Fifty-word short story challenge: Highlights and new prompt

in challenge •  last month

Welcome to the 50-word short story challenge! If you're new here, you are in for some fun. Each week, Fifty Worders accept the challenge to write a short story in just 50 words. I encourage you to read their wonderful stories. And then I hope you will give it a try.

This post provides some tips for writing micro-fiction to help new and seasoned 50-word short story writers alike. This weekly workshop feature includes fresh new tips each week.

It also includes a review of last week's 50-word stories, a few story highlights, and a new challenge prompt. Come on in.

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(Image credit: Original image by rawpixel, Pixabay)

Micro-fiction writing workshop


Today's workshop is about how to turn words into a story.

You may be thinking "Isn't that what all story writing is about?" Yes! Bingo! A 50-word story is no different in that respect. It's just a shorter version.

How not to write a story


Sometimes I think it would be better to write what not to do:

Don't write some words, add a picture and publish it.

Why?

Because anyone can do that. And it's kind of the equivalent of singing in the shower. That's what you do when it's for you only. So let's talk about how to write a successful 50-word short story that wins over the hearts of readers.

Story writing demystified


First, to write a story, we know we need to make something happen, right? Right. Because if there is no action, we don't have a story. And we also know there has to be a conflict.

So, let's start with a dramatic situation that involves action and conflict:

The man walked down the street and was accosted by a thug who demanded his money.
This is promising, and it's a start. But there are missing elements:
  • Some interesting information about the man that makes the reader care about him. If we don't care, we won't keep reading.
  • Action or dialog that causes the story to pivot. The main character in the story must experience some kind of change. And the story should escalate at this point (the story arc) and make the reader feel something. It could be fear, compassion, sadness or a desire for things to turn out okay. We want the reader to be engaged in the story, and invested in the outcome.
  • Finally, we need a resolution, in which we bring the story to a satisfying close.
What? We are going to try to do all that in 50 words? Yup.

To complete the story, let's fill out the missing pieces by adding some details about the man, some pivotal action, and a resolution.

Mr. Werkin walked slowly, kicking stones, getting splashed by cars. Stupid job. Good riddance!

He stopped. Oh no. How could he face Mrs. Werkin?

A thug stepped from an alley, demanding his money at knife point.

“Bugger off!”

He fell, bleeding, his wallet gone. Near death, he thought, “Thank you.”

Voila! We have a complete 50-word story. (Note that I played with the words and tweaked this extensively until I was happy with it.) Let's talk about the mechanics.

First, we provided some details — his name, the fact that he is wearing a trench coat and walking along in a despondent fashion, not seeming to notice that he is being splashed by passing cars. Now we can better identify with him, as he's not just an anonymous man. And we see that the real conflict of the story is internal, within himself. He has lost his job, and his deep desire is to not face his wife with this devastating news.

Now the entrance of the knife-wielding thug becomes the story's arc, because in that critical moment he refuses to hand over his wallet, and gets stabbed in the process.

And finally, the resolution comes when Mr. Werkin realizes his death will release him from the thing he fears most: facing Mrs. Werkin.

What do you think? Is that a technique that will help you with your micro-fiction?

Okay, let's survey our newest 50-word stories.

Last week's story collection


I’d like to welcome our newest contributors, @poetrybyjeremy and @intothewild. Thanks for joining the Fifty Worders!

Here is the complete list of stories inspired by last week's “water” prompt:

If I missed yours, please let me know and I will add it! I always try my best to list them all, but I do occasionally miss one.

Highlights of the week

Each week I highlight a few interesting, inspiring, well-crafted stories from the previous week's collection to help us all see the breadth of possibilities for these stories. Enjoy this sampling from all the wonderful contributions from last week. The prompt was "water."

An Ancient Ritual, by @kaelci

This haunting story takes a direction few authors are willing to venture into: the demise of the main character.
Dipping her hands into the thirsting pond, Lei'bi washed her face. Purified, she disrobed and knelt before the gaping maw.

Rhythmic voices chanted. Harsh, guttural words invoking the ancients' blessing.

