The Shortest Short Story

Thursday, 19 February 2009

I've come across competitions from time to time for short-short stories. Say, 250 words. A difficult task, but perhaps I shall try my hand at one. For me, poetry is like a short story. My poetry writing mojo returned the other day, while driving on the way home from a friend's place.

It involved scrambling to find some paper to write on (note to self: put notebook back in bag. Alternatively, have empty envelopes floating around in bag to write on). I stopped twice on the way home, on a 15 minute car ride, because when the poem vomits itself out into your head, you have to write it down or it goes.

I think a 250 word short story is more difficult. I can "cheat" with poetry. It flops itself up onto the shore of my mind pretty much fully-formed, and all I have to do is tinker with it. I get ideas for short stories in the same way. A phrase or a thought or a scene will present itself to me. The last year or two, that's about all that happens before it gives a few breaths and dies. Still, I harbour hope that such things will not continue indefinitely :)

I think it would be an easier thing to write a short short short short story. Hemingway demonstrated that even a six-word story can contain poignancy:

"For sale: baby shoes. Never used."

2 comments

  1. Just the other day I was kicking myself because I didn't have something to write on...thought I could remember what was in my head...did the whole "word association" thing to help remind me. But by the time I got to paper, it was gone.

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  2. I keep pen and paper close and I am learning to keep my camera close also.

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