Tag Archives: micro fiction

Micro Fiction

I wrote recently about flash fiction, aka micro fiction. Since I’ve been doing it, I’ve noticed that my flash fiction is getting longer. Still not short story long, but longer.

Is it still flash or micro fiction at 800 words? At 600? 400?

I’m thinking about this tonight because I just entered a contest for “micro fiction” and the maximum word count was 100. 100 words to tell a full story. I only mention it because that is hard to do!

I have seen the fact that my stories are getting longer as progress, my stories becoming more detailed or something, but I realized tonight that part of the challenge of micro fiction is the brevity. Can you still tell a compelling story in 200 words? 100 words?

World building is easy when you can use hundreds or thousands of words to create imagery and build scenes. The brevity of micro fiction forces you to strip away everything that isn’t critical to the story. Who cares if your palms are sweating? Get to the thing that is causing the anxiety, you don’t have enough words for sweaty palms!

Does it matter to the substance of the story why a character is in the hospital? Isn’t the fact that you have been summoned to the hospital because a loved one is hurt enough to convey to the reader worry and anxiety?

How do you convey that worry and panic and still get to the conclusion in 100 words or less? That is the challenge. I’d say it’s much harder to convey all that you want to convey in such a small word count. It certainly makes you choose your words very wisely.

 

Adventure

I watched the sun sink down below the horizon.  It was gorgeous, majestic! The blues and reds mingling as the sun grew huge and sank slowly behind the mountain range.

I inhaled the smell of the impending night deeply; this was my favorite time of day. The heat dissipating quickly as the sounds of night overcame the sounds of day. Chirping of birds and the calling of children ceased as the crickets and frogs took over.

Would I ever see my homeland again? By morning we should be well into our journey. The herds were on the move and so were we. For the first time in my memory, food was scare. Packed and ready to go, we set out, traveling by night to avoid the scorching heat.

I gave one longing backwards glance to my childhood home then turned and joined the others as we set out on our adventure.

The Incident

She fumbled for the light switch. It had to be here somewhere she thought as she stumbled along the wall in the darkness, feeling for it. This level of darkness was impossible, was there not a window anywhere? A bit of moonlight or a street lamp shining through a curtain? Seriously.

She felt the primeval panic rising in her throat. She tried to calm herself, to think logically. But every primitive instinct in her body was screaming that the darkness was evil, bad, to be feared. She had to get out of here.

She felt hot tears come unbidden to her eyes and start to spill down her cheeks. Mucous clogged up her throat and her breath came out in ragged gulps. Just as she was about to lose it completely, she mercifully found a doorknob. Turning it, she threw herself through the door and out onto the fair grounds.

All around her sirens blared and the sounds of the shouting filled her ears. Stumbling away from the doorway she suddenly found herself struck by the glare of a spotlight. She froze like a deer, and for the same reason. Going from complete darkness to the blindingly bright spotlight, she was momentarily stunned and blinded.

“Ma’am! Ma’ma!” a voice was demanding.

She looked up, blinking, shielding her eyes, trying to make sense of the words that were being said to her. The words were unclear, muffled, coming from a distance. As she struggled to focus, things began to sharpen, the words became decipherable, clearer, closer, and she was able to make out shapes around her. Police cars, an ambulance, cameras, were those reporters?

“Ma’am, I need you to focus!” the voice was more insistent now. She looked up into the face of a firefighter that stared back at her with a mixture of fear, amazement and concern, “I said, did you just come out of that building?”

She glanced back at the door she had exited through and nodded, numbly.

“My God! How is that possible?” He took her arm and guided her toward the ambulance, a uniformed officer holding the reports at bay.

“Ma’am! Ma’am! What’s your name?”

“Who are you?”

“What were you doing in there?”

“Did you have anything to do with the attack?”

“What’s your association with the victims?”

Victims, what were they talking about?

As she sat in the back of the ambulance she glanced down to notice she was covered in blood, she looked up in horror as the spotlight hit her again, a reporter she realized this time. She tried to remember what had happened, but her memory started with her frantic search for the light switch. Any existence she had prior to that was gone, wiped from her memory.

“We’re going to need to question her,” a police detective was saying to the paramedic that the firefighter had handed her over to, “we don’t know if she’s the only survivor or the perpetrator.”

“After she receives medical treatment.” The handsome young paramedic replied, loading her into the back of the ambulance and closing the door.

“I’m sorry,” she finally managed to speak, “I don’t remember anything.”

As the ambulance pulled away from the crime scene, he smiled at her with red glowing eyes, “It’s ok, all that is behind you, you’re one of us now.”