Her plea an inaudible whisper beneath the deafening hymn, she offered herself to the volcano.

There would be rain tomorrow.

Fast, by @hlexama

In this story, the author explores what it is like to experience bare cupboards and true hunger.
I woke up late again. No bags on the table or kitchen. Maybe Dad was still in the market.

Tried to be fast. Brushed, swept, wiped.

Noticed the front door was still locked.

In his room Dad was staring at his laptop.

Anything for breakfast?

Water, he said, without turning.

The Thirst for Freedom, by @pyemoney

This author takes us into the dramatic, unimaginable realm of military torture.
Scorpions danced around my beaten… bruised body.

“Name, rank, and serial number,” was all I repeated to my captors.

Scorched by the blazing fire, I sat defiant on the battlefield.

“Water?”

I shook my head, “No,” resisting a drink that would quench my thirsty soul in exchange for actionable intelligence.

Rebirth, by @poetrybyjeremy

This story's mystical air captivated me. This story also has an excellent example of a 50-word story that shows a conflict, a story arc, and a resolution.
My eyes burn underwater. Diving deeper, I hold my breath. In front of me, a baby floats in his cotton blanket.

I grab him through the sapphire bubbles swirling around him. As we resurface, the child gleams, dissolving into water.

Air fills my lungs; I no longer wish to die.

Full Moon, by @roxy-cat

In this story, the author re-imagines the beauty of the night sky reflected in water. But it's not just any water.
The moon was stunning tonight. So big and bright. John couldn't stop admiring the celestial show. Water reflections were especially beautiful this evening. Trees and houses drew dark silhouettes giving a grim look to the landscape.

It could have been a wonderful summer night if only... The flood took everything.

Excellent work, everyone!

This week's 50-word story prompt


The prompt for this week is “chocolate,” with a thanks to @thinknzombie for the suggestion. Do you have a word you would love to see appear as an upcoming prompt? Feel free to add it to the comments or message me on Discord.

I look forward to reading your stories, Fifty Worders!

Guidelines


Please review carefully. Images must follow the guidelines below for proper use of images.

  1. Write a story in 50 words. (Try to hit 50 words exactly!)
  2. Use the #fiftywords tag, and post the link in the comments of this post.
  3. Be sure to read and upvote the work of the other participants. It's all about community!
  4. Use only artwork that you have the right to use, and attribute it properly. See the following guidelines.

Proper use of images

Proper use of images means one of the following:
  1. The image is public domain, or under creative commons licensing rules.
  2. It is your own image.
  3. If it is not one of the above, you must have actual permission.
Be sure to properly attribute the image’s source or mention that the image is yours. And if it's not public domain, under creative commons license, or your own image, be sure to state that you have permission.

I have two resources for you, from my friends at @thewritersblock:

And speaking of @thewritersblock, it's a great place to hang out and rub elbows with other writers. Check them out on Discord.

Deadline for this week: Saturday, September 15th. (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.)

@ablaze, @adigitalife, @aggroed, @agmoore, @ahmadmanga, @akdx, @aksounder, @aleli, @alexandered, @alheath, @anikekirsten, @anixio, @anonymummy, @anutu, @aresbon

@bagpuss, @beginningtoend, @bex-dk, @blueteddy, @botefarm, @brectar, @bryarose23

@caleblailmusik, @carn, @celsius100, @cheekah, @cizzo, @clacrax, @creatr

@damianjayclay, @dbzfan4awhile, @deirdyweirdy, @desmoniac, @diebitch, @dirge, @donnest, @drahries

@eaglespirit, @elbrujo, @elementm, @emergehealthier, @emwalker, @enjar, @erh.germany, @eroticabian, @esttyb, @evgsk

@fairyhedgehogg, @feebie, @felixgarciap, @felt.buzz, @ficciones, @four20, @foxfiction, @foxyspirit, @fromage

