I’ve been working on a new style of writing and I’m falling in love with it. I’m a sucker for a short story, but my idea of a short story seems to differ from the mainstream view. According to most experts, a short story is usually between 1,000 and 7,500 words. Mine are rarely more than a thousand words, which falls into the category of Flash Fiction. However, I’m now trying my hand at microfiction.
The terms “microfiction” and “flash fiction” can be synonymous, but it all depends on who you’re asking. Microfiction can be a story of less than a thousand words, or it can be a story of fewer than 500 words. I’ve been working on stories of about 50 to 100 words. That is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to write in this genre.
I started writing microfiction a few months ago in a publication on Medium.com. They did a weekly 50-word story challenge and I found it both exciting and frustrating. Trying to bring my vision to the page in exactly 50 words was nearly impossible. But I kept at it and really started to enjoy doing it. However, the publication’s editor could no longer keep it going. A few other sites I write for at Medium have taken up the challenge, but I’ve found a publication that has taken it to a whole new level.
Another writer from the publication created a publication called Centina Pentina. They only publish stories of either exactly 50 words (pentina) or 100 words (centina). They offer up a weekly writing prompt for each piece, but they do NOT publish every story that comes their way. Your stories have got to have some shine to make it to their pages.
The one thing I have learned is that you’ve got to have a real grasp of the idea of “show, don’t tell”. You have got to be able to convey your idea in a way that will bring it to life for another person, without using a lot of needless words. It’s not easy. Sure, you can bang out 50 words in a few seconds, but to make them form a complete scene is tricky.
I was happy to find out that the first 2 pieces I submitted to the publication, one for each category, will be published later this week. I’m so excited. I was hoping at least one would make it, I didn’t think they both would.
I invite you to try your hand at microfiction. Start with a piece of less than 500 words or jump right in and see if you can write a piece of exactly 50 words. I promise, it won’t be as easy as you think but it will be so worth it in the end.