FLASH FICTION and why you should do it

by Ksenia Anske

Photo by Joel Robison

Being a newbie writer, I never heard the term "flash fiction" until someone mentioned it on Twitter. I was like, what? What is that? And someone patiently explained to me that "flash fiction" is this wonderful thing where you write a quick short story somewhere between 300 and 1,000 words (at least WiKi claims so). Different people might use different terms for it, like sudden fiction or micro fiction. In any case, it's all the same thing, and I realized that I've been writing this "flash fiction" since I was 15, starting with little diary entries and poems. I never thought anyone would be interested in reading my crazy stuff so I didn't think much about it. Until an individual by the name of Samuel Clemons asked me to guest blog for him, and since he is impersonating a ferret on Twitter, my blog entry had to be about a ferret. I wrote 500 words in 40 minutes, and had so much fun doing it, that it struck me, why not do a chain story? Here is the resulting ferret madness by 6 writers. Next Elise Valente, a fellow writer and follower on Twitter, asked me to write a flash fiction piece for her. I did that too. Then Christmas was around the corner and a Bloody Santa vs Zombie Siren flash fiction frenzy took place on my blog, written by 10 writers. And we're about to be hit by the largest flash fiction endeavor yet, EASTER BUNNY APOCALYPSE, a flash fiction chain story by... are you ready?... 20 writers!!! I'm starting to publish 1st Chapter on March 12th, a chapter a day, posting last chapter on EASTER, March 31st. Here are the reasons why you should do flash fiction too.

Gather fresh ideas. The problem with all writers is picking out what to write about. It's not that we don't know, it's just that we have too many ideas! And it's very noisy an distracting in our heads to simply pick one. But then if we do manage to pick one idea, a new problem arises. Is this the right idea? Can I really do it? How about that other one, the one that was sulking in the back of my brain for the last year, that one in a pink tutu? Maybe I should do that one. No, wait, I don't know enough about pink tutus, so I can't do it. Fuck! How about that other one that I saw in a dream? But it didn't have enough conflict... And on, and on, and on. You get the idea. Now, with flash fiction these doubts evaporate like unicorn breath. Puff! And they are gone. Why? Because there is pretty much nothing to commit to. It's not even a short story, it's shorter than that and it barely takes an hour to do. Because of this we don't have enough time to get scared and instead reach into a place where our wildest ideas live. Suddenly, whatever we come up with is not only brilliant, but it also shows us our style and things we care about. More than that. Your flash fiction idea can grow into a novel idea! 

Try your hand. This is a miracle that many typically frown upon. I'll tell you what it is. When I was tweeting and asking folks to join our flash fiction madness, there were a few people whose tweets I loved and who said they wanted to participate, but then privately would send me messages, saying: "Thank you so much for inviting me. Sadly, I'm not a writer and I can't participate." And I was like: "What? What do you mean, you're not a writer?" And they'd be like: "I've never written anything in my life before. And my teachers always said..." You can insert your favorite phrase from someone who told you not to write. I'm sure there were plenty. I managed to convince a few of these non-writers that they are writers and that this is their chance to try their hand. The results were astounding, people wrote amazing stuff. Afterwards, they sent me these "Thank you, oh my God, thank you!" e-mails. See? Doing flash fiction is a chance to try your hand without having anything to lose and only to gain. It will only take 1 hour of your time, and it will make you giddy like you're 5 again - which brings me to the the next point.

Flash fiction is fun! This is as simple as it gets. Go crazy. Go wacky. You can scratch it if you don't like it. There are no long-term commitments to make, no fears to battle. Flash fiction is the ultimate story telling. Remember those stories exchanged by the campfire, those quick snippets of "You know what Jackie told me, the one whose grandpa was found dead in..." You can insert here your favorite one, be it horror or comedy or something else. Writing flash fiction is kind of like flexing your writing muscle before a long run. It doesn't hurt, it feels good, and it's easy. Plus, it's a good exercise of the craft without that trepidation of "is it right or wrong or can I do it." I dare you, right now, as you're reading this, to take your eyes away from the screen and glance into distance. The first object you see, write a flash fiction about that. Set yourself a timer for 40 minutes (this is the shortest time it takes me to write about 800 words) and go! I just looked up and the first thing I saw was a waste basket. Here is my promise to you. if you comment with a link to your blog and your flash fiction story about the first object you saw, I will read it, comment on it, and I'll write a flash fiction piece on my blog about a waste basket. 

