Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Short ... and I mean short... stories

Having worked in newspapers, and being a poet, 'editing' is my middle name. (Actually that's not true - it's Marion... although I still regret not changing it to 'Trouble' when I did a Deed Poll last year.)

Short stories - flash, micro, txt - are all the rage at the moment - perhaps because we all have the attention span of a goldfish. The best ones are tiny but perfectly formed and definitely not as easy as they look. 

Ernest Hemingway said that his best piece of writing was a six word story - 'For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.'

Ellie recently blogged some excellent links to Teeny Weeny Writing Competitions but as usual I struggle to juggle the right words in the right order. I've come up with a couple of six word stories, but am more comfortable with 150 characters (SMS-length) or a luxurious 50 words (micro length). But 500 words+ is much, much easier.

So here are a few of my attempts. But before you judge, (a) have a go at your own and (b) have a look at the ones the Arvon Foundation is showcasing or check out

  1. Bones beneath the ocean. Tyrannosaurus wrecks?
  1. Been there. Done that. Investigation continues. 
  1. Opening the bandages – it’s like Christmas 
  1. Noah at Tesco’s: Two-for-one.
  1. Human skins – prized for their tattoos
  1. Postman’s wardrobe. Strangers’ valentines. Unopened.
  1. One heart. Slightly used. Unwanted gift
  1. Singing nanny. Free to good home.
  1. Buttons undone. Another Cinderella / pumpkin scenario?
  1. Mirror signal manoeuvre. One more test…

Alright, all you clever bunnies. It's over to you now...

Tomorrow - the shortest poems in the world... and I don't mean Haiku


  1. Flowers delivered, smelled, thrown to floor. You have a wonderful collection.

  2. One gig. Social life? Memory card!

  3. Love, too dear. Reduced to clear.

    Pulled the rug. Took the floor.

  4. Woke up. Drank coffee. Started writing.

  5. Yours are very clever, BB! I'm not going to even try this today - and even if I did, my pathetic efforts would be, well, pathetic.

  6. I'm enjoying all your contributions. I hadn't thought it through, but I suppose what writers of stories this short are doing is making the reader make up their own story - like you often do when reading as poem. It's all very collaborative except the reader doesn't even know they're part of the act.
    *strokes imaginary beard*

  7. If I'd said that in six words there'd be far fewer typos! 8-)