I’ve been a kind of hot mess lately when it comes to free time. So one thing I’ve been doing, aside from reading Lois Lowry’s final novel in The Giver quartet, Son , is reading micro stories. In college, I was introduced to Micro Fiction , a compilation of tiny melodramas edited by Jerome Stern. All these years later, it still has a place on my boring desk.
I’ve resigned myself to the fact that proper revision takes forever. And as I sit and strike through all the adverbs and useless words in my novel, I sometimes crave producing something new. I have my next novel semi-planned in my head, but if I embarked on that future disaster, I’d never get this one finished.
So, I thought about creating a 100-word story in one sitting (which Boston Literary Magazine calls a “Drabble”). And then I saw that they have a 50-word story feature, too (a “Dribble”), so I immediately jumped on that train. Twice the challenge.
Warning! Self-promo, here: I heard back from friendly editor Robin Stratton very quickly. The result is “Reunion,” which was published in the Spring issue of Boston Literary Magazine .
I challenge you, as I dared my students, to give a 100-word story a try. I actually upped the ante even more by giving them 5% of the content: I gave them 5 words that they had to include. I find this to be a great way to get ideas churning when you have empty-brain syndrome. So, here’s the scoop: try your hand at writing a 100-word story that contains the words “blue,” “glass,” “clang,” “shirt,” and “desire.”
I challenged myself to complete it (with 5 different words) too. I’ll send mine over to anyone who requests it. It’s currently out for submission, so I’m choosing not to publicly share.
- You must use all of the words.
- Titles do not count in the final word count.
- Your story shouldn’t have an ambiguous ending. It can’t be a paragraph that should be tied up in a later chapter, in other words. It also shouldn’t be just an image. It should do what every good novel does, and tell a story.
- Your story has to be exactly 100 words—not 99 or 101.
Good luck. I’d love to see what you come up with in the comments section!