Monday, March 31, 2008

Diner Prompts and Flash Fiction

This biweek at the Diner, we’ve decided to try something a little different. Using Diner-themed prompts, many of us are going to flex our creative muscles and whip up a little free flash fiction for our visitors’ enjoyment. Please keep in mind these were written quickly and some of them under duress *heh*. The flash fiction pieces may or may not adhere to traditional guidelines for flash fiction, such as having a plot arc (beginning, middle, end) or a certain length. Honestly, we don't know what the prompts are going to churn up yet. Many of the entries may be more like vignettes. But anyway.

My part of the project was originally to craft the prompts, but later in the biweek, I suspect I’ll be drawn into the fray as well. In addition, we will hopefully have a few fresh faces joining in for the biweek, and if any of our visitors would like a crack at a prompt, just email me via my website and we’ll get you set up.

The prompts are:

1. A drunk/weird person comes into the Diner for coffee/pie/whatever and decides to tell you "the truth". What is "the truth" that he or she tells you?

2. We run out of apple pie and the only kinds left are cherry, peach, chocolate and lemon. What do you do when the 20th person gets upset that he or she can't have apple pie? (Image from:

3. The health inspector comes into the Diner unexpectedly. How does that go?

4. You overhear two suspicious or shady looking characters discussing something that sounds as shady as they are. What do you do?

5. Your ex comes into the Diner with his or her new love. What do you do?

6. You realize halfway through your shift that your shoes are mismatched (or some other cosmetic mishap) but nobody told you.

7. The new waitress has to be trained by you and seems like a total disaster. What happens?

8. You were the last one there at night and were supposed to close up shop, but a desperate individual bangs on the door, seeking entrance for reasons unknown. What happens next?

9. You and the other employees are on a quest to get every customer to vote for the Diner in the "city's favorite pie" contest so the Diner will win the annual golden pie trophy. How does this make you feel? Are you successful?

10. A customer requests a special order...a very odd special order. What is it and what happens next?

11. What happened in the Diner bathroom to send the customers in there screaming and running out into the street??

12. Someone fires up the Diner jukebox and it starts playing a song you know darn well wasn't on there the last time you checked. What's the song, who played it and what's going on? (Original image:

13. We're getting a nice TV installed at the Diner to mount in the air at one end of the counter. What shows are we going to play on it? Are there any staff or customer arguments about what should be playing?

14. The Diner has a small library of books/magazines/papers customers can look at while they're eating. You're in charge of this library, and when you find out that (?) has been stolen out of it yet again, what happens next?

15. The new cook wants to fancy up the Diner menu and keeps trying to change our traditional recipes. Any interesting incidents during this battle of wills between the cook, the Diner employees, the customers and pie lovers?

16. The Diner is having a "Free Piece of Pie" day to celebrate some event, be it National Pie Week or The Diner's X number of years in operation. How many pieces of pie do we give away? Which customers try to get more than one piece of free pie? What craziness ensues? Do you ever want to see or eat pie again after this day? Write a short scene that takes place during Free Pie Day.

17. It's a really really slow day at the Diner. Why is it slow today? What do the employees do to liven things up or pass the time?

18. A customer comes in with a passel of kids and doesn't seem capable of restraining them. What havoc do they cause and what do the Diner employees do about it?

19. A crucial Diner employee -- be it cook, waitress, hostess, etc. -- calls in with the stomach flu and everyone else has to scramble to cover his or her duties. Who called in and how does the Diner pull together (or not!) to remedy the problem?

20. On your treasured day off, what draws you to go to the Diner anyway and what happens while you're there?

21. A famous writer / movie star / musician who happens to be your favorite comes into the Diner and you have the chance to interact with this person. What happens?

22. A supernatural creature inadvertently reveals him or herself while seated in a Diner booth and inspecting the menu. What type of creature is it and what happens next? Who notices -- only you? Other employees? Everyone in the Diner?

23. Two customers have a lover's tiff that ends up involving you in some way. Why do you get dragged in and what happens next?

24. Several customers you happen to know (for whatever reason) are wanted by the police (for whatever reason) come into the Diner and.... Do they order food like regular customers? Do something criminal? And what do you do?

25. The Diner's biggest fridge has apparently ceased working. Blast! And it's the lunch rush! What happens?

26. Something happens outside the Diner that has everyone pressed to the windows, staring at the spectacle in the parking lot/road/nearby area/etc. What in the world is going on?

27. A customer is caught attempting to steal secret Diner recipes. How do the employees deal with this situation? Does it happen often?

28. Due to health code restrictions, the only animals in the Diner are supposed to be seeing eye dogs. What do you do when the "blind" customer with the (badly behaved? suspicious? werewolf-esque?) seeing eye dog reveals he or she is not blind? What is really going on? (Original image:

29. Did you just see a ghost out of the corner of your eye when you were bustling around behind the counter, making coffee??

30. In today's paper, the restaurant section has a vicious critique of the Diner's food/atmosphere/staff/etc. Since we obviously are awesome, why was the critique run and what, if anything, do we do about it?

31. A doorway to an alternate dimension is discovered in one of the Diner's bathroom stalls. Which dimension does it lead to, and do we use it, keep it secret, reveal it, close it off forever or not even realize it's there?

32. An editor or agent you submitted to comes into the Diner with a stack of manuscripts to skim while he or she lunches. You recognize yours in the stack. What happens next?

33. A long-lost friend or relative (or maybe enemy!) comes into the Diner and the two of you recognize each other. Who is it and what happens next?

34. While cleaning the Diner after the customers have gone, you find something left by a customer, something you suspect is very very important. What is it and what do you do about it?

35. A customer starts hitting on you big-time. Who is it, how do you feel about it, do they have an ulterior motive beyond your essential hotness, and what happens next?

36. When you go on a two week vacation and travel to a distant location for fun and frolic, you run across another diner that has a lot of suspicious similarities to YOUR Diner. What's going on here?

37. The Diner's owner turns up missing and the employees get a ransom note during the dinner rush. Why did the note come to the employees instead of the owner's family? What does the note ask for? What do the employees decide to do? (Original image:

38. You unlock the Diner first thing in the morning and discover an individual inside who isn't supposed to be there. Who is there and what are they doing?

39. You've been chosen as employee of the month. What special thing did you do the previous month that the Diner bestowed this honor upon you? Does it come with any rewards beyond a certificate?

40. Describe the time you almost got fired from the Diner. What was the issue and how was it resolved?

Stay with us. It should be an exciting two weeks!

Jody W.
A SPELL FOR SUSANNAH--Available now from Samhain Publishing *

1 comment:

  1. I love the ideas! Lets keep going with this one for another round! I have another couple of kegs to get through!