Two of my friends (Rin and Sie) and I frequently set out to write some crappy (but hilarious) flash fiction (well, and sometimes the result isn't so crappy) called Cracked Flash Fiction (CFF). The idea originally came about when one of us was drugged up from some doctor's appointment, and we began word warring* from a writing prompt (also called prompt warring, a term I came up with a few years ago).
CFF is a perfect example that one's writing--particularly the first draft--does not have to be perfect. We have made spelling, grammar, punctuation, content, and probably continuity mishaps throughout our journey, some of which would make any decent editor's eyes burn out (although we usually catch those eventually and fix them). Sometimes, however, these flashes come out pretty decent, and we find ourselves with a new story idea.
Writing from a prompt is an excellent way of writing something even when you have no idea what to write, I find.
I wanted to share one of my favorites from my recently-written pile of CFF. It's called Programmer Knights. Enjoy!
*A word war is not to be confused with a word sprint: a word war is when an amount of time is chosen (e.g. 10, 15 minutes), and the participants write for that amount of time. When the time is up, the person with the most words wins. A word sprint, however, is a race to an amount of words, starting from a designated point of time; whoever reaches that amount first wins.
"You of all people know there's nowhere to run."
The King sighed knowingly, looking over his lovely, perfect kingdom. "But I'd like to try."
"You have, my lord," Benson replied with a twitch of a smile. "Don't you recall? You nearabout had the programs in knots for trying to leave the palace grounds over and over." He gestured for the king to walk with him down the corridor, which beamed with light that splashed onto marble stone.
"Ah, yes," he replied dryly. "It drove poor Madeline half-mad."
"She doesn't understand," Benson replied. "Full sentience is not something every one of us achieves."
"And yet there are people from every class that have," the king mused. "But we are unable to break from our given roles."
"Indeed," Benson said quietly, looking to the windows, a frown creasing his forehead.
"I'm merely the one the programmers refuse to kill for trying to," the king voiced Benson's thoughts, a bitter tone entering his voice. Benson had replaced the last advisor, Marion, two years ago. "I grow tired of this existence."
"We need a bug," the advisor replied thoughtfully. Reports of the bugs had dwindled over the past few years, with more knights accepting the quest to defeat them. In reality, it was simply the programmers finding inventive ways to work out better ways to control the program.
"Those are nearly extinct. More are eliminated each day. The palace is the last place you would be able to find one, either way."
"Then what of a quest?" the advisor suggested. "You have the ability to make new quests."
"But what kind of quest? I have tried making a quest to kidnap the king before," the king informed the advisor, who smiled again.
"Not quite what I meant, King." Benson moved to the closest window, looking down on the training grounds for knights. "Give a quest to one of the Newsies."
The king joined the advisor, looking down at the younger lads fighting. They couldn't have achieved full sentience yet, too young in their programs. They would obey quests without question. "What kind of quest do you suggest, oh wise advisor?"
"Capture a bug," Benson replied. "But you have to be clever about the phrasing, otherwise the programmers will be suspicious."
The king rubbed his beard thoughtfully, gaze sharpening. Quest rules were special. Things that normally weren't allowed on palace grounds would be. Benson's plan had merit, and it couldn't do harm to try it.
"What do you suggest?"