Have you discovered the microfiction trend? If not, then take my word, it is well worth a try. A classic example is Hemingway’s famous story told in six words: “For Sale. Baby Shoes. Never Used.” It tells of heartbreak and loss in three pithy sentences.
Of course microfiction need not be so spare. It can stretch to a whopping 300 words or so. I’m intrigued by Twitter-length microfictions (280 characters or less). The Micro Flash Fiction account (@MicroFlashFic) is a treasure trove of the genre. Their most shared story begins with an implied doorbell ring:
“Hello! Do you have a minute to talk about Dracula?”
“No- wait, Dracula?”
“Yes. We have pamphlets.”
“Vampires have missionaries?”
“Where else would new vampires come from?”
“I assumed you bit people.”
“There are many hurtful stereotypes. May we come in?”
Of course microfiction is nothing new. The great master of the form was Jesus, who spun stories about wayward sons, extravagant kings, shifty estate managers, persistent widows, and drowsy bridesmaids.
I’ve been trying my hand at microfiction for the past month. Here are a few of my first forays into the genre:
Sir Peter returned, his armor scorched, his banner shredded.
“I have failed in my quest” he groaned wearily.
Friar Benedict smiled and embraced him.
“Excellent!” he said, “Now you are ready to be king.”
Winston arrived at the gym to start his new fitness regimen.
“Go big or go home” sneered a young gym rat.
Winston reached into his gym bag and produced a thick, well-worn copy of “The Brothers Karamazov”
The largest bodybuilder in the room nodded in respect.
“Dragons are always bad” Penny warned.
Ben didn’t believe her. His dragon was quiet and small and shy. It fit in the palm of his hand. Ben’s dragon ate only mice.
But Penny’s words were Ben’s last thoughts after he came home to find his dragon had grown.
“I climbed that great mountain” Dirk bragged to the barkeep.
“Whatever did you do that for?”
“Because it was there!” Dirk exclaimed with pride.
The barkeep harrumphed and said “Round here, when we climb the mountain it’s for the beautiful view.”
So, what do you think? What do these microfictions stir up in you? Do they ring true? Are they mysterious? Are they banal? Are they incomprehensible? Let me know your thoughts!