Short, Short Stories
Anyone who knows me knows I am a bit verbose. Really, why use two or three words when fourteen or fifteen will do? Joking aside, I have always written stories with tons of descriptions and lots of words. Flash Fiction has pared me down some but still leaves me leeway. I can add descriptions and hint at ideas all the while staying within the Flash Fiction limit. Then, along comes the challenge from our own Cam to write short flash fiction. Three hundred words or less! Yes, less. How much can I cut down on words? I decided to take the challenge and see.
Knowing the limits of HP, rather the length a hub should be, it would be difficult to just write one three hundred word story because it wouldn't make it. It would be considered sub-standard and wouldn't be posted. To avoid that problem, an introduction, such as this one, and a closing, which will come at the end, help to add the necessary word count.
In the middle will be three short, short stories. I can only hope they will make as much sense to you as they did to me and you will enjoy my little venture into short short stories.
He watched her with longing in his eyes and despair in his heart. She walks out the door without even looking back. Why must she leave him home alone to go do whatever it is she feels she needs to do? He wants to be with her. Day after day he sits watching and wondering, always alone. Why must she leave him?
He loves the sound of her voice and the touch of her skin. Her strokes illicit a warmth he can only feel when she touches him. Without her touch he is nothing. He knows she cares, but even when he takes his leash in his mouth, she leaves him, alone.
The water is running. Always running, rushing to it's destination. The soothing sounds of splashing water hitting rocks along it's journey are restful. Calm seems to pervade your body with the running of the water.
Water running can be a trial however, when you're trying to sleep. Putting the pillow over your head does no good at all. You can still hear the water, even through the pillow. It's not that he doesn't like running water. It can really be beautiful, but when its coming from the toilet he knows he has to get up and fix it.
That darn thing sits there day after day. The screen is looking right at you. You know it's calling you. The little green lights seem to have your name written all over them. What about the keyboard? Doesn't that look lonely too?
How many hours have you spent on that black box? Searching, writing, looking, all leading you to places or people unknown. The joy of it stays with you long after you've left it.
Then you turn it off and walk away, but when you look back it's staring at you. It's daring you to try to stay away and ignore it. It owns you. You've created this technological monster sitting at your desk and you know the only way to appease it is to turn it on.
Kurt Vonnegut's 8 Essentials for a Short Story
1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
4. Every sentence must do one or two things—reveal character or advance the action.
5. Start as close to the end as possible.
6. Be a Sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading character, make awful things happen to them-in order that the reader may see what they’re made of.
7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To hell with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.
Short, Short Stories
So there you have it, my three short, short stories. I hope you have enjoyed them. I know they didn't take a lot of your time.
There are millions of short stories out there. There are even short story competitions. Why not write a short story yourself if you haven't yet? Granted the "short, short" story is a real challenge but anything that improves our writing is a challenge worth taking.
A short story is self contained so everything you need is right there in your story. According to Wikipedia there is no set length so it can be almost any length you want. Obviously though to be a short story you should be able to read it in one sitting. Something we are very familiar with here at Hub Pages.
Remember you are writing a story. A story about characters and places. Descriptions are essential. Good examples are any of Edgar Allen Poe's short stories in case you are unsure, or many nursery rhymes and fables fit the bill as well. Your imagination is the only limit you face. You can disguise people you know as characters or make up totally original characters. I don't doubt you already know this from any books you've read, but it's a reminder a short story is the same as book only lots shorter.
That brings us back to short, short stories. The same basic elements hold true but with as few words as possible to make your story readable and interesting. You are leaving much up to the imagination of your reader so it's up to you to take him there.
Happy Writing, and be sure to check out Cam's page to find more short, short stories!
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