Craft of fiction: Example of 55 word fiction

“Housewife” by Amy Hempel:

She would always sleep with her husband and with another man in the course of the same day, and then the rest of the day, for whatever was left to her of that day, she would exploit by in-canting, “French film, French film.”

Here we have an example of a story with a plot, main character and theme. In this case we have an insight into the main character’s attitude towards adultery. Within a mere 55 words we are able to get a complete snapshot. It is harder than you’d think and although there are some that feel that micro fiction is not true writing, I disagree. It is an exercise in brevity, a way to practice craft and learn how to get a message across without wasting words. Where I do agree that practicing detailed description, dialogue, character development and scene are vital, it is also important to learn how to be succinct.

Have a go and enjoy.

10 thoughts on “Craft of fiction: Example of 55 word fiction

Add yours

  1. Very nice and informative blog you have.By the way I have translated a short story of Amy Hemple and I am looking for her or her agent.Will you please be kind enough to provide me with a contact address or simply forward this message to her.
    Asadollah Amraee

  2. More of a plot synopsis for a short story than actual fiction. I find the generalization “she would always..” a bit ridiculous. I would not spend money for even a whole book of these kinds of snippets.

  3. I like the idea of this. I intend to improve my own writing, and this site may just help me. Thanks.

  4. My pleasure. Let me know if there are any particular topics you want covered. 🙂

  5. Hi, thanks for your comment. No, I’m not. I studied creative writing (BA) and have been writing short stories and creative essays for quite a while. The blog is a way of trying to help beat writers block both for myself and others. By coming up with prompts, it forces me to think about the different aspects of the writing process. I hope you find it useful. Thanks! E

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