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The Emotional Moment in Nature Challenge

The Flashku Edition

By Cendrine MarrouatPublished 7 months ago Updated 7 months ago 4 min read
Photo credit: Cendrine Marrouat - creativeramblings.com

Hello everyone!

After the very successful Grains of Sand Challenge, I am back with a new contest for you.

This time, we are going to focus on something similar—yet different. For this challenge, I invite you to write a true or fictional story that describes a deep, emotional moment connected with nature.

You are free to choose any natural element you want. Whether it is a tree, pretty flowers in your backyard, bees you meet on a walk, or a combination of elements, anything goes.

However, to qualify, your work must be written in the form of a flashku. This means two things:

  1. Your narrative will have to be short. You can only use a maximum of 100 words! Minimalism is of the essence.
  2. It will also have to end on an uplifting twist. What would you like your readers to learn or be inspired to do if they are faced with the same situation?

("What the heck is a flashku, Cendrine?"

I'm glad you asked. An explanation and example are provided below.)

A few ground rules:

  • When your story is available on Vocal, leave a comment and a link below, so I can read your work. I will promote my favorite submissions in a future post.
  • Please, make sure that you engage with all the Vocal creators who share their links. I want this to be a rewarding experience for everyone.
  • Do not forget to mention this prompt in your Vocal story, so others can find it and participate.
  • This deadline to enter this challenge is August 27, 2023.

NB: You can submit after that deadline, of course, but your entry will not be considered for a potential win or featured in my subsequent announcement post.

What Is the Flashku?

The Flashku is a form of "poetic fiction" that I created in 2021. This short piece of flash fiction (50–100 words) is inspired by and features an image. It contains minimal descriptions and uses seven words borrowed from another written piece (fiction, novel, poem, newspaper article...). The climax should be reached at about 80% through the story (not a strict rule, though), while the ending must contain a positive / inspirational twist or resolution.


  • Credits behind your inspiration, including the photo you use, are mandatory.
  • The Flashku is not a poem. I use the term "poetic fiction" because of the emotional impact the final result should have on the reader.

Here is an example of flashku below:

Photo credit: Cendrine Marrouat

The Leaves

She watched the young boy pick up a few brown leaves and put them in his favorite book.

“His laughter is always so contagious,” she thought before following him to the bridge.

“Mommy,” he shouted. “The geese are leaving!”

She had felt lonelier before.

“Can we stay longer, mommy?”

The echo of his voice felt like a vast sea enfolding her.

We can stay as long as you like, honey. As long as you like.

Despite the pain and longing in her heart, she knew.

She knew that death could not hide him. She had the leaves to prove it.

©2023 Cendrine Marrouat

Flashku inspired by Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet (Last chapter: “The Farewell”)

NB: The bolded words are those I borrowed from the source text. I would advise you to do the same.

Still unsure about how to write a flashku? Check out the tutorial below.

That's it for today. I can't wait to read your entries!

In the meantime, check out the rules of the Grains of Sand Challenge below. You can participate for as long as you want!


Cendrine Marrouat is a writer, photographer, podcaster, blogger, anthology editor, and the co-founder of Auroras & Blossoms and A Warm Cup of Cozy. She has authored and co-authored more than 40 books, including The Train: A Short Story (2023), In Her Own Words: A Collection of Short Stories & Flashku (2022), After the Fires of Day: Haiku Inspired by Kahlil Gibran & Alphonse de Lamartine (2021), Rhythm Flourishing: A Collection of Kindku and Sixku (2020), Walks: A Collection of Haiku (2019-2020), and In the Silence of Words: A Three-Act Play (2018).

Cendrine's work has appeared in many publications. She is the creator of the Sixku, Flashku, Sepigram, and Reminigram; as well as the co-creator of the Kindku, Pareiku, Vardhaku, and Hemingku.

ResourcesWriting ExercisePromptsProcessInspirationChallenge

About the Creator

Cendrine Marrouat

Writer & Author⎜Photographer⎜Artist⎜Co-founder of Auroras & Blossoms / A Warm Mug of Cozy⎜(Co-)creator of literary forms

"The Train: A Short Story" is out!

Website: https://creativeramblings.com

Donations: https://ko-fi.com/cendrineartist

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Comments (17)

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  • Kayleigh Fraser ✨6 months ago

    So I just now saw this!!!! I am hoping you are allowing a time zone difference allowance on the deadline. I was initially thinking I may be too late but seeing I’m just behind Dana and Mackenzie gave me hope! https://vocal.media/poets/parting-waters

  • Mackenzie Davis6 months ago

    Eek, I hope I'm not too late! https://vocal.media/fiction/snow-falls-in-the-foothills Dana's entry inspired me. Thank you, Dana! 💖

  • Dana Crandell6 months ago
  • Babs Iverson6 months ago

    I will be meditating. Trying to come up with an idea.

  • Chloe Gilholy7 months ago

    Mine is up! I used Micheal Jackson’s Earth Song as a prompt: https://vocal.media/poets/these-weeping-shores

  • Naomi Gold7 months ago

    That’s too complicated for me, but I’m excited to see what everyone comes up with.

  • Mother Combs7 months ago

    Hope I understood the assignment :) https://vocal.media/fiction/the-walk-pe1mb0yj9

  • Dana Crandell7 months ago

    I may have to take a shot at it.

  • Paul Stewart7 months ago

    So presumably, we could use one of our own pieces to take the borrowed words from? I'm definitely going to have a go at this one!

  • Mother Combs7 months ago


  • Kendall Defoe 7 months ago

    Okay, this is something I want to try...

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