Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Microfiction Assignment: Day One

If you're one of my Yale Writers' Conference students, welcome! These are your optional pre-conference assignments. I'll post one a day for seven days.

If you're not one of my YWC students, have a look anyway! Anyone can do these. They'll help you practice all your storytelling skills—drafting, revising, shaping, polishing—in miniature. If you like these, feel free to send me a message and let me know!


Microfiction is a story told in 300 words or fewer. For the purposes of this assignment, we'll use a limit of 100 words.

For more on where to read or publish microfiction, here's a great resource list.


Goal: A finished piece of up to 100 words

Purpose: To practice writing, revision, and polishing, in miniature

Time commitment: 10 to 20 minutes of writing per day for 7 days, + some very short readings.

Day one: 

Here are a few pieces to read. For simplicity's sake, they're all from 100 Word Story.

derelict, by LJ Moore

Bras Left Behind with Bros, by Etkin Camoglu

I Was Furniture  by James McCready

Now you're going to write four quick stories of your own. You have five minutes to write each one. Do not spend longer than five minutes on each.

It's okay if your story doesn't have a shape or a point or if it isn't about anything. We'll get to that later.

Set your timer for 5 minutes. Write 100 words. Optional: take inspiration from the picture below. (Scroll down.)

Do this three more times: 100 words in five minutes X 3. Here are three more pictures, if you want inspiration.

Did you find your writing got any looser, faster, or more risky towards the end? Which is your favorite of the four pieces you just wrote?

Next: Day Two: Get Concrete

Felix Vallotton, The Ball, 1899

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