Jennifer Pickrell

YA Writer

First Campaigner Challenge – Flash Fiction!


My mission?  To seek out new life and new civilizations…

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count.

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: “the door swung shut.” (also included in the word count)

For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!


Here goes (no title, because I used all my brain power to write the story):

The door swung open.  No, it didn’t.  His mind was playing tricks.  He yawned and checked his watch.  It was past midnight.  Past curfew.  He knew that boy was no good when he didn’t even bother to come inside, just honked.  And his little girl rushed out of the house without even so much as a goodbye.  Wasn’t it only yesterday she was wearing pig-tails and calling him daddy?

He jumped to his feet.

Nope, still closed.

Maybe if he rested his eyes for a minute, he’d wake up refreshed…

He was asleep when she eased the front door open, heels in hand, hair swept to one side to cover the hickey. She paused to look at him on the couch, head drooping forward, snoring.  She’d change into pajamas and come back down to pull a blanket over him.

Halfway up the stairs, her cell phone buzzed and she answered, smiling, the voice on the other end saying he already missed her.  She giggled at the sweet words and he jolted awake on the couch, heard her laughter, felt relieved she was home safe.

He went to say good night, but reached her room just as the door swung shut.


And, as if it’s not already apparent I watch an insane amount of TV, this is what immediately came to mind when I heard the word “Challenge!”




Author: Jennifer Pickrell

I write YA contemporary filled w/ romance, angst & family drama. Things I like: cats, snacks, baseball, green tea, taking pictures of trees & movies so bad, they’re good.

30 thoughts on “First Campaigner Challenge – Flash Fiction!

  1. I loved your submit, Jenn – great job, in so few words. This was a fun challenge, eh? Minus the tap shoes… 🙂

    And your Cosby video was awesome! Um, I totally remember watching that one on TV when I was a kid, specifically because I had no idea he was saying, “Challenge!” at first!

  2. Congrats on doing such a great job on your Flash Fiction. Loved the video too. Thanks for putting that up.

    Enjoyed your visit at the Write Game. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Great story. I liked switching perspectives from him to her…and in only 200 words. Mine is #138 🙂

  4. Oh! My! God! I so needed a good laugh this morning and that video was perfect. I remember going to school and joking about the way the guy said challenge and to this day that is the way I say it when I’m jesting with friends.
    And your story was so good. It brought back some memories of my teen years…oh dear. I better stop before I begin a dangerous trek down memory lane.

  5. Awesome video. Awesome post! You’ve got a good flow with your words, Jennifer. Great job! 🙂

  6. Everyone is doing such a great job on their flash pieces. I liked how you were even able to switch POVs in such a small amount of space.

  7. Really great read! So much happened in so few words – love that.

    Best to you from the Campaign trail! 🙂

  8. Great story! It really fits with the prompt, and the situation is interesting.

  9. A really clever creation. I agree you did a good job with POV in such a short space. Glad I found this on the challenge page.

  10. very sweet – from both sides.

  11. The age old story of a father finding it difficult coming to terms with a growing daughter. Very well done! A very good read.

  12. This is great, Jennifer. So happy to finally see a sample of your writing. Such tenderness.

  13. As the mother of three kids I’ve had to wait up many nights. This was very relatable. Nice job. Mine is #72

  14. “The door swung open. No, it didn’t.” I love this as an opening. Great job of getting a strong voice in two short sentences!
    Thanks for the Cosby clip, too! LOVE THAT SHOW 🙂

  15. Hi, Jen! Just stopping by to let you know your entry has been shortlisted to move on to the next stage of the Challenge! Congratulations on such a great piece!

  16. Oh my gosh, I love you Jen. That Cosby Show clip cracked me up. And I love your piece. I like how you shift between the two moments and two people. Loverly.

  17. So sweet! I love that in the beginning there is worry and a little bit of anger, but by the end he’s just happy she’s home safe 🙂 Love this one.

  18. Great piece! I love the fact it’s a quiet, cozier story.

    My entry.

  19. So sweet. Loved how you gave both perspectives in so few words. Excellent!

  20. Great story! Congrats on being short listed!

  21. Makes me feel guilty for putting my parents through that when I was young! I had one or two “no good” boyfriends. 😉
    I liked the dad’s point of view and the quick paragraph where ou switched to her’s after he fell asleep. Nicely done.

  22. I love how you began this piece – it totally caught me off guard when the door didn’t open. This is the first entry I’ve read where anyone did that. And oh, I love that dad! You did such a fantastic job of pulling me into this experience with him and his daughter.

    That Bill Cosby clip is hilarious! I love that guy! My son was watching it with me and he said, “That’s great they know about Bill Cosby.” Then he told me about something one of his junior high teachers told him – he said that when Bill was in school, he made a whole class laugh so he was sent to the principals’s office. The principal said, “So you like being funny?” And Bill answered, “Yeah, that’s what I want to do my whole life.” Isn’t that great?! I love it!

    I’m a fellow campaigner – I’m not in your groups, but I wanted the fun of getting to know more writers. It’s so great to meet you!

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