How thinking small got me in big trouble

I’m a huge fan of short-short stories. At the suggestion of novelist Margaret Finnegan, I launched the Rose City Sisters, a short fiction blog in 2009 which presents flash fiction (1,000-word stories) and microfiction (100-word stories).

I have written both but decided that my first book would be a microfiction anthology. My goal is to write 150 100-word stories. I’d like to say I am halfway through writing the stories. And that would be half true.

Let’s just say a lot of my nights and weekends in 2019 are spoken for.

Nonwriters ask me how I can tell a story in 100 words. The answer is “very slowly.” Every word has to earn its spot on the page. Succinct writing is not limited to microfiction. In 1857 Henry David Thoreau wrote that “Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.”

Here’s a work-in-progress at 98 words.

Folding Money

Tracy returned the salt-and-pepper caddy to its place. The lunch rush was over and she could clock out in ten minutes. She wiped the worn table in a hurry and nearly missed the crisp five-dollar bill folded into a perfect little bird.

A crane? Didn’t Japanese folks think cranes were lucky? She couldn’t recall any Asian customers or where she read about cranes. Her son would love how the precise folds created a bird without tearing the paper. She wanted to show him, but they needed groceries and that would take all of today’s tips, flat or folded.

I’m not the only one who likes writing tiny tales. Rose City Sisters contributors have written more than 70 micros. And more than 80 flash fiction entries. And I am always looking for submissions.

Photo by Anastasia Dulgier/Unsplash

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