I’ve seen a few competitions recently – like this one (just closed) by Tamsyn Murray, author of the brilliant Completely Cassidy series, and this one at Fiction Express (closing 7th June) – where you have to tell a story in 500 words. It got me thinking about how difficult it can be to tell a story in such a short space, but also what a great challenge it is. So today I’m going to set myself a similar challenge: I’m going to write exactly 250 words here, including these. No more, no less.
Short fiction has a long history, and can be traced back to Aesop’s Fables in ancient Greece. There are special names for different lengths of stories, for example a “drabble” is around 100 words long with “55 fiction” being a shorter version. What we now call “flash fiction” used to be called a “short short story” and it can have as few as 6 words or as many as 1000.
The more general term “short story” is used for stories between 1000 and 20,000 words, at which point the term “novella” usually takes over. Most people agree that in order to qualify as a story, there has to be at least one character, a conflict and a resolution.
Now I have officially (and quickly!) run out of words, except to say that if you’d like to leave me a comment, please do so in exactly ten words. (I’m only joking. Please use as many words as you like!)
Photo credit: clairetrafton at Morguefile