New 50-word challenge prompt, writing tips, and story highlights
Ready for a new 50-word challenge? Thanks for your patience while I was traveling!
Here's the summary of last week's challenge entries and a new prompt for this week. First, you will find a section that provides tips for writing 50-word short stories.
(Image credit: Original image by pixel2013, Pixabay)
What is the 50-word challenge?
This challenge starts off each week with a one-word prompt. Participants use the prompt to create a micro-fiction story in just 50 words.
It wraps up at the end of the week when I write a new post listing all the stories from the previous week, a few story highlights, and a new prompt.
What makes a great 50-word story?
The same things that make longer stories captivating to read are typically at work in the best 50-word stories: A character with a problem or a desire, a story arc (where the story builds to a critical point), and a resolution.
It just happens much faster and with far fewer words in micro-fiction.
These story elements make stories enjoyable to read. The exploration of the character's dilemma or critical need gets us interested in that person's story. The story arc provides the drama and excitement. And the resolution brings it to a satisfying close.
Not every good micro-fiction story has those three things, and not in the same doses. But thinking about how to incorporate these elements into your stories may help you as your craft your 50-word masterpieces.
How to get started writing 50-word stories
There is no right way. Some people get a flash of inspiration from the prompt word. Some of us use the prompt word and an image as inspiration and just start writing and see what story wants to be told. Others choose to explore an aspect of a character in a longer work, such as a full-length short story or novel.
If you don't know where to begin, try writing a summary of the story in one sentence, or "logline." For example, you might write something like this:
Ariadne is cast out of her home by her evil twin, and must beg for food, but is taken in by a good samaritan who happens to be a wealthy, single doctor.
Billy played on his own each afternoon, with only a puppet as a friend, until the day the panda escaped from the zoo.
You could write a few loglines based on the prompt, and see which one speaks to you. Pick your favorite, then add the meat to the bones. Finally, spend some time editing to get every word just the way you want it. Set it aside and read it again with fresh eyes. Or have a friend with a good editorial eye read your story and give you suggestions for improvement.
Editing and refining can breathe life into a ho-hum story, or make a pretty good story great.
How are stories chosen to be highlighted each week?
This is admittedly a somewhat subjective process. But it is based on my many years as a writer and editor, and my love of the wonder and magic of great storytelling.
When I read a micro-fiction story, I want to be emotionally moved, amused or surprised by the storytelling, and to feel that there is a world beyond this microcosm I am witnessing. I look to see whether the author made every word count. Also, I want to see proper grammar and punctuation, because that tells me the writer really cared and took the time to edit the piece.
And of course the writer must follow the guidelines, including proper use of images and attribution.
I am not looking for perfection. I know that people bring vastly different writing abilities, language skills and even knowledge of English to the table, and I like to highlight both emerging and experienced writers. But a well-crafted story requires thoughtful writing and editing to create the storytelling magic I am looking for. I know them when I see them.
There are many lovely and deserving stories that emerge from the prompt each week. The stories I choose are just a sampling that I hope inspire you as they have inspired me.
(Note: I don't highlight stories that are sexually explicit or excessively graphic, or stories that could be interpreted as condoning violence, suicide, hate or prejudice.)
Last week's story collection
I’d like to welcome our newest contributors, @stbrians, @steemgiant, @hlezama, @kingspiration, @damienmitchell, @marlyncabrera and @pizzachain. Thanks for joining the Fifty Worders!
Last week's prompt was “shade.”
