Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday Fiction

Since I began writing seriously 7 years ago, I've become enamored of short stories. Some of the best writing that's being done these days happens in short stories, where the leanness of the form enforces crispness and encourages striking metaphors.

Within the short story genre is an even briefer form known at the short-short. Short-shorts word limits vary from 500-2000 words. If you think writing a short story is tough, try trimming it down to 1500 words.

And then there's "flash fiction" -- stories that are 100 words or less. This is the maple syrup of creative writing, boiled down to its very essence.

In one exteme example, a college writing prof assigned his class to write a piece involving religion, sex and mystery. He got this back:

"Oh my God! I'm pregnant! I wonder who the father is?"

My personal favorite:

At Confession
1998, H. Stanbrough

"Bless me, Father, for I have sinned."
"How long since your last confession?"
"Two years."
"What's the trouble?"
"I have wished death on a man."
"You haven't acted on your wish?"
"Not yet."
"Who is the man?"
"He is cheating with my wife."
The priest paled. "I forgive you."
I shot him through the screen.

And one of my own:

Better Living Through Chemistry

The body in the street was slowing traffic as Yvonne drove away without a backward glance. Crossing against the light was bound to end this way eventually.

The next casualty was her husband, Leroy, who walked into the kitchen, sniffed the air and said, again, “Don’t let your meat loaf!”

She brained him with a 14 oz. creamed spinach.

The next morning, as Leroy grew fragrant on the linoleum, Yvonne’s manager expired during her performance appraisal, a victim of his own high standards and a promotional letter-opener from AccounTemps.

From jail, she placed a call.

"Dr. Mitchell? We may need to increase my estrogen.”

24 comments:

  1. Oh - I love your story and the confessional one too. Short and oh so bitter sweet!

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  2. Love your story!! Superb writing!! :)

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  3. Oo - the maple syrup of creative writing - I like that one. Shame I can barely keep my comments to that length!!! (Brevity is NOT my strong point - but perhaps something I can aspire to at some point in the future!)
    Love your story - excellent!

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  4. These are clever and good. I love your story at the end!

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  5. I absolutely adore the religion, sex, and mystery one. . .

    Now. . . if we add politics to it, there would be something about a cover up!!!

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  6. Fantastic and humerous short story. I wish I was gifted in writing. But, Hey I can post the heck out of pictures. Have a great day.

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  7. One day we're in Grade School, and the next we participate in murder!

    I'm ascared about what else might be lurking in this author's wicked little mind.

    Something brilliant, I'm sure!

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  8. Very funny stuff! She brained him. That made me laugh out loud.

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  9. I lost my imagination a few years back, thank GAWD, I now have yours!!! Love the stories... I had a friend who "brained" her husband, with a cast iron skillet. I still haven't decided if that was courage or insanity

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  10. Ditto on Buff's comment, I needed that today...

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  11. I've never heard of short-short before. It's about the length of a blog post - perfect.

    I loved yours.

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  12. great choices!!! I loved the one-liner!!

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  13. fantastic stories! short stories can be so challenging to write. thanks for sharing some good ones with us.

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  14. Back to your violent tendencies I see...

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  15. Loved the Flash fiction. It's made for Twitter!

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  16. All good, I enjoyed them all! Thanks for the giggles..:)

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  17. He he he - oh yours is so, so clever. "She brained him with a 14 oz. creamed spinach." I want to frame some of your best lines - they make me laugh out loud! And make me want to repeat them if only an opportune moment would come along. Jeanne do you think you are a writer yet?

    Why don't you do a post where you set the theme and then we have to write our creative pieces in 25 to 50 words. I think it would be fun.

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  18. That was beautiful... a wonderful ending! Encourage the gift! Keep writing.

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  19. Perfect. I love the maple syrup of creative writing too.

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  20. Flash fiction is so much harder than you'd think it would be. Love your story.

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  21. Very clever. Very funny. I like this condensed soup-variety short fiction. It is brutally short, but demands an efficiency we should all strive to achieve.

    I'm so wordy, short fiction is proving my challenge.

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