New 50-word challenge prompt, writing tips, and story highlights

in #challenge3 years ago (edited)

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.

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(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:


Here is my entry for this week. I perceive this as a danger, others may disagree, which is fine. Thanks for taking the time to read it anyway :o)

It’s all about writing what you want to write, @ablaze. 😊

Good, because last week I didn't want to write about "shade" and felt bad about it when I saw that the week passed, until I read this comment. Thanks.

t’s all about writing what you want to write

Never feel bad, my friend! We must all lighten up a little and enjoy the creative process. In case I haven't stated this often enough, you don't even need to include the prompt word in your story. For example, if "shade" made you think of a jerk in sunglasses, or an umbrella over a patio where snooty people are having martinis, or a place for a hobo to rest on a hot summer day... but the word "shade" didn't actually seem to fit with your story, that is okay. Just leave it out.

I know you always said that, but it's easy to slip from my mind...

For example, if "shade" made you think of a jerk in sunglasses, or an umbrella over a patio where snooty people are having martinis, or a place for a hobo to rest on a hot summer day.

Well, this time my current story has a danger feel even if I couldn't include the word. Wait for it!!

I will wait as patiently as possible! 😊

Ooh. Good one!

I hope I can do better this time I love how it makes you think. My entry :

Welcome to the 50-word challenge!

Not much room for different interpretations with this week's prompt but a good challenge as a result. Here's my entry: For Them.

Oh but danger can mean so many things — dangerous minds, dangerous liaisons, dangerous criminals, danger of falling rock, and hidden danger... But I know what you mean. It’s not like there are multiple interpretations of the word “danger.” 😊

My first time to read this #fiftywords stories and was intrigue on this kind of challenge.
Here is my first entry. I hope you'll like it.

Greeting everyone. Thanks @jayna for this wonderful opportunity and for the kind highlight to last week's entry. I am so flattered you liked it.
My entry for this week's challenge:

Happy to see your story highlighted, dear @hlezama. Your story was a gem ♥ Congrats!☻

Thanks. I was gladly surprised. Thank you for getting me into this :)

You are very welcome ♥

Yes! I'm late, but will be coming out with a new prompt shortly as well. Glad you've joined us again!

Hello Jayna! So sorry that I've been away. I do hope to drop something for this week before Saturday though. How have you been

Good to see you, @mizdais!

Welcome and thank you for joining #fiftywords!

Thanks. It is a different kind of challenge than I am used to.

Here is my entry. Looking forward to reading the others!

Thank you for the mention!

Fun challenge! I love the creativity and variety :) Thanks for curating and sharing @jayna!

Does that mean you are thinking of joining the challenge? 😀

I would sincerely love to. Currently, it's all I can do to work on my #dailyfoodphotography curation and share a ulog most days. I hope to fit in the five minute free writes and 50 word challenges if I'm able to carve out more typing time :) I know where to find your blog!

Oh my gosh, I totally get that! Life is bonkers-busy for me too. We must all choose where to put our time and energy, as the opportunities and demands are truly endless.

Hello, fiftyworders and everyone.

Thank you, @jayna for this iniciative. I did participate last week, but my story is not on the list. Did I miss anything? Here's the link to my contribution, just in case:


I'm already working on my story for this week ☻

Thanks for the heads up, @marlyncabrera! I think you just missed the important step of adding the link to the comments of the challenge post. So I did not see it. I’ve added it now. Welcome!

Well, that was quick! THANK YOU ☻ Hmm… Tiny detail. I thought I had done it; thanks for your consideration, then.

Wow! You mentioned my story? I'm honored. You are amazing!

Ha ha, thank you. The mention is well-deserved. 😊

Hi, here's my Entry:

If you don't want to view the cover image, read the inspiration begind the story, (and hopefully upvote.) You can read it below:

Brain Damage

We all laughed that day.

It was nothing more than clumsy trip on the stairs.
His smile after the fall told us "It's okay."
No injury was found.

We laughed again.
Foolishly remarked on how forgetful he was since.
Unaware of the silently escalating danger.

Ignorance isn't always a bliss.

[The End]

@jayna, thanks for waiting! I think I did a great job on this, hope you like it. :)

Great story, @ahmadmanga. I appreciated the backstory too. What a terrible thing.

I think I'll stick with one post this week but we will see. danger

Here's my entry, I like this idea, it really stretched some little used brain-muscles, heh.

I didn't think I was going to make it. Had some writers block. But I managed to pull something off anyway.

Late but here I am! Thanks for such a cool weekly work @jayna. Greetings from writingland!

Here is the link to my little story regarding danger. I hope you will have a pleasant read. I am happ to see this challenge and I find it very inspiring. Thank you for the great community you build there. I am fascinated to read 50-words stories. All the best :)

Hoping I can get one in this week. I have been so busy and then next week will also get busy. I had a wedding cake to make, i had work, I had other matters to take care of. this week seems more quiet and then next week isa birthday cake, a 65th marriage anniversary cake, pies and a family reunion and camping with the kids. Wow a busy summer vacation we have going. Last year was much more quiet lol.

Hang in there, @foxyspirit. Life does get busy, doesn’t it? I hear you. Between my full-time job, travel, and my kids’ sports, I have been doing all of my creative work and Steemit activity in tiny nooks and crannies, and after midnight!

That is so neat that you do cakes. Would you DM me some pics when you get a moment? I’d love to see them.

Absolutely! And yes after midnight is the same for me as well. Makes for long days of being tired too though.

Here @jayna I hope this is what you mean.Don't Look I had to edit it right down though it was originally 3 times as long!

Here is my entry. So glad I managed one after all.
[Out of Danger]

Oh FFS I didn't add the link. facepalms
That must have been a moment of blondness.

Oh you make me laugh! No worries!

m this will be a tricky one as nothing comes to mind yet!

Try writing out a few storylines, as I described in the post. 😊

Think about what danger looks like from the eyes of a child. A barking dog, fighting parents or a clown can all be (or be perceived as) dangerous.

And... bringing up the rear! Here’s my own take on the prompt: An historical micro-fiction story about the life and death of a storm chaser.

really really well bro. impressive