@gaming-stuff, @girlbeforemirror, @gmatthe2

@haisa, @happyhairdays, @henry-gant, @hlezama

@iamthegray, @intothewild, @isa93

@jadams2k18, @janine-ariane, @jasminearch, @jayna, @jluvs2fly, @jonknight,

@kaelci, @kally, @khadija14, @kimberlylane, @kingspiration, @ktfabler

@lightoj, @liverussian, @lucylin, @luiskrupaz

@marciabon, @marie-jay, @mineopoly, @mizdais, @momzillanc, @mydivathings

@negativer, @niallon11

@olakunle10, @opiman

@paintingangels, @papacrusher, @phillyc, @pixiehunter, @pizzachain, @poeticnest, @poetrybyjeremy, @preparedwombat, @prydefoltz, @purpledaisy57, @pyrowngs

@ravencorinn, @riottales, @rodrigocabrera, @roxy-cat, @rvag5

@sidequest, @spalatino, @stbrians, @steemgiant, @steemitdiversify, @sue-stevenson

@tanglebranch, @thatlovechild, @theironfelix, @therosepatch, @thinknzombie, @tuwore, @tygertyger

@vaitelavicius, @vdux

@yeceniacarolina, @yimiipsa, @zen-art

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!

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Posted from my blog with SteemPress : https://jaynalocke.com/2018/09/08/fifty-word-short-story-challenge-highlights-and-new-prompt/

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Thank you for joining the 50-word challenge!

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Thank you @jayna for reaching out. It's nice to meet you.

Here's my entry for this week: Wasteful

I'm absolutely honoured that my first entry made it into the highlights. Thak you for such an amazing opportunity :) x

Here be me submission: Cocoa for this contest.

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Welcome to the 50-word challenge!

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Hey... can't open this on my phone.. Do you have a Steemit version?

Hey Fifty word gang. Hope you're all keeping well. Here is my assignment for this week! Enjoy 😊

https://steemit.com/fiftywords/@ablaze/forbidden-a-fifty-words-story

boy-1822565_1280.jpg

Good man.. thanks... love the ending..

This prompt reminds me of my entry when tiger was in charge, "Mother's Last Chocolate." Too pressed for time these days I wish I can enter this week.

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I liked "The thirst for freedom" the most of your highlights. Good choices you made. Let's see if I can come up with something good using "chocolate". Have fun, dear writers :)


edit: and here is my entry: https://steemit.com/challenge/@erh.germany/fifty-word-short-story-challenge-chocolate

Hi friends. Here's my 50-word short story for this week: https://steemit.com/challenge/@jayna/selenainsepiamicro-fiction-0ruk3qwuyc.

Greetings, everybody. Here's my contribution for this week. Hope you enjoy it.
https://steemit.com/fiftywords/@hlezama/chicken-chocolate-a-5o-word-story-for-jayna

Smokin' Water's link is broken. It leads to Botefarm's post.

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Oops! I'm so glad you caught that. Thank you! It is fixed.

That's what happens when I stay up working on things past midnight!

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Haha, welp that's okay. At least it got fixed.

The peer pressure worked!
A Hot Mess

For some reason, Gina absolutely refuses to show me these posts. But I managed a vignette anyway, thanks to a little kick in the rear. And if anyone doesn't get why I say vignette, I explained that too. https://steemit.com/characterarc/@bex-dk/atasteofchildhoodfiftywordmicrofiction-fhkn8imyge

Putting forth, at the last minute as usual, here is my entry:

"Puppy Eyes"

I hope you enjoy it.

😄😇😄

@creatr

Here's my (hopefully not too) late entry, I wanted to enter last week too but couldn't, anyway here's my vaguely related to chocolate story: https://steemit.com/fiftywords/@ahmadmanga/fiftywords-melted-away-micro-fiction-2af7a7c81c8b6est


For those who want to read but not click the link above (I still recommending reading my post for my comments) here is the story:

Melted Away...

"Too hot outside..."

The message left on the table I woke up next to, mocked the coldness around. The paper smelled like the chocolate I found, frozen in melted state.

I searched for clues.
"How I got here?"

Only the door left. Moments later, I melted away, filled with regret.

- Game Over -


These days I'm busy with my new account: @ahmadgameslist so I might not take part as regularly as before.

Just wasn't inspired by chocolate this week, but I will run through and comment on everyone else

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Oh that fickle muse!