TheFED Writing Challenge for February 2010 is 'A Story in 55 Words'
Suggested by John Malcomson, a member of Heeley Writers (Sheffield)
You can send your entry by
What makes a story?
A beginning, a middle and an end
Something must happen
There needs to be a change for the main character
How long does it need to be in order to be a story?
A story can be any length, so long as it has the above ingredients
Brevity can be good, so I have given below two examples of complete stories from “The World’s Shortest Stories” edited by Steve Moss (published by Running Press, ISBN 0762403004) Both stories are exactly 55 words long.
What is not a story?
When the new Mini was produced by BMW, they ran an ad:
Driver seeks Mini dealer.
Is this a story? If it is not a story, what does it lack?
Write a story in just 55 words. Make sure it meets the above criteria.
Suggested topics, but modify them if you want, or choose your own:
Two people are in a café/bar/restaurant and have an argument
Someone wants to get back at his boss
A man is explaining to his wife why he came home late, without his briefcase/overcoat/socks Suggested opening: “I felt like hitting him…”
" Careful, Honey, it's loaded," he said, re-entering the bedroom.
Her back rested against the headboard.
" This for your wife?"
No. Too chancy. I'm hiring a professional."
" How about me?"
"Cute. But who'd be dumb enough to hire a lady hit man?"
She wet her lips, sighting along the barrel.
" Your wife."
He shuffles to my locker. Skinny Steve with the zits. Yuck! Probably wants to ask me to the dance. My last chance. Oh, well. Better than being a wallflower, like Jenny.
"Hi , Steve."
" You wanted to ask me something?"
Even his zits blushed.
" I wondered... do you have Jenny's phone number?"
Please encourage the rest of your group to participate, especially those who do not have access to the Internet.
Please say which writing group (if any) you are a member of.
All submissions will be included in
You can send your writing through
Texas farmer found a calf. The farmer took a calf home and fed it from the bottle. They watched TV together. The calf grew into a young cow and had to move out. The farmer enlarged a window. The cow is standing outside of the window watching her favorite shows.
Argument A story in exactly 55 Words John Malcomson Heeley Writers 8 February 2010 “Darling, I hate you.” Ignoring her, he sipped his coffee. “I’m not staying unless you apologise.” He bit into his doughnut. “Apologise right now, or I’m going, and I won’t be back.” She looked up as a blonde woman in a red coat approached their table. He stood up. “Cynthia, I’m going with Dolores. Goodbye.”
:WHY WON'T HE GO AWAY?
I felt like hitting him with my fist if only I could reach him,
There he stood ringing my doorbell!
I could hear the sound echoing in my head.
I could see him from my upstairs window,
I had no intention of going down
till I saw the fire engines arrive
Outside in the street.
HOPE AND ASHES BY Thomas Ritchie POW They had been discussing American politics, its failings, gridlock and polarization. “You know what that leaves.” Rich said, “The two r’s. Revolution or revenge.” He quelled; revenge bitter, arctic, revolution dark and cannibalistic. “There is another r word. Brighter, healthier.” “Oh yeah, what?” sarcastically bemused. He looked at him a long moment, said quietly, “Renaissance.”
Sigmund might have loved you, his anal complex made flesh in one so gentle. My opener asks," What do you tell folk you do?", to diffuse embarrassment. She says, "A nurse" almost lullabying the vowel, then,"Over in the B.R.I some do this all day. I need variety". An insidious finger presses against my lips.
UP! OUT! LIFT!
How many times?
TEN! ONCE AGAIN
I can't keep up,
ELSIE! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
Lifting my arms
THIS EXERCISE IS FOR LEGS!
Can't lift my legs,
ALRIGHT GIRLS! ARMS AKIMBO! RAISE ELBOWS!
ELSIE! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
Lifting my legs,
NO! NO! NO!
WHO WOULD BE A TEACHER?
Existential moment for a spider or A fly in the ointment The spider remained motionless in his web, having spent all morning weaving. He was proud of his oeuvre, jeweled with pearl-like dewdrops. He felt it tremble and contemplated eating the annoying foreign substance disturbing his equilibrium. He resolved no longer to be a cruel predator, suppressed his hunger and decided to 'suffer for his art'.
Fifty-five words “Tell me!” He said again, with a bit more force this time. “I only ask because of the ludicrous position you've put me in.” Silence. “When are you going to do something?” Silence “I've been waiting twenty minutes now!” He shouted. Impatience and annoyance took over and he swung a punch at the life-like waxwork. Dave Chambers Newham Writers Workshop
55 Words (1)
Her warrant hidden! With a sceptical expression slid her breasts into the kit-bag style bra, thinking 'I volunteered for this poxy assignment.'
Now she was on her own . Her outfit called to mind an explosion in a paint factory. Her time with super trooper imminent.
Stepping forward, HE is the pantomine dame Widow Twanky.
Maggie Palmer (GROW)
55 Words (2)
They strolled hand-in-hand beneath the wedding arch, she in her frothy shining gown, he handsome in his bespoke suit.
All guests eyes were upon them, smiling and hugging. He gave her a shy kiss, then ran and fetched them both a drink.
Both mothers, very happy, calling
"Come children - Kindergarten tomorrow!"
Maggie Palmer (GROW)
Raw night. Freezing wind. Sputtering fire. Snow.
He hunched close, inhaling wood smoke and warmth.
Wolves howling. Distant. Then closer.
Bright eyes in the darkness.
Reaching for his club. Fear without panic.
By the time he realized he was awake, he had beaten his Alarm-Clock nearly to death.
Roy Birch (Stevenage Survivors)
Carlos Raul Dufflar
"You Ain't Nothin' But a Shoeshine"
Lexington and 125th: Litos used to set up his shoeshine box, call on seniors, boliteros, hustlers, street preachers, Brother X with black suit greeting with peace and love ("Do you have Muhammad Speaks"?): "the best shine in El Barrio, 15 cents."
Now stands Pathmark, Odd Lots Bargain Store. This is life under corporate gentrification USA.
(c) Carlos Raul Dufflar
Angel L. Martinez
"Seen On Bloor Street by High Park, Toronto"
I was waiting for the night bus when emerged a figure from the forest. The shadow moving silently only let its silhouette appear under the street light.
Its tail, extended featherlike, was my only identifying clue: a city fox. But only for a moment. As a car's glaring headlight approached, it retreated into its sanctuary.
(C) Angel L. Martinez
55 Words I welcomed my bed after a hard day. The cat indoors, lights turned out, I went upstairs. Through my bedroom window I saw two young foxes, playing in the moonlight under the trees. I still wonder if that was a dream, the foxes, bathed in silver, gambolling so happily. Cynthia Price Stevenage survivors poetry group
Straight From The Horses Mouth
"Did it win?"
"Like you said it would!"
"Have you got the money?"
"It's safe, don't worry"
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"It's on my selection in the next race"
"That wasn't a part of our deal! What time does the race start?"
"Soon, real soon"
"What's the horse called?"
"One second after you're dead"
Antony May 25/2/10