Sunday, September 20, 2009


As a hopeful novelist, I have a Writer's Group that I go to. There are three of us, and we simply read each others' pieces of work and help to edit, give ideas, and the like. I look forward to doing this every week, and am able to do it a vast majority of the time. I think it is an invaluable tool because it gives me some people I can bounce ideas off of...and gives me an incentive to make sure I am working on my stories. I hate it when I go there with nothing.

I explain all of this because we have decided - as a group - to enter a short story contest. I would call it a short short story contest or a flash fiction contest...because the word limit - including the title - is 1,500 words. I at first thought this would be a pretty easy undertaking. I mean, really, cranking out 1,500 words is pretty easy for me. I used to do it in a couple hours every Thursday evening for my History essays.


Happily, I am finding this to be a challenge. How do you add depth and suspense to something that is only 1,500 words long? How can you develop a plot in such a short time? You need to have some sort of theme...but not let the whole thing come across as unfinished.

The strange thing with the story I am writing is that I know where I want to end up. I have the setting, the theme, the ending, and I know conversation is going to be a large part of the piece. But how do I start? How do I get to the ending? Ah...there's the rub. I think I am liking this challenge because it is like a Haiku...conveying meaning in a very minimum amount of words.

It is nice to explore this kind of intellectual challenge every once and a while. We'll see where this goes.


  1. Will you post your story when you've finished it?

  2. You should read some Philip K Dick to give you some ideas on how to do this. He is basically king of the short short story. And of course its always his short stories that make it as movies.