The space was small, yet vast. A corridor into the unknown. A portal into possibility. He gazed through the confusing labyrinth of spirals, contemplating his choice. Inward or outward; up or down, the avenue toward what he sought yawned before him, perilous and strange, yet beguilingly inviting.
He had waited many long days for that moment. The anticipation of opportunity thrilled through him with revitalizing electricity. No longer would he be trapped in the mundane halls of this reality; a new realm awaited, he only needed to choose.
Inward or outward; up or down?
Each prospect enticed him with a hint of mystery and the lush scent of the obscure, but he could only make one selection and, at last, he smiled. His direction was clear. He chose the realm where endless variety and challenge piqued his curiosity, inviting the vanguard of intrepidity.
Inward, into the undiscovered country of himself.
What is Micro Fiction?
Micro Fiction is exactly what it sounds like; a piece of fiction written in fewer than 300 words. No more, no less. As with any other form of fiction, it has a beginning, a middle, and an end. It can also have a plot and character development, and a theme, meaning, or purpose. Many micro-fiction stories are built around a twist or climactic moments.
It’s not necessarily easy to do, but writing micro-fiction is an interesting exercise for any writer to try, focusing on succinctness and clarity of writing. With 300 words or less, there isn’t room for fluff.
How to be Brief
- Choose a prompt image and subject. When writing something as compact as microfiction, it’s often easier to gather your thoughts through the use of an image that sparks your imagination.
- Consider your story. Consider the image or subject and allow your imagination to run free. What’s the first thought that comes to your mind when you look at the image? Where does it take you? What question(s) does it ask? Who’s involved?
- Write your story. When you’ve thought it through, start writing. Don’t get in the way of your story and don’t overthink your words, phrasing, grammar, or anything else mechanical; just allow yourself to write. Once the story is drafted, you’ll have time to work on all those details.
- Refine and Polish. Now’s the time to put on your editor’s cap. Does the story have a storyline and at least one character? Does it have interest and impact for the reader? Does it prompt an emotional response of any kind? Now is the time to refine phrasing, reduce wordiness, and polish your prose to perfection.
- Be sure your story is less than 300 words. Or, as is the case with the piece I’ve written above, only 150 words. Micro-fiction doesn’t give you wiggle room. The limit is the limit….and it’s also the delightful challenge.
Just Walk Away
I suppose I should have said 6 steps, but 5 is such a nice clean number. Step 6 is really more like a suggestion, but one I suggest very strongly.
6. Put the story down and walk away. Give it an hour, or two, or even a full day. Try not to keep writing in your head. The idea is to put it out of your mind. Why? So you can read it from a fresh perspective and see if it works or if it leaves you with more questions than answers.
Better yet, try it out on a few unsuspecting readers. Coworkers or family, work well or social media if possible. You’ll know right away if you can proceed to publishing or if it’s back to the drawing board.
Why Write Microfiction?
Writing exercises not only help make you a better writer, but they also boost your confidence and spark your imagination, teach you the mechanics of thought-clarification and succinct writing, and can expand your readership.
Go ahead. Give it a try. I know you can do it!
Spiral Staircase Of The Arc De is a photograph by Jjr from FineArtofAmerica