geez.. but pretty awesome 😉
    Hmmm you keep saying there’s a non bawdy version of each story possibility.. I agree and I received easy results from the generator to achieve that.. A cooked turkey with no one around and cheer..

    The random generator spit out,
    6 9
    Hahahaha, figures..My mind was chuckling in the gutter before I got back to see what story and keyword was about.. This may take awhile if I succeed.. Great post, you are gold enough to follow and enjoy !!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice job. Over there on your site I asked this question but I’ll ask it here, too.

      I notice you do a lot of your shorter pieces in 1st person but your books have all been limited 3rd, I think. Is this intentional? I know the limited 3rd for books is but it almost seems like you are practicing writing in 1st person to build up to a bigger piece done that way. If so, it’s a smart strategy.

      If writers have been debating creating a fiction piece in 1st, writing in 1st person for short stories and flash fiction would be a smart way to work out the kinks, build the muscles, and establish a groove.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Short pieces are great for practicing new skills. I picked up on using first for short stories after reading another author in the critique group. All of his stories are in first person, present tense. I decided a story I’d already written would work better that way, so I switched it from third past to first present. It added a lot of punch to the story!

        I’m not sure I’ll ever write a whole novel that way, but if it works better than third, I’ll do it.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I like 1st person when I’m telling a personal type story. I feel it gives me license to wander around a bit in the telling part of storytelling. It’s allowed me to develop some bad habits that don’t translate well to 3rd person storytelling.


  6. Well this tale is tardy, but I came to the party late and had a cooked turkey and a car with no one around.. I got it almost right, someone had to see the turkey and car ! That’s my story and I’m stickin to it !!!!
    Lots of entertaining stories here !!! I’m really new at blogging and not confident or knowledgeable about making links, so I’m posting here.. if anyone wants to post simple layman instructions any dummy can understand to make a link on my blog, I’ll glady do it..lol ..next comment will be,
    The Traveling Turkey..

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It was 40 minutes to Turkey time at the Miller’s next door and we had two hours to leave for the airport for our escape from winter in Minnesota to a warm and sunny adventure in Belize.
    My neighbor and best friend Irene asked if I’d still have time for my annual “bird watching” while she, Ned and the kids visited the nursing home with gifts for all the residents, as they did had every year since Ned’s mother needed the extra care and became a resident. They were appalled at the lack of visitors especially over holidays and had pretty much adopted everyone there. The staff and residents welcomed the jokes, the laughter and quality time. Michael, Joey and Mary, 16, 14 and 12, had thier favorites they’d visit after visiting Nana.
    I told Irene of course I’d have time, Jack and I wouldn’t have to leave til 2 hours after turkey time. I made it my job 3 years ago to just keep an eye on things while they were gone and the turkey was roasting.
    This Christmas was an especially white one. About a foot in 10 hrs. in a very narrow swath and we were in that path. And it wasn’t letting up. At the airport it was overcast. When we got up and looked at the white wonderland outside our windows, Jack laughingly  said it was definitely an omen for us to get out.
    The Miller’s had an Expedition 4×4 and a Yugo. Ned used the Yugo for gas economy for work.
    We waved goodbye as the Miller’s left for their Christmas run and we went inside to do our last check of the house and our getaway checklist check.
    About 40 minutes to turkey time my cell phone rang. Jack being closest picked it up and and said surprised, its Irene.
    I answered and heard Irene’s voice through the crackling connection. I said, slow down, I can’t hear you.
    Stuck… route 4.. nurs.. home… was.. power.. turn.. turkey.. love.. and Jack.. good time..
    Frustrated I yelled, I’ll call you right back ! and hung up and dialed Irene back. Thankfully we had a clear connection. She told me the nursing home lost power from the storm, so they were coming back to grab the turkey and trimmings because everything there was half cooked and the director didn’t want to risk the backup generator on cooking. They could only use the microwave for canned foods.
    On the way back, a deer had run into the front corner panel driver’s side of the Expedition and it slid into the ditch. They were stuck at for least 3 hours for a towtruck. I explained it all to Jack as Irene was telling me. When I hung up he said, let’s pack up the food in the Bronco and you follow me in the Yugo. My hero was determined to save Christmas. My heart leapt because his gruff silent style had never fooled me and his quiet kindness is why I fell in love with him.
    We hurriedly packed up everything else while the turkey finished roasting. I called Irene and told her the plan and hung before she could object. I said I heard “no !” as I pressed end or did I ? Jack smiled and said nope, I didn’t hear it either.
    I saw the turkey on the counter and the Yugo out the window, hoping for good traction.
    The turkey and trimmings took up alot more room than I expected after Jack was done packing everything in boxes with newspaper. Before I could say it he said, just grab your makeup, my shaver and the tickets, we’ll go shopping when we land. We won’t have time to check bags anyway. I couldn’t help but giggle, my husband wanted to shop on vacation !
    I followed Jack in the Yugo, the roads were awful. The Miller’s were only 5 miles away and it took us 30 minutes. Michael went with Jack and Ned, holding the turkey sitting cross legged in the back of the Bronco. Irene rode with me, Joey and Mary sat in the back, and they looked cramped in the tiny car. It took another 40 minutes to the nursing home. The kids worked like a team, helping us get the turkey and trimmings to the kitchen. We all hugged as Ned herded us to the door saying you gotta go ! That plane won’t wait if you’re late !
    We almost didn’t make it. Here in sunny warm Belize I just got a text. It’s a picture of a group of very happy people at a long table with a feast before them.


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