How short can a short story be?

Appropriately on what is the shortest day of the year, today is Short Story Day, and if your writing muscles need flexing, what better way to do this than to pen a quick, brief narrative?

A common reason would-be writers give for not getting any writing done is that they “don’t have time”. It is, of course, true that our day-to-day duties often push creative writing a long way down the priority list, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible to fit it into our daily schedules. What’s more, the more often we do it, the more natural it becomes and the less of a struggle it is to get started.

Short stories are a particularly good exercise for the pushed-for-time writer, because they really can be as short as you want them to be, and you can get them done in as little time as you want.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at this collection of two-sentence horror stories. These probably took seconds to write, but they show an ability to create settings, meaning and ultimately fear while keeping words to an absolute minimum.

A powerful example of a very short story is:

“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

Though the author of this story is unknown, it’s incredible that a mere six words can conjure up such strong feelings within the reader.

When it comes to poetry, words can be even more at a premium. During a speech in 1975, legendary boxer Muhammad Ali was asked to give the crowd a poem and replied:

“Me. We.”

Canadian writer jwcurry has managed to trump even these four letters with a poem that consisted of simply a lower case letter ‘i’ with his own fingerprint used for the dot – a clever piece of work since ‘I’ is used to refer to oneself, and he is actually personalising the letter.

However long or short your story or poem might be, excellent spelling and grammar is needed to make it effective. With our Freelance Writing for Businesses and Business Blogging for Beginners diploma courses, you can make sure your words speak loud and clear.

Categories: Writing

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