Take Your NaNo Skills for a Test Run

More than 170,000 writers are lining up in the starting gates at NaNoWriMo, blowing the dust from their computer keyboard, shaking their pens to get the ink flowing.

In the less than 48 hours left until the starting bell, wouldn’t you like to check out the race-track?

Here’s the challenge:  Write a short story for tomorrow’s holiday.  Anything Halloween-flavored will do.  And do it in 250 words or less.

Come on, if you can do a short story in a day, you’ve just given yourself a huge boost in confidence for your daily goals for your NaNo project.

So, here are the rules:

  • no more than 250 words
  • one to two characters
  • one situation/conflict
  • one resolution

And because I won’t ask you to do something I’m not willing to do myself, here’s my short story, complete at 228 words.


Monster Recognition

He’d been warned about nights like this.  The clouds were so lazy they lounged on the grass.  Shadows moved in and out of his limited field of vision, nearby, but never taking solid form.  In the distance, a blue-tinged light created a double halo in the fog, before turning away and disappearing.  He contemplated the nearest dim glow.  Would he find what he sought?  No, he knew what lay in that direction.  More of what he considered false promises.  Revoltingly healthy offerings in place of sweet sustenance.  He turned away.  And stepped straight into the arms of the most horrifying creature he’d ever encountered.  Deep red lips, as plump as small cushions, glistened as her mouth opened.  Blinding white teeth flashed in the pitiful glow of his lantern.  Wild black hair formed a tangle around a too-pale face.  She reached out with talon-like hands and grabbed him by the back of the neck.

“Mommmeeeee!  Save me!”

“Very funny, Alec.  Mom sent me to tell you that trick-or-treating is over.  You’re supposed to come home, right now.  And hurry up.  If you make me late for my date, I’ll make you extremely sorry.”  Monica yanked his hair so hard his scalp ached, and tweaked his nose until his eyes watered.

Head hanging, Alec trudged home five steps behind his older sister.  Sometimes life’s biggest monsters are your own family.


Your turn.  Horrify us.  Make someone scream.

If you’d like, share your short story in the comments section.  Have a hauntingly good writing experience!

2 thoughts on “Take Your NaNo Skills for a Test Run

    1. Thanks, Emily. I tend to write “long” or “wordy” drafts, as my critique buddies will attest. So every once in a while I take the axe to a longer piece, or set a word limit of up to 250 words. I’ve learned a good story doesn’t depend on thousands of words, just the right words. I’d love to read your flash story when you finish it. Happy writing!

Comments are closed.