Friday, November 15, 2013

Prehistoric Brevity

(Image by Chris J. Fries)

One of the first (OK, one of the ONLY) places I've had some of my writing accepted is at 50-Word Stories, a site created by Tim Sevenhuysen that features daily doses of micro-fiction.  Specifically, fifty-word stories, as you might have guessed from the name of the site.

Over the time I've been an off-again-on-again struggling writer-in-development, I've really liked working in the very-limited space a fifty-word story gives. Maybe I'm weird (OK, there's no "maybe" about it), but I find that limitations and constraints often-times tend to actually help spark my creativity.

Although I haven't lately, in the past I had written many pieces and submitted several for consideration of publication, with some success: My entry "A Trashy Story" was one of the winners of a 50-word contest Tim hosted at; I've submitted entries for past "Pirate Week" events (HERE and HERE); and my story "Expectations" remains as one of the top-ten rated stories on Tim's site.

Well, guess what?  Tim's having a new contest -- A Prehistory Contest.  And I've been playing around with a few 50-word stories and am submitting two.  I wrote several, but two is the maximum that a single writer can submit.  The contest is accepting entries up until November 23rd (so if you're interested yourself, you need to be quick about it). I'll let you know how my entries do.

But in the meantime, I can also offer you one of the stories that I didn't think was quite as good as the two I actually am submitting:


Log Potato

Oona was disgusted. 

Og sat transfixed, mouth agape, staring at the flickering sparks. He'd been there all afternoon.

"So where's our meat for dinner, oh great hunter?" Oona asked. "And our new furs?"

Og just grunted.

Oona shook her head. She was starting to wish that she'd never discovered fire.


Thanks for reading!


  1. I've never even considered trying to write a 50-word story. Brevity is not my long suit. Of course, for that reason I probably SHOULD do it.

    I liked your non-submission, so I bet the others were GREAT. Congrats on your past successes.

  2. Ha, ha, ha!! Loved it! It took me an extra moment to grasp what the title meant, and then I ROFL. If this is the one you held back, the others must be great!

  3. Janet Reid occasionally has 100-word story contests on her site and I thought they were hard! 50 words - yikes. "Log Potato" is an adorable story AND a marvel of brevity!

  4. That's funny stuff. There's something about a fire that's very hypnotic. If this story was a reject the others must be really good.

    Wrote By Rote

  5. I really enjoyed your 'EXPECTATIONS' minuscule story. Bill sounds a lot like this guy I know named Stephen. Poor saps.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  6. Any writing is good for you, but having your writing accepted and published is an awesome feeling! Congrats on your successes at Tim's site, and I hope you have many more. (Loved Oona and Og!)

  7. Og and Oona need their own reality show! Nicely done. I always enjoy your microfiction tales, Chris.

  8. @Robin: Thank you! I really appreciate your kind words. And I have usually a problem with brevity too -- in most of my writing I always have an issue staying under target word counts.

    @Dianne: Thanks! I'm really glad I was able to give you a laugh. And as for the other ones -- I hope so... ;)

    @R.T.: I'm very happy you enjoyed it. It can be a challenge squeezing into those 50 words -- it can't be 49; it can't be 51.

    @Arlee: Thank you! And I agree. There is a certain level of autobiographical nature to this story.... ;)

    @Stephen: Thanks. Yeah, there's a bit of autobiographical element to that story, too. :)

    @Lexa: Thank you very much! I really appreciate your support!

    @Milo: Thank you very much! But it is too bad that it takes me years just to manage to get a few stories of only 50 words out, though, huh? ;)

  9. Squeezing a story into fifty words is something I've never attempted, but you sure seem to have the knack for it. Good job!

    When I was trying to edit my book for the umpteenth time, I took a break to write some short stories, which were limited to 800 words. (And I thought THAT was a challenge!) It was very encouraging when one of them was accepted for (paid!) publication, but the real pay-off was that in the process of stripping the extraneous words from my short story to achieve the proper length, I also found it easier to strip the extraneous from my novel.

  10. Great story, Chris! I like that Oona got proper credit for inventing the fire. LOL. I enjoy writing flash, but I always struggle with the word count. I cannot imagine writing a story in 50 words!! I'm glad to know you are still hitting the keyboard. Best of luck with the contest!

  11. Haha, that story is fantastic! Can't wait to see the ones that you decided to submit. It takes a HUGE amount of creativity and talent to be able to make a story in 50 words. I know from WRiTE Club that you have the talent to do much with few words, and I know from your hilarious cheers during the Joust that you've got the creativity to grab attention, so all my cheers shall be behind you in this contest!

  12. @Susan: Thank you very much! It is generally hard for me to meet word counts -- I tend to ramble. ;) But it is a lot of fun creating a "story" in exactly fifty words. It forces me to be concise and exercises the synonymic muscles: "Now how can I squeeze this five-word phrase into just three words?" Like you said -- "stripping the extraneous." (Kinda sounds like a burlesque routine...)

    @Gina: Thanks -- and I'm glad you noticed that detail. :) And I appreciate the wish of luck!

    @Nicki: Thank you so much for your very kind words -- they mean a lot to me! :)


Don't be shy -- feel free to comment. I really appreciate your thoughts.