A silhouette of a writer in winter

When Australian Writers’ Centre asked their community to write a 23-word story that contained the words WINTER, WRITER, and SILHOUETTE, many wrote something along the lines of being a silhouette of a wintery writer. I, too, would have written about frozen words and waiting for spring. Here are two with a little different feel:

My boss’ silhouette is unfriendly. Frosty enough it could be winter in there. I enter anyway. “I quit,” I say. “I’m a writer.”
Andrea Wilson

The oncoming headlights cut through the icy winter fog. Without warning the silhouette of a rhinoceros appeared. The writer smiled, a story formed.
Annie Barr

 
WordPress Daily Prompt: Silhouette

10 short-short stories

A short story is “a perfect companion to a cup of coffee,” to quote myself from another post. Here are ten short stories to take you into the weekend, and maybe give you the inspiration to write your own stories and submit them to the many short story sites out there:

Bed Hole Syndrome, by Carla Lancken: “The day I was fired I came home, undressed, and went to bed for five years.”

First Flight, by Bobby Warner: “Folks called her Old Witch, and she was Timmy’s friend. … ‘Would you like to fly?’ she asked.”

The Postcard, by Arleane Ralph: “Contractors discovered the postcard upon pulling out the kitchen cabinetry.”

Painting the Sea, by Conor Kelly: “My father paints the sea. That is how I remember him.”

I’m With the Band, by David Cook: “The drummer battered away at his kit with venomous incompetence…”

The Painter’s Wife, by Brian Castleberry: “The poet had been sleeping with the painter’s wife for three months…”

A Royal Feast (aka Eat Your Vegetables), by Iain Kelly: “Gefjun brought the feast to the table. Her husband, Skjöldr, son of Odin, sat silently in his anger.”

Sky Love, by Emily Manno: “What a magnificent thing, to fly in the clouds.”

That Girl, by Heather Beecher Hawk: “My first real boyfriend, Alan … he asked me to meet his family…”

Required Summer Reading, by Kimberly Tolson: “My grandma kept her pocket paperback romance novels in the scary spare room…”

 
Photo: ismagilov/iStock.com

Short-short stories: Catch the moment

“Checked tie. Striped jacket. White cane.”* You can say a lot in 6 words. Or 100, 200 or 300 words. Or 140 characters. Short shorts are a quick read, a perfect companion to a cup of coffee. No detailed backstories or character descriptions, just a story about one particular situation or one single moment, like a photograph. The readers fill in the empty spaces, the unsaid, themselves. They become co-authors.

While easy to read, stories this short are not always easy to write. Despite the limited numbers of words, the story has to be complete. There has to be a movement, something must happen, otherwise it’s not a story, but merely a description. The readers shouldn’t be left wondering “what happens then” when they are done reading.

Maybe over a cup of coffee yourself, you choose and cut out words to create the precise word-pictures that tell the story and nothing but the story. It’s like chiseling a block of marble until all the redundant stone is chipped off and the face of a Roman god emerges. Kind of.

*A 6-word story from the Norwegian book “Du trenger ikke mer enn 6” (which means: You don’t need more than 6).

Short stories are journeys you can make to the far side of the universe and still be back in time for dinner.
— Neil Gaiman

 
WordPress Daily Prompts: Particular