For the reference story, links to the weekly activity, and photo, click here, In Their Cups.

My knee-jerk reaction to the prompt was to write about two people across the table from each other having a conversation. Booooring. My other objection to that is the photo serves merely as the location of the story. I’ve done that plenty of times, but it seems a cheat. Lately, I’ve been trying to do more. Then I remembered how badly I’d deviated from the photo last week.

“Let’s be really literal this time.”

Seriously, that thought popped in my head as conversation.

Literal? There are two cups…

Criminy. Alright, I’ll personify these two cups as if for a writing class exercise.

That thought produced the characters. I named them, for obvious reasons (!), Dixie and Solo.

The names generated the style. The story would be humorous and punny. Appropriate for a story about two cups.

I needed a plot. I wrote




then filled in the blanks.

Goal: Dixie is in love with Solo and wants to tell him.

Conflict: Solo doesn’t share her feelings.

Disaster: She tells him and is…crushed by his reaction.

When my mind produced the word “crushed” after a brief search amid the molding stacks, I felt confident I could dredge up enough puns to make the story groan-worthy.

After I had the structure, I wrote a brief statement of setting and was off.

In writing the story, I applied technique to the best of my current ability. I don’t start sentences with “There was.” I don’t write “that” this and “that” that. I choose the best verb for the job and watch my tenses. I avoid gazing at my navel. I maintain a clean POV. I (try to) do all that and a hundred other things. Mostly, I try to keep it simple.

I realized I didn’t have a title. I knew it must be a pun. When I first thought of In Their Cups, I wasn’t wholly satisfied because drunkenness, the meaning of that idiom, wasn’t a factor in the story. Love was. Love, rejection, and subsequent pain. In order to use that title, I rationalized. So Dixie was in her cups in love. Solo? Maybe he was in his cups when he took advantage (?) of Dixie. We don’t know. We do know whatever they feel or do, they’re always in their cups. It’s who they are. Now I was happy again.

The above method is, by no means, how I write every flash. Sometimes, I feverishly write five hundred words in fifteen minutes and spend two hours cutting it down. Sometimes, the photo reminds me a scene in one of my novels, which I adapt. However I do it, I haven’t yet grown tired of the process. It’s always fresh and fun.

How do you write your flash?