What, you're still reading this? Go! Shoo! Go write!!! 

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by Ksenia Anske

This is it! Last Chapter of our chain story by 10 different writers. Read about how it started here.

Please welcome our 10th author, Danielle Tauscher (aka @writer_danielle). Danielle says that she is: "Writer. Coffee drinker. Master of the shin-kick. I write about dead things & kissing, but not kissing dead things." Danielle wrote a collection of short stories PEOPLE LIKE ME & Other Stories.

Photo by Steven Depolo

BLOODY SANTA vs ZOMBIE SIREN. Chapter 10 by Danielle Tauscher

“Santa? How are you alive?” Edwin asked, not believing his own eyes. Santa shouldn’t have survived the sirens. No one could. Not even the red goblin.

This ruined everything.

Well, except for the part where he saved Edwin’s life, that is.

The red goblin chuckled. “You think I couldn’t handle a few horny women? Please. I’m Santa Claus.”

Santa dropped Edwin in the snow. It might’ve hurt had he not already been in pain due to the nasty gash in his Achilles heal.

“Now for you, Edwin The Original,” Santa scoffed, “You’ve been very naughty. What should I do with you?”

Edwin didn’t like the look in Santa’s black eyes or how the flesh fell from his bones.

“I know the Sirens’ secrets, sir. I will be useful in defeating them, my Lord,” Edwin said, trying to sound calm and strong, but failing miserably.

Why would he want to defeat the sirens? Santa had always been into the kinkier side of things; a little flesh eating made him vulnerable yet powerful. With Liara and her girls he needn’t hide himself. He quite enjoyed relinquishing his authority for a few moments in Liara’s grip and mouth. Despite her frosty exterior, Santa knew her inner warmth. He didn’t need this little elf’s secrets.

“’Sir’. ‘My Lord’—pulling out the big guns, aren’t you, now? It won’t help you. Not this time,” Santa said.


Santa held up his hand to quiet the elf.  He squatted next to Edwin. His face, mere inches from Edwin’s, so that when he spoke Edwin felt his spit on his cheek. “Tell me why you did it? Why did you kill her?” Santa whispered.

“I didn’t. You saved me,” Edwin said, confused. Surely those sirens ate part of Santa’s brain, Edwin thought. 

Santa abruptly stood up and with his boot kicked the elf in the stomach. “Not that siren bitch. Why did you kill Mrs. Claus?” Santa asked. For good measure, he kicked Edwin twice more in his stomach. “No lying, Edwin. I know when you’ve been naughty,” Santa said, winking.

“I don’t—“ Edwin started. What could he say?

Edwin’s body screamed at him to run, but he couldn’t. He couldn’t stand, let alone run away from Santa. And where would he run if he could? Santa knew the truth. And this Santa—this disgusting human—was more powerful than all the Santas that came before him. Something wasn’t right.

Edwin took a chance and went with the truth. Either way, he was dead. “I needed you to destroy the other originals.”


“To gain their power,” Edwin said. It was the only way he would have been able to eventually kill Santa and take over the kingdom.

“But I could have killed you, too,” Santa said. “How did you know I wouldn’t?”

“I was your favorite,” Edwin said.

Santa was quiet for a moment. When he spoke it was a whisper, “indeed.”

Edwin choked on his words. “Am I… are you going… kill me now?”

“Not I. I can’t possibly kill my favorite original elf.” Santa wickedly smiled. “But them,” he motioned to the tribe of sirens slinking up behind him, “they can.”

Santa turned toward the women and spoke. “Ladies. Dinner is served.”

The sirens circled Edwin. His eyes darted from one to another and back at Santa.

“But I don’t understand,” Edwin said.

