Welcome to the 50-word short story challenge, where each week Fifty Worders use the prompt of the week to write a short story in just 50 words. In this post you will find a weekly feature about writing micro-fiction, a review of last week's 50-word stories along with some highlights of the week, and a new prompt for the coming week.
(Image credit: Original image by rawpixel, Pixabay)
Micro-fiction writing workshop
Writing really short stories is a great way to exercise your ability to write succinctly. There. Workshop done.
Just kidding. I'm actually a long-form writer, myself. Writing a complete short story in 50 words is a huge challenge because I love descriptive prose, and you just can't do that in 50 words. I start to breathe a little when I can open up and am allowed at least 750 words. Stories of up to 1,500 words still feel a little crampy. It's when we get up to 3,000 to 5,000 words that I finally feel like I can let loose and say what I need to say.
So, why do I choose this method, if that's the case? Glad you asked.
The thing about writing 3,000 word stories is that while it does feel like there's room to breathe, and you have space to explore characters and conflicts to their fullest, there's also more room for things to get messy. There's a lot more to manage. There are more moving parts, more places to insert plot holes and poor wording choices.
Writing micro-fiction stories within tight limits gives you the writing and editing muscles you need for those longer projects. It is a wonderful reminder that every word counts. And it is an opportunity to tune your editing skills in the microcosm of an itty bitty story.
How do you write a 50-word story?
There is no one right way. I will share my method.
This week I wrote a story called "Mia's Memories." Here's how it all went down:
- I thought about the prompt, "forgive." So many things came to mind that I had a jumbled stew of ideas to sort through. I thought of the ways in which family members and friends develop complex relationships and hurt one another. But I wanted not just a pain point or someone begging to be forgiven. I wanted a story. I also thought of people forgiving their pets for their mis-deeds, and noodled over the idea of a pet forgiving its master.
Image credit: Unsplash image by LennartHeim
I searched Pixabay and Unsplash for dog pictures. When I found this one, I knew I had the picture to go with my story. But what was the story?
- I did some other things for a while because some of my best ideas come to me when I'm not trying to think about them. There's a back-burner thinking process that happens once I've planted the seed. Does this happen to you?
- I began to write. The dog's name came to me, along with the reason for her wistful look — that she is missing her companion, Ranger. The narrator of the story is Mia's heartbroken owner, who is hoping Mia can forgive her and her husband for making a tough decision when Ranger became very ill.
- Finally, I edited the story to get it just right, and I made sure that it came to 50 words exactly. I also added a personal note about pets, loss, forgiveness, and my own past. Many of the 50-word short story writers are doing this — adding a personal note or backstory to complement their piece. It's wonderful. I see delightful insights into the minds of writers, from the life stuff that inspires them to words of wisdom from one writer to another. It's like having a birthday each week when these stories come in.
Last week's story collectionI’d like to welcome our newest contributors, @brectar and @sidequest. Thanks for joining the Fifty Worders!
Here is the complete list of stories inspired by last week's “forgive” prompt:
- Forgive me! by @roxy-cat
- To Edit is Divine, by @thinknzombie
- A Lovers' Quarrel, by @brectar
- The End, by @bex-dk
- In Due Time, by @alheath
- Break up, by @elbrujo
- Forgive, by @sidequest
- Forgive me, mother, for I did not ask to be born, by @hlezama
- Sweet Confessions, by @pyemoney
- The passengers! by @felixgarciap
- Best friend, by @ablaze
- Bewitching forgiveness, by @theironfelix
- It's All About The Rabbit Hole, by @purpledaisy57
- Mia's Memories, by @jayna
Highlights of the weekEach week I highlight a few intriguing stories from the previous week's collection that I hope will inspire current and new Fifty Worders.
They always traveled on the same train with identical destination, Albert in first class and John in economy class.
They did not know they stumbled and said Sorry, they laughed and went on their way.
Both were forgiven and cast into oblivion that moment of mutual happiness without recalling it.
"Did you even read this before you darkened my door with it?" The editor glared.
The humble writer blanched. "I can do better."
"You're giving us a bad name. This magazine is quality, dammit. We aren't...bloggers."
"Forgive me. I'll edit. I promise."
The editor nodded. "Then get to it."
Staring intensely at the mirror in disbelief, Candis asked her husband, “When did it happen John?”
“When did the gray hair, sagging neck and wrinkles appear?”
“I only see the beautiful gorgeous model I married 50 years ago," John insisted and then mumbled under his breath, “God forgive me.”
In Due Time, by @alheathThis story shows us quite stunningly that the level of difficulty one faces in the act of forgiveness is often commensurate with the offending act.
Alfie avoided Lily's eyes. They didn't shine any more.original post for the gems.
The guard coughed. "Visiting time over."
Lily's cuffs rattled as she touched the glass. “Forgive me? It was for you.”
Alfie smiled wanly and rose to leave. “I’ll try. One day.”
He walked away without looking back.
Miriam lay in a puddle of cold urine. The pain disappeared in numbness. A sound at the door roused her and she moaned.
John knelt beside her, taking her hand. "Help's coming."
She gathered her last strength. "All... your... fault." She let go.
John's words were faint. "I forgive you."
Best friend, by @ablazeHere is a story for those who enjoy a surprise ending. (@ablaze, I made two minor typographical edits to this one. Please forgive me!)
"Can you ever forgive me? It was a stupid mistake, I don't even remember her name."
The silence was filled with unease, disappointment and resentment.
She looked towards him, more through him, than at him.
She barked and walked away.
He promised himself he'd never walk someone else's dog again.
Excellent work, everyone!
This week's 50-word story prompt
The prompt for this week is “deed.” I look forward to seeing what you do with it, Fifty Worders!
Please review carefully. Images must follow the Proper use of images guidelines below.
- Write a story in 50 words. (It's especially cool if you can hit 50 words exactly!)
- Use the #fiftywords tag, and **post the link in the comments of this post**.
- Be sure to read and upvote the work of the other participants. It's all about community!
- Use only artwork that you have the right to use, and attribute it properly. See the following guidelines.
Proper use of imagesProper use of images means one of the following:
- The image is public domain, or under creative commons licensing rules.
- It is your own image.
- If it is not one of the above, you must have actual permission.
I have two resources for you, from my friends at @thewritersblock:
Deadline for this week: Saturday, August 25th. (With a grace period until the new prompt is published.)
The 50-word story clan
I'm mentioning you here if have participated in the #fiftywords short story challenge in the past. Please let me know if you would like your tag removed in this or future posts. (Note that I do trim the list. Those who have not participated for a long time or are not active on Steemit will eventually drop from the mentions.)
Thanks so much for reading! I hope you try the 50-word challenge. It's so fun to see what can unfold in a mere 50 words!
Posted from my blog with SteemPress : https://jaynalocke.com/2018/08/19/fifty-word-short-challenge-round-up-and-new-prompt/