Here is the complete list of stories inspired by the “shade” prompt:
- In the shade of the sun, by @ablaze
- Needs Work, by @negativer
- Practice, by @anikekirsten
- Flight or Fight, by @alheath
- Dinner is served, by @tygertyger
- Shade, by @theironfelix
- A 50 Word Short from The Shard of Myrsi, by @therosepatch
- The Priest and the Pirate, by @thinknzombie
- Disgraced Healer, by @aksounder
- Shade, by @blueteddy
- My eternal companion, by @felixgarciap
- Small Things, by @steemgiant
- The Falling of Giants, by @stbrians
- Flight or Fight, by @alheath
- White light! by @anonymummy
- Shade me, by @anonymummy
- Shade, by @blueteddy
- Forever in the shade, by @anixio
- In His Shade, by @bex-dk
- SHADES, by @tinkerrose
- Into the shade, by @pizzachain
- The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft agley, by @preparedwombat
- Liaison, @hlezama
- Candy Red, by @pyemoney
- Forest Adventure, by @gmatthe2
- The Shadowy Ghost, by @purpledaisy57
- SHADE, by @kingspiration
- Shade, by @vdux
- Mountain, by @roxy-cat
- JOHN, by @olakunle10
- Unconditional, by @jasminearch
- Sight unseen, by @deirdyweirdy
- Let Me tell You About this Elder, by @marlyncabrera
- Living on, by @jayna If I missed yours, please let me know and I will add it! I always try my best to list them all, but I do occasionally miss one.
Highlights of the weekHere are a few stories that stood out to me this week as artful, poignant, and inspired.
Rob froze. A bright green snake slithered through the grass, hissing. It curled up in the shade. Snakes were poisonous out here.
No. Mara could be facing goblins, and he was frightened about a snake? Even he couldn’t be that cowardly.
Edging around it, he went on.
In His Shade, by @bex-dkIn this powerful story, a young woman must determine how to get away from her betrothed.
The shadow across her book turned Ruth's fingers to lead.
"It isn't seemly." Father ripped the book from her. "Come."
Head bowed, she followed two steps behind.
Ahead, Brother John loomed, his gaze undressing her.
Father shook his hand. "Proposal accepted."
Ruth slipped away into a wagon's shadow and ran.
“You’d better go check your daddy. He keeps pestering me about that shithole getting flooded.”
“Sure, Ma. I’ll check tomorrow.”
Bullshit, he thought, as he dropped the dish and left. No one expected even a shade over that graveyard or their barren town.
Yet, it rained so hard that night.
“Water,” she whispered, her parched tongue struggling to get out the words.
Her companion nodded, handed her the canteen, and wiped the sweat off her forehead.
“Rest,” he said.
She smiled and laid down under the summer oak, shielded from the blistering sun, and sipped from the canteen.
Bri leaned against the tree--its shade a relief from sunlight.Beautiful work, my friends!
After the violence his father inflicted on her, would she ever love this child?
Sudden, tingling warmth flowed from under her fingers where they rested on her abdomen. It was too soon for kicking. But he was there.
This week's 50-word story promptThe prompt for this week is “danger.” This should be a fun one for you, Fifty Worders!
GuidelinesPlease review carefully. Images must follow the *Proper use of images* guidelines below.
- Write a story in 50 words. (It's especially cool if you can hit 50 words exactly!)
- Use the #fiftywords tag, and **post the link in the comments of this post**.
- Be sure to read and upvote the work of the other participants. It's all about community!
- Use only artwork that you have the right to use, and attribute it properly. See the following guidelines.
Proper use of imagesProper use of images means one of the following:
- The image is public domain, or under creative commons licensing rules.
- It is your own image.
- If it is not one of the above, you must have actual permission.
I have two resources for you, from my friends at @thewritersblock:
Deadline for this week: Saturday, July 28th.
The 50-word story clan
I'm mentioning you here if have participated in the #fiftywords short story challenge in the past. Please let me know if you would like your tag removed in this or future posts. (Note that I do trim the list. Those who have not participated for a long time or are not active on Steemit will eventually drop from the mentions.)
Thanks so much for reading! If you haven’t yet written a story in 50 words, give it a go. It's a really amazing challenge to see what can unfold in a mere 50 words!
Posted from my blog with SteemPress : https://jaynalocke.com/2018/07/24/new-50-word-challenge-prompt-writing-tips-and-story-highlights/