“Of course not, you ungrateful fool. You dare think you, a pathetic little elf, could destroy the king? What a fool, you are, Edwin. This is what happens to those who cross me,” Santa said. “I’m bored with you.”

“Please, don’t do this,” Edwin begged.

“Already done. Ladies. Eat,” Santa said. He turned from Edwin as the sirens began to pull his flesh from his bones. Santa heard Edwin’s bones snap and the slurping of his blood. He smiled. This was his favorite part.

Santa stopped next to Liara who stood away from the vile scene. Her eyes gleamed in the grayness of the night.  Santa wrapped his arm around her waist. “It’s time to come home, Mrs. Claus, you’ve had your fun.”

P.S.: This is the last and 10th Chapter of BLOODY SANTA vs ZOMBIE SIREN. Here are links to previous Chapters: Chapter 1,Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7, Chapter 8, and Chapter 9.

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by Ksenia Anske

Right. We continue our chain story. Read about how it started here.

Please welcome our 2nd author, Andrew Hovenden, (aka @ajhovenden). Between MMA and chasing 6 kids, conflict is nothing new for Andrew. Maybe that is why he enjoys writing so much. The fight between brain, pen and paper is the ultimate thrill. Which wins varies by day. No true losers though in this wild wonderful mystical world called life.

Photo by John Minkoff

BLOODY SANTA vs ZOMBIE SIREN. Chapter 2 by Andrew Hovenden

“Ready my sleigh!” Santa’s bellow echoed through the hall as he strode towards the main hangar. His steel toed boots rang on the hard floors and elves squealed in terror as they scattered in front of him. Calling for body armor and his personal arms he gave terse orders that gave him only small satisfaction to see carried out swiftly and with not a just little fear.

Stomping through the East Wing he walked by the banks of cloning cells that lined a large part of this part of his home. Allowing a sardonic smile to briefly cross his hard features he mused that the best thing he had done was to sterilize all the elves and begin cloning them. It had taken him years, not a few kidnappings of promising genetic scientists and millions of dollars, but what else was there to do in this god forsaken wasteland over the last few dozen years.

With elves as a commodity now it was easier to keep them in line. Use and discard that was his policy, a policy that tended to keep them inline and allowed him to play as he wanted. His thoughts lingered briefly on some of the more interesting genetic alterations that his “volunteer” scientists had promised were coming along in time for Christmas.

The massive doors on the hangar bay opened soundlessly before him and he paused for a minute and looked out across the organized chaos spread out over three stories below him.

As the chatter of the working elves rose to where he stood Santa made a mental note to have all of their voices genetically lowered, God he hated their squeaky voices.

It had been years since he burned the original sleigh. No more wood and jingle bells. No more red paint and satin seats. No more filthy reindeer farting in his face as he whipped them along the night sky. Not that he had gotten rid of the reindeer though, too much fun breeding them and pitting them against elves that had fallen from favor. Oh yes the reindeer games were a highly attended and enjoyable event nowadays. 

Elves scurried up to him and he took his body armor and weapons from them, kicking them aside if they did not move fast enough as he strode to the elevator leading  to the ground floor. The elevator descended and he walked out into the imposing shadow of his “sleigh”. Midnight black, almost a full two hundred meters long and fifty wide, it looked more like a mini star destroyer out of Star Wars than a sleigh. Weapon ports along each side and turrets on top and bottom definitely gave a new meaning to Ho, Ho, Ho, Merry Christmas. Naughty now had serious repercussions.

Grunting with satisfaction he boarded and sank into his command chair. All of his chairs’ status lights were green so he barked out the order to launch. Sirens blared and elves screamed as they ran for cover as the oversized engines punched the sleigh forward onto the ice. Santa gave no thought to the elves that failed to move fast enough to escape the back blast.

“Course Santa?” came the query from navigation.

Santa peered over at the elf, almost shocked at the question and pulling his pistol from his shoulder holster shot the impudent elf. “We need a new navigator” He sneered as the smoke cleared. The elevators behind him opened and in perfect silence two elves grabbed the body and disappeared while a third slid into the still warm bloody seat.

