1. Published on Amazon? If you have a book, e-book, or audiobook available on Amazon.com, we'll promote it on WritingForums.org for free. Simply add your book to our Member Publications section. Add your book here or read the full announcement.
    Dismiss Notice
  1. Birmingham

    Birmingham Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    Messages:
    129
    Likes Received:
    1

    The challenges of the REALLY SHORT short story

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Birmingham, Mar 17, 2013.

    Recently I had the opportunity to enter a couple of short story contests. The limitations are quite interesting. First I saw one that limits you to 5,000 words. Then a contest that limits you to 2,500 words, which, of course, meant I'd have to do something a little different than in the first one. Now I see one that's all about writing 1,200 words.

    So, I wonder, what other limitations have you bumped into in the past? What allowable amount truly challenged you? Yes, I know that any length of story can be done. I know all about the 6-word story about the baby shoes, and I know that some people here have tried to create even shorter stories. But you know what I'm talking about when I say "short stories". I mean the traditional short story, the one that has more than 10 words in it. You know exactly what I mean.
     
  2. peachalulu

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,846
    Likes Received:
    2,413
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    I tried entering a short-short story contest but missed the deadline. The limit was 3,000 words. I had no
    idea how short that was until I started my story. The end result is approx five pages and for me this was
    hard! I think I ended up with eight. I had to go over the piece dozens of times, dozens or dozens, clipping whole
    sections to bring it down. For me it was a great editing experience because I couldn't clip certain things because
    the story would make no sense, so some of the frivolous but beautiful lines got the axe.
    Everything was tightened. In the end I realized that cutting had brought out more beauty than leaving all
    that junk in, kind of like pruning wisteria - Let it get too wild and the bloom gets lost in the foilage.
     
  3. chicagoliz

    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 30, 2012
    Messages:
    3,295
    Likes Received:
    815
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    A woman in a writing group I'm in brought in a piece for critique that she wanted to enter in a short story contest. The word limit: 100 words. That was tough.

    Overall, I think 3000 is a pretty good word count -- many of the shorts I've written (not that I'm an expert or that I can say they were good, necessarily) have ended up close to that length. I've seen contests for 500 or 1000 words, and anything shorter than 2000 I have a tough time doing.
     
  4. NigeTheHat

    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    Messages:
    812
    Likes Received:
    625
    Location:
    London
    I've found writing 100 word stories a really useful exercise - you learn a lot about keeping your writing tight and having things implied by actions rather than just said. I think it's improved the longer stories I do a lot.

    I'm considering trying some at 75 words and some at 50, to see how short I can get and still have it being, to my mind, a proper story - that is, one with a beginning that grabs, a middle that keeps and an end that lingers.
     

Share This Page