Writing small

Tomorrow's story comes in under 600 words. I have a series of others
that are under 500. My essay for the "why I write" contest at Editor
Unleashed was 500 words of quasi-intellectual bloviation about short
form literature plus 250 words of emotional-laden truth.

I've heard people I respect say that they couldn't possibly tell a
story in 500 words, or in a single tweet.

Could you? Could you strip a story down and down to make a single
illuminative spark of an idea into a small, bright flame of a

And if you could do it... should you?

Follow me on Twitter: @TonyNoland


  1. Yes-- I love very short stories. And the fewer and more effective the words, the more I respect the author.

  2. Actually, about half of my fridayflash stories are under 500 words. I don't plan it that way, it just happens. :)

  3. I tried for less than 200 this week. I sent in a 1000 wd piece that the editor had me cut to 500 once. a great lesson in that. Really hones the word economy.

    bloviation is a wonderful term. your piece there wasn't all that bad..

  4. Writing to a hard limit is good discipline. I did an exercise similar to what you describe, Michael, where I wrote 1000, then cut to 800, then to 600, then to 400, all the while trying to retain and focus the essence.

    It's a tricky thing. You sharpen the view of a tiny area, but that makes it very hard to tell a large story with a scope of any appreciable size.

    Also, thanks for the props on the EU essay. I've gotten a lot of reads of my essay; I think I will be happy with that, and take any further action as icing on the cake.


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