“Never speak unless spoken to”, Santa growled warningly. Eyes twinkling evilly Santa ordered, “Set our course for Kaffeklubben Island, engines at full, and remember dear elves, on the bridge it is Captain Santa.”

P.S.: This is 2nd Chapter of BLOODY SANTA vs ZOMBIE SIREN. Here are links to previous Chapters: Chapter 1.

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by Ksenia Anske

Right. One clearly crazy morning one clearly crazy writer suggested one clearly crazy idea to me, after I whined about the fact that both FERRET and SIREN story frenzies were over. How about, he said, we do a chain story? And, voila! After a stream of tweets, 10 authors jumped on the idea and produced a story your grandma wouldn't believe. This is Santa Claus like you've never seen before, interacting with a special breed of a zombie - a ZOMBIE SIREN (of course, I had to pick a siren, cause I'm writing a novel about one). Anyway, without further adieu, let me introduce our first star.

Please welcome our 1st author, Sheila Hudnall (aka @Sheila_DFT) who is intent on reeking havoc upon the masses. Otherwise, she bides her time writing reviews for the devilishly clever Dark Faerie Tales website. Beware fair readers of her presence on Twitter, lest she attack you with her dry humor and random bouts of lyrics.

Photo by GIANNI

BLOODY SANTA vs ZOMBIE SIREN. Chapter 1 by Sheila Hudnall.

He sat alone, a self-appointed king surveying his kingdom. Wind-swept dunes of iridescent crystalline snow reflecting the pale illumination of the heavy Moon sagging in a velvet blanket of sparkling nothingness. Raising the glass to his lips, Santa found the view lacking.  When the hell had life gotten so damn boring? His past was legendary, his prowess spoken of with reverence, his cruelty whispered in hushed tones. No one dared stand against him. Well, not anymore. And he was starting to hate every peaceful moment it brought.

God, he needed to get laid.

Bed sport was always a good distraction from the ennui that threatens to dull the sharp blade of his mind and body. Considering which elven wench, or three, to take to his bed was interrupted by a faint commotion in the hall outside his chambers. Wondering what the hell went wrong this time, Santa rose from his perch on the balcony and headed out toward the sound, intent on someone paying for the offense. 

It doesn’t pay to get on Santa’s bad side.

Corridor after corridor, lined with the spoils of victories past, flitted by as he followed the echoes of arguing and the rustling of boots. Finding his prey holed up within the concave of the East Wing’s Great Hall, his presence seemed to drain the sound from the cavernous room. Every set of eyes were upon him, all movement stopped as if suddenly sensing the danger they all were suddenly in. His upper lip curved slightly upward, causing one of the elves to noticeably flinch. Bingo. Honing in, Santa dragged the now cowering elf up by the front of his uniform and lifted him effortlessly to his eye level.


A pungent odor wafted toward Santa that made him grimace. The elf had pissed himself. Fantastic. Giving the little man a shake, Santa was quickly getting bored with waiting for a response. The elf’s air was suddenly released from the prison of his lungs and came out stuttering and spewing. 

“M-m-my Lord.”

Santa issued a growl in acknowledgement, hoping that an answer was going to come out next or he was going to slice the waste of space up and feed the pieces to his prized reindeer.

“There has b-b-been a b-breach in the defenses close to Kaffeklubben Island.”

Okay, he had had enough. Snapping the man’s neck with a quick flick of his hands, Santa then threw the useless corpse at the rest of the gawkers standing about in frozen terror. Why he didn’t kill the lot of them was beyond comprehension sometimes. Their obvious ineptitude graded on him at every turn.

The lands near Kaffeklubben Island were not THAT hard to defend, he thought. Who the hell would sign their own death warrant encroaching on his frozen lands, for that matter? The stir of heat within his blood answered him.  Go and kill. Kill it. Kill them all. Yes, it was time for a little reminder that Santa was Alpha here. Besides, he could use the exercise.

Time to go to work.

P.S.: This is 1st Chapter of BLOODY SANTA vs ZOMBIE SIREN. 2nd Chapter will be published tomorrow. And so, every day, you will be astounded to find a new Chapter published. Hold on to your breeches. Right.

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