Flash Fiction: A Bucket of Ice


This week for Friday Fictioneers (the 100-word flash fiction group) we have something slightly different. Because our trusty leader, Rochelle, is busy getting her books published, we’re revisiting a photo prompt from July 2012. Then I was right in the middle of writing my first novel without any idea that it would one day actually be published by Penguin and several other publishers around the world. I used many of these picture prompts to write scenes, some of which actually made it in (although slightly altered) and this was one of them.

So firstly, here is the original flash fiction piece I wrote inspired by the photo above in July 2012:

“A winter like this I have not known since I was a child in Germany,” said my mother, her mouth still full of z’s and v’s even after all these years. She shivered and took her gin and tonic back inside.

Oskar rapped his knuckles on the thick ice that had risen like a soufflé out of the garden bucket. Its tap dripped an icicle.

“Would you like some ice with that madam?” he laughed. Oskar turned the handle, twisting hard; his mouth twisting too with the effort. The tap snapped off.

I cried – for the cold, for the homesickness, but mostly for the waste of a bucket.


And here is the scene that made it into the book:

Oskar rapped his knuckles on the thick ice which had risen like a soufflé out of a bucket hanging on a nail beside the back door. I recognized it; it was the bucket my father and I had used, with a tap attached to the bottom so we could brush our teeth with running water. In the frozen garden the tap dripped an icicle.

‘Would madam like something to drink?’ Oskar laughed and turned the handle, twisting it hard; his mouth twisting too, with the effort. The tap snapped off. And for the first time since I had come home I cried – for the music, for Reuben, but most of all for the waste of bucket.


To write your own 100-word piece click here, or to read other people’s click here. The picture this week was supplied by Madison Woods.

And I’m excited to let you know that Our Endless Numbered Days has just been released as audio book. You can buy it at Audible.com or Audible.co.uk

52 thoughts on “Flash Fiction: A Bucket of Ice

  1. Dear Claire,

    An amazing look back. I love it that you used it in the novel. I really like both versions but I think what I enjoyed the most was in the first version…”her mouth sill full of z’s and v’s.” Without use of dialect I can hear her accent. Nicely done.




  2. Wonderful to read how you’ve used that flash fiction in your book. A complete 100 word story within a book. I do like the description of the mother’s speech in the first version but I like the end in the second version better.


  3. Nice to see how a piece of flash fiction was used in your book. I’m trying to write down snippets of conversations heard and notice happenings around me in a notebook I carry around with me. Maybe, someday, some of it will end up in a short story. Thanks for sharing this post.


  4. That’s so interesting to see how you have incorporated flash fiction into your novel. I moved a homeless guy from one of my Friday Fictioneers pieces into my manuscript so I could give him a good meal!


  5. What fun to see how the original FF story morphed into your novel I remember the bit about the V’s and Z’s somewhere near the beginning of book. Right? (I’ve lent the book to a friend so can’t check) Thanks for posting both stories.


    • Ahh, thank you. And thank you so much for picking it as a favourite in your store. I’d love to see a picture… if you can, perhaps you can email it to me – writerclairefuller [at] hotmail.co.uk and then I can tweet it / put it on FB


  6. Nice pieces – interesting that you used these scenes in your writing, that had never occurred to me.
    Congrats on the book – the reviews I’ve read have been glowing!


  7. I’m thoroughly enjoying the retreads this week as well as the new stories that are being generated. Thanks so much for this peek inside the making of your novel.

    On occasion, I have found myself writing a series of snippets that I hope might one day weave themselves into a larger story. I’m currently wrestling with whether to leave them as a series of connected flash fictions with a few longer tales sprinkled in or to just work them into a standard novel. It feels good to hear how others have used these prompts in longer works.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail


  8. I must have missed this one three years ago, for I certainly would have remembered the last line. You have a very fluid and graceful writing style. Easy to read and with wonderful flow.


  9. It is great when pieces of flash fiction can integrate or develop into a story of their own. Both pieces are very well written and congratulations on the publication!


  10. I remember reading that passage in your book! I think it’s so wonderful that the flash fiction here helped you write your book. It’s interesting to see the changes here. Thanks for sharing it.


  11. The comparison between the two version is a fascinating glimpse into the editing process. Thanks for sharing this, the comments and replies are also very educational.


  12. Naturally that was a good story, Claire. We expect nothing less. Congratulations on the continued success of your book and its now being made into an audio book. It must be exciting. 🙂 — Suzanne


  13. This is a wonderful piece of flash fiction. I just love the characters and the feeling you’ve built. Thank you for sharing aspects of your writing process, and congratulations on the continuing success of your novel.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s