Flash Fiction Challenge:Where’s Your Sense???

My friend Andrew Hiller made this observation recently: My favorite Bradbury tip is actually… in your opening ‘graph activate at least 3 of your readers’ five senses. It’s a rule of thumb I try to stick to. I want my reader to see, hear, smell, touch, or feel something right from the get go.”


What cool idea!

Why didn’t I think of that?

That would make a great

Flash Fiction Challenge.

So here it is.

Write a opening paragraph to a story or book and incorporate activate at least THREE of your readers’ five senses.

I haven’t even tried yet. So go for it. But the para still has to have a grabber opening, hook the reader, etc. That’s a tall order!

Let’s see what ya got! Put your opening paragraph in the comments below or link to it on your blog and post the link here.


Published by Dan Alatorre AUTHOR

International bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 17 titles published in over a dozen languages. From Romance in Poggibonsi to action and adventure in the sci-fi thriller The Navigators, to comedies like Night Of The Colonoscopy: A Horror Story (Sort Of) and the heartwarming and humorous anecdotes about parenting in the popular Savvy Stories series, his knack for surprising audiences and making you laugh or cry - or hang onto the edge of your seat - has been enjoyed by audiences around the world. And you are guaranteed to get a page turner every time. “That’s my style,” Dan says. “Grab you on page one and then send you on a roller coaster ride, regardless of the story or genre.” Readers agree, making his string of #1 bestsellers popular across the globe. He will make you chuckle or shed tears, sometimes on the same page. His novels always contain twists and turns, and his nonfiction will stay in your heart forever. Dan resides in the Tampa area with his wife and daughter. You can find him blogging away almost every day on www.DanAlatorre or watch his hilarious YouTube show every week Writers Off Task With Friends. Dan’s marketing book 25 eBook Marketing Tips You Wish You Knew has been a valuable tool for new authors (it’s free if you subscribe to his newsletter) and his dedication to helping other authors is evident in his helpful blog.

54 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Challenge:Where’s Your Sense???

  1. Oh God. Had this woman never seen a razor?
    I peered down, trying to locate the vaginal opening. As I got closer I was hit with the overwhelming smell of bad seafood. My face wrinkled like a prune and I gagged, a sound I successfully covered with my hand.
    “Is there something wrong, Dr Feelgood.”
    She must have smoked a carton of cigarettes, in the waiting room, to acquire that unique gravel tone to her syllable. Glancing up I was relieved to discover she couldn’t see my face, thanks to the white sheet taunt between her raised knees.
    “No Mrs Robinson. everything is fine.” I snapped my hand into the purple latex free gloves and picked up my speculum. Working OBGYN had shown me enough to make me appreciate men.


      1. Suzanne is one of my filterless friends.

        She’s also quite the storyteller and a magnificent writer. She wrote a beautiful, poignant, tender love scene between two young adults one of whom was having her first time and to this day if I’m thinking of a love scene that is the one I go to for a reference of how to embrace the sentimentality of a young woman’s first time. Absolutely magnificent.

        She also does things like this.

        1. Not just filterless. Fearless. Yeah, it’s visceral, gritty, paling to those faint of heart folks, and in-your-face (so to speak), but it’s also damn good writing. Writing doesn’t (always) have to be pretty!

  2. Haha… so I heard this advice in 2007 and tried to do it with that year’s NaNoWriMo. So, nine years ago I wrote the paragraph below. It does incorporate senses, but I don’t know that it’s all that grabbing. 🙂

    One sliver of the enormous, fire red sun finally peeked above the horizon, letting rays of orange light streak upward through the deep indigo of the night sky, lightening it to a rich violet color. The clouds caught the light on their lower sides and turned orange and pink at the horizon, then faded into the sky further up where the stars were still twinkling like an infinite number of tiny diamonds. Every time there seemed to be an empty patch, looking closer revealed only more diamonds, smaller and smaller, dull in comparison but still magnificent. The air was still and moist with the dew that formed every morning, yet still light rather than thick and heavy, as fog would make it. The only sounds at this hour were the chirping of insects and the crowing of early-rising birds on the farm.

  3. Maxine ran her fingertips over the silk tie and pulled it to her nose, the smell of her husband’s aftershave so pungent it made her mouth water. She held her hands to her ears, desperate to block out the piercing tones of panpipe music. After months of planning, her eyes drifted over the lifeless body at her feet, and for the first time in ten years, she felt free.

  4. Here is the opening of my current novel. I chose to chunk into short jerky paragraphs on purpose, so it really isn’t the first paragraph:

    Throbbing pain in my head.

    Heat. Not like The Strip at 2:00 PM, more like a pizza oven.

    The dirt burns my face, and dust particles smell like salt.

    I rolled over, and the earth crunched under me. When I opened my eyes, everything swirled bright white, yellow, and blue. I rubbed my eyes, and my forehead was soaked with sweat.

  5. I had to remind myself not to panic.. Seeing nothing but black, having no sense of time or space, I touched my hand to my face.. It felt slightly cooler than my cheek and also detached from me, like it was another’s hand.. My mind had a hard time maintaining perception of my body, so frightening.. Not one sound except my breathing and soft wafts of air as I explored with my arms for boundaries and obstacles, noting the floor must be tiled, by its hardness as I took mini steps forward..

    1. That has got to be the highest praise I’ve ever gotten 😙

      Thank you, I lit a candle, just for you.. now breathe 😄

  6. Let me try this. It’s fairly spontaneous. Here goes.
    He didn’t touch me until the lights went out and the elevator of the elegant hotel lurched to a stop. He was my girlfriend’s twin brother, not a stranger, but after a fifteen year lapse, not exactly a friend, or even an acquaintance. He was just politely making sure I got back to my room when the impact of the brakes threw me against his body. The top of my head impacted his chin. He caught me elbow. My nose brushed his neck. The scent of his skin was a mixture of vanilla and citrus, not unlike an overripe orange. Before I could recoil, my cheek touched the flicker of his heartbeat as light as a snowflake, but not cold. No, not cold. Hot.

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