It has been another good month for 50-word stories. I received lots of great bite-size stories and several from first-timers. It was interesting, the most popular prompt was Not Enough Sleep. Did not expect that. The real winners and spoils are the writers who took the challenge and what they learned from it. Each writer commented that they got something out of doing this. That is the gold.
I feel it, not practicing this skill this month. My editing is off and my ability to write and edit blog posts has slowed. It is proof again that:
Writing + Practice = Better Writing
How do I pick the stories? I look for story development, character, and quality of writing. Very often people will write a description and send it as a story. A story must move forward, but occasionally I will get something from a writer that captures a feeling or mood so well in 50 words that I must count it. That was the case with The Room from Realist Rebel. She captures the feeling of a sleepless night after a devastating break-up. I guess you could say it is the story of a sleepless night. Actually, the more times I read this story, the more I see a progression. What do you think?
The doors were locked. The lights shut. Even the clock stopped clicking. Still, here I am, lying in my bed, staring into the never ending darkness of this room; whose every belonging shouts out her name and takes the life out of my already dead soul. Every time. All. The. Time.
The best story this month, in my opinion, is The Danger Sign from Realist Rebel. The story starts with an easy to recognize situation–a hook-up. But then there is a twist in the shape of an ash tray. The character’s actions in the story reveal there is something more to these generic twenty-somethings. This is the type of progression you need in a 50-word story. CF
“Wanna go to my place?” he asked abruptly. “Sure.” I blurted. And in no time, we were rushing to his apartment, two blocks away from college.
A peculiar smelling room, everything out of place.
And then I saw it. Staring back at me.
Most dreaded danger sign.
The Ash Tray.
Second is a story from 876LoveR. It is a small story, but you can see the progression. It paints two very striking images; a girl alone kicking a stone down the road and an approaching storm. It is a picture and a mood economically rendered; I can smell the rain and ozone and feel the joy of actually making it home before the storm. The author did not title it, so I gave it a title.
Down the Road
Walking down the road, all alone, embracing the warmth of the setting sun, she kept kicking the stone. She knew there was no such thing as luck when she heard thunder crackle in the distance. Speeding up her stroll, she surveyed the surroundings, and soon enough she was home.
Third is another one by Realist Rebel titled The Beach. It juxtaposes two very different images of the glamorous beach life. What it also does is reveal character in a active, vivid moment. And this character is ripe for a change which pulls you in immediately. Most can relate to the girl sitting alone on the rock. This character is at the ‘I need to make a change,’ point. This could be a starting point for a much longer story, but I feel it is effective in this format. What is most striking about this story is the voice, it is so strong I feel I know her; in 50 words people!
People think night-life on the beach is so glamorous. The night parties, crackling sound of bonfire, couples dancing and singing around it: what’s not to like!
But if they saw me sitting here on this rock, all by myself, then I’d like to know, how glamorous does this look?
From Realist Rebel
My Lucky Charm
“You gotta hold my hand always?” Angrily, Suzy pushed Kyle away.
Realizing a car was approaching from behind, she pulled him back, hugged him and said, “Oh my God! I’m so sorry Kyle.”
“That’s why I’ve to hold your hand; to say how lucky I’m to have you.” Said Kyle.
Although this story demonstrates a clear progression, the situation is unclear. I do not know if it is a couple, mother and child, siblings? Because of that I never engage with the story. Since this is very subjective, I included it. CF
Anything For You
“Honey! You know I don’t like this salad! Why did you order it?”
“Babe, it’s good for you. The doc said so. Remember?”
“Yeah…. fine. Just ’cause you’re saying. But on one condition.”
“Take these ugly green beans away pleeease. They taste funny.”
Although this is a cute scene it is, as we say in the theatre, on the nose. Meaning, what you see is what you get. I know not to expect deep meaning with every story, but this one is just a cute scene. This writer created other more powerful stories. CF
Not Enough Sleep
By Scott Bailey © 2015
No time to sleep…Must get on…Much to do…Can’t be late. Sleep when you’re dead my old man used to say. Who’s coming I wonder? Here come the cars. Just take a peek..Not many! Expected more at my own funeral! Oh well, what’s next?
This one is a stream of consciousness which can work, but the situation is unclear so when “..not many people show-up.” I do not know how to feel because I do not know what is at steak. Is it his father’s funeral? First party? Birthday? I do not know so I do not engage with it. It is still good writing. CF
From Its PH
Not Enough Sleep
I was up all night. What I wanted was fifty words that will speak out one amazing story. I just kept thinking, “How one could fit everything in just fifty words!”. What I needed was a good sleep to wake up fresh and make it a story! In fifty words.
This story breaks the rule of fiction writing that people generally do not care about the problems of writers unless they parallel a problem in their own lives. You can make a case for that here. The story is cute and the writing competent. I would like to see this writer tackle a different topic and tell a story. CF
Not enough sleep
Please stop by The 50-word Story Challenge page and get inspired by the new batch of prompts. Remember Shakespeare’s Birthday is April 23rd!