To Prompt or Not To Prompt

89D7CF32-2469-41AB-A53A-BE1D5F14D087I saw this comment below on another blogger’s post yesterday:

“I have no real interest in posts that are a result of prompts by others. The pleasure (to me) of this community is to read about the bloggers — their lives, challenges, wants, dreams, and myriad of things that go into their typical day.”

Do you agree with that commenter? Do those of you who are reading this have little interest in posts that are written for prompts from other bloggers? Would you prefer posts that are more about life, challenges, dreams, wants, and daily activities?

I haven’t made any definitive counts, but I’m guessing that the vast majority of my posts over the past year have been written in response to prompts. Photo prompts, word prompt, and other writing challenges. And aside from my political rants about Donald Trump and the Republicans, not very many of my posts have been about my personal “life, challenges, wants, dreams, and myriad of things that go into my typical day.”

I enjoy writing flash fiction, particularly in response to photos/images. It gives me a chance to let my creative juices flow as I interpret the images that serve as the prompts and craft short stories around them.

Likewise, word prompts, and other writing challenges also allow my imagination to run wild and to write tales leveraging the words that are offered up for inspiration.

It was nice when WordPress had its daily word prompt and its weekly photo challenge. One word prompt a day and one photo challenge a week, plus a few other bloggers’ prompts, was perfect. But since WordPress stopped its prompts at the end of May, a whole bunch of bloggers — myself included — have stepped up with their own word prompts and photo challenges. And I have been doing my best to post in response to many of them.

Which then begs the question: have I gone overboard with respect to prompts? Should I instead be writing more personal posts dealing with my real world life and daily activities?

Well, I’ve made a decision and I want to thank you all for listening and for helping me think through this conundrum. After giving this a fair amount of consideration, I have decided to continue writing flash fiction in response to prompts. And I’m going to continue ranting about Donald Trump and all the shit he’s doing and saying. In other words, I’m not going to change the way I blog.

If you have anything you’d like to say on the matter, please leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Reblog: “A good story”

Richard Tilly’s post explains why it’s so much fun to participate in word and photo prompts and to take the time to read how others responded to the same prompts. It’s all about the stories.


A good story has nothing to do with the idea behind it.

It’s all down to the person who’s telling the story.

Give three people a simple idea and they will come up with three different stories.

So it’s not about who has the best idea for a story it’s about who’s the best storyteller.

That’s all that matters.

If you enjoyed this story please don’t hesitate to follow my blog for more!

Follow me on twitter! @Rtillyflash

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Better Than Sex

B1AAF46D-364A-4B17-A0AF-EB59483D2B02I’m not sure how much longer I can keep up this pace.

No, I’m not talking about sex. I’m talking about blogging. So if you saw the title of this post and that’s the only reason you’re here, you can leave now.

I write and post at least three or four times a day. Sometimes five or six times.

I love writing, exercising my imagination and creativity. I love keeping the synapses firing in this old brain of mine.

I love it when people read, like, and respond to my posts. It’s addictive, like a narcotic, a rush, a shot of adrenaline.

I love responding to prompts, including my own.

But there are just so many writing prompts these days. Stream of consciousness prompts, one-liner prompts, word prompts, story prompts, photo prompts.

So many that it makes my stomach and intestines start to grumble and rumble as I try to figure out how to use the word borborygmus in a post.

And then there is the treasure trove of topics for political and social commentary in the land of Trumpistan. Trump provides us with a once in the lifetime (I hope) opportunity for bloggers.

But maybe it’s just too much. Maybe I should harken back to the days when I just sat around serenely reading the newspaper, reading books written by others, and watching inane TV shows.

No, I cannot. I need blogging to release those endorphins. Blogging is better than sex.

Okay, maybe not. But it’s a close second.

Written for Fandango’s One-Word Challenge, “pace.” And for the Word of the Day Challenge (serenely) and for the Ragtag Daily Prompt (borborygmus).

Good News

Some of you have told me that it’s occasionally challenging to find my daily FOWC One-Word Challenge prompts. So, based upon a few suggestions some of you have offered me, I have created a separate page where all of my One-Word Challenge prompts (and my personal responses to those prompts) can be found.

If you’re using a laptop or personal computer, you’ll see a new tab across the top of the page that says “One-Word Challenge,” as shown below. Click on that tab link to see all of the FOWC daily prompts.


If you’re using an iPhone or other smartphone, you should see a menu bar link with three short, horizontal lines on the home page in the upper left. If you click on those bars, it will open up the menu, where you’ll see the “One-Word Challenge” link, as shown below.

FOWC Link iphone

I hope this helps anyone who has been having trouble finding my daily one-word prompts.

Thanks to all of you who have been participating to date. I love reading your responses to these prompts.

Who’s Counting?

1B4C7C56-6B0F-49A1-A5E3-9FDC2F3723F8I respond to a lot of flash fiction prompts that impose word count limitations. So when I heard about a new word processing/text editing app available for free at the App Store on my iPhone, I downloaded it. The app’s name is “Eddie.”

According to Eddie, “You will always know how many words and characters you have written with Eddie’s Live Counter, which updates as you type.”

I figured I could use Eddie to help me track my word count for prompts where word count matters. I’d use Eddie on my iPhone to compose the post and then cut and paste it into the WordPress app.

I decided to try Eddie out with a 100-word prompt. Using Eddie to compose my post, I diligently edited my draft to get it to be precisely 100 words. At least that was what Eddie told me the word count was. Imagine my surprise when, after copying my Eddie-certified 100-word block of text into the WordPress text editor, it showed 123 words.

What? My reputation as a flash fiction blogger would be destroyed if I were to be caught trying to pass off a 123-word story for a 100-word challenge. I ended up practically rewriting the whole damn post to get it down to 100 words. According to WordPress, anyway.

So I decided to run a test using the following paragraph.

I wrote this paragraph as a test. I participate in a lot of flash fiction prompts that impose word limits. Some require a post to be 100 or fewer words. Others permit up to 175 or 200. Some are micro fiction prompts that allow even fewer words. And one prompt I participate in allows only up to 280 total characters, like Twitter.

The WordPress editor pegged the above paragraph as having 57 words. Microsoft Word tallied 62 words. Same with Pages, an Apple writing app I have on my iPhone — 62 words. But according Eddie, that paragraph had only 45 words!

So what is it really? 45 words? 62 words? 57 words? When I’m participating in a word-limited prompt, should I be conservative and go by the highest count from Microsoft and Apple, the WordPress editor count, or the Eddie count, which shows the lowest word count?

I suppose, since my blog is on WordPress, I should use that app’s word count. Yes?

For what it’s worth, WordPress says this post has 410 words. According to Apple’s Pages app, it has 435 words. Microsoft Word comes in at 429 words. And Eddie tells me this post has 230 words.

But who’s counting?